In January 2015, Barrett-Jackson set up its automotive candy store in Scottsdale, Arizona, and sold more than $131 million worth of classic, muscle, and specialty cars. Of the vehicles that rolled across the block, nearly 100 of them were from the private collection of Phoenix-based real-estate developer Ron Pratte. As a result, this gathering of cars and people was the highlight of the year for automotive collectors, and the prices the cars commanded will effect the transaction prices of everyone who owns—or wants to buy—a car like the ones sold at auction this year. Here’s a look at some of the stars, and the prices they went for. This 1934 pickup truck hot rod was a shining bare-metal example of unbridled imagination and enthusiasm. Chosen by Billy Gibbons to co-star in the ZZ Top I Gotsta Get Paid music video, this little creation is the culmination of a lifelong dream come true by visionary hot rod builder Jimmy Shine. It was resurrected from an empty shell found … [Read more...] about What’s a Muscle Car Worth?
Restore a muscle car
Careless removal of trim is all too common due to an attitude of, “Well, I’m replacing everything with new anyway, Jack!” Not so quick, Sherlock. Some investigation would encourage you to be more careful. Original moldings are not easy to obtain brand new. Plus, reproduction trim pieces might be on the thin side or not fit so well, like around corners, for a certain series of muscle car. Jason White sees damaged trim from windshields, backlights, and side glass “all the time” on muscle cars that come into his Hereford, Texas, shop. The trim seen here, from a 1972 Chevelle SS454, was a good example. Brand-new paint does not contrast well with the dull sheen and scratches that accrue on moldings with the passage of time and automatic car washes. In addition, White found various high and low spots that made the moldings look much worse. The good news? He knows how to take out the dings and dents, and polish stainless-steel moldings to look like new, so there … [Read more...] about Restore a Muscle Car’s Stainless-Steel Trim: Just Add Water & Stir
Brand managers lose sleep pondering buzzwords they think will make you want to reach for your wallet. One of their favorites these days is natural. There’s natural gas, natural selection, natural granola, and naturalized citizens. There’s Nature Valley, Nature Made, Nature’s Own. If you’ve got uncommon talent, you’re said to be a natural. In our grand psyche, natural is pure and pristine. To be natural is to be in organic purity, cosmic harmony, and biological bliss. No wonder natural is applied to everything from potato chips to shoes. Now, I don’t want to cause widespread panic, but your muscle car is not natural. It is altered, doctored, manipulated, converted, processed, remixed, reconstituted, and refined, all of which is to say highly unnatural. During a trip to Virginia a while back, my friend Frank Badalson took me to see what used to be a nice 1968 GTX that had been parked outside. Not under a carport, not under a lean-to, not even in a barn … [Read more...] about 1967 Pontiac GTO – Mother Nature can be Cruel to a Muscle Car
Over the last decade especially, the high-profile Barrett-Jackson auction held each January in Scottsdale, Arizona, evolved into one of the best-attended spectator events on the classic car calendar. It is the 800-pound gorilla of all the Scottsdale auctions. But Scottsdale is not just Barrett-Jackson. Another half-dozen auctions compete for attention and the business of buyers and sellers. Looking to make a bigger mark in the muscle car category is Russo and Steele, whose event had a new venue this year. Russo and Steele’s innovative auction-in-the-round brings buyers and sellers closer together than competing auctions do. Three top-tier auction houses primarily specializing in high-end exotics share the Scottsdale stage: RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company, and Bonham’s. Each occasionally serves up tempting muscle cars. Longtime participant Silver Auctions tends to cater to the more accessible (read: affordable), part of the market. And Scottsdale newcomer Worldwide … [Read more...] about Scottsdale 2017: What’s Trending in the Muscle Car Market?
I am guilty of project-car neglect. There’s no tear-inducing Sarah McLachlan commercial to that effect, but it, too, is a situation in need of remedy. Too many times, I’ve brought home a stray vehicle, a model I’ve always wanted to build—but a cheap and wretched example of the breed. The price was right; the condition was wrong. It’s a cycle as vicious as it is round, but one I’ve finally broken. Let’s be clear: I’m not saying I have never finished a car––I have, several––but more often than not, I bring home a project with a trunk full of odds stacked against me. The advanced rust, missing trim, and drivetrain maladies all handicap the project from the start. I buy it more on emotion than reason, ignoring all of the blemishes with starry-eyed optimism and tow it home––tow is the key word, as these cars rarely run. Once in my driveway, I start picking at the rusty scab that is my new project. I tear it … [Read more...] about I Canceled Cable TV and Bought a Muscle Car: Here’s Why
Muscle Car Review’s premise has always been the celebration of stock muscle cars of all stripes. Over time, thanks to the proliferation of restorations (if not restoration parts), the hobby’s idea of what a muscle car should be has evolved. Remember “restification?” Are old paint jobs and a little crustiness persona non grata? Like the hobby, my tastes have evolved. Here are some thoughts on our hobby in its current state. I’ve been a member of the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race crew since 1997, so I have personally witnessed how a modicum of skillful optimization, combined with NHRA-spec massaging, can obliterate cars chockfull of cam, headers, and slicks. But there’s also something attractive about the forethought and creativity put into good modifications, especially with day-two cars and their contemporary tweaks. It’s as if their owners took over where the factory left off. A perfect example is this 1971 Hemi Challenger R/T with just the … [Read more...] about The Muscle Car Hobby Is a Big Tent—Consider Yourself Invited!
The stories are all too common and, therefore, all too disturbing. A beloved muscle car project disappears into a paint shop for months, maybe even years, far beyond the promised turnaround time. What’s worse, the painter keeps asking for more money without being able to show evidence of progress. Or maybe the painter goes dark, refusing to pick up the phone or answer email. When a car is stuck in painting purgatory, the best one can hope for is to get it out of the shop just like it was dropped off, none the worse for the unintended hiatus. A refund on your deposit? Fat chance. But often these tales end with insult added to injury, where owners discover cars that are torn apart, parts lost, gas tanks drained. Or if some work has been done, you later discover Hershey-bar-thick body filler under poorly sprayed primer, or what looks to be an oil slick bubbling up through the fresh paint. To help MCR readers from falling into this trap, we interviewed three painters/restorers in … [Read more...] about How to Hire a Muscle Car Painter & Avoid Losing Your Car to Paint Purgatory
In 1967, muscle cars had become mainstream. Drag racing was a favorite pastime in America, evidenced by the packed stands at local dragstrips. The rebellious generation of the 1960s blended muscle cars into their raucous lifestyle. The muscle cars introduced in 1967 could be characterized as fast but somewhat subdued. Stripes and scoops were beginning to blossom but wouldn’t reach full bloom until 1970. One of the biggest movies of 1967 was Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman. Newman’s Luke Jackson, a nonconformist loner who fights against authority and an evil warden, becomes a rebel-hero among his fellow prisoners, quietly maintaining an unbreakable spirit with a smile. The subdued 1967 muscle cars with their high power levels and minimal exterior bravado are reminiscent of Newman’s subtle coolness. Blending simplicity of design with killer big-block performance, the G.T. 500, SS396, GTO, and GTX gathered here properly represent the persona of the 1967 crop of … [Read more...] about MCACN 2017 Preview! Check Out These Muscle Car Heroes
1966 Bonneville: While not quite a muscle car, Pontiac's top-line cruiser was available with the High Output 421 with Tri-Power and 376 horsepower. Did I mention a four-speed? Charlie Lillard brought his primo, freshly restored black Poncho that was loaded with eight-lug wheels, gauges, and class in spades.1969 Mustang: Sure, the 1969 Mustang SportsRoof (aka "fastback") is almost a dime a dozen, and even a 428 Cobra Jet Mach I isn't quite rare. But a base fastback with the CJ is a different story, and the Petty Blue "The Going Thing" Mustang, built for an Ohio promotion supporting the Ford Drag Team, is about as special as it gets.1971 Satellite Sebring Plus: Midsize Plymouth performance fans had the Road Runner and the GTX. But among the more pedestrian B-body offerings was this model, the successor to the 1968-70 Sport Satellite and with its own unique set of trim and pinstriping. Painted In violet and equipped with a 383 four-speed (one of 145 according to the owner), this Satellite … [Read more...] about Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals 2017: Maintaining the standard
In an act of enormous generosity, a fresh-from-the-farm fraternity pledge offered to drive the Polo-clad seniors around in his car—a restored 1967 GTO with Centerline wheels. "No one in Independence (Missouri) ever beat it," he proudly declared. "Worth over 20 grand." That was in 1990. The older fraternity brothers winced. "We'll be seen in that?" Showing maturity beyond his years, he stabled the Goat and returned next semester with a beat-up Tercel. This was, ironically, the more socially acceptable choice at my upper-middle-class fraternity.Muscle cars are cool. They're tough. They're American. But they're not for up-and-comers. Refined? Well, no. Sophisticated? Hardly. A technological tour de force? Save them words for androgynous Europeans with little glasses. If you're the type who understands opera or worries about the safety of dolphins or includes "tofu" on your grocery list, don't even try to understand.It's about manliness. Old-fashioned, redneck manliness. The innate … [Read more...] about The Truth About Muscle cars: Third Place