Restoring muscle cars can be easy. Here’s how it’s done!
Classic Muscle Cars That Are Easy to Restore
It’s a dream for many gearheads: find a nice example of a neglected American muscle car and lovingly restore it. Have you been thinking about it? Well, you will be pleased to know that the process has gotten far easier over the years. Today at your fingertips there are vast marketplaces like eBay and CraigsList to search in. In addition, there are dozens of enthusiast sites where lots of buying and selling of cars and parts occurs. With the help of Central Ave of NY, a full service Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer, we have put together a list of some good restoration candidates to keep your eyes open for.
1965-70 Ford Mustang
Let’s get big one out of the way first. Lee Iaccoca’s Mustang single handedly started the pony car segment in the 1960s. In its first five years on sale, Ford sold over 2.5 million of them. This means that not only plenty of surviving cars out there, there are plenty of companies supplying replacement parts. For example, Dynacorn Classic Bodies now offers reproductions of virtually all the of the Mustang’s sheet metal. This, of course, is a godsend if you have any rust or collision damage to repair. Another company, CJ Pony Parts offers reproduction factory-spec interiors, along with reproductions of all interior hardware. You will also find a multitude of companies that offer mechanical parts. The classic Ford Mustang is an excellent car to restore.
1967-’69 Chevrolet Camaro
For those who won’t consider any car unless it has a Bowtie badge on the grille, we have a muscle car for you too. The first-generation Camaro is a great muscle car with virtually all examples powered by V8s. Like the Mustang, Dynacorn offers all the sheet metal parts for models that are rust and dent-challenged. And for interiors, Camaro Central offers complete replica interior in all the wild 60s colors. Perhaps the best news, though, is the drivetrain. There are dozens of companies that offer rebuilt components and parts. The first generation Camaros are one of the best classic muscle cars to restore.
1970-’72 Chevrolet Chevelle
Another hot Chevy is the Chevelle. Built between 1968 and 1972, Chevy sold over one million of them and nearly 100,000 of the coveted SS models. Ready for this: and about 25,000 of the ultra-popular SS models that came with the big block 454 V8. As you might expect, with numbers such as this, getting parts is pretty easy. You will find that the prices of Chevelles are reasonable.
1970-1974 Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Barracuda
Chrysler’s E-Body cars were designed to fit the largest engines the company ever built. As a result, in the early 1970s dealers offered Hemi-powered Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracudas. Because of low sales numbers but primarily due to demand, these hemi-powered muscle cars are rarely sold cheap. In fact, some sell for six figures or more. Our advice is to forget looking for a hemi and look for a Challenger/ Barracuda with a smaller engine. Those will be much less money. Like the other muscle cars we have looked at, getting parts for Challengers and Plymouth Barracuda s is easy. You can get all but the rarest parts as reproductions. A good online supply company is YearOne.
1964-’70 Pontiac GTO
For some enthusiasts, the Mustang may have been the first ponycar, but the Pontiac GTO was available at the same time and was a true muscle car. Pontiac is not a familiar name now but back in the day, the GTO ruled the dragstrips. Many “GOAT”s were sold so plenty are still around. Today companies like Original Parts Group (OPG) are as well-stocked with Pontiac parts as a Pontiac dealership was in 1969. The only problem you will find when choosing a GTO is the supply of cars on the market. The GTO was more expensive than the Mustang and Camaro and so it wasn’t sold in those ponycar numbers. Unfortunately, you can expect to pay more of a premium for your GTO.