Should You Buy a Cosworth Vega?

1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega Coupe
Sold at $13,750
Mecum, Phoenix, AZ, March 15, 2019, Lot F91
VIN: 1V77E5U215244

American car manufacturers applied the “no replacement for displacement” mantra when designing cars up until the 1970s, when the growing demand for fuel efficiency and government-required emission standards all but ended the life big-horsepower, big-displacement V8s.

Chevrolet adapted by releasing the uninspiring 80-ish hp Vega in 1971 — a low point in Chevy history that remained until 1975 with Read More

In Need of Space

I live in a small house with a one-car garage that’s nestled within the confines of a bustling city, but I dream of owning a giant shop someday.

My mechanical wares swamp my existing footprint to the extent that I’ve already overtaken one neighbor’s garage, and I’m working on the other neighbor now. I do the best I can with what I have, but something has to change.

When a friend recently asked me why, I realized the answer is a Read More

Reflecting in the Chrome

This month’s “Readers’ Forum” question is all about project cars. Why is it that gearheads tend to like to restore old cars when the math rarely works in our favor? Making an old car new again can take years of time and thousands of dollars even for a DIYer, so what makes all the work and trouble worth it?

Some of you clearly (and correctly) pointed out that it isn’t worth it. Buying a car that’s already done just makes Read More

Downmarket Fun in Monterey

The 2019 Monterey auctions will go down in the books as a downturn year. Sure, there were a few spectacular sales, but compared with recent years, almost all numbers were down. Yet for some of us who ply in the lower end of the market, all we have to say is, “Welcome back.” As far as the lowest sale for an American car at each auction venue, things actually looked pretty good — especially if you are a fan of Read More

Turbo-Boosted Investment

1982 Pontiac Trans Am KITT
Sold at $66,000
Mecum Auctions, Harrisburg, PA, August 2–4, Lot S139

A few years back, I was reviewing cars at an auction for Sports Car Market with a couple of older friends when we happened upon a Knight Rider KITT conversion. Everyone else in my group laughed at it. I secretly wanted it.

Why? Because I was a kid in the 1980s, when David Hasselhoff was Michael Knight, and his jet-black Read More

A Collectible Crossover?

1984 AMC Eagle sedan
Sold at $3,850
Mecum Auctions, Chicago, IL, Oct. 25–27, 2018, Lot T35
VIN: 1FAFP42X1YF206398

People want cars that do it all. Part sedan, wagon, SUV and minivan. But with all those requirements, we have ended up with the endless amount of crossover-types clogging up our roads. They have it all, yet do nothing well — and most of them look like jelly beans left out in the sun.

When editor Pickering sent me Read More

Forced-Induction Foxes

When the Fox-body Ford Mustang arrived for 1979, Ford had to deal with a market that favored economy more than performance.

The OPEC oil crisis had unfolded just as the Mustang II was introduced for 1974. While that car sold well, it was lambasted for lackluster performance. The lukewarm 302-ci V8 just wasn’t endearing to those who recalled Mustangs with Ram Air 429s under the hood.

A new governmental mandate called CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) was also in the Read More

Fine-Tuning ACC

Everything seemed fine when I hit the key on the ACC Mustang. It had been sitting for months — a victim of deadlines, other projects and commitments that kept it parked in its stall after ACC installed Classic Auto Air a/c on the original 289. But that’s part of what I love about the Mustang. It’s an American car, and it just tends to work.

Even after months of sitting, it cranked like I’d driven it yesterday, but it wouldn’t Read More

500 Miles of Glory

The crowd forming for our Friday afternoon flight was growing impatient. Families with small children, the elderly, and veterans had already disappeared down the jetway, and the rest of us began pushing forward with expectation. I looked down at my phone and checked the weather in Indianapolis again as Group A began boarding. “Not looking good for Sunday,” I heard someone say. “Yeah, might be in store for the first rainout since ’97,” another quipped. I almost checked another weather Read More

Great First Classic: Basic Plymouth Valiant

1966 Plymouth Valiant Signet convertible
Sold at $8,960
Bonhams, Greenwich, CT, June 3, 2018, Lot 213
VIN: VH27B62594626

A few years back, the classic car world fired up with excitement over a brand-new 1957 Plymouth that had been buried in a concrete vault in Tulsa, OK. Opened in 2007, a time-capsule finned wonder was to emerge, educate the future on the past, and be handed over to one lucky drawing winner.

Hindsight may Read More