If you’re looking for a classic car restoration project then you can’t do any better than the 1957 Ford Thunderbird. For the model’s third production year, Ford made some great changes that really upped the ante in the sports car industry.
The biggest upgrade to the T-Bird in ’57 was a redesigned trunk that eliminated the need for the spare tire to be housed outside of the car. This got rid of the so-called “Continental Kit” that was included in the two years prior. Other new designs included new tail fins, a wider grill, bigger tail lights and a more defined body style that lent itself to competition with some of the other top muscle cars of the day.
Under the hood Ford continued to offer a 292 cubic inch V8 as the base choice, but the engine output increased substantially. Additionally, you could upgrade to a 312 V8 that got 245 horsepower on the chassis dynometer tests, or a Super Charged 312 that produced 300 horsepower.
Originally, the Thunderbird went for around $3,500 in 1957. Today a fully restored beauty could fetch up to $135,000!
Image source: c-it.com
The Pontiac GTO is considered by most to be the ‘original muscle car’. When it came out in 1964 it spawned a trend in the American auto industry that had a lasting impression on the era and culture of the entire decade. All the major car manufactures of the ’60s rushed to come out with competing models that offered similar style, comfort and power. This is, perhaps, why the GTO is one of the most sought after cars for restoration experts of today. As popular as the flagship model was, however, the follow up year was twice as lucrative for Pontiac – they sold double the amount of units in ’65 compared to ’64!
Most auto restoration specialists agree that Pontiac fixed nearly everything that was wrong with the ’64 GTO. They added their trademark stacked quad headlights, a stylish hood scoop, new stronger brake linings, heavy duty shocks, and a redesigned dashboard and tachometer. The results were well received and the GTO was awarded the ‘Car of the Year’ by Motor Trend.
Under the hood saw some great improvements as well. The standard engine type was a beefy 389 cubic inch V8 that delivered 335 horse power during chassis dyno testing. The best choice, though, was another 389 V8 called the Tri-Power. This was an improved version of 1964’s top engine and got 360 horse power and 424 lb/ft of torque on the chassis dyno.
In 1965 a fully loaded GTO would go for about $4,500. Nowadays, if you’re looking to get a fully restored Pontiac GTO at auction it could cost you up to $100,000!
Image Source: http://www.musclepricecars.com
The iconic Firebird is one of the most popular and sought after muscle cars for restoration. We see both the hard top and convertible versions all the time in our shop here in Los Angeles, and take our word for it, either one is fun to work on!
Originally built based on specs from the Banshee concept car, and drawing inspiration from other pony cars like the Camaro and GTO, the first generation Firebird from 1967 definitely came into its own in a big way.
A big standout was the ‘coke bottle’ body shape. Like the Chevy’s Camaro, that was also famous for this design, the Firebird was sleek and sporty. However, a split front grille and slit taillights distinguished it from its competitors and created a unique look that consumers loved. Evidence of this lies in the fact that Pontiac pushed out over 80,000 units in under 6 months!
Additionally, Pontiac offered five different engine sizes that varied in power when put on the chassis dyno tester. The best performer of these was the Firebird 400, a 400 cubic inch V8 that pumped out 350 horsepower. This may not seem so great by today’s standards, but in ’67 it was top of the line.
Image Source: http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/