Monthly Archives: February 2013

As Seen on Craigslist – 1973 Ford Gran Torino

As Seen On TV Logo copy

I’ve gone several weeks without much snark, but I couldn’t help myself when I saw this ad.  Let’s break it down line by line:

“Was in storage for past 18 years.”  Where?  At the bottom of a lake?

“Good condition, only missing a grille and a few small parts.”  You know, just little stuff, like every piece of trim, the bumper, the door handle, and, oh yeah, I almost forgot A FENDER.

“Floor pans are in rough shape, especially passenger side.”  Simple enough, just drive alone.  Floor pans really seem to be the least of your worries here.

“Seats and interior panels have been redone in white leather and are in great shape.”  Because everyone starts their complete frame-up restoration process with the seats.  And white leather?  This is supposed to look like Starsky’s car, not Huggy Bear’s.

“The plan was to restore this beauty, but I have too many other projects and can’t give it the attention it deserves.”  Fine, but I don’t know what level of attention any 1973 Ford Torino is worth, unless you’re The Dude.

“$1200 OBO”  Knock any one of those digits off and you have a deal.

73 Torino



Carburetor Rebuild Project – Research and Stasis

It’s been quite a while since I provided an update on my “easy” winter project, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been entirely slacking.  Unlike last year, when I was deterred by the thought of lying on cold garage floor with transmission fluid in my hair, I’ve actually had the itch the work in the garage but not the time.  In the meantime, I’ve done a good bit of research and some additional cleaning.  In the process, I’ve learned that reman carbs like mine are a bit of a hodgepodge of parts, and fully rebuilding and tuning them can be a bit of a crapshoot.  As a result, I’ve decided to scale back my plans a bit and focus on cleaning, regasketing, and a limited amount of tuning – just enough work to get the car running smoothly and cleanly.  Rather than throw a bunch of money, time, and parts at a carb that may not ever work 100% correctly, I’ll minimize my investment and move on to another fuel mixer if this one doesn’t run right after that.  With that in mind, I ordered a basic rebuild kit today (rather than the more extensive and expensive kit I was planning), and I’ll throw in the fatter jets and rods from one of my spare carbs (rather than meticulously measuring tiny idle tubes and air bleed passages in an attempt to match parts and maximize horsepower).  Once the kit arrives, hopefully everyone in my family stays healthy long enough to give me the time and energy to spend a few late nights in the garage getting everything buttoned up.

As Seen on Craigslist – 1976 Oldsmobile 98

As Seen On TV Logo copy

As a counterpoint to last week’s Caprice, this Oldsmobile represents the type of car the ’77 GM full-size cars replaced.  While that ’89 Caprice looks big to modern eyes, at the time of its initial release it was actually much smaller (on the outside) than, say, this 1976 98 Regency.  Given the choice and the price difference, I’d be inclined to take the ’76 and its likely 10 MPG big block.  It’s not really what you would call a looker and the color combo isn’t the best, but if you can accept looking like a Palm Beach retiree circa 1982, it’s probably a good price just to experience the smooth thrust that only a big engine in a ginormous car can offer.  Of course, this ad is now over a month old, so the car is likely a rolling Charmin advertisement by now.

76 98

As Seen On Craigslist – 1989 Chevy Caprice Classic

As Seen On TV Logo copy

I have an unrepentant love of 80’s GM B-Bodies, and they’re reaching the age where the only ones left are total basket cases or someone’s grandma’s car that was only driven on Sundays.  This particular car looks to be the latter, and it’s a situation where the car’s low mileage and condition result in an optimistic price that belies the fact that these cars have almost no collector value (outside of the donk/SLAB subculture).  Regardless, the car is spotless and the black-on-burgundy color scheme is classy in an old-school kind of way.  The landau top is out of style, but it can’t be removed due to the way the cars were built (landau cars have a more vertical back window and the factory welded a clunky extension between the roof and the glass).  Despite that, this one is so nice I’d feel bad daily driving it, let alone at that price.  Still, I’d enjoy it just for the “hardboiled detective’s personal car” vibe I get from it.

89 Caprice

As Seen on Craigslist – 1968 Cadillac Eldorado

As Seen On TV Logo copy

I do still harbor a desire to own a mid-60’s Cadillac, although my preference would generally be for a Deville convertible.  That said, the updated 1967 Eldorado, with it’s progressive (for the time) front wheel drive and knife-edge fender styling, is one of the highlights of GM’s most fruitful design period (check out Ate Up With Motor’s excellent history on the model here).  It was remarkably different for the time, and even though it looks best in dark colors, this one is still very imposing.  Cadillac even revisited several of the styling features in a recent concept car, proving the design’s staying power.  Of course, in typical Craigslist fashion, this seller tries their best to contradict my sentiments by refusing to photograph the car correctly.  You won’t be able to afford to keep gas in the 472, but for $5500 it seems like a great deal on what is still a very unique car.

68 Eldo