Making Your Classic Muscle Car Project a Reality

These are the steps on how to start building your project car

In a world full of political insanity and financial instability, a dream project car may seem out of reach. It may even seem impossible, but in reality we have all been fed this idea that a project car will make you go broke. Now while that is very possible, it’s also possible to stay in a healthy budget while building your dream car. Before you get to thinking about all the mods and things you want to do to the car….well…you gotta buy one!

First things first,  you need to look at your classic muscle car options. Now this doesn’t mean you’re limited to just muscle cars, look for any style that appeals to you! After all you’re going to build this baby to your likings. For example, lets just go with 1960s-1970s muscle cars; I say this because you’ll be smog expempt for cars older that 1978…or 1976, one of those. Regardless a smog check will be one less headache. The search for a car can be done online or just driving around town, but this is where it all begins.  To be safe, make a base line budget. Say $1000-$5000.

Personally I’ve found myself quite lucky using Craigslist when looking for classic cars. The key is expanding your filter. There are sooo many underestimated muscle cars that have lived in the shadows of the Camaro, Mustang, Challenger rivalry. For example the 1973 Plymouth Duster is one badass muscle that almost no one knows about! It’s usually equipped with a 318-340 mopar engine and that’s all muscle cars are about. Now up above, many people see an old bucket, but to the true car enthusiast, it’s a diamond in the rough. 

Ok the paint is bunk and the rims are wack, So what! you got the car for $2500 which is a steal! Now you have no money left over to work on the car with. Well there’s plenty of ways to get one step closer to that dream car condition without having to break the bank. This include sanding and small touch ups with paint. All it costs is a bit of elbow grease. 

Well, now you have your Poject car, and it’s called a project for a reason. The first goal should be to get it running! You always want to pick up a project car with a engine and power train already with it so you don’t spend another $2500 just on a motor and tranny combo. I’ll do another post on how to troubleshoot and get your new baby running, but I’m sure most of you muscle car enthusiasts can figure it out with YouTube. Remember, this is your project car, so don’t be afraid to take your time with it; build it the proper way and don’t rush because at the end of it all, you’ll know what you’ve already fixed and what needs to be fixed.  Not all fixes cost $100s, the simplist of things like cleaning out you engine bay and prettying up that firewall with some fresh paint. Attention to detail can make a major difference. Same goes for the interior, wrap the torn seats with an old band t-shirt or cover that bench seat with an old blanket. Make it your own! Don’t be afraid to stand out! It’s a muscle car for crying out loud!

Now, I bet you’re all saying “well how am I gonna get $2500-$5000 for a project car”…well, just think about all these banks. Most banks or credit unions give loans out to purchase or refinance cars. So as long as you find a whip with a clean title it should not be a tough negotiation. Just compare a payment for a new car with 4cylinder engine  compared to a classic V8 and you’ll see it’s not going to break the bank. Insurance is also intimidating but for my 1967 camaro, I’m paying $48 a month with full coverage-that’s only a fraction of what I pay for my daily.

Essentially I’m giving you all an idea on how the experience and excitement a classic project car brings outweighs the intimidation and fear of taking on such a challenge. With today’s technology, information and knowledge are at our finger tips. You can negotiate a deal on your phone and then look up YouTube videos on how to do anything from oil chamges to full engine tear down videos. The help and knowledge is out there; with that, your options are limitless and only you can bring yourself one step closer to having that old classic muscle you’ve always dreamed of. I can guarantee that driving around in a classic muscle car is an experience no Ferrari or new GT can give you.

Be sure to checkout @BlackoutGarage on instagram so stay updated with my personal projects.

The Muscle Car Clone wars: (Another way to get your dream muscle car) 

To the not so mechanically experience car enthusiasts, muscle cars of the 1960s-1970s  are just muscle cars; but many of us fail to realize just how similar some of them are to one another. A crucial part of beginning to work on a classic car is finding compatible parts whenever doing repairs or restoration mods. For example, not many chevy fanatics are aware that the 1967-1969 camaro sub-frames can also be found on many mid-1960s novas. In other words, when you can’t find parts filtered as “camaro parts” on Craigslist or eBay, you can always look up F-body parts for a more wide range compatibility. This is due to manufacture using the same platforms. I will go over everything from GM to Chrysler. But first, let’s start with my favorite Muscle car chassis. 

This picture includes the very popular and beautiful first generation F-body Camaro and firebirds. GM allowed Pontiac and Chevrolet to use the same platforms not only to save cost of production, but to allow us car enthusiasts to swap interchangeable parts(probably not true). Now here is where a lot of OG car guys will loose there shit but tough it out bros. From my stand point, I see potential to not only change out basic suspension components, but changing complete look of the car. Now 80% of the body is the same in the camaro in firebirds, minus the front and rear grill and valance. This is visible in every camaro and firebird 1967-2002. 

Say you’re are Firebird fanatic but you come across a 1972 camaro for dirt cheap; has the full powertrain but a roughed up body. From a backyard Mechanic point of view I’d just build to car to asthetically please me. The early 1970s weren’t so different for the F-Body twins and all you’d need and front grill and radiator support bracket to get that Firebird you’ve been dreaming about. This is what I call a “CLONE”… Yeah the vin won’t come up as a Firebird but to 80% of the car guys out there and 99.99% of ordinary civilians, no one would know the difference. All they’d see is a badass car that you took time to build. This doesn’t apply to just GM cars; same goes for the rare and popular Mopar cars. 

The 1970s Challenger and Barracuda are 90% identical! Aside from the grill and rear lights only a few aesthetic differences differentiate these two legends. Same goes for there Other Mopar cousins. 

The infamous Charger and the ridiculous super bird are the same exact platform, give or take the giant wing and toucan Sam nose at the front. Not hating, just not my taste and that’s my point! Not everyone likes the Firebird but they could easily aim for a camaro look. So If that superbird or Kuda is your dream car, whose to stop you from putting that front insert and wing on?  (JUST DO IT) Another famous pony car that’s been in the dark way too long is the cougar! 

Based directly off the mustangs unibody chassis, the Cougar performs just as great as the notorious pony car. The body is the same and the interior almost identical; the difference is the badass hideaway lights and the rear tail lights Dodge ripped off years later. Essentially I’m trying to say that with these classic muscle cars, your options are limitless. If you’re dreaming of a mustang but that old lady down the street is selling her classic cougar for next to nothing, pick it up. Start a project and make it your own! Build something no one else has seen yet. Make a choice to revive the muscle car clone wars. Just remember that at the end of a good or bad day in the garage, you’re building that car for yourself and no one else. Even if people talk their crap, at least you know you got their attention. After all, “they hate us cuz they ain’t us” …with that being said, thank y’all for reading. I hope these blogs give fellow car enthusiasts like myself new ideas on how to build their dream car…