I recently had a reader request my input on what to buy if looking for an American muscle car on a smaller budget. This made my response a little tricky being it was a buy on a tight budget.
Before searching for a small cost muscle car, review these considerations:
1. Parts availability - You want to buy something that has a big enough following to be able to find replacement parts. There are many companies that make reproduction parts for the more popular cars, where as others are hard to find.
2. Repair friendly - Buying a car with a simple straight 6 or a nice 350 small block will make for less headaches as these are easy and inexpensive engines to work on.
3. Fit and finish - Don't buy a car by just what you see on the surface. Take time to look for frame damage or extensive rust. Doing this may require you to take time to look under the car, but it will be well worth your efforts in the long haul.
Everyone loves a Camaro! So, don't hold your breathe on finding one of your on a budget. Likewise goes for the 60's and early 70's Chevelle. One you may find for a steal is a Chevy Nova (aka Chevy II) this car can easily be converted to V8 from 6 and is a blast to build up (beware of rusted out trunk bottom).
1966 Chevy Chevelle
Dodge has the high-end classics like the Challenger and Charger, but there are other similar classics in the line up. The Dodge Dart, and Dodge Dart Swingers are comparable to the Chevy Nova. These cars are smaller than most muscle cars of the day but can pack just as much punch (less weight + same power = more punch). Also keep an eye out for the Dodge Satellite, it's just s tripped down Charger!
1969 Dodge Dart Swinger
The given for 60's Ford muscle is, of course, the Mustang. I respect this as a true classic, but think it's a little overrated. One sleeper muscle car Ford had was the Falcon. This was their "F body" car and again, is comparable to the Nova or Dart.
1963 Ford falcon Sprint
While all these cars are nice, their are plenty of choices when shopping for American iron. It's more so the fact that you have something to jump in and take you back to simpler times. Back when phones had cords, kids watched Johnny Quest, and cars were a way of life.
Motor on , Lance