• This Month's Issue

    $38m GTO: All the Drama, Surprises and Head-Scratchers from Monterey's $464m Week

    Komforting Result for Porschephiles: 1988 Porsche 959 Approaches $1.5m

    Torpedos Away: Why the $467k Gap for Two Tucker 48s?

    GT40: Even at $6.9m, Ford Can't Beat Ferrari on the Block

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  • SCM Platinum

    Over 200 cars that sold at auction covered in every issue of SCM. Our market reports include detailed information about the vehicle, including VIN, condition, options, and expert analysis from SCM's auction reporters.

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  • Glovebox Notes

    SCM doesn't just cover collector cars. Every week, SCM reviews a brand new car online and in our newsletters, and there are new reviews every month in the magazine. Thinking of buying a new car? Check out our reviews!

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  • Insider’s Guide to Concours d’Elegance

    The 2014 guide includes a calendar of events and detailed descriptions of 21 featured concours.

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Recent Profiles

  • Chassis 1036 (RM Auctions) A factory report dated October 28, 1948, held in the Tucker archives at the Gilmore Car
    Read More

    Tucker vs. Tucker

    By Carl Bomstead / November 2014
  • Chassis number GT108 is one of just six open-top GT40 roadsters constructed, reflecting Ford’s experimentation with the open configuration to
    Read More

    1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype

    By John L. Stein / November 2014
  • The Ferrari 250 GT Omologato needs little introduction as the most iconic, most habitable, street-useable, race-winning, World Championship-winning — and
    Read More

    1962–63 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta

    By Steve Ahlgrim / November 2014
  • Following the 953’s decisive win at the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally in 1984, Porsche’s chief engineer Helmuth Bott declared his ambition
    Read More

    1988 Porsche 959 Komfort

    By Prescott Kelly / November 2014
  • After several years dominating the Can-Am series with a series of school-bus-yellow racers, McLaren Cars stood up to the developing
    Read More

    1972 McLaren M20 Can-Am

    By Thor Thorson / November 2014
  • The ultra-rare Alfa Romeo 1900 C SS combined the short chassis with a racing-specification engine, gearbox, and revised final-drive ratios
    Read More

    1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 C SS Zagato Coupe

    By Donald Osborne / November 2014
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Forgo modern conveniences (such as a jack for your iPod and seat heaters), and you can find an old car that will be daily fun





So your Cobra Daytona Coupe is too hot and loud inside, and your Hemi 'Cuda convertible's top leaks when it rains. You'd like something old yet practical as a daily driver, something you might even let your significant other or kids drive once in a while.

Anybody with a pulse and a checking account can walk into a Ford dealership today and buy a new Mustang GT, but a vintage "real" muscle car is far more fun. With a little thought and willingness to forgo modern conveniences (such as a jack for your iPod and seat heaters), you can find an old car that will be fun to live with on a daily basis.

What follows are five examples of great "all rounders." They have ample power, handle, stop, and steer almost as well as a contemporary car-and if not, they can be made to do so with a little help.

1964½-66 Ford Mustang V8



The quintessential pony car, a vintage Ford Mustang can be a great and rewarding car to live with. My favorites are the lean 1964 1/2-1966 versions, but the 1967-1968 and 1969-1970 cars all share the same basic architecture. They just gained a little weight and lost some of their reflexes.

The best advice is to keep it simple-an early car with the 289-ci "A code" V8 engine, which is a factory four-barrel motor with hydraulic valve lifters. At 225 hp, these are tough little motors that rarely complain. The enthusiast's choice would be a 4-speed, but the Cruise-o-Matic slushbox is okay. Factory air was available (and easily added, as it looks like aftermarket anyway), along with power steering and disc brakes.

The best part is that the aftermarket loves these cars, and all kinds of really simple bolt-on upgrades are readily available, from three-point seat belts to overdrive transmissions, suspension and brake kits. With the right tweaks, a good early Mustang can run with a 2007 version, but has a heck of a lot more style. Buy the best '65-'66 fastback "A code" car you can for $35,000 and budget $5,000-$10,000 to make it work as well as it looks.

1967-69 Chevrolet Camaro V8



Another pony car that needs no introduction. My choice would be a 1967 SS 350 convertible with the 295-hp V8, factory air, power steering, and power disc brakes. Give me a dorky automatic transmission so I can drop in a late-model 4-speed automatic overdrive conversion and be able to cruise at 75 mph at 2,000 rpm. You can't hurt a mild Chevy small block, and set up right, these cars handle and stop a lot better than people think.

The year you pick is based on personal preference; they are all the same underneath. You can damn near build a complete early Camaro from a mail-order catalog for next to nothing, and they are cheap and simple to maintain. When you are done having your fun, you'll have buyers lined up at your door. Early Camaros never go out of style. For $35,000, you get a really good small-block car, and again, figure another $5,000-$10,000 to dial it in.

1970-71 Plymouth 'Cuda and Dodge Challenger 340 4-bbl



These cars lacked a lot of the quality the others came with. The good news is that over the last 36-plus years, the good cars have had these issues ironed out. While it may not wow the Bob's Big Boy crowd like having a Hemi under the hood, my pick for a daily driver is the 340-ci, 4-barrel, 275-hp V8.

This is another incredibly over-built and under-stressed small block. They run cool, and I've even seen them run without oil (although I wouldn't recommend that trick). With the 340 in the nose, the front torsion bar and rear leaf spring chassis are quite well balanced. Modern tweaks such as quick-ratio steering boxes and big brakes can really help. Set up the suspension with AAR 'Cuda or T/A Challenger specs for the best results. Add a good set of radial tires and you are set.

Be sure to inspect any prospective purchase carefully, as a good 'Cuda or Challenger may be tough to find. The 1971 'Cudas are the most expensive, and a good one will be $60,000 or better. Shoot for a great 1970 340 'Cuda for around $45,000, or a Challenger for even less. Same rules as the others; keep $5,000-$10,000 to make it reliable.

1968-69 Dodge Dart GTS 340



A car that is really cool because it is so uncool, the Dodge Dart GTS is a lot like the 340 'Cuda and Challenger-just not sexy. Think about it: a lighter car with the same basic motor. No blind spots, high seating position, just a user-friendly car all-around. The best part is these cars really scoot with a 340 under the hood. Get one with a 4-speed. Less performance-oriented than some of the other choices here, these too can be brought up to modern ride and handling levels quite easily.

I know one fellow currently building his for a cross-country rally, with good brakes, modern a/c, etc. You can do the same thing. The guy in the new 350Z won't know what hit him when your "Pee-Wee Herman" car blows his doors off. About $35,000 gets you a great one, another $10,000 down the hatch and you'll have a world-class pocket rocket. Want a little wind in your hair? Look for a convertible for another $5,000.

1963-65 Ford Falcon Sprint



I've recommended these before, and I am doing it again. This is the chassis upon which Ford built the Mustang, so all that fancy aftermarket Mustang upgrade stuff will bolt on. Talk about stealth. Same famous 260/289 Ford V8, easy to build, fun to drive, hard to kill. A hard top would be my choice, but they also come in open-air versions. Get some wide steel wheels under it and put on stock hubcaps and speed-rated radial whitewall tires. Make sure to tuck up that dual exhaust and try to hide your sinister grin when you go out canyon carving. Buy a stud for $25,000, add in all the crazy stuff for $5,000-$10,000, and go Civic Si hunting.

With all of these cars, make sure to do your homework and buy the best. Like every car out of Detroit at the time, all are notorious rusters. You can't build a good daily driver on a patched-up or previously twisted donor. Pick the one you like, seek out an authority on that particular car, and tell him your expectations. These are fun cars to get up to modern standards, and even more fun to live with. They are a heck of a lot more unusual than any modern cookie-cutter car, and hold their value well. Remember, when they were new, they were used day-in and day-out. No reason you can't do the same today.u


Recent Blog Posts

  • A Glimpse of Pure Passion +

    The SCM Monterey Insider’s Seminar is always a good experience, but this year it was a great deal better than good — it was fascinating, inspiring, and — of course — highly instructive. This year’s theme, “Preserve or Restore? The Three Tipping Points to Making the Decision” brought out principal Read More
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    The monthly Mystery Photo has been an SCM tradition for 25 years. Each week, we’ll share one of our “greatest hits” photos from the past and give you a chance to provide a new witty and provocative caption. Each week’s winner will be announced in the Newsletter. Share your caption Read More
  • December 2014 Cover Poll +

    Our Art Director, David Tomaro, has created three possible cover concepts, and we'd like to know which one is your favorite. Click here to cast your vote! In addition, please take a few moments and answer some questions about collector cars. It should all take less than a minute, and Read More
  • Drag Racing a Parsnip at the Concours de Maryhill +

    Car shows happen in the most unlikely places. This weekend, the Goldendale Motorsports Association hosted the 16th annual Concours de Maryhill and hillclimb. The venue was the Maryhill Museum of Art, 103 miles east of Portland, overlooking the Columbia River. Entrepreneur Sam Hill built Maryhill and dedicated it to the public in Read More
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Collector Car News

  • $1.1m V16 Cadillac Roadster Leads RM's Strongest Performance in Hershey +

      RM Auctions celebrated the annual AACA Eastern Division Fall Meet October 9–10 with its best Hershey performance to date: $14,074,250 in total sales with a very strong 93% of all lots sold. Top seller was John Moir Jr.’s 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster at $1,100,000. Generated by the sale of 157 Read More
  • Buy High, Sell Low — The Keith Martin Audio Interview +

    Find out Keith Martin’s secrets to buying high, spending too much and selling low in this 30-minute exclusive interview with Mark Greene of CarsYeah.com. Martin talks about Sports Car Market was founded, how at its darkest moment he tried to sell it for $1,500 with no takers, and how the Read More
  • 1934 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Heads to Leake Dallas +

      Leake Auction Company will sell a 1934 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix at their November 22 sale in Dallas, TX. The car was consigned from the John Ridings Lee collection and will be a part of Leake’s Platinum Series of cars. People have had a fascination with the Bugatti Read More
  • RM's Hershey Headliners +

    The featured cars at RM's Hershey sale this weekend include a 1930 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood (pictured above, RM estimate: $375k-$450k), a 1915 Stanley Model 820 12-passenger Mountain Wagon ($200k-$250k), and a 1958 AC Ace-Bristol ($225k-$300k). View all the consignments here. Read More
  • Branson Presents "Toad," an AC-engined 1951 Frazer Nash +

    An AC-engined 1951 Frazer Nash known as "Toad" and a 1963 AC Greyhound will cross the block at Branson's Fall auction.  The sale takes place October 17-18 at the Hilton-Branson Convention Center in Branson, MO. View an up-to-date list of the current consignments here. Read More
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