Question of the Week: What’s the best deal you’ve scored on a collector car?


In 1972 wife informed me I had purchased a 64 Econoline utility at a party for $175 when less than sober. Welded on a new front section, rebuilt the engine, put in triangular shoulder windows, fitted it as a camper, drove it across the continent camping, skiing etc… Kept it for two years and traded in for a PL620… got $1200 trade value back on about $400 invested, did all work myself.


It was 1958. I was 15 and lived in a small town in Washington St. On my wall was pinned the newest centerfold
from Road&Track. Nine or 10 years later I was talking to a co worker about racing cars and he took me to see one he had worked on that was for sale. In a garage was this very same car. It was a one off endurance racer with full handcrafted aluminum body. The car was well known in Europe and later raced in the USA. It is completely restored and resides in France or Switzerland. I bought this unique Ferry 750 Sport including Helmet, gloves, goggles, trailer and spares for $500!


In 2014 I received a call from a friend of mine that asked if I was still interested in his 1970 AAR Cuda ? I could not get to the phone fast enough. The next day I left early from work to take a look. The car had been stored since 1976 and still had bicentennial plates on it. With 52k miles and numbers matching 340-6 pack, we agreed on a number with the promise that I would not sell the car and would totally restore this beauty. It is now tucked away safely in my shop along with other Mopar projects and should be started very soon.


recently purchased a 1987 Dodge Ramcharger for only $1000 cdn. The body is a bit rusty and the paint is faded a long with peeling clearcpat. However, it only had 73,000 original kms, all original motor, trans etc. These trucks are very hard to find in my area and I thought it would be silly to pass it up for the price I got it for. I plan to restore it as close to factory ( even has the original turbine wheels) as possible with a few upgrades here and there. It is currently my daily driver.


Back in the early 90’s I was driving home from work when I passed a house that I had seen many times before. At first I didn’t take much notice, but then I did the classical double take and probably slammed on the breaks. Sitting beside the house was a 1968 Type 3 Karman Ghia. This is a rare type of VW that was never sold in the US. A few days later, I passed by again and saw a man outside working on a lawnmower, so I decided to go and ask about the car. When I walked up I asked what he was doing with it. I don’t even remember the man looking up at me when he replied, “I’m giving it to you! Get it out of here now!” I didn’t know what to think. Was he kidding?

It turned out the car was take to a shop in Laurel MD, and the owner never returned for it. I guess this guy got it for free or minimal cost with the thought that it could be used for a VW Beetle based kit. Since it had a different frame, that was out of the question.

Apparently he tried other avenues to get rid of the car with no success. At the time, I couldn’t afford to keep the car but I took it to the next Bug-Out show and sold it for $500.00. I could have gotten more but it had no title and we were rained on all day at the show. In fact we were standing in several inches of water at the end of the day. A month or two later I was going through my latest issue of Hot VW’s and there was a picture of my friend standing beside the car with a caption below the photo, “Swamp-meet.”


Best deal was in the 1990s, a 1952 GMC one-ton pickup, with a factory 9’ stepside bed.
Bought for $700 from a guy who had schlepped it down from Thief River Falls MN to Jacksonville FL.
Very straight truck, minor rust-through in the standard cab corner locations. I replaced the kingpins and front brakes. Sold it a year later for $1700- the only collector car I have made a profit on in 30+ years…….


A few years ago I found a 1964 1/2 Mustang Pace Car. This is one of the approximately 190 pace cars that were awarded to dealers as a part of a sales competition in 1964. The cars were all hardtops and had a unique paint code on the door tag that was only assigned to the pace car replicas that were awarded to dealers. The seller posted an ad on Craiglist with the door tag information. He did not know it what he had and was just selling the car as a plain 1964 1/2 Mustang. It was a running car that needed to be restored. I purchased the car for around the amount other plain 1964 1/2 coupes were selling for and verified that it is indeed one of the approximately 190 pace car replicas. I am just starting the restoration of my pace car and plan to restore to original concours condition.


My best classic car buy was a 40K mile 1997 Porsche Boxster for $7,500 - mostly because for that money it is an amazingly competent mid-engined sports car with great looks, fantastic handling and the most reliable M96 engine of the first gen Boxsters. Good news is you can steal one too as they are still plentiful and cheap… for now.


You Win, Big!!!


1969, just read about the new 1970 'Cuda coming out and loved it. Went to the Plymouth dealer on Valley View in Dallas at 8:00 the next morning. Walking around the showroom no one in sight. Finally a guy came walking by and said “Can I help you?” I told him I wanted to order a car and he said “It’s your lucky day, I’m the fleet sales manager and the only one here now, so you get your car at cost + $100.” AWRITE!!

We went to his office and he got out the order form and said “Shoot!” I want a '70 'Cuda convertible, 440 six pack, “No, that’s not available.” Yes it is. “Oh, ok, I found it.”
B5 blue, white top, white interior, six way manual seats, “Nope, not available.” Yes it is. “OK, you fill it out,” and I did. Six weeks later it arrived and I think I paid $2,800 - window sticker $3,2XX.
Of course kept it 2 years and traded it. Later found out it was one of 12 made.


My story is similar, the year was 1994 and I really wanted a 1968 Charger. What I did find was a running, numbers matching 1969 R/T Charger sitting next to a barn that the owner had planned on restoring with some friends. it was not listed for sale, but a simple knock on the door and a conversation with the wife is all it took. The friends all backed out and his wife wanted it gone. $3250 later it was mine. Many years and many dollars later it’s still in my garage. I’ve still done nothing with the body (it was in very good shape), but restored everything else.


This year I got a 1981 VW Scirocco, last year of the Mark 1 generation. Found on Facebook. Purchased for $1000 because it wasn’t running. When I was sure I had it running, I found the sellers and gave them an extra $100. It had a GTI engine swap, $1000 velocity stack intake, $1000 engine controller, competition headers and oil pan. Being louder than most Harley’s and definitely faster in the corners, priceless.

  1. Found this 1967 GMC bus for sale in Calgary. Bought it for $1500 and drove it all the way to Toronto. Came with a full tank of fuel ( ca. 400 litres; today to fill it up would cost about $500) Runs beautifully. I love my bus!


Back in 1969, a friend showed us his XK 120 Jag roadster. Offered it to us for $500, with the caveat that we would keep it and care for it. I found him a few years ago on Facebook, and he asked how long I had kept it. Through thick and thin and a messy divorce it is still happily in my garage. Has been lightly vintage raced and always smiled at.


I picked up a sweet corvette for a super good price.


1968 Charger R/T Hemi in 1972. Driver & weekend ET car. $ 1725.oo. Still have it today, all original.


I think you should rephrase the question . I’m reading through here and most people are posting about deals they bought in the 70s and 80s these weren’t really deals at the time. That’s just what the cars were going for . I think your question should be what’s the best deal you have scored on a collector car in the last 10 years ! Mine was in 2011. Woke up one sat morning looked on CL and a guy posted a ad that just said 57 Chevy 2k with no picture. I called expecting it to be a rusted out 4dr . I asked when I called He said no its a 2dr. I said when your roll down the front and back window is it open or is there a post in between ? He said no its open ! I said is it all rusted out he no just light scrape on the side where his mom hit the garage wall years ago when parking it. I said I will be right over ! He only lived about 7 miles from my house ! I pulled up to this old tiny run down 50s brick house knocked on the door . This little scronny guy in his 40s I was guessing answered the door & walked me out back to this old shabby 3 car garage . He opened the door and said I have three cars for sale 2k each. One was the 57. He also had a 98 ford escape and a 75 Massaratti . Don’t think I spelled that right ? So I asked him how long he had had it . He said he’s uncle had bought it new. Then sold it to his mom in the late 50s. He said she drove it daily until she passed a few years back then gave it to him . He said he had been driving it delivering pizza up until about year ago this would be 2010. Until the trans went out . It had the orig two speed PG. The orig motor had been replaced he said when it wore out years ago with another motor. I said does it run ? He said yes but trans is out. I could not believe what I was seeing . This car still wearing it original colonial cream with white top paint ! It was a two ten hard top with the black & white 210 interior. Still had a yellowed clear cover on the back seat. The front seat was cover less and tore up pretty good . The car had very minor rust spots but some light scrapes and dings here and there and the paint faded and wore thin in spots but overall very solid ! I winched up the car on my trailer and pulled out to the street where I could get a little better look at it. I still couldn’t really see under it to see if the floors or bracing were rotted. I was standing there in the street with him & he handed me the title. I said you know what I’m gonna give you three k for the car instead of two k. He’s eyes lit up and he said wow thank you. On my way home I was so excited about the deal I had just scored that when I pulled of the interstate at my exit there was a homeless guy standing at the stop light with his sign . I rolled down the window and handed him a 100 dollar bill ! A few weeks later when the weather warmed up I crawled under the car and all the floors and braces were rust free ! The car was very solid ! A few months later I loaded the car up an ran around to some body shops to get est on repainting the car . After doing the math for all the new trim interior paint engine trans etc. Then I realized that for what I could sell this car for plus what I was going to spend I could buy a restored 57 hardtop way cheaper than it was going to cost me to restore this one with out all the headaches. So a year later I posted the car on Ebay. It sold on ebay for 15k. I took that 15k plus another 15k and was able to buy a really nice older restored 57 2dr hardtop for 30k ! Then I drove back over to the guys house that I bought it from. I didn’t know if he still lived there or not . I knocked on the door and he answered . I said do you remember me ? He looked at me funny. I said I’m the one that bought your 57 about a year ago. He said yes I remember you did you restore the car . I said no it cost to much to restore it . Then I said do you believe in God . He said yes . I said well God told me you sold the car too cheap & to bring you another 3 thousand dollars for the car . Then I handed him another 3k in cash . His eyes lit up he was so excited ! He said you made my day ! Then he said no your made my month ! I said well take care of yourself then I turned walked back to my truck and drove off .


In 1983 for my 30th birthday present to my self ,I purchased a 40K mile 56 Chevrolet Belair 2DHT from the original owner for $3,500.00. Still have it to this day.


I think the guy with the superbird watched “Joe Dirt” one too many times. That would be the deal of the century.


It was Christmas time 1980. I was on an American West flight from Oakland to Phoenix. I was 20 years old and an avid sports car enthusiast. I was sitting next to an older guy, 40ish and I had brought along a copy of VW/Porsche Magazine. While I was reading an article on the Porsche 356, the guy asked me if I was interested in buying a 356 convertible. It turns out he had loaned a friend 8,000.00 for a business venture and had taken the Porsche as collateral. The deal was he was to be paid on December 31 or the Porsche would be sold. The guy took my phone number and said he would call me after the first of the year. Having not seen the car or even a picture I did not have my hopes set too high, until January 3, 1981. The guy called and told me the car was available and I had first dibs. I immediately called my Dad who was still in the Bay Area visiting, and asked if he would take a look at the car. My Dad took a ride up to Danville and saw the car which turned out to be a 1954 Porsche 356 Speedster # 80076. He said it ran and the car was complete. A 1,000.00 deposit sealed the deal and I was to fly up the coming weekend and pick up the car. The plan was put into action. I went to the bank and procured a personal loan for 8,000.00 and also purchased a couple of one-way tickets to Oakland. The plan was, my brother and I would fly to Oakland, my cousin would drive us up to see the Porsche, I would hand over the cash and we would drive back to Phoenix the next morning. The next morning we took the drive up to see the Porsche. It was stored outside in a covered parking space and had a cover over it. I could not wait to remove the cover and see my first Porsche. We removed the cover to and I was quite pleased. A white 356 Speedster paint was kinda dull but who cares. The interior was original, the drivers seat had a broken frame with a protruding wire which immediately ripped my pants upon getting in. The car started up and ran well other than the clutch slipped a bit and the headlights did not work. We drove the car to San Leandro, hot wired the headlights, changed the oil and got ready to embark on the trip home. Sunday morning came it was drizziling rain and very cold. We said our goodbyes and headed for I-5. The next 12 hours was probably the best ride of my life and also the most miserable. The car ran great. We had several blasts well past 110 mph as the car turned out to be fitted with a 1720cc big bore kit. There was no heat, and the rain and snow over the Grapevine was coming in through the gaps in the side curtains. We had stopped and bought a sleeping bag to throw over our laps and it helped a little. We froze our asses off, but I think we were smiling all the way. I did some research on the car and there was a Pre A Speedster registry that was run by a guy Donald Zing. I was told the car was one of the cars used in filming the movie Harper starring Paul Newman. It had been in Porsche Foreign wrecking yard for years before it was bought and made drivable again. It was likely the car that runs into the ravine at the end of the movie. I watched the movie and my car bore the scars it should have. I was told you can tell the differences in the two movie cars as the front license plate keeps moving from above to below the bumper. The car has changed hands a couple of times since I owned it and is now Red. I believe the last time it sold it brought 250,000.00.