Cars: 1969 Outside, 2006 Inside Updating Classic Cars

ishigakisensei

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http://biz.yahoo.com/weekend/retromod_1.html

Cars: 1969 Outside, 2006 Inside
CNNMoney.com
By Peter Valdes-Dapena
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Collectors can now buy classic American car bodies stuffed with all the latest technology.

There's something people often forget about those great cars Detroit put out during the 1950s and 1960s.

They were mostly horrible to drive. - emphasis mine

For those spoiled by modern cars with features like steering wheels that steer, brakes that stop in less than "eventually" and engines that don't require repair and adjustment before each start, actually living with a "classic" car can be a bit of a bummer. They're great to look at and to be seen in, but they're often less fun to drive than you might remember.

These are problems that can be fixed with a little modern technology, though.

Now, if the car is a valuable collectible like, say, a 1970 Hemi Cuda, better not to touch it. A car like that, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, needs to be kept original with factory-correct parts. Adding a better engine and suspension would be like painting a friendlier smile on the Mona Lisa.

But if it's one of the many thousands of far less valuable cars that happen to share body styles with more valuable siblings -- a 6-cylinderBarracuda, perhaps - why not make a few improvements?

If anything, the changes, if well done, will increase the car's values in today's market. A lot of muscle car collectors are looking for cars they can drive comfortably and easily. Cold air conditioning and a six-disc CD player wouldn't hurt either.

At Time Machines, Inc., a Florida company specializing in "resto-mods" - a term that's equal parts "restored" and "modified" - about half the customers bring in an old car they just want upgraded.

"I want it to drive like the Lexus I drive every day," said Mike Staveski of Time Machines, describing a typical customer's desires.

Customers typically pay between $150,000 and $250,000 for the restoration and upgrades, he said.

Craig Jackson, president of the Arizona-based collector car auction company Barrett-Jackson brought his own 1969 Camaro to Unique Performance, a Texas company, to have it made into a more livable daily driver.

"After scaring myself a few times by not handling through the corners I decided to resto-mod the car," he said.

Unique replaced the car's suspension and steering components with up-to-date performance parts and eventually replaced the engine, as well. Full-service operation

Some buyers don't want to have to hunt around for a collectible and then deal with the upgrading. For them, there are off-the-shelf solutions.

Time Machines, for example, is offering a series of 1970 Plymouth Barracudas with engines, transmissions and suspensions from modern V10-powered Dodge Viper sports cars.

Carroll Shelby himself, famous for the Shelby Cobra sports car and Shelby line of modified Ford Mustangs from the late 1960s and early 1970s, has lent his name to a line of newly modified 1967 to 1969 Mustangs that look, from the outside, just like Shelby Mustangs of that era.

Unique Performance starts by finding ordinary, often non-running, Mustangs of the appropriate vintage. As long as the bodies are structurally sound and in good shape, that's all that's needed.

"The only thing that's ever utilized on these cars is the shell of the car with the original [vehicle identification] number," said Douglas Hasty, president of Unique Performance.

Outside, the cars are turned into exact likenesses of original GT350 and GT500 cars. (The GT500 is best known for its appearance as "Eleanor" in the 2000 remake of the movie "Gone in 60 seconds.")

Underneath the exterior, there's no attempt to replicate exactly the original cars mechanically. The concept is the same but the technology is modern. The 325-horsepower engine has electronic fuel injection. The cars even have 10-disc CD changers. (A 10-disc DVD changer is available as an option.)

The company has also recently introduced a line of 1969 Chevrolet Camaros and 1970 and 1971 Dodge Challengers upgraded and modified according to designs by car customizer Chip Foose.

Baldwin-Motion, a company formed from the reunion of two famous muscle car tuners of the classic era, offers custom-modified 1969 Camaros that have all modern performance machinery underneath. Engine options include supercharged V-8s that produce about 750 horsepower.

Many of the people who purchase these cars also collect carefully restored "numbers matching" cars, said Hasty of Unique Performance.

"Now they have the means to reward themselves with something cool and collectible that has all the features," he said.
 

un-dee

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Thats great for people who want to use classic cars as a daily driver, without the millions of drawbacks. Of course a little bit of the spirit will be gone as well.

Stuff like that exists here too, as they showed on Top Gear with the DB5 and the Jag, I've also seen it on old merc 300SLs.
 

skaternick

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I like the idea of resto-mods, but at the same time I don't like it haha. I suppose it's all good if the car is fairly common, but to do that to something like a 250 GTO or something ultra-rare like that would just be sacrilege.
 

jetsetter

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They were mostly horrible to drive. - emphasis mine

Nah, they were fun to drive. I just drove a 1965 Chevy Chevelle Wagon and sure, it didn't have disk brakes and the drums were mechanical but it was fine to drive. You just had to plan ahead to stop.
 

HuevosRancheros

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i think this is a good idea when you have a non-#s matching car. no one should do this to an all original classic. my dad has a 1970 Camaro Z-28 wtih a non #s matching motor but still have the 4 speed tranny and no rust sitting in his garage for the past 20 years. i would love to get an LS6 update the suspension and bremobs all round on that thing............
 

ishigakisensei

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HuevosRancheros said:
i think this is a good idea when you have a non-#s matching car.

That's what I'd do. If the car is not an investement then it might as well be used. The ability to make true classics into daily drivers is THE reason I so hate the retro trend. Why buy a fake when you can but the original with modern tech?

Classics= :thumbsup:
Retro fakes= :thumbsdown:
 

jetsetter

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ishigakisensei said:
HuevosRancheros said:
i think this is a good idea when you have a non-#s matching car.

That's what I'd do. If the car is not an investement then it might as well be used. The ability to make true classics into daily drivers is THE reason I so hate the retro trend. Why buy a fake when you can but the original with modern tech?

Classics= :thumbsup:
Retro fakes= :thumbsdown:

In a word, money.
 

thedguy

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Only when you pay Boyd or the like to do it.

My bro and I are looking at building a 50 Merc or Ford into a great daily cruiser. But unlike people with more money then skill, we are going to build it outself.

Northstar + 50 chopped merc + air bags and titanium scrapers = the shit!

I still just can't figure out why ANYONE would pay even $40k for anything that came factory with a hemi. None of those cars ever sold for more than $6k new!
 

jetsetter

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thedguy said:
Only when you pay Boyd or the like to do it.

My bro and I are looking at building a 50 Merc or Ford into a great daily cruiser. But unlike people with more money then skill, we are going to build it outself.

Northstar + 50 chopped merc + air bags and titanium scrapers = the shit!

I still just can't figure out why ANYONE would pay even $40k for anything that came factory with a hemi. None of those cars ever sold for more than $6k new!

Good luck on the Northstar part. Since the Northstar was used in front wheel drive applications until quite recently you will have to convert it use rear wheel drive. Not the easiest task. You could make a front wheel drive rod I guess but that will just not be fun. Use an injected 350 out of a Camaro or Vette. Or you could use a 5.0 from a Mustang.
 

patrick10

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the northstar was used in rwd cars too. iirc the deville came in either fwd or rwd with northstar.
 

jetsetter

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patrick10 said:
the northstar was used in rwd cars too. iirc the deville came in either fwd or rwd with northstar.

No, the DeVille was FWD. The first RWD car powered by the Northstar were the XLR and the new STS.
 

patrick10

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jetsetter said:
patrick10 said:
the northstar was used in rwd cars too. iirc the deville came in either fwd or rwd with northstar.

No, the DeVille was FWD. The first RWD car powered by the Northstar were the XLR and the new STS.
you sure bc i remember a buddy doing a power brake in a rwd big ass caddy. it was like a mid 90s one
 

Silverstar

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patrick10 said:
jetsetter said:
patrick10 said:
the northstar was used in rwd cars too. iirc the deville came in either fwd or rwd with northstar.

No, the DeVille was FWD. The first RWD car powered by the Northstar were the XLR and the new STS.
you sure bc i remember a buddy doing a power brake in a rwd big ass caddy. it was like a mid 90s one
From what I know...none of the 90's Cadillacs were RWD. Our Seville is FWD, and before we got that we tested a 1999 DeVille that was FWD also. As for the DeVilles, all DeVilles from 1985-Present (including DTS), have been FF platforms according to records.

I have seen it done though, Chip Foose did a car that was using a Northstar w/ RWD setup.
 

ishigakisensei

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Too many people have the OCC syndrome where you think you have to pay $65/hr per person to get quality work. I had a shop not far from me that builds hot rods (like Boyd's but without the name) claiming that a good paint job HAS to cost at least $10,000. :roll: He'd been around too many guys with more money than brains. My high school has a shop whose autobody classes have won awards since before I was even a student there many many years ago.

jetsetter said:
Good luck on the Northstar part. Since the Northstar was used in front wheel drive applications until quite recently you will have to convert it use rear wheel drive. Not the easiest task.

Actually, it's very easy now.

Cadillac Hot Rod Fabricators has parts from the S10 AT and custom bell housing. FR swap Northstars are finally becoming quite common. Talked to guy at a show last summer who swapped a N* into his LaSalle and he said he swapped it in over a weekend.

The Northstar is a wonderful engine and it sucks that GM just killed off the Aurora engine when they killed Oldsmobile. Both have been Ward's winners.

---

The 1994 Fleetwood was the last FR Caddy and it is possible to swap in a Northstar engine. ALl you have to do is get the electrronics to work and the bell housing to mate up. Doable, but a custom job.
 

jetsetter

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Still not as simple as a nice 350 TPI swap or a 5.0. And to be clear, my family has built hot rods. First a T-Bucket and now a 1965 Chevelle. You want a good quality product be prepared to spend a little cash. And if you want it to be a daily drive with all the comforts then be prepared to spend even more.
 

thedguy

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As long as the heater and a/c work. A little fab doesn't scare us at my house. Hell the first thing to happen to it is the top is getting chopped a few inches. The 350 is a great engine, but my brother and I are rather sick of looking at them.

Oh and to those wonder about the FWD thing, not until just this year, has there been a production RWD northstar car.
 

ishigakisensei

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No, it's not as easy but still doable and reasonable. Quality does come at a cost, but there is a difference between quality and just getting ripped off.
 

jetsetter

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Remeber the earlier you go in years the harder it is to turn into a daily driver. If you start with something from the 1950s you are going to have to put in AC, disc brakes, etc.

As for the engine, there are plenty of choices. 302, 351, 390, 460, and my personal favorite the 427 cammer but you are not going to find that engine.

To be truthful once you get to the 50s putting a Chevy in a Ford is a no no. You can do that from perhaps 52 and earlier but after that it just doesn't seem right.
 

skaternick

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As far as RWD Caddys go, the Catera was the only RWD one in the '90s IIRC. Even the current Deville is FWD, with only the new gen STS and CTS taking on RWD.
 

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Don't forget the 93-96 Fleetwood! (Although most of us would rather forget it)
 
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