I’ve got to start unloading the mailbox again, so here we go.
‘Falcon’ Mustang popularity
Q: Greg, as I recall the original 1964 Barracuda was basically a Plymouth Valiant fastback, like the original Charger / Coronet and AMC Marlin / Ambassador.
My brother in law ordered a 1972 Barracuda from Herman Motors in Rockville, Connecticut. It was a 340 V8, automatic, white exterior with a black interior and a beautiful car overall.
Unfortunately his Barracuda spent more time “on the hook” and up in the air on a lift than being driven on the road. It was plagued with electrical and other numerous problems.
However, today it would be worth a small fortune had he held onto it.
In my case I also had some cars that would be worth nice money today like my 1967 Fairlane GT with its 390/335 horse V8, 4-speed manual and my 1970 Chevelle that had a 350 V8 small block that I factory ordered from Grody Chevrolet in West Hartford, Connecticut. John Hannon, Manchester, Conn.
A: John you are correct that many of the “new” cars were built on already in production chassis and engine combinations. From 1965 to 1973, the original Mustang was built on the 1960 Ford Falcon compact chassis and sold 400,000 immediately, way more than Ford had anticipated. To this day the Mustang has my full respect as a car that changed the auto industry, and to this day is an awesome performance car. I’ll take a ’69 Boss 429 thank you and not to make you feel bad, a ’67 Ford Fairlane GT 390/335 like yours sold for over $50K at a recent Mecum auction. Don’t feel bad John, we all have those stories. Thanks for your letter.
Q: Do you feel there should be a mandatory retirement age for racing drivers in major sanctioning bodies like NASCAR and IndyCar? How about other sanctioning bodies? Charlotte, from Berwick, Pa.
A: No, Charlotte. If there were a mandatory retirement age, we might have missed some great years from drivers like Harry Gant (NASCAR), Paul Newman (Road Racing), and Chris “The Greek” Karamesines (Top Fuel Drag Racing, and just retired in 2021 at the age 89).
There are thousands of others, too, who would have had to hang them up if this type of rule were in place. In a sport where talent is not based on age, let’s let the chips fall where they may.
Mopar 6-Pack fair prices
Q: What is a fair price to pay for a 6-pack, three two-barrel setup, for my 440 Dodge R/T? Everything I see is very expensive, so how about your professional advice? I’m looking for a complete unit, with air cleaner and linkage. Thanks, Greg. Love your articles in our local newspaper. John, from Macedon, N.Y.
A: John, this setup, brand new, is expensive. I would expect to pay premium dollars for even a used six-pack because it is long out of production. Back in 1969 when introduced there were two distinct manifolds that were OEM items. One was an aluminum intake supplied by Edelbrock and then, when the demand was so great, Chrysler produced its own cast iron intake as standard equipment. Both go for about $3,500, complete, used on eBay on average. I would hope to snag one of the aluminum intake kits because they are much lighter than the cast iron. If you want to piece one together, you’ll spend about $569 for a new aluminum Edelbrock intake and about $1,500 for the three Holley carbs, new. Add the linkage, air cleaner and other ancillary necessities and you’ll need another $1,500 to $2,000. I’ve seen prices cheaper and more expensive, but this six-pack move is not cheap by any means, be it new or used. Good luck.
Another AMC Fan
Q: I’ve been checking prices on AMC cars because they are less expensive to get into the collector car hobby. What do you feel is one of the best AMC buys, and I want a driver, not a pristine restoration car. Dave L., Spokane, Wash.
A: Dave, if you want something in the pony car category look closely at any of the 1968 to 1974 Javelin/AMX models. These were nice cars that are appreciating in value. If you can find and afford a V8 390 or 401-powered Javelin/AMX, this is my top recommendation.
However, the cars above aren’t cheap, so even if you find a nice Javelin with a 290 V8 or even a 258 6-cylinder at less than $10K price, consider it as a good value. If you were looking for an older classic, any Rambler from 1958 to 1964 would be nice, and remember that the station wagons are gaining in popularity. Also nice are the 1968-70 Rebel SST coupes, with very nice styling.
My top muscle car pick would be a ‘69 Rambler Hurst SC, based on the lightweight Rambler American body style. These cars came with a 390-V8, lots of factory high performance items and ran very well. A friend back in the Sixties had one, and he had the car running 12-second quarter mile times with very few performance additions. Unfortunately, these cars are now going for really big bucks if you can find one.
In summary, look for a Javelin or AMX in the $6,000 to $12,000 range for a decent but not perfect one. If you can’t afford a Javelin and choose one of the classics I mentioned above you can find one for as low as $3,500 for a fair to pretty nice one, ala American, Hornet or Matador. Good luck and thanks for your letter.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist who welcomes reader input and questions on auto nostalgia, collector cars and motorsports at email@example.com.)
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