1970 was perhaps the pinnacle year for powerful muscle cars. Delivering many beefy choices that are highly sought after for restoration today. This power was evidenced by the fact that the GTO, Grand Torino and Chevelle. They all had engines that produced more than 350 horsepower! Sadly though, this new generation of bigger and badder engines was short lived. Regulations on size and performance would soon cripple the industry and end the muscle car era as we knew it by the mid 1970s.
The Chevelle came in six different body styles in 1970, but only three were allowed the coveted ‘SS’ upgrade that opened the door to those extra HPs. These were the Malibu Sport Coupe, the Malibu Convertible, and the El Camino Pickup. While styles similar to these were available the previous year. Upgraded sheet metal made them slightly boxier in 1970. Which only added to the car’s more powerful persona.
The interiors of every Chevelle model was redesigned as well, offering, however, a limited selection of only three colors to choose from. Of these, the consensus here at our auto restoration shop is that dark green was the most attractive, although the black and blue looks were nice as well.
Under the hood
Like previously mentioned, under the hood the Chevelle was ahead of the pack. This was because of the the ‘SS’ package. Chevy offered a massive 454 cubic inch LS6 V8 that kicked out 450 horse power and did 0 to 60mph in just five and a half seconds.
In 1970, you could get a Chevelle at the affordable price tag of right around $2,600. Nowadays, a fully restored ‘SS’ Convertible can go for up to $95,000!
Image Credit: www.antiqueoldcars.com
1974 was the beginning as well as the end of the third generation of GTOs. Considered the last year that the model was available until 2004. By the mid 1970s, in fact, most car manufactures had completely abandoned their respective muscle car lines. Most experts attributed this to skyrocketing gas. Also insurance prices that forced consumers to purchase cars that offered more bang for their buck. The result was a dismal production run of GTOs in ’74, with numbers so low as to make this one of the rarest muscle car restoration options today. This particular year is so hard to come by that many auto restoration mechanics haven’t actually seen one in person!
The GTO was based on the Ventura body and, despite its’ poor sales figures. The car was actually a really well built car. On the outside, Pontiac added a cool (see what I did there?!) feature called the ‘Shaker Scoop’, which was a hood scoop that was faced towards the windshield in order to scoop the cold air reflected from the glass. Other upgrades included a special grille, new mirrors and rear anti roll bars.
Under the Hood
There was only one engine option for the ’74 GTO and it was a nice one. Pontiac offered a 350 cubic inch V8 with a four barrel carburetor that was rated for 200 horse power during its’ dyno runs. It did the quarter mile in 15.72 seconds and 0-60 in 7.7.
In 1974 you could upgrade your Ventura to the GTO package for close to $500. Today, at internet auction they’re going for anywhere from $15K to $25K, which seems low considering their rarity!
Image source: www.flickriver.com
A somewhat lesser known muscle car, the Oldsmobile 442 (pronounced 4-4-2) still makes an occasional appearance during our auto restoration services here in Los Angeles, and it’s actually a great choice if you’re looking to restore a ride that is a little outside the norm.
Originally introduced in ’64, the 1968 442 officially kicked off the second generation of the model, and there were a lot of changes; both mechanical and aesthetic.
Probably the biggest change in the exterior of the ’68 version, was the new almost ‘fast back’ shaped body, that included only a slight taper at the trunk. Additionally, the front grille was redesigned, adding an angular point on the very front, while keeping the double headlamps on both sides. Other improvements were special exhaust tips and cutouts and a revamped rear bumper.
Under the Hood
There was bad news for fans of power though. Under the hood the second generation model actually got a bit weaker than the previous year. Although it carried over the base 400 cubic inch engine from ’67, they reduced the bore and added a milder base cam grind. This made the car almost a half a second slower in the 0-60 test and it dropped 400rpms of torque when dyno tested by Car Life Magazine.
All in all though, the Oldmobile 442 is a great restoration choice. Nowadays, at internet auction they can get anywhere from $30K to $50K in great to mint condition and depending on the specs.
Image Source: www.cardomain.com
Whether you work in the auto restoration services industry or are just a part time restoration enthusiast, if you don’t love the 1969 Mercury Cougar you might want to question the existence of your soul.
In ’69 Ford upped the ante for the third production year of the Cougar, opting to make it a lot bulkier and more powerful. Additionally, they changed the front grille to horizontal bars. Its vertical look in previous years and added optional RAM hood scoop and spoiler.
The biggest difference from the ’68 model however was the inclusion of a soft top convertible model named the XR-7. These are highly sought after by classic car collectors and will increases the resale value of your restoration substantially if you’re lucky to find one that needs work.
Under the Hood
The standard engine option in 1969 was a 351 cubic inch V8. That kicks out a respectable 250 horse power. Upgrades included a 390 cubic in V8 that was rated at 320 horsepower and a burly 428 cubic inch V8 that pumped out a sizable 335 ponies.
All told, back in 1969 you could pick up a fully loaded Mercury Cougar for about $4,000. Nowadays, at auction, you can flip the same car in mint condition for anywhere from $20K to $40K!
Image credit: oldparkedcars.com