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Unconventional Wisdom for the Collector Car Enthusiast

Dan Morton

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Just because you can't afford a high-dollar collectible muscle car doesn't mean you can't enjoy the fun of owning and driving a shining example of Detroit's finest vintage iron.

Had your heart set on a 1968 Dodge Charger but can't seem to find the $20k to $30k to buy just an average example? How about a Dart of the same year, two-door hardtop with a V8? You can still find a nice one for about $5k. Even Coronets and Monacos are still bargains, compared to the Charger. And when you're behind the wheel of your Monaco 500, with a 440 cubic inch V8 growling at your feet, you'll find that the Charger will be far from your thoughts. And you'll have thousands of dollars still in your pocket. And a silly grin on your face.

Even four-doors, the red-headed stepchild of the collector car world, are fast becoming a common sight at car shows. Looking for a nice 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop? Got $25K to $75K burning a hole in your bank account? How about a four-door hardtop? I've seen some really nice original and partially restored cars go for about $10k to $15k. They still have that classic chrome grin, and those razor-sharp fins jutting out back. Yours, for a much more affordable price tag. Do you have a hankering for a mid-sixties Chevrolet Chevelle or a Pontiac Le mans? Try a four-door hardtop. They're much more affordable, and have close to the same clean, sexy lines as the two-doors. Don't forget, with a four-door it's easy for the rear seat passengers to get in and climb out. Getting passengers into and out of two-doors were definitely not priority design elements back then. And, many of the two-doors were modified by hot-rodders (and not always in a kind and sensitive way). The four-doors were mainly family haulers, and finding a nice original should be much easier (and cheaper) than locating a similar car with mere dual doors. Also, don't discount wagons. They're gaining in popularity and share many attributes with the four-doors - plus added cargo room and cool looks!

The moral of the story? When contemplating your next vintage car purchase, don't box yourself in with a conventional choice. Go unconventional, and count yourself among the millions of collector car lovers, and on a budget you can live with.

Dan Morton is a car enthusiast, author and internet entrepreneur. Visit his unconventional car site,


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