Muscle Car Restorations

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I recently turned 16 (yes and i know your all thinking dumb teenager posting on my forum)...

Basically, im not into this whole Acura rsx or pimping out a civic =

I want real american muscle.

Im not that into driving fast beleive it or not. A 525 HP EFI Elanor engine can come once i start making real money.

I just love the look and feel of muscle cars.

I'm looking for quotes, but it doesnt seem im getting anywhere. Im operating on a minimum wage budget (7.40 in connecticut)...but willing to save every penny to put into a car.

So guys, what should i do?

Should i buy a new chevelle body (roughly 2,000) and put into it. Or what? I really need some expertise and oversight on this one, i dont want to do anything stupid/waste any cash.


posted by  Spade

id have to say any muscle car made after 1973:2cents:
third gen camaro/firebirds or el caminos or monte carlo,s or something like that

posted by  nighthawk

How much would a restoration cost though?

And if i were to buy a chevelle body?

how much would i have to put into it to get it up and running?

posted by  Spade

Most cars after '71 aren't really considered muscle cars. Sure some of them still might have the body style, but a lot of the engines were detuned for emissions and had a lower compression ratio. Some cars and engines were discontinued once gas started to rise too.

posted by  Benson

Why are you stuck on a Chevelle body? Chevelles are a fairly popular car and you might not be able to find one in your price range. You might find a rolling body but since you are 16, you most likely won't have a lot of knowledge needed to finish the rest of the work - engine, trans, interior, body work. With the sky rocket of the muscle car scene a lot of cars have gone up dramatically in price. That being said don't get too discouraged, there still are lots of deals out there but chances are they are going to be more of a plain jane muscle car. To sum it all up you are going to need a bigger budget for sure just to get a car. Then to restore it, unless you can find a lot of deals and do all the labor yourself, you will need a few more grand.

posted by  Benson

yeah, thanks a lot!

I estimate that i can get roughly 6 grand a year.

What car should i look for?

Right now im considering Chevy Nova. Fairly cheap, with new paint and tinted windows you got yourself a pretty nice looking car.

posted by  Spade

Here's the rub. if you have to pay someone else to do it, a decent restoration can run upwards of $20-30k on a car that will be worth $8k done. Seen it happen many times. If you can do work yourself, you save money, and if you dont' want things perfect and can live with some of the parts being old for a while, you can save money. For example, doing all the rubber in a car (windows, doors, trunk edging, etc) can cost a grand or more. Interior work can be $2k or more. Paint work, for decent paint, can run upwards of $3-5k. There are ways of getting good results at, say, Maaco (search on that subject here. I've written huge posts on how to do it), but it requires some skill and effort on your part.

In your price range, look for less popular models. Yes, it costs as much to rebuild them as the more popular cars, but you can get a much nicer example to start with for vastly less money.

Also, in your area, rust is a serious issue. It'll be hard to find older stuff that hasn't already been seriously compromised. And cars that are in decent shape that can be had for $1500 on the west coast can cost over $8k in CT (seen that numerous times, too).

posted by  ChrisV

thats actually why I said that, he said he didnt need something insanely fast right off the bat, and most of the cars around that time didnt make really big numbers,

I consider my car to be borderline musclecar, even though it was made in the late 80's and came with just over 155 hp from the 5.0 liter

posted by  nighthawk

I know a very vague ammount about cars, im just getting into them. I know quite a few people who own garages though, and probably would teach me/do it for me free of charge. Pretty much my best friends entire family are car fanatics who literally put their entire lives into their wheels.

My friends dad would paint it for basically free if i supplied the paint. He's a good guy.

I want to try and finish the car in roughly 2-3 years, or atleast get it looking real good. Considering i just started working now, i could probably get 8-10 grand before then. Im looking for a car thats inbetween 3-4 grand. Im willing to work real hard to have a car i like. Everyone at school is like "just buy a civic!" But i want to work on my cars, make em nice. I dont want to spend the money on something that i will never actually enjoy driving in every day.

So i guess it would cost me about 6-8 grand in total? just for Exterior and Interior appearence?

posted by  Spade

Again.. :screwy: But thats YOUR opinion of what a muscle car is.

posted by  Benson

Yeah, i was thinking the same thing benson

posted by  Spade

No he was talking to somebody else not you.

posted by  skeetin870

yeah, no i was agreeing with him

You dont find too many muscle cars (outside of the 2005, 2006, and 2007) mustangs that have that muslce car feel.


I consider most cars that were designed and manufactured during this timeframe to be muslce cars. Although there are a few outliers, it seems to be that this was the period in which American Muscle thrived.

posted by  Spade

ya most of the best american musle cars r made then but u could get a good australian musle car 4 $1500 american and then there is the import fee

posted by  daniel_driftman

Oh yes that would be a great idea ship a car across the world over seas! I'm sure I could save loads of money! :doh:

posted by  Benson

i think a great car for you to get started would probably be something like a trans am or camaro in the late 70's but i in order to fit ur budget would would need a lot of favors and u'll need to work on it urself. think about this i bought my camaro here in montreal already restored and i bought off a friend of a friend and he said that he paid almost 20 000$ to restore everything inside and out including an engine rebuild and i bought the car for less than half of that. so shop around and look for one that is in okay condition and it will cost you about 8-10 thousand and most of the car will be done. but if u want another car such as a chevelle well thats a different story..

posted by  81-camaro

Okay, but... If your car was restored it is no longer original (see signature), it is restored. Like it or don't, there IS a diiference. Furthermore, the last time I checked, '81 Z28's DID NOT come from the factory with chrome Moroso air cleaners and valve covers, headers, etc which also makes it non-original.

posted by  vwhobo

well ur right but in a way i consider it to be original because the body paint is stock and the interior compared to work that chip foose does like changing the rims and lowering etc. but i will now change my sig from "original" to "restored"

posted by  81-camaro

That's why you gotta improvise with them. My 76 Monte Carlo once had a wheezy 145-horse 350 small block with cast iron manifolds, 2-barrel carb and single exhaust w/ 2.73 non-posi rear end. A car that surely would pull 18's in the quarter mile then certainly doesn't now. Today, she's got a 330-horse 350 crate engine, rebuilt Turbo 350 trans, 3.73 gears, Eaton posi, Headman headers, dual 2.5-inch exhaust w/ Flowmasters, 4-barrel Holley, dual snorkel ram air box, MSD Street Fire distributor, aluminum radiator, electric fans and A/C delete. My best ET ever was nailed on September 23 of this year as I pulled a 14.815 @ 92.41. Not bad for a 2-ton car. And next year she'll only go faster with addition of Vortec heads and a higher lift cam. Oh, did I mention that she looks totally stock AND that she's my daily driver? A sleeper in the making.

I'd say go for a 73-77 GM A-body (Chevelle, El Camino, Monte Carlo, Cutlass, Grand Prix, Regal, Le Mans, Can Am, Grand Am). While they might not be the lightest cars or considered Muscle Cars by puritists, they are relatively cheap to find in decent condition. If you can find the right one in good condition, only needing little TLC, for the right price then you're already half way there.

posted by  76MonteMan

I've got a '75 firebird with a 350 (overhauled of course) i pull about 300 horse power. It's PLENTY for me. My girl gets up! I'll tell you what!
If i were you dude...(kid with the need for speed)if you love the look of beef...go for something late 60's early 70's IE: 66-68 camero, cuda, charger, etc. If you're a fan of the look of speed...I'd say 73 nova, mid to late 70's TA, firebird, camero, etc. Honestly, i don't think you can go wrong with a classic. I think anything you get you 'll love and enjoy completely!
Good luck!

posted by  Thebirdstheword

a little late on the reply there and I know what you mean, but I already have my car and im not planning on selling it lol

posted by  nighthawk

mate,no matter what the cost you cant beat a good aussie muscle car:laughing:

posted by  badbowtie350

its so cool:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :driving

posted by  redmaster

So are you actually going to contribute anything to the forum, pr just keep reviving out dated topics?

posted by  Cliffy

I just thought id let you know you can feel free to ban these people without warning, nobody will be upset lol

posted by  nighthawk

Although that wouldn't necessarily upset anybody, I think a ban is a little harsh, as he's just an ignorant n00b from what I can see, lol.

posted by  Cliffy

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