In the previous installment we looked at some of the candidates to be my next daily driver, but this time around we move onto the project cars which are more interesting to me. There was quite a selection so I actually had a hard time deciding which one to bid on. There were just so many semi-worthy clunkers that could be given a second chance.
First up under consideration was this 1975 Chevrolet Camaro. The first car I had bought on my own was a cherry condition 1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 so perhaps it would be like revisiting my youth. I am in my forties now, so pretty sure I am supposed to do that at some point and this would make a very affordable mid life crisis car. Being a 1975 model, it had a 350cid V8 but a pretty heavily smogged one with a mere 145hp. On the bright side these engines are pretty easy to swap out or hop up. The car sat on mismatched rims and the body had some rust, but nothing terminal.
Poking around the interior it was clear this car had been off the road for a couple of decades. The interior was all there but not always in good shape. This would be a reasonable prospect if it went cheap enough as it would be easy to get upside down value wise when fixing up the relatively unloved middle child of the second generation Camaro range.
Perhaps not a good sign was this old and unused condom in the glove box. It seems like this car had not brought much luck to the previous owner.
This 1983 Dodge Rampage was rusty and crusty but somehow still charming. The linkage in the gearbox felt as if it was lacking all sense of a link to the gears but for some reason I still found it charming. It was equipped with a manual gearbox, funky patterned seats and was an appealing size (to me) which was a bit of a siren song for me. A closer investigation showed the inner structure to be quite solid and that it could be saved with a lot of exterior body work. Again, if it went cheap enough … I own a welder and was irrationally interested.
The trucklet was fully complete inside and reminded me of the Plymouth Turismo I had learned to drive on a with a similar steering wheel. Despite the passed years I still think that wheel is unnecessarily ugly and cheap looking.
This 1958 GMC 9400 school bus converted to a motor-home held a special appeal for me. It has such great character and could have been a very usable family classic vehicle. The body itself was rust free and would have swallowed a more modern drive train quite easily. Alas, I did not have a space to store/work on such a big beast. Plus, there is a good chance it would be my new home if I was declared the winner. So onto the next one then with at least a couple fond looks back over the shoulder.
Going into this I did not really think about an older, full size truck as the project possibility. It is an itch I want to scratch sometime, but it has never made it to the top of the priority list. The yard had a selection of amazingly rust free trucks, especially of the Ford variety. Many were from the Sixties. There was a Canadian market 1967 Mercury pickup (sadly lacking its Mercury trim) and a pair of 1969 Ford F100s. The best of the trio was this Custom Cab model which was complete with a 302cid V8 and three on the tree standard transmission. It had a beautiful body with just the right amount of patina.
The interior was even usable as is as well as being shockingly complete.
The only bummer was this mismatched tailgate, but overall this was a strong but unexpected contender.
If one was willing to go a little newer this 1971 Ford F250 was in amazingly good shape for an almost half century old pickup truck in a storage yard. Unfortunately it had been converted to propane at some point, which I had little desire to deal with. One can be picky with when surrounded with an embarrassment of riches.
When I first saw this 1987 Renault GTA on the auction web page, I was very excited. An unusual orphan for cheap sounds like something that would be a nice match for me. Plus I have never owned a French car before which I really should do at some point. As I researched it further my hopes for this car diminished. A very real deal breaker was the timing belt, which is specific to the GTA’s 2.0L engine. There were whispers from owners that any of the parts supply stores that offered the timing belt were always mistaken and sent the belt for the smaller Alliance engine. The specific 2.0L engine was only used in North American and only in the GTA so owners were hoarding the remaining belts. Compounding this, when looking at it in person the windshield was cracked, which is likely another unobtainium part.
A real shame considering how good the interior looked except for a rough looking stereo removal.
This 1966 Valiant 200 sedan could have been a nice candidate as well. I envisioned a similar revival to my old Pontiac Laurentian. The chrome was in excellent condition and even the windshield was un-cracked. The front driver’s wheel looked a little suspect but otherwise it was incredibly rust free and looked relatively straight forward to revive.
Shed or car? The interior and trunk were choke fun of random old car parts. So much so that the rear suspension had bottomed out for who knows how many years. Ultimately this was a pass as well since it offered little value when fixed up. I do not need to make money but I would prefer not to lose almost my whole investment.
So ultimately I decided my bids would target the 1983 Dodge Rampage, 1975 Chevrolet Camaro, and 1969 Ford F100, with a few others as wildcard possibilities. In the next installment we will take a look at selection of the other vehicles in the auction.