Does any American car define the era of classic muscle cars and pony cars better than the Ford Mustang? However you might answer that question, it’s impossible to deny the contribution made by Ford to automotive culture and development. The Mustang has a long history going back to the 1960s. One especially iconic version in the first-generation Mustang models is that of the 1967 Mustang.
1967 Ford Mustang Development
The first generation Ford Mustang was first launched in 1964 and had a fairly long production run up to 1973. The second generation was created for the 1974 model year. The 1967 Mustang model holds a special place within this generation because it was the first significant facelift and redesign of the model since it was first launched. It's common to see either generation at most classic car musuems.
Designs for the upgraded models were actually underway even as the first 1964-1965 models were flying out of showrooms and this new Ford model was finding success. That might seem strange, but the Mustang designers Ross Humphries and Don Kopka were emboldened to try and make the Mustang a larger vehicle for when the redesign year finally came.
Making the Mustang bigger was something that legendary Ford executive Lee Iacocca was apparently opposed to. Nonetheless, Iacocca eventually approved and personally oversaw the design and development process of the mid-generation facelifted Ford Mustang.
Ford executive Lee Iacocca
Changes were numerous, starting with increasing the space for an all-new set of available big-block V8 engines. This came with a general increase in the dimensions of the vehicle, making it about 2 inches longer and wider. The wheelbase remained the same as the previous version, however. You will see this particular mustang on many best classic cars of all time lists.
The interior was also changed to remove the embossed horse emblem from the seats and replacing it with a more premium-feel interior package with different color options. Brushed aluminum was used for the dash trim, or woodgrain if you preferred the more classic look, and new door panels were added.
Some standard and optional features were also juggled around. The air conditioning was built right into the dash, and the previous “deluxe” steering wheel became an option. The 1967 model hadn’t yet received 3-point lap and shoulder seat belts, but it did get them in the 1968 version, which was part of the same overall facelifted line. It did get upgraded stereo speakers, and the Rally-Pac was removed and replaced with a newly designed instrument cluster with optional tachometer and clock.
On the exterior, the 1967 Mustang received concave tail lights, a side scoop, square rear-view mirrors, new wheels and a new gas cap. The facelifted model carried on into 1968 as well, when it received additional chrome detailing on the outside. Most people will be suprised to learn about the lower cost of this supringly affordable classic car.
'67 Mustang Features and Specifications
We’ve mentioned some of the features in the design section above, but it’s important to also understand the powertrain and altered specifications that helped to set this model apart from the original. The 1967 Mustang was available as a 2-door hardtop, 2-door fastback, or a 2-door convertible. The various model options are very commonly available to clients looking for old Mustangs for sale.
The 1967 model included the original 200 cubic-inch (3.3L) Thriftpower inline6- engine, as well as the 289 cubic-inch (4.7L) Windsor V8 engine. Larger models were added, namely the 390 cubic-inch (6.4L) FE V8 engine, which came from the Ford Thunderbird and was fitted with a four-barrel carburetor.
Even larger engines arrived in 1968 in the form of a 428 cubic-inch (7.0L) Cobra Jet engine outputting a massive 335-hp. As a classic car dealer, we often see these engines still within the classic Mustangs that we have sold in the past. That model was actually classed as a “drag racer for the street.”
- Wheelbase: 108”
- Length: 183.6” (+2 inches compared to 1964)
- Width: 70.9” (+2.7 inches compared to 1964)
- Height: 51.6” (+0.4 inches compared to 1964)
- Curb Weight: 2,758-lbs (+313-lbs compared to 1964)
Even though the 1967 Mustang was the first year in which greater weight and size were added to the vehicle, it was still lighter than some of its successors, even within the first generation of Mustang models. That being the case, the lighter body designs and more nimble and agile looks of the 1967 model make it all the more special.
A Special Place in History
The facelifted 1967-1968 Ford Mustang holds a special place in the Mustang’s long model history because it was the car that was featured in Steve McQueen’s 1968 film “Bullitt.” McQueen’s Mustang in the film was a 1968 GT model 2+2 Fastback depicted in a chasing rivalry with a Dodge Charger on the streets of San Francisco.
Steve McQueen's 1968 Mustang GT
A special Bullitt Edition of the Ford Mustang was released in 2020 with the same white cue-ball topper on the gear shift and additional design and power cues that were reminiscent of the “Bullitt” car.
What do people think when they imagine the Volvo brand? They tend to think of solid construction, boundless safety features, tasteful interiors, and a winning combination of utility and comfort. The term “sports car” doesn’t necessarily come to mind. However, back in the 1960s and 1970s, the Volvo P1800 was on the road showcasing dynamism and class. To this day, the Volvo P1800 is extremely popular and is commonly found on most top classic cars of all time lists!
The Volvo P1800 owes a lot of its reputation for class and style to it being driven by none other than Roger Moore in the classic 1960s television series, The Saint. Its other big claim to fame was as the highest-mileage private vehicle still being driven by its original owner having clocked some 3.25 million miles by 2018.
Design and Early Development
Interestingly, Volvo started development on their new sports car in 1957, at about the same time as Jaguar was working on their earliest ideas for the Jaguar E-Type. It was a time of competitive development with many top brands seeking to create the next big thing in sports cars. They also began the project with some trepidation, having failed to make their previous sports car project, the P1900 a success.
In order to gain more success, the head of the project, Helmer Petterson, engaged a well-known Italian carriage maker, Ghia, to help with the designs. An interesting twist in the design story is that while Volvo for years credited Italian designer Pietro Frua of Ghia as the creator of the P1800, the real work was done by Frua’s student, and Petterson’s own son, Pelle Petterson. Volvo only finally recognized this fact in 2009.
Early prototypes were made in 1957 and 1958, one of which was driven by Helmer Petterson down to West Germany and the headquarters of Karmann in Osnabruck. It was there that Petterson had hoped to start the tooling and construction of the vehicle. The project hit a major setback, however, when Volkswagen stepped in and stopped Karmann from taking on this task. Naturally, they were afraid this P1800 would compete with their own models.
Volvo P1800 Prototype
In the years that followed, Volvo dragged their feet on the project, refusing other potential German manufacturers, all of which frustrated Petterson. In the end, he tried to get investors to back him to the point that he could get the parts from Volvo and complete the project himself. Subsequent leaks of images of the car forced Volvo’s hand, and they finally “came out” with the car at the 1960 Brussels Motor Show. It was a smash hit, and a manufacturer in the UK was finally found ready and capable to make the P1800 a reality.
The P1800 was produced starting in 1960 for the 1961 model year, all assembled at Jensen Motors’ plant in West Bromwich, England. Production later moved back to Sweden in 1963. Models were built as either a 2-door coupe or a 3-door sports estate. The first engine used was the “Bensin 1800” shortened to B18 (‘bensin’ means gasoline in Swedish), which used SU carburettors and a unique set of 5 crankshaft bearings together producing 100-hp.
The initial production run of the P1800 produced about 6,000 units in the UK plant, before Jensen Motors started to have trouble maintaining Volvo’s quality standards. Production was thus moved to Sweden and new variants of the P1800 emerged, namely the 1800S, 1800E, and 1800ES. Many classic car museums will feature at least one of these production variants.
The “S” stood for “Sverige” (in English, “Sweden”). The 1800s initially carried the same B18 engine but with some small modifications to add about 8-hp to its rating and a top speed of about 109-mph. The P1800 did also feature an overdrive function on some models, however, that could push the top speed closer to 120-mph.
A new engine was created for the 1969 model 1800S model, the B20B. As the name suggests, this was a 2.0L engine that augmented the power to 118-hp. Although the new engine was an improvement, it was still very far from a classic muscle car.
“E” was a popular addition to car model names around the 1970s, and the 1970 Volvo 1800E was no exception. It stands for “Einspritzung” or “fuel injection.” The 1800E featured a new Bosch-developed D-Jetronic fuel injection system in its new B20E engine. This unit could output up to 130-hp without losing an iota of fuel economy on the previous B20 model. The 1800E was also noted for abandoning rear drum brakes in favor of four-wheel disc brakes.
In 1972, the world was introduced to a rather unique kind of sports car, the 1800 ES 2-door station wagon design. It got a less powerful 125-hp engine, but lost none of the unique design features and Italian sports car DNA. The story for the American market was unfortunate, though, as Volvo could not find any reasonable justification to invest more in redesigning the models to suit incoming safety regulations in the mid-1970s. The 1800ES has a short-lived production run delivering just 8,000 units in 2 years. This is most commonly the least expensive model of the P1800, but is still more valuable than other affordable classic cars.
1957 Chevy Bel Air
When you think of America and what cars are at the pinnacle of excellence, there’s very few who wouldn’t mention the Chevrolet Bel Air. This iconic and unforgettable Chevy was built from 1950 to 1975 as a classic muscle car, both hardtop and convertible. The 1957 Chevy Bel Air, still known affectionately and simply as the ‘57 Chevy, was the last model year of the second generation before the car became longer and heavier in the third generation which started in 1958. It's rare to find any enthusiast who wouldn't have this car in their top classic cars of all time list!
Development and Release
The ‘57 Chevy came in several different body styles, namely: convertible, sport coupe, sport sedan, 4-door sedan, 2-door sedan, the 2-door Nomad wagon, and the Townsman 4-door station wagon. The first model in the second-generation Bel Air was the 1955 model, which had already received great reviews from various automotive publications. It was especially praised for its handling and on-road acceleration.
The ‘57 Chevy Bel Air saw an increase in the car’s engine power with a 283 cubic-inch (4.6L) V8 engine option that was actually one and the same with the same model-year Corvette. This V8 could generate up to 283-hp and 290 lb-ft of torque thanks to the inclusion of the Rochester Ramjet continuous mechanical fuel injection system. If you own a ‘57 Chevy with this specification, check out our classic car value guide because you have something rather special because this new engine specification wasn’t installed on the majority of ‘57 Bel Air models.
Paired with that first-time ultra-powerful engine was a 2-speed Powerglide transmission, or a 3-speed manual transmission, which was some of the most dynamic and sought-after auto equipment of its day.
Most important to understand about the second-generation models, and especially the 1957 Chevy Bel Air, is that these were designed with some of the most iconic features, like the Ferrari-inspired front grille, the rear tail fins inspired by the new age of jet engines in military aircraft, the rocket hood ornaments and the chrome headliner bands on the hardtop models. What it represented was the rising prosperity of the United States and the end of an era of austerity where cars were strictly functional.
The 1957 Bel Air had just as much chrome and fine finishing as a Cadillac Coupe DeVille, but also had much more pleasing lines with an irresistible dynamism that made it the original Chevy high-end car. Suprisingly, the 57 Bel Air is a fun time when it comes to classic car care. The somewhat unfortunate thing is that like many cars from the time, Chevrolet didn’t even know how good a thing they had made until much later. The Bel Air was a car of balance, symmetry, form, and function put together perfectly into a single machine. So much attention was paid to this sense of symmetry and balance, that the car even included 2 radio antennas at the back of the car, one by each matching tail fin.
A Collector’s Item
It may have been the last of the second generation, a seemingly obscure model year in a 25-year production history, but the 1957 Chevy Bel Air is considered the most iconic among the entire bunch. For that reason, it has become something of a collector’s item, and is commonly found at most classic car musuems. What’s more, it was the first car mass-produced after the Second World War that eventually became a collector’s item. So in many ways it’s also the 'original' collector’s car.
The good news is that in general there are many 57 Chevy models available because there were more than 1.5 million units of the 1957 model made in total. This means that is a surprisingly one of the more affordable classic cars in comparison to the popularity. Where it can get tricky is getting a particular type of Bel Air. The rarest model of all is the Bel Air 2-door Nomad Wagon, of which only 6,264 units were ever produced. The most common model is the Bel Air 4-door sedan, with a total of 264,449 produced in 1957. The Convertible only had 48,068 models made, making it significantly rarer, but at the same time so much more desirable if you live in a warm climate like southern California or Florida.
If you were to find one of these classic cars for sale today, you could be looking at a wide price range, depending on the specification and rarity. As we have mentioned, there are indeed plenty of '57 Bel Air models around, but to get your hands on a pristine mint-condition 2-door Bel Air model, which is what most collectors are looking for, and preferably in the most iconic sky blue body color with white and chrome trim, is not an easy feat.
"The most beautiful car ever made." - Enzo Ferrari
The British sports car brand Jaguar has produced many iconic cars over the years, but perhaps none are more iconic than the Jaguar E-Type. It is very common to see the E-Type on almost anyones best classic cars of all time list. This car was first produced in 1961, and had a 14-year run right up to 1975. All models were manufactured in the company’s Coventry plant in the West Midlands, England.
Concept and Early Development
The story of the E-Type concept began in the late 1950s after Jaguar had found great success in professional racing with their D-Type model, namely at the Le Mans 24-hour circuit. The company approved a new project that would use the D-Type model to build a street-legal car When the Jaguar E-Type was first introduced, the concept was presented as a grand tourer with a rear-wheel drivetrain, but in the format of a 2-seater coupe.
The early prototypes were not successful and didn’t make it past the factory testing stages. The first versions, dubbed E1A, were subsequently scrapped in 1957. However, the project was revived as E2A in 1960. Unlike the monocoque chassis of the E1A design, E2A used a steel chassis with an aluminum body. Under the hood was a 3.0L XK engine armed with a Lucas fuel injection system. In the end, however, E2A was retired as a race car, bouncing around the world from owner to owner before ultimately being sold at a classic car auction in 2008 for almost $5 million.
It wouldn’t be until 1961 that the first production versions, E-Type Series 1, finally emerged onto the market.
Jaguar E-Type: Production Versions
A total of 3 generations of Jaguar E-Type were produced over the years. Here’s a quick rundown of production years:
- Series 1 - Produced from 1961 to 1968
- Series 2 - Produced from 1968 to 1971
- Series 3 - Produced from 1971 to 1974
All E-Type Series models were produced as either a 2-door coupe or a 2-door roadster. The first 2 Series used variations of the Jaguar XK engine, while the Series 3 model switched to a Jaguar V12 engine. Most pretigious classic car musuems will have at least one of the production versions. Below is a quick summary of each Series model.
Jaguar E-Type Series 1 (1961-1968)
The first production model for the new E-Type was nearly a tragedy for the domestic British market as it was initially thought to make it for export only. That changed several months into the production run, however. The first 3 years saw the cars powered by a 3.8L XK inline-6 engine outputting 265-hp, but that was switched up to a 4.2L version of the same engine in 1964. Despite the greater displacement, this engine actually didn’t offer more power, but it did increase overall torque. Both versions could get from 0 to 60 in just 6.4 seconds.
Tests of the car by reviewers found that the top speed was a rather mighty 150-mph with testing results numbering a little above or below that round figure. Other noted features of the carb besides its acceleration were its use of disc brakes. Rack-and-pinion steering, as well as an independent front and rear suspension.
It was the Series 1 E-Type that Enzo Ferrari was said to have remarked that it was “the most beautiful car ever made.” As a classic car dealer, we've seen a lot of vehicles come through our doors, and we have to agree with Mr. Ferrari. High praise, indeed. Around 38,500 of the Series 1 models were produced in the initial run. The Series 1 model is extremely valuable as is definitley not one of the most affordable classic cars.
Jaguar E-Type Series 2 (1968-1971)
The revolutionary nature of the first-generation car meant the Series 2 had to deliver something special to be positively set apart. The most notable changes to the car were actually in its safety features, largely a result of new mandates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US which is now among the top recognized safety standards in the US and the world.
The Series 2 featured the following changes:
- Removal of glass headlight covers
- Installation of a wrap-around rear bumper
- Enlarged front turn signals
- Repositioned tail lights
- Larger front grille
- Ignition switch moved to the steering column
- New seats with head restraints
- New factory options: power steering and air-conditioning
For the engine, the same 4.2L inline-6 XK engine was used, but drivers in the US faced a slightly defanged version with reduced horsepower and torque. The Series 2 had a shorter run, and thus fewer models are still around today. Only about 19,000 were ever produced.
Jaguar E-Type Series 3 (1971-1974)
The first thing everyone noticed about the Series 3, of course, was the powerful 5.3L V12 Jaguar engine that appeared under the hood. The V12 was fitted with Zenit carburettors and could deliver up to 272-hp.
It also received upgraded brakes and the previously optional power steering became a standard feature. What’s more, it got a longer wheelbase which made the passenger cabin feel roomier and more luxurious, as a grand tourer should be. The front grille also became a cross-slatted design, which helped further distinguish it from its earlier sibling models.
It's not hard to see why the Jaguar E-Type is one of the most sought after classic vehicles. Their appreciation is high, and so is the value. We frequently get clients who want us to list their classic Jaguars for sale, but the E-Type's barely ever stick around for long! If you are an owner of a Jaguar, or any other vehicle, we recently released a classic car value guide to help you determine how much it may be worth. If you're in the market to sell your car, contact us today and we can explain how we can help you sell a car on consignment.
Classic Car Museums
If you want to get clued up and inspired about classic cars, then you really need to go and visit a great classic car museum. The question is, which museums are the good ones? Any number of places might claim to offer a great selection of classic cars on display, but how can you sift through them to find the ones that make the trip worthwhile? Whether you are a interested in one-of-one cars, concept cars, or even classic muscle cars, there is a museum for you!
Below is our handy guide to some of the best classic car museums in the US right now:
Gilmore Car Museum - Hickory Corners, MI
Located around 30 minutes away from our Grand Rapids Showroom, the Gilmore Car Museum is our personal favorites! Their mission is to tell the story of America's Automotive past. They showcase the history, heritage, and social impact of nearly every type of vehicle. They have an extremely impressive collection of rotating cars and exhibits that create one of the best museum experiences that can be had! The Gilmore Car Museum is constantly hosting classes, car shows, concerts, and various other events. Just a heads up for first timers, be sure to clear your whole day! You're bound to get lost in the experience. They have a collection that includes some of the best classic cars of all time.
Gilmore Car Museum
The Revs Institute - Naples, FL
If classic race cars are what you crave the most, then the Collier Collection at the Revs Institute in Florida is arguably the best one you’ll ever see. One of its particular specialties is its collection of Porsche race cars from the 1960s and 1970s. These are really a sight to behold. The Revs institute is open only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and currently they only take pre-booked ticket visitors.
America’s Car Museum - Tacoma, WA
Residents and visitors to the Pacific northwest should pay a visit to this display, which proudly proclaims to be “celebrating America’s love affair with the automobile.” The museum houses more than 250 examples of stunning classic cars, but also other unique hallmark exhibits like their Learning Lab to teach students about automotive technology past and present. The regular opening times are from Thursday to Monday from 10:00am to 5:00pm, and it’s open for private events on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets must be bought in advance.
Antique Automobile Club of America - Hershey, PA
For those who see the classic car era as stretching back to before the war, and who are in the northeast will find a great exhibit in Hershey, PA. If you wanted to see how a Tucker 48 was built, since there were only 51 ever made, then you’ll find 3 of them in this museum. You won’t find more in a single location. The museum also features many pre-war cars, as well as bus and railway exhibits, and a license plate collectors display. It’s open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Tickets must be bought online.
National Corvette Museum - Bowling Green, KY
This museum in Kentucky was home to a bona fide automotive disaster in 2014 when a sinkhole opened up at the location and swallowed 8 cars, including the millionth Corvette ever made. Luckily, the millionth Corvette was restored to glory and returned to its place of honor. In true “keep calm and carry on” fashion, the sinkhole has now become a part of the exhibit. Until late April 2022, they also have a special exhibit called “Corvette Powered”, which features stories of Corvette engines and how they have powered some of the world’s most amazing cars. They also have an impressive collection of the 1963 Corvette. The museum’s hours from January 1 to March 1, 2022 are Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm and from 9:00am to 5:00pm on the weekends. From March 1 to October 31, it changes to 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Sunday.
National Corvette Museum
“Driving America” at The Henry Ford - Dearborn, MI
Despite the name and location, this exhibit isn’t all about Ford cars. The Driving America exhibit is housed at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, and showcases everything from the examples of the earliest cars built, to the most modern contraptions. They even have the Rosa Parks bus, a lasting symbol of the struggle for civil rights in America. This exhibit is the perfect choice for the family who can’t agree on which car museum to go to. It covers everything and the kitchen sink.
The National Automobile Museum - Reno, NV
If the “Driving America” exhibit is too far, then try this museum in Reno. It’s open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm and exhibits 200 incredible cars complete with interesting handmade facades and scenes to really make it all come alive. One big point of interest is the Dymaxion car, the only one in existence, on display at the National Automobile museum. You’ll also find the winner of the 1908 NYC to Paris auto race, and James Dean’s 1949 Mercury from “Rebel Without a Cause.” You definitely won't find many affordable classic cars in their collection!
The Dymaxion Car - Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
Affordable Classic Cars
As we move into 2022, many people think they have really missed the boat when it comes to classic cars for sale from eras they may know and understand, namely the 1960s to 1980s. Some may want to invest in these “true” classics instead of those models from the 90s and 2000s that are said to be the classics of the future. The question is, which ones are still a good buy and affordable? In today’s blog, we’re revealing some of the most affordable classic cars out there today, many of which come in at under $15,000.
Before we move forward, please keep in mind that this list is subject to change. At the time you are reading, these prices may have heavily fluctuated.
1982 Porsche 944
The Porsche was one of a few front-engined cars designed by Porsche, who of course are much better-known for their rear-engine cars. Between 1976 and 1982, Porsche came out with a number of models, the 924, 928 and then the 944, all of which had front-mounted engines. The 1982 Porsche 944 was definitely the sportiest of them all, and was powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine outputting up to 187-hp. It also featured pop-up headlights, irresistible lines emanating from the drooping front-end, and also top-notch handling acknowledged as the best in its class by Car and Driver.
1979 Fiat 124 Spider
Modern versions of the Fiat convertible have made a comeback in European markets, but you can pick up a classic version of this legendary Italian motor for around $15,000. The 1979 version is a particularly good deal, and is powered by a 2.0L DOHC engine putting out 102-hp. Best of all is the stunning Pininfarina body, timelessly stylish front grille, round front headlights, and even the gorgeous Ferrari-esque red color if that’s what you like.
1981 Chevrolet Corvette
Classic Corvettes are nearly always featured among the most popular classic cars with sale price in the six or seven figure range. What may surprise you is the number of Corvettes you can still get for much less and that still exhibit all of the best qualities of this iconic Chevrolet brand. The 1981 Corvette Coupe, for example, is a bit extreme in design, but still houses a naturally aspirated V8 engine outputting 190-hp which can easily be tuned much higher for those wanting a bargain Corvette that’s easily converted to a mega horsepower factory.
1996 Chevrolet Camaro
This pick is more of a modern classic, but time is quickly marching on and the 1990s are quickly becoming a true classic era. This product year dances the line of what is a classic car and a modern classic. The 1996 Camaro is a 3-door hatchback coupe available usually for well under $10,000. Like the 1981 Corvette, it’s not necessarily the best-looking Camaro out there, but still features a naturally aspirated V8 with 295-hp (better than Corvette standard) and launching from 0 to 60 in just 5.8 seconds. What’s more, it’s surprisingly efficient at around 20-mpg. This is the only vehicle in this blog that may deserve a spot on a top muscle car list!
1976 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II
It’s easy to understand why you’d never expect the name Rolls-Royce to appear in a list of affordable classic cars. However, the good thing about a Rolls is that it is a brand with a long history and therefore a lot of classic models to choose from. Some of which are more common and thus more affordable.
The Silver Shadow II is a full-size luxury sedan with a powerful V8 engine delivering 247-hp and up to 398 lb-ft of torque. It’s a bit of a gas-guzzler at 10.7-mpg, but then again all Rolls-Royce cars somewhat are. The iconic front grille and Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament are as powerful as ever in their symbolism of luxury and success.
1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL
For those in more of a continental mood, this Mercedes-Benz roadster is yet another naturally aspirated V8 with relatively efficient fuel consumption and a very affordable price tag. The model year may be almost 40 years old, but this Benz exhibits stunning lines and timeless good looks. The front grille with chrome finishing is a particular head-turner. The engine isn’t so powerful at 155-hp and 0-60-mph time of 10.7 seconds, but this is a car bought more for the looks than the performance.
1972 International Harvester Pickup
If you were lucky enough to get in on the ground floor and get a classic International Harvester Pickup a few years back, you might have only paid $10,000 for it. It’s still affordable at $15,000 but has been moving quickly up the price ladder and 2022 might be the last chance to get your hands on one in the affordable bracket. Americans love a pickup, and this is among the most iconic classic pickups there is. For under $10,000 you could get a rusted one that you could restore, but for a ready-made mint-condition classic, be prepared to pay more.
How to Determine the Value of a Classic Car
As one of the largest classic car dealers in the world, we mainly use our experience as the way of determing the value of the vehicles in this list. However, we know that setting a fair price can be one of the most difficult parts of owning a classic car. To share our knowledge with our readers, we released a classic car value guide. Similar to the prices/vehicles in this list, please keep in mind that the data may have fluctuated since the time of writing, but we believe the general principles will still be in tact. Whether you are simply wanting to get a price for your vehicle, or are looking to sell a classic car, the blog post should help!
Classic Muscle Cars
Americans love their muscle cars and this isn’t news. People might look at modern muscle cars and think that’s it, but the fact is that these models go all the way back to America’s golden automotive age in the late 1950s and 1960s, back when the US reigned uncontested in the world of automobiles as other countries struggled to rebuild after the Second World War.
What about classic muscle cars? Which ones stand out as the great classic muscle cars of all time? In today’s blog, we have a list of cars that we think can begin to answer this question. Some of these vehicles are on many people's best classic cars of all time list!
1964 Pontiac GTO
For many, the Pontiac GTO was the car that started the entire trend of muscle cars. It housed a massive 6.4L V8 engine with triple carburettors that delivered up to 348-hp. It wasn’t a stand-alone car when it was first created, but rather an upgraded version of the Pontiac Tempest which ran on a 140-hp V6 engine. The GTO boasted vastly superior suspension, wider wheels and other enhancements that made it, arguably, the original muscle car.
1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
No list of muscle cars from any era would be complete without at least one entry from a Camaro. The Camaro was built as Chevy’s response to the Ford Mustang, and the 1970 Camaro Z/28 offered a smorgasbord of features, including upgraded suspension, racing stripes, disc brakes, optional blacked-out grille, and a light 5.0L V8 engine that still delivered 290-hp. Buyers had the option to upgrade that to the big block 6.5L version if they wanted.
1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88
Sticking with Chevrolet, we now move on to their other iconic marque, the Corvette. There are so many classic model years to choose from, but arguably the greatest is the 1968 C3 with the big-block L88 engine. The C3 was notable for the Mako shark-inspired design, but also for being the car that was only technically marketed to the public. The racing-spec L88 with its 7.0L V8 engine could reportedly reach well over 500-hp, and competed at Le Mans. GM only ever sold about 200 units, making it also a rare jewel in the classic muscle car crown.
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird
This is a classic muscle car that was also built for circuit racing. Its features like the pointed nose at the front and the almost unbelievably high rear wing have been immortalized in Hollywood movies, but before the notoriety came its racing spirit. This is a muscle car that was built with the express purpose to slice through the air and win Nascar races. It was powered by a 7.2L V8, or a 7.0L Hemi making 375-hp and 425-hp respectively. Its relative rarity sees it routinely fetch 6 figures at classic muscle car auctions.
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429
There are myriad choices when it comes to the classic Mustang, but the Boss 429 stands out in the modern era. It’s a great example of a car that is from the older muscle car period, but was made more popular, famous and desirable by a modern movie, namely John Wick. The Boss 429 featured sleeker bodywork with aluminum intake manifolds, as well as a 429 cubic-inch 375-hp V8 engine. Only 1,359 models were built, and only 429 of those fall into the 1970 model year, so it’s another rare one that would fetch a high price at auction.
1970 Dodge Challenger
The Challengers from this era were Dodge’s first big attempt to make the Challenger compete with the likes of the Ford Mustang. They offered coupe or convertible designs, powered by 383 cubic-inch engines as standard outputting 335-hp. There were more than 18,000 models built, so it’s not the rarest of them all, but also it wasn’t a special edition so not all of those stuck around since they were first made. The R/T was the most popular trim.
1969 Mercury Cyclone CJ
For the enthusiast wanting the power and style of the 1960s muscle car but without the six-figure price tag, the Mercury Cyclone CJ is a great option, often valued between $12,000 and $14,000. Back in the day, there was even an offer to put Cobra Jet engines in these cars to boost the already powerful standard 335-hp V8 option. If you found a model with that option, it might be worth more. Besides the irresistible sloping coupe roof at the rear, the front end featured a blacked-out grille and distinctive curved design.
Classic Car Value Guide
Many people have a mind to get into the exciting world of classic cars, and perhaps make a killer investment that pays off years down the line. Alternatively, some may want to keep a classic car as a kind of legacy to hand down to their children, to keep and enjoy in the good times, but also have as an option to sell if things go awry.
Whatever one’s exact reasons for purchasing and keeping a classic car, the question of the car’s real value is one that persists. Before we begin, one of the best ways to find the value for your car would be to visit our sold inventory page and search for vehicles that are similar. We’ve sold over 11,000 vehicles since we’ve opened our doors so you should be able to find something similar to what you have! It also may help to view our classic cars for sale page.
One thing to keep in mind before reading this article is that everything can change over time. The information in this blog is accurate as of the time we are writing it, but do not take our word as law. Do your own research and become educated before officially determining the value of your vehicle!
Value Can be Subjective
First of all, let’s deal with the fact that when it comes to classic cars, their more important value can be totally subjective. Many classic cars are priceless in people’s hearts and minds because the car has some kind of sentimental value to them. Others may feel the car is valuable because it reflects a time period or cultural movement that meant a great deal to them and other people they know. Some vehicles may be on an individual's personal top classic cars of all time list, increasing the value for them and others.
In today’s blog, we want to keep our focus on the more subjective factors that dictate classic car value, and we’ll address these in turn in the next section below. Working with a consignment based dealer to assist you as you try to sell a classic car can help you determine the value as well.
Factors that Positively Impact Classic Car Value
The following are arguably the most important factors that dictate a classic car’s value, but they are by no means all of the possible factors.
Supply and Demand
Put simply, vehicles that are in demand are worth more, and if the supply is limited, then it drives up the price even more. That’s not surprising, since it’s a basic law of economics, but what’s interesting is the unpredictable nature of what makes classic cars suddenly become in demand.
It could be the appearance of a car in a movie that becomes a cult classic, or that it’s given a high profile because one is owned by a very popular celebrity or public figure, for instance. Historical interest also comes into play if it’s a car favored by someone like a former world leader or other notable figure. An example of this is the Bronco, a highly sought after vehicle that has had consistently high demand for some time now. There are a myriad of reasons that can guide demand, and not all are guided by things you think of as being obvious such as prestige of the brand.
Make and Model
Brand prestige and model name does carry a lot of weight. A name like Ford Mustang or Chevy Corvette will carry more weight than a Toyota Camry or Subaru WRX. There’s history and love behind those names; nostalgia and international power that make them as recognizable on the streets of Shanghai as they are in Detroit or New York.
Condition and Originality
Condition is perhaps the greatest key to value, which you might expect. A burnt-out wreck doesn’t compare to a mint-condition car, but that condition also needs to be paired with originality. In other words, it has to have as much of its original styling and as many of its original features as possible.
Classic cars that have been heavily modified, and even those that retain many external features but change all the internal and mechanical features, will invariably be worth less than a fully original car. It’s important to note that this isn’t always the case. A certain buyer may be looking for a uniquely custom car, increasing the value of your vehicle in their eyes. However, more often than not, an original vehicle is in higher demand.
Here, the standard rule applies, which is that the lower the mileage, the better the value you can expect the car to have. A classic car with no mileage is no good because not being run on the road at all is almost as much of a problem as having too much mileage when you factor in all those years. Classic cars that were only used once in a blue moon to keep them running smoothly but to minimize wear and tear are the best balance of used and low-mileage. It can be difficult to determine the value based on mileage, because with older vehicles the mileage shown may not always be accurate. This is the reason that working with a highly trusted dealer like GR Auto Gallery is extremely important.
Another big factor is whether or not the car was made as a limited edition. Many brands have limited production runs of perhaps 1,000-2,000 models on special versions of their popular models. A classic Mustang from the 1960s can be very valuable, but a Mustang from the 1980s that was part of a run of only 1,000 units is even more valuable. This also connects very clearly with the point above on supply and demand.
Online Resources for Determining a Car’s Value
For those looking for further help online in getting a good and accurate valuation on their special-interest vehicle the following online resources should help:
Hagerty Valuation Tools
If you are serious about classic cars, then a membership to a site like Hagerty gives you access to their comprehensive valuation tools, which shares current and historic values of specific car models from many different years. You can also identify specific cars using the VIN decoder.
Current and Historical Pricing
If you want to do the research legwork yourself, one of the best things to do is look at similar models, what they are going for and what they have sold for in the past. Looking at various auction sites may give you an answer to the popular question: should I sell at a classic car auction? Platforms like classic.com and conceptcarz.com will offer historical auction sale prices, and other sites like Hemmings, AutoTrader and ClassicCars.com list current classifieds for private individuals selling on their classic cars. Once again, spending some time viewing our sold inventory will be helpful as well.
If you’re looking to sell your vehicle, contact us today and ask about our consignment program! We’ve sold over 11,000 cars in the past decade and can help you determine the proper value for your classic car. Thank you for reading! Visit our automotive blog page for more content like this.
Best Classic Cars of All Time
Which are the classic cars that never fail to turn heads? Which are the classic cars that have the collectors picking up the phone and draining their savings in order to purchase ahead of others? These are questions that we are going to try and answer in today’s blog. Below are some of the greatest, most iconic, and collectible classic cars ever made. Before we get into this list, just remember that this is OUR OPINION and by no means meant to be a factual list! Our favorite part about the classic car community is the diverse tastes and preferences.
The younger generation swoons over the powerful athletic lines of the Jaguar F-Type in the modern age, but many of them are unaware of the original iconic sports car, the Jaguar E-Type. Even Italian rival Enzo Ferrari couldn’t help but admire it, calling it “the most beautiful car ever made.” The elongated front end, irresistible curves, and impressive top speeds of up to 150-mph are all just a part of what made this British sports car so memorable.
The Porsche 911 is among the more “affordable” of the high-end classic car set mostly because they lack the key factor that drives up the price: rarity. Collectors love getting their hands on a Porsche 911 because these German classics are everywhere. The 911 is fast, nimble, and simply beautiful to behold. Where some classic cars are all looks and no substance, the Porsche 911 is a car that delivers everything. At GR Auto Gallery, the Porsche 911 has consistently been one of the best-selling cars through our classic car consignment program!
Mercedes SL300 Gullwing
Which classic Mercedes has the look of a modern Mercedes-AMG sports car but also comes with an iconic red interior and “Gullwing” vertically opening doors --- eat your heart out, Tesla Model X. The SL300 was first made back in the mid-1950s and was the first production model car to have a direct fuel injection system. It also boasted a top speed of 160-mph, and just to prove its collectibility and appeal, many of the original SL300s are still with their original owners or their descendants. That just shows people can’t bear to part with the SL300.
Chevrolet Corvette C2
How have we come this far without mentioning the Chevy Corvette? We specifically want to talk about the second generation, known as the Corvette C2. The C2 was made between 1963 and 1967 and was the first one to be given the Stingray moniker, although in that generation it was split into 2 separate words: “Sting Ray.” It had engines up to 7.0L in its “Big Block” variety, and 5.4L V8 engines in the “Small Block” variety. Its long hood and raised windsplit became key iconic features of the design. It was available both as a convertible and a coupe. The 1963 Corvette in particular remains one of the most popular models. For years, our inventory has always been active with buyers looking for Corvettes for sale!
Ferrari 250 GTO
Enzo Ferrari may well have believed that the Jaguar E-Type was the most beautiful car ever made, but is it possible to even look at a 250 GT0 from Ferrari and not swoon at its elegant grace? The 250 GTO was made between 1962 and 1964, and what’s more there were only 39 models ever made. That certainly gives it the rarity factor. In August 2018, a 1962 model was sold in Sotheby’s auction house in Monterey, California for a staggering $48.4 million.
This fantastic model was made between 1990 and 2005 before being updated into the newer model that younger people might know better. Acura is Honda’s luxury wing and the NSX was a strong early attempt to demonstrate that you could have supercar specifications with everyday driveability. From that concept, we get the NSX with its terrific handling, keen brakes, and powerful engine. The first-generation spawned 9,000 models in the US between 1990 and 2005, so they are not in short supply --- though still rarer than 911 models overall!
Dodge Viper GTS
Like the NSX, the V10 Dodge Viper GTS was born in the 1990s and offers an incredible 450-hp adventure in every ride. In honesty, it’s not the most safety-friendly vehicle by modern standards, but then again many classics fit into the same category. The Viper GTS doesn’t have ABS, nor does it offer traction control. It’s raw driving power through and through, but it’s also the iconic look, especially the electric blue with the double white stripe, that catches the eye most of all.
Shelby 427 Cobra
This particular Shelby model goes back to 1966 boasting an 800-hp engine and was one of only 2 models ever made. It has been a record-breaking car in a number of respects and is the spiritual predecessor to the above-mentioned Dodge Viper GTS. The 427 had an unforgettable engine roar that would put the fear of God into most people. On the road, it was a performance monster, too, with its powerful acceleration and thundering sound as it rocketed along.
The List Goes On
These are but a selection of the countless fantastic classic vehicles. Which ones are truly best will depend on your own taste, of course. Browsing through the inventory of a classic car dealer is a great way to find your own personal favorites!
Top 10 Tips for Classic Car Care
If you keep a classic car in your garage, then caring for it isn’t quite the same as looking after a regular new car. There are some important and particular things you need to do to ensure that it stays in good condition and thus at a decent value. Whether your car is a piece of personal nostalgia or a serious investment to possibly sell at a classic car auction, the following tips on classic car maintenance should be of use to you.
1. Keep Up with All Regular Maintenance
The one thing classic and modern cars do have in common is the need for regular maintenance on things like the oil and other fluids, filters, belts, hoses, and similar components. In fact, with older cars lacking in some of the modern warning systems, it means that your in-person checks are more important than ever.
2. Drive it At Least Once a Month
This seems counterintuitive to some who want to keep their classic “baby” protected in the garage and free from any harm. The fact is, however, that like any other car, it benefits from a proper drive at least once a month. The frequency of once a month is about the minimum you should maintain, but if you can do more, then you should, such as once a week.
3. Replace Brake Fluid Once a Year
Brakes can be a source of worry for some when driving classic vehicles. There’s always a fear that older, less advanced brakes might break more easily or simply become defunct. It’s a genuine worry but can be remedied by a simple test pumping of the brakes when starting a journey to ensure they’re working properly, and a fresh batch of brake fluid once each year.
4. Storage is Key
Classic cars are susceptible to the corrosion and additional wear and tear that nature’s elements can bring. Their age makes them particularly vulnerable. Therefore, storage is a critical factor. Any and all weather extremes must be guarded against, such as keeping the car out of direct sunlight, with a dust cover if possible. Indoor spaces should be dry, ventilated, and properly insulated, and the temperature carefully regulated.
5. Regular Cleaning and Waxing
A good cleaning, drying, and waxing of your classic cars will do wonders. It keeps dust and dirt from getting embedded into the paint and maintains a protective skin to keep the paint in good condition. Be sure to only use soft microfiber towels to dry, and a clean and fresh microfiber mitt for washing. Avoid using old sponges and rags.
6. Don’t Modify
If you’re hoping to preserve the car as an investment and want to sell a car on consignment, then it’s important that you don’t make modifications to it. A big part of your car’s value is its original feature. The more original it is, the more it’s worth to other collectors. If a modification becomes necessary for safety reasons or because a certain component is simply not available, then it’s unavoidable, but you should avoid modification wherever possible.
7. Rinse Your Winter Tires
If you live somewhere with harsh winters where snow is common and roads are salted, then you should be sure to rinse off your tires after each drive. Road salt is a big enemy of your car’s paint and metal. It can cause corrosion, and that’s incredibly dangerous if the rust happens to be on your car’s suspension or wheel axles.
8. Treat Rust as Soon as You See it
If you spot a little rust, don’t despair but deal with it as soon as possible. Have the area sanded down and repainted. It can be costly but it will cost much more if you leave it too long and have to get a larger paint correction job done. Small rust spots you could fix yourself with a DIY kit to save some money, but leave it to the professionals if you are at all unsure of what to do.
9. Keep Everything Lubricated
When you drive modern cars with slick and long-lasting synthetic oils, it can be hard to appreciate just how much extra attention the engine and related parts of a classic vehicle need. For example, you need to take extra care to lube the u-joints and driveshaft because if they’re not greased properly, the result can be premature damage.
10. Be Sure to Repack the Wheel Bearings
Finally, besides lubrication, you should also keep a close eye on the state of your wheel bearings. You need to ensure that they are property cleaned and checked, and if they need it you need to repack them with the OEM-recommended original grease where possible, or a recommended equivalent. Ask a mechanic, expert, or even a vintage car dealership on that particular model for tips on which to use.