Last post on Nov 09, 2001 at 8:46 PM
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Aug 15, 2001 (7:45 am)
I always call asking price "exercising your first amendment rights"....this is why price guides should never be based on asking prices. And you're right, there is an enormous amount of truth-stretching when it comes to describing "condition".
Yes, a lot of price guide info comes from auctions, and some from dealers. Private party sales info is difficult to gather, but it trickles in as well.
A good price guide can be amazingly accurate, as long as you realize that price guides do not really deal with show cars and fools with money, both of which can defy the laws of logic.
#16 of 24 Firebird vs. GTO
Aug 15, 2001 (9:08 am)
jsylvester's comment about preferring the GTO to the Firebird reminds me that I felt the same way. I had a '69 Firebird 400 briefly at the same time I was driving a '69 GTO Judge and the GTO just seemed like a better car.
The weight-to-hp ratios were probably identical. The Firebird 400 was the same engine as the standard GTO 400/350 but derated to 335 hp, supposedly by restricting the opening of the secondary throttle plate. The Judge had the 360-hp Ram Air III but of course it was a little heavier.
The Firebird had a shorter wheelbase--108" compared to 115"--and it felt a little more nimble. According to contemporary road tests the 400 was set further back in the engine compartment than the Camaro 396 so it didn't have the typical nose-heavy feel of a big block car.
But the GTO just felt like a better car, perhaps because it was body-on-frame. Also I think the quality of the interior materials was a little better, and the interior styling was more "rich".
Aug 15, 2001 (10:15 am)
I think the body-on-frame had a lot to do with it. Unitized cars usually have a weight advantage, but when you start cramming in bigger engines, I'm guessing that weight advantage often goes away once the subframes and stuff are beefed up.
I've always wondered...the first, '61-63 Tempests (and Specials/F-85's)...were they unitized or body-on-frame?
Aug 15, 2001 (11:24 am)
I thought so but had to check. I had two of these cars but couldn't remember even though I spent some time under both of them.
The '63 Skylark I had briefly was a very pleasant cruiser, V8 automatic and buckets, very quiet and smooth. I liked it but my wife told me it looked like a pedal car and that I looked ridiculous driving it.
The '63 LeMans I had started out as kind of the first GTO--326 Pontiac engine, not the aluminum V8--but by the time I got it someone had installed a 389. This wasn't an improvement because the stock 3-speed was delicate even behind the 326. It's also an impossible swap because the '63 326 had a one-year-only crank design that mated with the unique Tempest input shaft. The 326 crank would have fit in the 389 (same stroke and journals) but this guy didn't know that so I bought a car that sounded like it had the mother of all bad throw-out bearings. Took it to a mechanic who got the parts to work right but he wouldn't tell me how. I think he was tired of taking on my "difficult cases".
With the big engine up front and Corvair swing axles in the rear it was the only car I ever had that could go from grinding understeer to call-Ralph-Nader oversteer in the same turn.
On the other hand I had a friend in high school who had a '63 LeMans that seemed like a nice car. Red over black, four speed, four barrel 194 four, buckets. A great $250 car. He was very much into burnouts and it didn't take long for him to grenade the transaxle. Those were really interesting cars with lots of performance options and I wouldn't buy one on a bet.
Aug 16, 2001 (6:09 am)
That "rope drive" driveshaft made the BEST prybars in the world! Every shop should have one!
#20 of 24 63 Tempest
Nov 09, 2001 (2:45 pm)
My mom drove one of these (grandpa's car) before I was born, it was one of her favorite. I'm not sure which engine it had, but I do know it was an automatic, and she always talked about how fast it was. I seem to remember pictures of it having a checkered flag-type emblem on the front (no, it wasn't a Chevy). Guess I gotta research this one.
#21 of 24 speaking of 65s
Nov 09, 2001 (2:50 pm)
I'm watching 'I Dream of Jeannie' right now, and Tony has a black 65 GTO convertible w/wire caps. Nice.
Off-topic, I could have sworn the first year of 'Jeannie' was done in black & white, but this episode is in color (possibly colorized?). It has the old-style theme song. Any help on this?
#22 of 24 "I Dream of Jeannie"
Nov 09, 2001 (5:04 pm)
Yup, the first season was black and white. I'm pretty sure the first season ran in '65-66. What station are you getting it on? It's very, very rare that I see "Jeannie" or "Bewitched" in black and white. For some reason, they're not as popular for syndication, but I think that's a shame, because usually it seems the earlier episodes of any tv show are the best!
Slightly on-topic...I remember an episode of "CHiPs" where they ran a really beautiful blue '65 Tempest 'vert under a tanker truck. Oh, the humanity!
#23 of 24 Learned to drive in a '65 Tempest conv.
Nov 09, 2001 (5:33 pm)
Around 1972, my parents bought a red '65 Tempest convertible for my older brother who is 4 years my senior. After a couple of years, he didn't want anything to do with it (wasn't cool enough I guess). So, as a 14 year old, I adopted it and kept it clean. During even the coldest winter days (in E. Central Indiana), I'd go outside, start it up and wipe off the icky build up from inside the convertible top.
By the time I was 14-15, I was running "solo" errands to the store for my Mom during the summers at Lake Wawasee (in Northern Indiana). Back then, there weren't many cars on the back roads. Looking back on those days, I can't believe I did it. It was a great learning experience. On the way home, I'd take an incredibly winding road. Surprisingly, I kept all 4 wheels down on the ground (most of the time). I was a pretty down to earth kid and somehow I was able to convince my parents to let me take the car out by myself - though they didn't allow me to make a habit of it.
NO WAY, I'll let my kids drive by themselves when they get that age. But, it sure was cool when I did it.
Our '65 Tempest only had a 6-cyl. and thus was no speed demon. (good thing!) The interior was pretty spartan and was not overly exciting once you got inside. But the car was in decent shape when we sold it around 1976. Selling it wasn't a huge deal to me at the time, because as a 16 year old I wanted something a bit more substantial (I wound up buying a 400ci, '72 Grand Prix - Cragers and all!). But, I think back on those days and am sad we ever sold it.
Two things I'd now like to have back that are gone forever. My dad and that car - in that order.
Nov 09, 2001 (8:46 pm)
I've been spending my unemployed days watching on the Hallmark Channel (79 on AT&T broadband):
My Three Sons (Pontiacs, mostly wagons) 2-3pm (Central)
Bewitched (tons of great Chevrolets) 3-4pm
I Dream of Jeannie (Pontiacs) 4-5pm
Right now they're on the first season of Jeannie (but it's in bad color, I suspect they colorized it), and likely the last season of Bewitched (w/Darrin #2) and My Three Sons (they're driving Fords, including 71 or later Mustang and Country Squire). Sad I have this much time and attention to devote to 30+ year old sitcoms, eh?
Jeannie is fun to watch just for the Pontiacs. The Maj had 65 and 66 GTO converts, a 67 GP convertible, then I think GTO convertibles again. Dr. Bellows always had Bonneville 4 door hardtops, and Roger usually had Firebirds (including a really cool orange 69 ragtop).