I can't stress enough that you should look the body over for rust and other problems. Under the hood, look in the area forward of the wheel wells for rust on the inner fenders and fenders (you may have to remove the battery and feel around the cocktail shakers). Take a soft magent like you use to hang stuff on the fridge. Apply it to the lower rear area of the front fenders, the lower part of the doors including the BOTTOMS of the doors, the rocker areas, the rear quarter panels all the way around the wheel wells. Pull the rear tires, take a light and look up in the wheel wells for any rust. Get under the car and very carefully look for rust in the floors. Pull all the junk out of the trunk and remove the trunk mat if it's there and look at the trunk floor pan. All of these areas are very susceptible to rust. If the magnet does not stick in any of these areas or you see rust bubbling through, you need to take replacement costs into account. Now, just because there is rust doesn't mean you should pass on the car. But you should know what you are facing and how much it will cost to remedy.
Next, how complete is the car? I really prefer to buy a car that is all together and complete. There are so many original pieces that you can restore and they fit better than most of the repos. This saves alot. If it's together, you can take it apart with good notes and pictures and bag everything with labels and it's alot easier going back together.
I think this car sounds like a great project if it has no or minimal rust. I would plan on $2-3,000 for a decent engine rebuild, $4-8,000 for body work and paint from a good shop and another $5-8,000 for things like brakes, suspension, interior and all. Good luck!
[This message has been edited by denverRS/SS (edited 10-03-2001).]