T Nation

Buying a Muscle Car


anyone have any advice on buying a muscle car? Im interested in a 1973 firebird. Perfect interior, solid engine. Iknow I know gas mileage, but it wont be my everday driving machine.

Im wondering what else to look for?

It depends on what you want to do with the car. Do you want to drive it for what it worth, build it up using basic items, or go radical.

68-70 camaros are real head turners, and so are Mustangs and Mopars.

In my experience, I found Mustang and Mopar to pack more of a punch than chevy. 351 cleveland w/ 4 barrel heads, or a mopar with the 360 heads are wicked. then again a 454 chevy is also nasty, but they are beastly.

The 73’ firebird looks pretty badass. For me it would either be a Pontiac from that generation, or a Mopar. I love mopars… especially the ones with a Hemi.

You got to be real careful with buying a old muscle car or old car in general that someone has “restored” Even if it has new paint/interior/engine, etc dosn’t mean it wasnt done half ass and will end up costing you more in the long run.

For example when I bought my 64 Impala SS the body looked pretty solid when I took it down to restore I found problem after problem, no bolts in the tranny mount, hell the hood lip had rusted through completly and they just stuffed bondo in it and put the hood lip eblem over it! HAHA

My advice is to take somone that is real familar with classic cars, preferbly that exact make and model, or atleast does bodywork to really look over the car. When buying a classic car, I would much rather have mechanical problems than rust problems.

good luck

My buddy bought a 76’ Firebird and it ran sweet. It even had the orignal 8-track player in it…lol.

I’ve got my eye on a red 69’ El Camino SS sitting in a lot down the steet.

My first car was a 74’ Nova so I know the need for muscle,but at $3 a gallon it will have to be a weekend car.

good luck

Before buying the car, take it to a trusted bodyshop and/or trusted mechanic. Have them go through it as best they can and MAKE SURE you put it on a lift so you can check the floors. Make sure you check out the interior and give the seats a gentle tug UP to see if they are loose or if the mounting bolts have rusted holes in the floor.

Also check the truck thoroughly and around any areas where glass meets steel for rust.

Your car is NOT a full frame vehicle and it’s unibody is what provides structural rigidity. If the floors are shot, the car could be all twisted up, but not visible to the naked eye.

Check out this website and ask questions on what to look for…

http://www.transamcountry.com/forum/

Good luck.

Thanks for the replies guys! I had a feeling this would be the best place to ask anything with the words MUSCLE.

THere is some rust in the rear quarter panels. None on the body doors or engine area.

The alignment is a bit off, and the brakes need to be bleed.

I really dont know anyone in the area its in BFE and dont really have time to find a mechanic. I guess I could just proposition someone (no sick jokes ) to take a look.

I dont know that I will be fully restoring it right away just enjoying it.

BTW its fast as hell.

One more pic.

well that was one of the best money ive ever spent. It is SOooooooooo sweet.
well let the money pit begin!

hahaa, $3 a gallon…try $2 a litre in the UK…muscle cars are amazing man, love to be in the US or somewhere else with ridiculously cheap petrol…

70 Chevelle SS 454

Just my personal favorite.

Sweet ride looks like its peaking for show condition!

Are you sure that isn’t a T/A pre-screaming chicken? Looks nice and I like the color, but understand these cars require a lot of maintenance and a thorough understanding of carburators and points distributors not that you can’t learn these things.

[quote]coloradosteve wrote:
Are you sure that isn’t a T/A pre-screaming chicken? Looks nice and I like the color, but understand these cars require a lot of maintenance and a thorough understanding of carburators and points distributors not that you can’t learn these things. [/quote]

or upgrade them

here is my advice for when the points go out
replace it with an HEI or MSD

[quote]coloradosteve wrote:
Are you sure that isn’t a T/A pre-screaming chicken? Looks nice and I like the color, but understand these cars require a lot of maintenance and a thorough understanding of carburators and points distributors not that you can’t learn these things. [/quote]

I had it checked out its a firebird, but some of the parts have been transam replaced, ie firebird transam cloned.

[quote]coloradosteve wrote:
Are you sure that isn’t a T/A pre-screaming chicken? Looks nice and I like the color, but understand these cars require a lot of maintenance and a thorough understanding of carburators and points distributors not that you can’t learn these things. [/quote]

yeah i might of got in over my head. But it will be fun for summer at the very least.

It’s a project car…if the price is right, just do it!

Is it under SMOG laws??

[quote]Daha wrote:
hahaa, $3 a gallon…try $2 a litre in the UK…muscle cars are amazing man, love to be in the US or somewhere else with ridiculously cheap petrol…[/quote]

You guys dont generally drive as many miles as we do. But yes it’s expensive. I wonder what the annual cost comparison is between US and UK?

[quote]Kill’Em All wrote:
coloradosteve wrote:
Are you sure that isn’t a T/A pre-screaming chicken? Looks nice and I like the color, but understand these cars require a lot of maintenance and a thorough understanding of carburators and points distributors not that you can’t learn these things.

I had it checked out its a firebird, but some of the parts have been transam replaced, ie firebird transam cloned.[/quote]

Then they have done alot to copy the T/A with the hood shaker, the air dam, the fender flairs and the fender vents.

ALOT of work to make a clone, I had a 1977 T/A without the screaming chicken and other T/A markings. This very well may be a T/A.
Does it have the 455 or simply the 350 or 400 perhaps ?

its a 350, im kind of screwed frame is more rusty than previously thought. Ive been told its not safe to drive! estimates are all over the place! any experience, yeah I should of checked it out more thoroughyly!

[quote]TheSicilian wrote:
Before buying the car, take it to a trusted bodyshop and/or trusted mechanic. Have them go through it as best they can and MAKE SURE you put it on a lift so you can check the floors. Make sure you check out the interior and give the seats a gentle tug UP to see if they are loose or if the mounting bolts have rusted holes in the floor.

Also check the truck thoroughly and around any areas where glass meets steel for rust.

Your car is NOT a full frame vehicle and it’s unibody is what provides structural rigidity. If the floors are shot, the car could be all twisted up, but not visible to the naked eye.

Check out this website and ask questions on what to look for…

http://www.transamcountry.com/forum/

Good luck.[/quote]

well you were right.\ I fell for it! but 2900 isnt to bad. money in will be recouped