Josh and his wife have always wanted a classic car. Now that they are close to retirement, this is the perfect opportunity to get a big American cruiser with a V8 and rear-wheel-drive so they can enjoy local car shows and vintage car events. What car should they buy?
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Here is the scenario:
Hi there, my wife and I are close to retirement and we want to get a classic cruiser to take to car shows and cruise-ins. We have always loved classic cars and we are now in a position to get our own car. We have always loved the big cruiser type cars like the Chevy Impala, Biscayne, late 60s Cadillacs, 60s Buicks, Ford Galaxie, Dodge Monaco, just to name a few. We don’t need a pristine numbers matching all original car with a meticulous restoration, but something that is in decent shape with some punch would be nice.
We have a budget of up to $30,00 and are open to coupes, sedans or convertibles. We don’t want an import or something with fewer than 8 cylinders.
Budget: Up to $30,000
Daily Driver: No
Location: Kansas City, MO
Wants: Classic, American, V8
Doesn’t want: Import or something too small
Vintage rides and classics are a bit outside my area of expertise so I tend to make judgement calls on what seems “cool.” And honestly, when you are buying a car like there really is no wrong answer so it’s usually best to go with what speaks to you.
With this kind of budget, I would be drawn to something like this Dodge Dart GTS as some of the upgrades offer a bit more than just straight-line speed. However, you seem to be focused more on a “cruiser” than a performance car, so perhaps going with something a little different could work. Every year, there is a big classic car gathering in Wildwood, NJ, and folks bring some cool rides from all around the area. You see a lot of Malibus, Bel Airs, Corvettes, and your usual muscle cars. However, I don’t think I’ve seen a Plymouth Valiant like this. It covers your basics with a 4.8-liter V8 sending power to the rear wheels, and it comes in well under budget so you can make whatever upgrades you like.
Congrats on your upcoming retirement, Josh. It sounds like you want to take it easy in a classic American cruiser, but without giving up any oomph under the hood. I would recommend a wagon, because you could have lots of room for friends at car meets in something like this Buick Special, but that’s a lot of car for the engine. So, I’m recommending this 1972 Ford Ranchero, instead.
This ’72 Rancho is car meet-ready, it seems. It’s a wonder in baby blue. It’s quite beautiful, and is the classic car equivalent of the pickup that one friend of yours always seems to need. You can cruise and carry all the goods stylishly in the ’Rancho, which predates the famous El Camino, for car/truck goodness.
This one is very close to you and will leave you with a good chunk of money, priced at just over half your budget’s ceiling. The seller lists many of the upgrades, among them a new 302 V8 engine. They even say you can eat off its clean surfaces, but I’d refrain from that. You don’t wanna mess up that paint.
These requirements feel like a personal attack. Fine, I’ll keep the diesel Smart Fortwo that I found to myself! In all seriousness, I think I found something here that’ll you’ll enjoy. Check out this 1967 Lincoln Continental.
I see that you’re looking for a sizable 1960s American land yacht. The Continental hits this right out of the park. This massive beauty is 18-feet-long with a hood and trunk so long that they can act as a runway for a 747. The Continental weighs in at an impressive 5,000 pounds and is motivated with a 7.6-liter V8 making 340 HP.
This one comes in budget and is described in being in great condition. It was repainted in the 1990s and has a ton of original parts. It’s not in show car condition, which means that you won’t feel bad taking it on a road trip.
Josh, I know you’re the more seasoned of the two of us, meaning you should be using antiquated expressions, but allow me to say: I like the cut of your jib. “We don’t want ... something with fewer than eight cylinders” is the way we should all be living our lives. It’s bold. It’s bordering on politically incorrect these days. It’s in some ways illogical. But you know what you want, and I respect that.
You’re in an exciting position right now. Thirty grand is a lot of cash to be able to drop on an old cruiser; the number of options is absurd.
I, of course, am always keen to recommend something a bit different. Something with a fun story. Something with quirks. And the Edsel brand itself was a giant quirk in some ways. Named after Henry Ford’s son, the brand was a huge flop and only lasted a few years. It wasn’t just the car’s polarizing styling (Reception in the early days wasn’t exactly positive); many factors contributed to Edsel’s demise.
Still, that just makes the cars rarer and more interesting, I think. I actually think the styling is great, and the push-button transmission shifter in the center of the steering wheel — does it get any cooler?
There’s one for sale in Illinois for $7,500. It needs a bit of work, but seems like a great base for a fun project.
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