This is the first issue you will have to deal with. What car do I build?
Most cars from the 60s & early 70s have become so scarce and expensive that it’s just not practical to search them out. If you do find something, you like, it more than likely will be a rust bucket basket case that will drain your wallet and patience. Those of us that are not in a position to pay Chip Foose $100.K+ to do it all I’ll tell you which cars I think are a good bang for your buck.
Let’s look at some of them. (More will follow in future articles.)
3RD Generation GM “F” Bodies
Those born between 1982 and 1992 Camaros: The “Third Generation” of the Chevrolet Camaro F-car came out in 1982 and lasted for a full decade, from 1982 to 1992, when it was made. The “Third Generation Camaro” had a lot of different trim, fascia, suspension, and wheel changes, as well as different engine options, over the years. All of them were made of steel and had a hatchback design. The Berlinetta, RS (Rally Sport), Z28, and IROC were some of the different models. This car would have been more of a showstopper if it weren’t so common. Its aerodynamic, Italian supercar-inspired lines would have made it more of a showstopper. It shared parts with its sister car, the Pontiac Firebird / Trans Am. It had its own unique body panels and styling, but it had the same platform and parts.
This is how the third generation of Camaros worked. They had pushrod-actuated valves and a cast-iron engine block. They also had front disk brakes and rear-wheel drive. There was no longer a separate “subframe” in the front of the third generation Camaro, like there used to be in the second generation. The rear leaf springs were replaced with coil springs. This is how it worked: Several things were used to control the rear of the car. These things included a long torque arm and sway bar as well as two trailing links, coil springs, and shocks. It had a MacPherson strut design with a lower A-arm and a spring that was a coil. In 1982, the V-8 had a 145 hp 305 cid (5.0 L) and by 1992, it had a 270 hp 350 cid (5.7 L). The third generation of the Camaro is better for people who want to make their own hot rods at home than the fourth generation.
With the 1982 Camaro, the Firebird shared its roof, rear hatch, side glass, doors, and windows. It also had unique hoods, rear-quarter panels, front fenders, facias, and headlights, which were all made for the Firebird model. As a sign of the times, fuel efficiency was now being talked about as well as performance and style – a new mission statement for Firebird.
When the wind-cheating wedge shape was used, it produced the lowest coefficient of drag (0.323 Cd) in GM’s history. It used a 62-degree raked windshield, frameless rear hatch glass with compound-convex curves, and a pointed beak-like front fascia with Firebird-only pop-up headlights.
Adding to the slender sports car look was a 10-inch drop in length and a 7-inch drop in width from the previous model, which resulted in a 101-inch wheelbase – while still having the same passenger space as the previous model. A 500-lb. weight drop from the ’81 model was the last thing to make the car more efficient.
Fox Body Mustang
There was a third generation of Ford’s iconic Mustang called the Fox Body Mustang, which was made from 1979 to 1993. These Mustangs are known as Fox Body Mustangs because they were built on the new Fox platform. With its long history, the Fox Body saw a lot of big changes. Fox body is seen as a return to what worked for the first Mustang. There had been problems with the Mustang II. This was a step away from that. When they first came out, the Fox Bodies were a big hit. They’ve become even more popular in the last few years, though! People think the third-generation Mustang is for people who like to fix things. With the right Fox Body parts, it can also drive like one too.
There were a lot of people who loved the first-generation Mustang. It was only in 1973 that the oil crisis caused gas to go up 55 cents a gallon. Because of inflation, that doesn’t seem like much. It comes out to almost three dollars. There had been a lot of growth in the size and weight of the Mustang since it was made. By 1973, it had grown 500 pounds, which made it less efficient at getting around on the road. Cut through all of that fat, but a lot of power was also lost. It no longer felt like a muscle car. It was hard to find a machine that felt like the first Mustang.
It was over with the oil crisis by 1975, and people were once again buying full-sized sedans like they used to do. There was already a shadow of the 1979 energy crisis in the air. People in the US wanted power, but they also wanted to save money on gas. It was important for Ford to meet both of these needs, so they went back to the drawing board to make the next generation of Mustangs.
4TH Generation Cutlass
When the Cutlass line was redesigned in 1973, it was built on GM’s new “Colonnade” A-body platform. After and before each front and rear wheel, all Cutlass bodies had convex bulges on them. This was a new look for all body styles. All of these cars were made: The Cutlass, the Cutlass “S,” the Cutlass Supreme, and the Vista Cruiser station wagon. The 4-4-2 package on the Cutlass “S” colonnade coupe made it look even better. Unique Strato bucket seats were available for an extra fee for the Cutlass “S” and 4-4-2. They had high backs and built-in head restraints that could be turned 90 degrees to make it easier for the driver and front-seat passenger to get in and get out of the car.
Compared to the Pontiac Grand Am of the time, the new Cutlass Salon was an upscale European-style luxury/sports sedan that looked and felt like a high-end car from that time. As part of the Cutlass Supreme line, the Salon was based on the 4-door Colonnade sedan and 2-door Colonnade hardtop coupe. It had upgraded suspension, radial tires, reclining bucket seats, and a hand-operated headlamp dimmer switch (integral to the turn signal lever) that could be turned on and off by hand and was part of the turn signal lever. The Cutlass Salon was the first Oldsmobile to have the international-flags emblem on it. Later, the Cutlass Ciera had the same symbol on it. Front disc brakes came with the car. A new version of GM’s A-body was used to make the 1978 Cutlass smaller. The new A-body had a shorter 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase than before. If you want a Cutlass, you can get one that weighs 3,300 pounds. You can get one with a two- or four-barrel carburetor on it, and it comes with a lot of different engines made by different parts of General Motors.
It had the Salon and Salon Brougham fastback coupes and sedans, as well as the formal-roof Supreme, Supreme Brougham, and Calais coupes. The Salons looked more like imported hatchbacks than racy fastbacks, even though they had a separate trunk. They quickly became less popular than the notchback Supreme and Calais coupes, which were based on cars from the late 1940s and again in the 1960s. Another type of station wagon was the “two-seat” Cutlass Cruiser, which had six passengers in two rows. The Cutlass Cruiser Brougham was a smaller version of the three-seat Vista Cruiser.
3Rd Generation (C3) Corvette
C3 development began at the mid-cycle refresh of the C2. They all set out to make their own version of the C3. Frank Winchell, Chevrolet’s engineering directors, Duntov, and Mitchell all worked together to make their own version of the C3. There was a unanimous agreement that the front engine layout should be scrapped, and so they planned their designs around that idea as well. Winchell came up with his idea for a car that had a rear engine and looked like the Porsche 911 and the current Chevrolet Corvair.
Duntov and Mitchell based the design of their mid-engine on the Mako Shark idea. All of these design elements made their concept look aggressive and futuristic. They had a pointy nose and a steeply raked roofline, as well as a flat, ducktail, rear-end design.
Even though the C3’s designers wanted to make a mid-engine Corvette, budget constraints, the lack of parts that worked with both the front and rear engines, and weight distribution issues kept the car from being what they wanted it to be.
The C2 Corvette’s front-engine layout, chassis, and independent rear suspension would all be used in the new C3 Corvette, as well. C3 would have to be changed from its original mid-engine design to a more traditional one in order for this to work.
It was Billy Mitchell’s idea to hire new designer Larry Shinoda to help him with the project. It would have been called the Mako Shark II, and it would have been a design that could have been made with a mid-engine layout if things went well. In 1965, a non-working prototype was built and shown to the public to get people excited. Then there was a fully functional version. After a short break, a more reasonable second run concept was shown that gave a more realistic picture of the soon-to-be C3 Vette. The “shark generation” Chevy Corvette was about to go on sale, but production had to be pushed back one year because of a lot of design problems.
4Th Generation (C4) Corvette
A new generation of Corvettes was born in 1984. The C4 (fourth) generation was the first one. C4 Corvette parts were unique because this new style was completely redesigned for the first time in 15 years when it was made in 1984-1996. C4 Corvette was the first generation to have an all-glass hatch, and the electronic dash was first used in a production car.
With new emissions standards taking away power and electronic engine management still in its infancy, the focus was on handling. All parts for the suspension of the C4 Corvette were made to not only handle well but also ride comfortably. Because of the second-generation LT1, we saw horsepower rise to the level of people who love Corvettes in 1992. There were a few unique points in the run of the Corvette C4. The introduction of the Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, which had a 4-speed manual transmission with automatic overdrive in the top three gears, two-anniversary editions for the 35th and 40th years, and two Indy pace cars. One of the pace cars was the first convertible in nearly 40 years.
Each of these is readily available at reasonable prices.
As with any car project “buy the best car you can afford”
The extra money you spend, upfront, will more than be made up in time and parts expenditures.
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