As I mentioned a while back, I’d decided to spruce up my garage space a bit. It’s insulated but unfinished, and looking at three brown walls with a bunch of cabinets, tools, and junk on them was getting boring. Not to mention, it was pretty messy in there too:
So the other night, I invited over my friends Neko (on the stereo), James,
Buzz, and TBD:
I have some additional space above the other window that I intend to fill with my favorite piece of art. I’m still figuring out what to do with the TBD space next to the moonman, but I’m sure I’ll find something kitchy and/or automotive-related to put there.
While I was out there, I also got the Tempest up on jackstands in preparation for the transmission replacement. Up next: inspecting my new-t0-me Turbo 350 automatic.
Scott Ith over at Hooniverse has a great post about the death of the small pickup in the North American market. It’s like my post from last year, only better researched and written. Check it out!
My forward-control van fetish has been well documented in this space, so it should be no surprise that I felt compelled to post this van this week. What really sold me was that somebody was clearly going for an inverted Scooby Doo theme before the wheels fell off (or, in this case, dry-rotted and went flat). This thing really has some history to it – what were the El Paso Public Schools doing with it – some sort of sting operation trying to catch the occasional midnight toker? Who decided it was a good idea to black-out the grille, windshield, and headlight trim? What’s with the seemingly random application of red primer when everything else is blue, gray, and green? What could the interior possibly be like? These and other groovy mysteries could be investigated by you and your meddling friends for less than $2k, Great Dane not included.
At one point in the not-so-distant past, I laid out my winter project list and fully intended to get started shortly after Christmas. The normally frigid Ohio winter even complied, providing me with several weeks of above-average temperatures. Naturally, regular obligations and general post-holiday ennui interfered, and I’ve hardly set foot in the garage thus far. The only things I’ve managed to accomplish are cleaning my workbench (which was still a disaster from last winter’s suspension work) and a brake line repair on my daily-driver Cadillac. The latter wasn’t that complicated, but reinforced my desire to get the heck out of the Rust Belt ASAP; if only I didn’t
need all the free babysitting I can get love my friends and family.
Anyway, things have settled down a bit and I’m finally in the mood to get some work done. I’m probably going to start by doing a little redecorating in the garage (more on that later), but I’ve decided to skip replacing the fuel lines for now. Since winter is slipping away, I think I’ll focus on the fun stuff – getting the new (to me) transmission installed and fixing the carburetor (again). That should be enough to make me feel like I didn’t completely waste all this time playing with my kids and hanging out with my wife.
This falls on the expensive side of the cars I normally feature, but I couldn’t resist because of the chocolate brown color and the unfairly maligned model year. ’73 is generally considered the end of the muscle car era, as the combined effects of increased insurance scrutiny, emissions and safety regulations, and the switch from SAE gross to net horsepower ratings resulted in emasculated and ungainly cars. Because of this, the late Chrysler E-bodies are shunned in the collector car world and are seen as not as cool as the earlier cars – despite the fact that they are virtually identical to the untrained eye.
This car does have the unfortunate rubber bumper overriders and the far less attractive taillight design that mark it as one of the later cars, and the generic aftermarket wheels have to go, but the paint is shiny, the engine compartment is spotless, and Chrysler 340s can be made to scream. The brown hue is likely a turn-off for the average muscle car buyer, but I like it. I prefer the ‘Cuda to its Challenger cousin, and I’d be doubly interested if this one has a pistol-grip-shifted four-speed. Much like the modern retro-Challenger, this car is bigger, heavier, and probably outgunned in terms of horsepower by the competition, but has a unique appeal that outweighs all of that.
I’m not sure what model this is, so I’m just going to leave the title vague. There’s been some debate around Magicboltbox HQ as to whether this is a good deal – the answer seems to depend on if you think the car runs. There are many other questions though – does a transmission actually come with the car? Is there an interior? Why isn’t there a battery installed in the car? Personally, I think $5k is a steal if it runs, isn’t too rusty, and has some semblance of an interior. If doesn’t run and needs an interior but is still solid, $5k is probably still OK. If all three of those are negative, run away fast. This thing might ruin my prediction that desirable ’50’s cars were out of the reach of the average hobbyist. I’d make the interior presentable, tune it up, and drive it as-is, ugly 2/3 primer an all.