Most auto restoration junkies are fans of power, performance, and style. Perhaps this explains why few other muscle cars have left a legacy as big as Chevy’s Camaro– it delivers all three in droves. This week we’re going to be taking a look at the second generation ’73 model, which is arguably one of the best years for the brand.
There were numerous small changes that combined to put the ’73 Camaro over the top. For the first time in the line’s history they offered air conditioning and power windows as a standard option. They added a nice new steering wheel, and they also offered a plethora of tire selections. The biggest change though, and what we’re recommending for a muscle car restoration, was the the addition of the new Type LT model.
The Type LT was the whole package. It offered the power of Chevy’s 350 cubic inch V-8 engine and the style to match all of the leading luxury cars of the day. For people that wanted more power, an upgrade to the Z28 350 CID engine was available. This bad-larry got around 245 horsepower on the chassis dyno tester.
The 1973 Camaro sold around 96,000 units, a 30% increase from the previous year’s totals.
Nowadays, you can get a fully restored ’73 Camaro for anything between $15K and $35K depending on the options.
This week we’re looking at a classic option for muscle car restoration, the 1966 Chevy Nova!
The ’66 Nova officially launched the second generation of the model, and with it came some pretty nice upgrades. Under the hood Chevy introduced the now iconic Turbo Fire V8. It had a 327 cubic inch diameter and delivered 350 horsepower on the chassis dyno tester. Unlike other engines options offered by Chevy in that year, the Turbo Fire was only available with a four speed standard tranny. The automatic versions weren’t offered. It was because of this, in fact, that the Nova was finally considered to be a muscle car in ’66.
The Nova had technically been around since 1962 but the second generation was redesigned from scratch in order to compete with popular muscle cars like the Mustang and the Falcon. Chevy added, a sharp new front grille, a semi-fastback roof line, and “humped” fenders. These new upgrades combined to make this a prime choice for an auto restoration enthusiast nowadays.
The original ticket price on the Nova was right around $2500 in 1966. Today online we see them getting from $20K-$60K for a fully restored SS Model.
This week we’re taking a a look at a car that’s not necessarily considered a muscle car refurbishment project, but is instead referred to by some as a ‘classic restoration’; the 1963 Ford Galaxie!
We have some first had experience with this model. We did an auto restoration on one not too long ago, in fact. While we were working on it, we were impressed with not only the appearance of the finished product but also the performance we were able to get out of the engine.
The entire Galaxie line is beautiful, particularly the 1963 version. There were a few different models available including a two door hardtop, a four door hard top, and a convertible that featured a sleeker and sportier roof line than in previous years.
Under the hood, almost every engine option that Ford offered was available. The most powerful choice being the 427 ‘high performance’ dual four-barrel that delivered a whopping 425 horse power on the chassis dyno tuner!
The original asking price for the ’63 Galaxie was
Whether you’re into hot rod, classic, or muscle car restoration, chances are you’re probably a fan of the Impala. And rightly so. How could any self proclaimed ‘car junkie’ not be excited about the car that many experts labeled “the original muscle car”?!
1961 was the fourth production year for the Impala. By this time it was already a staple for Chevy. However, what made this version a standout was the introduction of the SS (Super Sport) optional upgrade package. This really set the tone for the future of performance minded manufacturing that lead to the entire ‘muscle car’ craze. It was so revolutionary, in fact, that the Beach Boys were inspired to write a song about it called ‘409’!
For a measly $53 you could up the ante on your ’61 Impala and get the SS upgrade. This came with, among other things, ‘super sport’ trim on the in and outside, a stronger chassis, a padded instrument panel, and the slick ‘narrow band’ white walled tires that Chevy was famous for.
There were also some beefy engine upgrades offered, the best of which was the legendary 409. It was unparalleled at the time, kicking out 360 horsepower and 409 pounds of torque in chassis dyno testing!
Unfortunately for auto restoration buffs, there were only 142 of these iconic 409 SS Impalas produced, which makes finding one at your local junkyard a pretty big long shot.
in ’61 the asking price for the SS model was around $3,000. Today, we’ve seen fully restored 409’s asking all the way up to $200,000 online! Talk about a good return on investment!
Today’s muscle car restoration pick of the week is the 1984 Buick Grand National.
In ’84, Buick decided give all it’s Grand Nationals a ‘tiny’ V-6 3.8 liter stock engine. While this may sound less than impressive to most hot rod restoration buffs, in reality it was a relative beast in its day! This little guy delivered 200 horsepower and 300 lbs of torque on the chassis dynamometer tuner. It also let Buick compete on the drag strip against much lighter competitors, Camaro and Corvette, and still hold its own. It did the quarter mile in 15.9 seconds while the Corvette barely edged it out at 15.1.
If power’s not your thing (not sure why you’d be reading this blog!), then the appearance of the Grand National is still sure to impress. Buick decided to bring back the solid black paint job in 1984. Their motto was basically, ‘if it can be painted, make it black!’, and it turned out to be a great decision. They flew off the shelves and actually sold out their whole production run that year.
Another cool thing about the ’84 Grand National was that this was the year they introduced a special T-Top design. This upgrade was only added to around 400 of them, so if you’re lucky enough to come across one these in your auto restoration search you should hop on it instantly! It’s a rare find for sure.
In 1984 the Grand National was going for around $1200 and today at auction we’ve seen them get up to $30K fully restored.