Hey I just coined a new term. I’m always on eBay either selling or buying stuff. If you’re looking for something rare, that’s the place to start. I have a search parameter set up for promotional model cars and just they other day these two finds came up. What makes them unusual is that both of them were being sold by an eBayer located in Japan so they both have some miles on them. Well not literally. Continue reading They’re eBay’s version of barnfinds→
I love cars! I love music about cars too which might be the reason I like the Pontiac GTO so much. Overall there are over 15 songs about this car mostly in 1964, the first year the GTO was built. Songs range from Little GTO by Ronny and the Daytonas, to Mighty GTO by Jan and Dean, to Here comes the Judge by Shorty Long. I have several on my iPhone.
History of the GTO
Built from ’64-’74 and then again by Holden from ’04-’06, It was a classic muscle car of the ’60’s and ’70’s and considered by some to have started the trend with all the big four automakers offering a variety of competing models. The GTO was the brainchild of engine specialist Russell Gee, Bill Collins, a chassis engineer, and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean. GM had a ban on sponsored racing on tracks and events at the time so these guys took it to the street. DeLorean came up with the name idea inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO. Good luck on trying to find one of those now! GTO is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato, in english “Grand Tourer Homologated”, which means officially certified for racing in the Grand-Tourer class. The Ferrari guys were not to happy about it. Go figure.
Consumers began calling the GTO ”The Goat,” because the animal is known for eating anything in this case on the street. Acronym for GOAT was turned into “Gas Oil And Tire” burner. Those who had a GTO probably spent time and money purposely burning the three resources, and with gas costing only 32 cents a gallon, who cared.
Huge engines, nice investment
V8’s anywhere between a 389 to a 400! What’s not to like? These were fast street racers and the public knew it and still do. Daily drivers run about $20,000 to $50,000. Not too bad for all that fun. These are a favorite collector car of the Baby Boomers. On the high end, I found this ’71 GTO Judge which was sold for, wait for it, $232,500. What makes this special is that of the 357 GTO Judges that Pontiac sold in ’71, only 17 convertibles were made. You can click on the image to read more about it at Hemmings.
Promo model GTO’s can be a bit pricey too.
While you won’t be dropping the kind of cash I mentioned above, good GTO promo model examples will cost a couple of hundred dollars. I found this hard to find MPC ’71 Quezal Gold Hardtop which sold for $245. While this MPC ’70 Cardinal Red GTO Hardtop sold for $245. Sure you can find lower cost ones for around $20 but there is nothing like having a pristine model of one car that inspired so many songs.
I’ve done blog entries on the real collector cars with some of them going for millions. If I had the cash, which I don’t, at least until the pull my numbers for the Mega Millions, I’d pop for one or two. Won’t hold my breath on that though. The same is true for the promotional model cars. I think the last one I bought I paid just over 100 bucks for. If you’ve read my past blogs on this topic, you saw many cars going for mid three figures which is not really that bad. I’ve seen ones near or over $1,000 but this 1969 Ford Mustang Promo Dealer Promotional Model Car recently caught my eye when it was up for auction on eBay. Sure it was in super clean shape but what the seller was asking for it, around $1,700 right out of the gate was really what interested me. It eventually sold for $1,876.77!
So I shot a message to the seller. “The only thing I can tell you is down thru the years these Mustangs haven’t shown up often in original owners collections & therefore deemed “rare”. No one knows how many of any of these promo cars were made as no known production figures have been found. No one knows why fewer cars were made in some models & more in others.” said eBay seller promorog who sells other promo cars on the site.
Compared to the real deal
1969 was the year that Ford unveiled another restyle and three new models: the Mach 1, Boss 302 and Boss 429. Because of the lack of markings and small hood scoop, it’s tough to tell which car this would be modeled after. But the real deals are also not cheap either. On the low-end, in the middle 30’s and on the high-end all the way up to $100,000 plus. But hey, it’s only money, right?
The U.S. isn’t the only country which likes making promo models
Say what? So I’m perusing the model car auction sites, as I almost always do to see what’s up for auction and what cars in my collection are worth, when I come across a couple of Volvo’s, yup Volvo’s. Not from one of the plastic model makers here but actually made in Finland. By the way did you know that besides saunas the country is also famous for inventing ice skates, and virtual air-guitar. Bet you didn’t. But it’s most famous claim to fame is that it is the homeland of Santa Claus. That has to be pretty busy right now.
A perennial money-loser in a country with strong labor unions
The company started in Sweden which by the way claims on its web site “Discover a country where the moose is king, Pippi Longstocking is a hero and innovation rules”. OK, I guess that works for them. The car company was then sold in the early 30’s to, SKF, a huge company that makes tons of other stuff. Famous for safety innovations it was then sold to Ford Motor Company for $6.45 billion in 2000. Everything was hunky-dori until Ford decided that it wasn’t such a great idea to own the company and sold the Volvo Car Corporation in 2010 to Geely Automobile of China for $1.8 billion. The saga continues. I mean they make some really cool cars. Forbes magazine judged the 2013 Volvo S60 R-Design one of its top picks for “Fast Cars under $50,000”. It will go 0-60 in just over five seconds. That’s pretty quick.
Own a part of Volvo history
The cream-colored one looks like a 240 GL, Volvo’s best-selling car from 1975 until 1982. The promo model has some nice details to it like the wheels and recently sold for around 30 bucks. The red one, maybe a two-door version went for much more, around $140. Note the stamping on the bottom. I had to contact the seller eBay seller, edgedeepgreensea, to see how they got a hold of these cars who replied, “Yes interesting estate purchase the collector was in foreign services and lived in Italy for I think 9 years. He purchased lots of cars from all over the world. The collection was massive and I was only a buyer of a fraction of what he had. He seemed to love all cars”. He finished (no pun intended) by telling me that he has more cars on the way, this time from Russia. Can’t wait to see those.
Let’s end this blog entry with a language lesson
Anybody out there up on their Finnish? I liked this saying, “Älä osta sikaa säkissä.” Translated directly it reads “Don’t buy a pig in a bag.” OK, I guess, I get it, a saying, “Always make sure you know what exactly you are buying”. In this case it would be a promo model not built in America.
While the Mustang was pretty much the king of the pony cars it was about to get some competition and in 1967, the Mustang saw its first major redesign. For the first time since its launch, the car faced some serious competition. This resulted in Ford evaluating the Mustang’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the Pontiac’s Firebird, Mercury’s Cougar, and Plymouth’s Barracuda, Chevrolet had plans to roll out their new Chevy Camaro muscle car. This resulted in Ford duking it out with its competition by creating a more muscular and powerful Ford Mustang. Sound familiar? More power is back! Hear the roar of the engine in this YouTube video!
OK, how much?
Well that depends on how much cash you have. According to Hagerty the average price is now to around 50 grand up from 35 grand a few years back. How many of your investments were growing like that? There, I gave you a good case to sell your wife on getting one.
Forget it, you won’t be able to sell your wife on getting one of these
As with any classic car, the rarer the more the price goes up. Are you ready for this one? A 1967 Ford Mustang used during filming of 2000’s hit movie Gone in 60 Seconds has sold at auction for a staggering $1 million. Can’t swing a cool mil? Well then check out this one I found on Auto Trader. An ultra rare, 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 C.S.S. This car was licensed by Carroll Shelby and it comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by both Carroll Shelby and Barry Smith (president of Legendary G.T. Continuation Cars.) This Shelby is number 014 of the Snake 3 continuation cars built and has just 206 miles on it. Yours for $650,000. Boy if you can swing something like that I will be your new best friend.
The promo model, a smaller, cheaper alternative
You never have to worry about rust, changing the oil, or putting a new set of tires on it. You can find “OK” promo models on the auction sites priced around 50 bucks but if you want a cherry example be prepared to pay more. I found this one with no cracked posts and the chrome is all good. This classic example went for $350. Now if you could add a chip to get that engine sound, maybe with bluetooth, and run it through your home stereo, that would be totally AWESOME. I can see it now. Speakers cranked and your wife just rolls her eyes.
I love big fins as mentioned in my previous post on another Chrysler product, the Imperial. For me it’s as much a piece of art as it is an automobile. Think about it, what car stands out for you now? Sure some do like the Corvette for me or the Mustang or Camero but outside of that, not much. Quick, tell me what was the last car you saw drive by? Now if a ’57 Plymouth Belevedere drove by, you’d really notice that, wouldn’t you?
America loved the car
For the third generation of cars from Chrysler Corporation and completely changed its car lines, dropping the bodies that had been brought out for 1955 and replacing them with the designs heralded as Virgil Exner’s best 1957 would be a banner year for the Chrysler Corporation, and Plymouth as its design was so revolutionary that Chrysler used the slogan “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” to promote the new car. Belevederes were loaded and positioned as a top of the line Plymouth. Unfortunately, the cars were rushed into production (argh!), and while they sold extremely well, they also ticked off customers, and destroyed Chrysler’s reputation for quality and reliability. Rust was everywhere and parts broke off. Gee there is a surprise. The car did have its claim to fame later on as a ’58 appearing as the star in the movie Christine. After 33 years, this car still lives as you can see in this video.
Collectors love the car now but have their work cut out for them
Since the cars were pretty much rust buckets at the end of their lives restoring one will require lots of time and deep pockets. Here’s a video of a ’59 which is rare and boy does it look good. On ClassicCars.com I found this ’59 for sale for $45,000 which is about the going rate for a restored model. Look closely in the first picture. This guy is into Mopar. A Dodge sits right next to it while in the background is I believe a ’59 or ’60 Rambler. Sorry, had to get that in.
And now for the promo model
So think about that promo model of the Plymouth that your dad gave you as a kid. If you haven’t blown it up or burned it (which by the way does look cool) it is probably sitting in a box somewhere. Occasionally you look at it and say to yourself, maybe one day. Well check out this professionally rebuilt model I recently found on eBay and it sold for 898 bucks! Now you ready to start? I have featured this builder before and he does off the charts restorations. If you don’t look to long at the background, this Plymouth looks like the real deal. Everything is better than like new. Check out the chrome where it looks like it just came out of the box. Look at the fins and spare tire on the trunk. Don’t forget to gaze at the finish to and it doesn’t take too much to imagine your reflection on it. And he always goes the extra mile with the underside where the exhaust and bottom of the engine are painted the correct colors. Cherry, cherry, cherry is what I say about this restoration job. Doesn’t it inspire you? Now go find that car you have and get going.
I remember 1963 for the good stuff. My favorite band, the Beach Boys, were cranking out hits along with a new group from England. Of course I know it’s the Beatles. ’63 was also the year dad packed up the whole family and moved us from Madison, WI., to Milwaukee, WI., where dad went to work for his new employer…..wait for it….American Motors. It was also a good year for AMC since the Rambler Classic was named Motor Trend magazine’s Car of the Year. I also remember another car, non-AMC, that caught my eye. It was a ’63 Lincoln Continental Convertible with the suicide doors that one of our female neighbors drove. Maybe it was just the person driving the car but I had never ridden in a convertible. Sort of that lust thing happening here?
The ’63 was the fourth generation introduced in ’61. It might not have been because it was originally intended to be the 1961 Ford Thunderbird. The design was enlarged and slightly altered before being switched to the Lincoln line. It was the first postwar four-door convertible from a major U.S. manufacturer.
It was because the marketing guys wanted them, right?
Not exactly. “Suicide doors” date back to horse-drawn carriages and were a purely practical decision. The new Continental rode on a wheelbase of 123 inches, and the doors were hinged from the rear to ease getting in and out. When the Lincoln engineers were examining the back seats that styling had made up, the engineers kept hitting the rear doors with their feet so hinging the doors from the rear solved the problem. The doors were to become the best-known feature of 1960s Lincolns. Suicide doors were especially popular in the gangster era of the 1930s, supposedly due to the ease of pushing passengers out of moving vehicles with the feature, according to Dave Brownell, the former editor of Hemmings Motor News. The last mass-produced car model with independently opening suicide doors was the ’71 Ford Thunderbird four-door sedan. Safety concerns (the lawyers) prevented the subsequent use of such doors and some car companies have used a version when the back door won’t open until the front one is. They don’t use the term anymore. That might be a tough sales pitch. All the Lincoln’s came with huge V8’s since gas was only 29 cents a gallon then.
This generation of Continental is favored by collectors and has appeared in many motion pictures, such as Goldfinger, The Matrix, The Last Action Hero, and the Inspector Gadget films. It has also appeared on TV. Oliver Douglas, (Eddie Albert) in Green Acres owned a Lincoln Continental convertible and it is the vehicle of choice for Michael Chiklis’s character Vincent Savino in the series Vegas. I love both those shows. Watch Vegas for all the older cars in it.
In my research for this blog entry to see what they are going for now, I started out at my favorite place, Hemming’s and found the example on the left at The Auto Collections museum right off the strip in Vegas. You have to go there! Tons of cool cars and they are all for sale. Win big my friend, win big.
While the car is valued around $77 grand by the National Association of Automobile Dealers Association you can find good examples in the $40’s like this California car on the right. Ah, I can see myself in that car. Hawaiian shirt on, shorts, sunglasses and of course a cold beer.
Good examples of the promo model are hard to find and when they do show up at an auction they are not cheap. This ’63 comes from our friends at Wheat’s Nostalgia. If this isn’t a 10, it has to be pretty close. The vent window posts are there and with no cracks. Another item that will knock down the price is a missing hood ornament and this one has it. There were 27 bidders on eBay for this and it eventually sold for $233. I’m thinking if there are kids or grand kids for the new owner, it goes right into the display case. The only thing it’s missing is that female driver.
It carried a bad nickname for some owners, Ruster.
OK, so right out of the gate, Mopar fans, I really like the Duster. Easy now. We OK? My personal experience comes from my best friend who owned one. He bought it used and I’m not sure how many miles he had on it. I do remember it had a 3 on the floor, the slant six and was some sort of orangish/yellow. I also remember kicking the rear quarters and it raining rust. It was a solid car though otherwise. Rust wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for the cars of this era. They all rusted. He traded it for a Chevy Nova when he had to I think buy a new manifold for his Duster and didn’t fare much better because the Nova he got caught on fire while he was driving it. Good name, Nova. Puffffff! Continue reading Plymouth Ruster….err Duster→
Barn find is a term used when somebody finds a really special car which has been sitting in the corner of a barn all covered up. What the treasure hunter will do is restore the car to the way it came out of the factory. But restoration projects are not just limited to the barn finds for the real cars.
The Pony Car market was red hot in 1967. After seeing what Ford had in the Mustang introduced three years before, the other manufactures jumped into the game big time. General Motors had two entries in the game, the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird which shared the same F-body platforms. There were differences between the two cars. The Firebirds bumpers were integrated into the design of the front end and its rear “slit” taillights were inspired by the Pontiac GTO.
For GM, the Firebird was their Plan B for Pontiac, who had initially wished to produce a two-seat sports car of its own design, based on the original Banshee concept car. However, GM feared such a vehicle would directly compete with Chevrolet’s Corvette. Whoa….can’t do that. Instead, let’s just have it compete with the Camaro. The Banshee was really a cool car and too bad some product manager had his toes stepped on.
Back to the Firebird which was not really a bad Plan B. Since Pontiac was the performance division of GM, there were two V8 engines: the 326 CID (5.3 L) with a two-barrel carburetor producing 250 hp; the “H.O.” (High Output) engine of the same displacement, but with a four-barrel carburetor and producing 285 hp or the 400 CID (6.6 L) from the GTO with 325 hp.
In 1969, it was off to the races as a $725 optional handling package called the “Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package,”, named after the Trans Am Series, which included a rear spoiler, was introduced. Of these first “Trans Ams,” only 689 hardtops and eight convertibles were made.
Of course where were some very famous Firebirds. Starting in 1977, the Firebird, and more specifically the Trans Am, received a number of roles in big movies, most of which starring Burt Reynolds. Later on a Trans Am, named KIT was he star of Knight Rider. What to take a guess on what KIT stood for? Cue the Jeopardy music….. Give up? Knight Industries Two Thousand. “Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.” Sorry, I watched way too much TV.
Promo model prices are on a similar scale with the real deals in that the tougher ones to find cost more to own. The first generation 1967-1969 Firebird promos were available in coupe and convertible and generally two or three colors for the coupe and one or two colors for the convertible. Many of the first generation promos have become difficult to obtain in presentable condition. This is due to the fact they were given to small children to play with making the attrition rate very high. I can attest to this myself!
According to John M. Witzke, who writes for the Firebird Gallery website, the 1968 Firebird Convertible is one of the rarest Pontiac promotional models and is considered the most sought after of the first generation models. Value of the first generation Firebird promos in near mint condition generally range from approx. $225.00 for a ’67 coupe to $475.00 for a ’68 convertible. The first gen, 67-68 tend to command the higher prices for collectors.
When the second generation was introduced in 1970, prices dropped in about half to around $180 until 1974 where they can be found for around $50. The second gen is considered to be a good starting point at collecting.
This was, and still is, a great car. There are several factors on why the Firebird has joined the orphan class, one being simply bad management at Pontiac. Too bad since the Camaro, which was killed with the Firebird and now the Camaro is back. I think there is an after market company which is taking the new Camaro and giving it a look similar to what the real deal could have been.