Re: First time buyer looking for some knowledge
As always, there's lots of good advice found here and in the forum in general. The way I see it, there are two main category choices; Original and Restomod. Lets just say that an Original is just that... if the cowl plate says its a SS, RS, Z28 thats a great start. Just have to hope that the motor, trans, rear, and trim are all correct. OTH, those cars can get expensive. If somewhere along the way a motor or trans was replaced, that could affect the price.
A restomod can sometimes be a better _buy_ meaning its had lots of stuff replaced, perhaps with better upgrades. It won't necessarily be a number's matching original, but it all depends what works for you and your budget. Personally, I'm in the restomod category because I want a car that that out handles an original, one that also gets a double-take at cruise nights and shows. Prices for Resto's can be all over the place depending on whats been done to it.
The Craigslist car you suggested is a restomod. Many restomods will feature trim items like Z/28 or SS badging, thats a matter of personal taste. Many people will call these cars a "clone" or "tribute" car. A Z/28 clone would have the badging on the front fender, it would have a cowl hood, bumperettes in the rear, a factory tach, a 12-bolt rear, and probably a lot more that others could add. The RS option was dirt cheap (under $100) when these cars were new, could be had on any model IIRC, featured the hideaway headlights, different tail lights with backup lights mounted under the bumper. When you're dealing with a restomod/clone/tribute car its nice to have trim details as correct as possible, but hey... its your ride and don't worry about the critics. The car is worth a look... but it would be worthwhile to have somebody very familiar with these cars along with you to look at it, look under it if you yourself are not. Nothing scary about that car except a "locker" rear. Hopefully, he just meant it was a positraction rear and not a welded-up locked rear. Ask if he has receipts, pictures of the restoration, and full details of the motor build and who built it.
I drove from Massachusetts to Maryland to look at a Z/28 that looked good in pix and videos, and I knew it wasn't the original motor. I brought my BIL bc he has quite a bit of experience in the bodywork side of things. When we got there, and saw it close up and personal it was a disaster. Oil leaking underneath from motor, trans, rear... rotted lower fenders, the car was originally hugger orange and had been painted black... and the black was worn through in a couple places showing the orange (not even primer). It drove/ran like crap... I couldn't wait to leave... told the owner that at half his asking price I still wasn't convinced it was worth the hassle.
Good luck with your search. If you need someone with expertise to go and look at a car, you can ask if someone in the forum is local to the area and willing to go look at the car. Buy the guy a nice dinner, give him a prepaid CC or something like that.
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