If you were in the bazaar for a new beef car in the crumbling months of 1967, the December affair of Motor Trend was a goldmine of information. The awning promised comparisons of “all the hottest ’68s,” including the GTO, Charger, GS 400, Torino, Chevelle, Alley Runner, 4-4-2, and Coronet.
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Also in the affair was a adventure with tips for readers in the bazaar for a acclimated supercar. (Back then, these types of cars were alleged cool abundant added generally than muscle.) Buying a ahead endemic beef car had its risks, acclaimed columnist Michael Lamm, from academy allowance and aliment costs to the adventitious that, alike in those days, an arrant agent could try to canyon off a banal archetypal as cool by swapping fender emblems or valve-cover decals. Best of Lamm’s adventure went over those risks and offered accomplish to advance your affairs of accepting the car of your dreams.
Adding alike added amount to the adventure were charts, reproduced here, that abbreviated the blueprint and annual alley analysis abstracts for key supercar models from 1964 to 1967. They are a alluring analysis of what achievement absolutely looked like in the aboriginal canicule of the beef car era.
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It would additionally be boxy to apperceive how stock—or not—the cars were back they were actuality tested. Some manufacturers weren’t aloft giving ringers to magazines, cars that had been distinctively acquainted or had alike undergone a abstruse agent bandy (yes, Mr. Wangers, we’re cerebration of you). And while Motor Trend editors tended to accomplish beneath trackside affability modifications than their brothers at Hot Rod and Car Craft, we ran aloft added than one photo of a Motor Trend analysis car headed bottomward the quarter-mile with slicks mounted. So the abstracts do not necessarily represent cars in complete bone-stock condition, but do absolutely reflect the acceleration, braking, and ammunition abridgement achievement archetypal of the time.
Best/WorstBased on the “Super Car Achievement Chart” that opened the story, the quickest amid the cars MT activated over those four years was a 1967 GTO with a 360hp 400 and a four-speed chiral that ran 13.1 abnormal in the quarter-mile at 106.5 mph. These numbers put the GTO so far aloft its aeon for the archetypal year, and alike aloft the second-fastest car of all four years covered (a Hemi-powered 1966 Satellite axis 14.5/99), that we had to acquisition the alley analysis to see what was up. Remember what we said about distinctively acquainted ringers? Bingo. These numbers came from a Jan. 1967 adventure alleged “Testing 2 Tigers” whose accountable was a brace of 1967 GTOs that were “personally prepared” by Milt Schornack at Royal Pontiac. That basic included a Royal Bobcat tune-up, Hurst unequal-length headers, and M&H annoyance tires.
A tenth of a additional afar the two slowest cars in the chart, both from 1964: A 289/four-speed Ford Fairlane ran a 17.5/78, while a 283/four-speed Malibu SS was absolutely a beat quicker at 17.4/80.
In one of his charts, Lamm averaged the dispatch abstracts of all the supercars activated during this four-year aeon and begin that “super cars are acceptable faster every year. In four abbreviate years cool cars accept lopped added than a additional off their quarter-mile time [15.40 vs. 16.49] and acquired about 10 mph in terminal dispatch [93.42 vs. 84.20].”
Seventeen-second cars abandon from the blueprint absolutely afterwards 1965, with about all contenders absolutely in the 15s. Aloof the Bobcat GTO and a Chevelle 375hp SS396 were quicker than 15 seconds, and the abandoned 16-second car was a Fairlane GTA.
Buyer BewareAmong the caveats Lamm covered in his story:
How Do You Apperceive It’s Super? Back it was so accessible to adhere badges and emblems on a accustomed model, “How do you apperceive you’re absolutely accepting a cool car?” Lamm asked. “How can you acquaint the 350hp Chevelle SS396 from the 325hp SS396? Or the GTX 440 from a 383-incher? Aloof because it says ‘440’ on the air cleaner doesn’t accomplish it so. Stickers are cheap.”
One way to tell, he advised, was to analysis the archetypal cardinal on the carburetor. He illustrated the point with the differing Holley archetypal numbers for the 325- and 350-horse versions of the 396, and the altered Carter carbs acclimated on the 440, 383, and alike the “426 engine,” which, he acicular out, “looks different.”
He did accept that the “carburetor adjustment of anecdotic engines isn’t infallible, of course. There’s consistently the adventitious that someone’s afflicted the carb, or that two altered application engines use the aforementioned cardinal (some fullsize Oldsmobiles and Buicks use the aforementioned Rochester 4MV, for instance …).”
Optional Accessories “The acrid affair about a cool car’s high-performance options is that they add actual little to its acclimated value,” Lamm wrote. “You won’t pay added for the big engine, four-speed transmission, the administration package, the fast steering, the H-D wheels, or any of the blow of it. Some of this accessories absolutely lowers the amount of the car. For example, the [Kelley] Blue Book says to abstract from $70 to $130 from the amount of a 1964-1967 Cyclone if it has the four-speed. In 1965-1967 Cutlasses, the 4-4-2 amalgamation adds alone $70 to their acclimated price.”
Times accept changed.
A Appropriate Brand “Super cars aggregate a appropriate breed, and so do the bodies who buy them,” Lamm noted, a adage that still applies. “In this case, adverse to accustomed car-buying practices, you’re apparently bigger off if you break abroad from used-car lots. You’ll acquisition a bigger accord and acquisition out added about the car … if you seek out clandestine sellers.”
Why? He wrote, “By and ample cool car owners accomplish up an abrupt and active group,” back so abounding are actuality alleged into the service, activity abroad to college, accepting married, falling abaft in their payments, and so on. “In short, they actual generally accept to advertise for assorted affidavit aloft their ascendancy … and they’re accommodating to allotment with their pet for a reasonable price.”
In a branch that was aloof a little beneath condescending, Lamm additionally said, “You can adjudicator the car by the buyer and its surroundings, not alone by what he tells you but by what you can see. If there’s oil on the barn attic and a brace of bilker slicks in the corner, that agency something. If the guy acts impaired or if he brags about the victims he’s dusted off in stoplight drags, booty these into account, too.”
Just Acclimated CarsFifty-some years later, it’s adamantine to annual our admired and iconic beef cars as aloof acclimated (and maybe used-up) cars, abnormally if you didn’t alive through the era. The final blueprint in Lamm’s adventure dispassionately illustrates that point by advertisement their abrasion ethics as per the association at Kelley Blue Book. The numbers in boldface blazon are the cars’ ethics as acclimated cars; the numbers beneath are their abject prices back new. These are for two-door auto models with four-speed chiral transmissions.
You can see that best of the 1964 models absent half, or about half, their value. (Wouldn’t you adulation to buy a Chevelle SS for $1,800 these days?) As you’d expect, that accident decreases as the time anchorage amid acclimated and new; best 1967 models were annual aloof a few hundred dollars less.
The outlier here, as it was with the achievement data, is the GTO. The 1964 models absent aloof over a third of their value, with the aberration amid acclimated and new abbreviating until there’s aloof a $2 aberration in 1967. Were the GTOs intrinsically bigger cars than their competitors in those years? Or do we accept Jim Wangers and his business aggregation to thank, already again, for cutting the GTO’s angel to the point that the accessible captivated those cars in a academy regard?
“Super cars are added than aloof apparent cars with big engines,” Lamm concluded. “They’re a abstracted breed, afar but not necessarily aloft accustomed transportation. As such, they accept congenital advantages and disadvantages. If you booty these factors into annual … there’s no acumen why you can’t be blessed owning a acclimated cool car.” True that!
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