1973 Plymouth 'Cuda Resto
The Mopar boys are sure proud of their cars! This extremely clean '73 Plymouth 'Cuda with fresh silver paint on the body and undercarriage tips the scale at $35,000. It's got a 340-inch motor and four-speed, but seems to be lacking many other parts. There was no interior, front or back glass, or headlight bezels. This to us sounds like someone ran out of steam or money and wants to unload their project. That can be a good thing, as this seller probably has more than the asking price into the car by now. Consider in your budget how much it will cost to make this car a driver before making an offer.
1966 Ford Mustang 289 Coupe
Here is a good example of paying slightly more for an original V-8 car: Is it important to you, or not so much? This one was selling for $6,500 in reasonable condition--that's almost $3,000 more than our own Project Street Fighter that is the same year, but came with a running straight-six. Our plans were to replace this paperweight, letting the $3,000 go to fund fast parts. If you don't want to change the motor in this factory car, the price may be right. Keep one thing in mind: The price is always negotiable. Be careful around vinyl top cars; they are notorious for being rusty under their skin. This one could go either way.
1972 Chevy Vega Lightweight
So you've set out for a Nova or a Chevelle to build up with drag-strip dreams, but the price tag is a little high. This flyweight is already done, so don't overlook a Vega as your next drag car project. Vegas are less expensive and much lighter, making then shamefully easy to get into the 10s with a modest small-block. This one had no price tag and no owner nearby, but it sure tickled the senses. Also, the entire GM H-body line from 1975 to 1980 (Chevy Monza, Olds Starfire, Buick Skyhawk, and Pontiac Sunbird) make excellent lightweight performers, and shouldn't be ignored.
The chip along the door line here shows exactly how many layers of paint there are on this car. They talk about mile-deep clear as a good thing, but in general, mile-deep paint is prone to chipping and is a lot more difficult to level out for a new paintjob. It would require media or chemical blasting to remove the paint in a reasonable amount of time. (Editor's note: Many thick layers of old paint actually worked out in our favor with the '75 Laguna. Since the underlying metal was good, the extra layers of paint acted like multiple guidecoats, and allowed the car to be blocked very smooth with a minimum of labor.)
Who knows what's behind this Nova's coat of primer? All we know for sure is there is a lot of filler. A trick you can use to check the filler thickness is to drag a flexible refrigerator magnet over the surface. The more easily across the paint, the more filler is underneath. If it doesn't stick at all, you're in trouble. This would be helpful in determining if you are going to have to do a quarter-panel replacement or a simple leveling of the existing filler.
One sign of a quick-fix paintjob is when the inside surfaces of the body, such as the inside of the doors, underhood, and under the decklid, are left unsprayed. Spraying these areas is called jambing, and any decent painter will take the time to do it.