Matt Harwood

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Everything posted by Matt Harwood

  1. Some of my favorite cars are the oddities. Not just a car with an unusual color, but cars that maybe shouldn't exist, cars like this 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible. I don't think GM really wanted to build a full-sized luxury car with a 4-speed manual gearbox and Pontiac's biggest, nastiest V8, but someone wanted to buy it, so here it is. PHS says fewer than 20 were built. This is the only one I've ever seen, and I can't imagine that there are more than a handful surviving today. Three? Four? Anyway, it's just too cool to see 4000 pounds of luxury sled with a Hurst shifter between the seats, the performance of a Trans Am, and a trunk big enough to move your daughter into an apartment. Code D Montreaux Blue is this car's original color, and when it was restored three years ago, that's what went on the immaculately prepped sheetmetal. It's handsome, elegant, and a bit sporting, perfect for a car like this and you won't feel like a juvenile driving it. I don't know how much they spent on the restoration, but it was surely a gigantic number and the results are extremely impressive. All the chrome is show-quality and the stainless was polished to match. It is extremely crisp and bright. Yes, the headlights work properly. The interior is likewise the original-spec 585-S Parchment buckets and it, too, was restored to show standards. There might be a few almost invisible signs of use, but I bet you can't find them. It appears that the gauges are original, but they're in very good condition and the indicated 56,180 miles are since it was built. Cold factory A/C, an AM/FM radio with working power antenna, and a power convertible top are part of the deal. The only demerits are the clock that doesn't work and the horn button is about 15 degrees off-center. Speaking of the top, it's perhaps the most beautifully fitted power convertible top I've ever seen. There's not a wrinkle or crease anywhere on it--it is so taut that I assumed it would be virtually impossible to latch. Nope, effortless. The guy who did this job was a real pro. The rust-free trunk is outfitted with a correct mat, full-sized spare with cover, and a full jack assembly. But the real reason this car is special is under the hood: Pontiac's 428 cubic inch high-output V8 making 376 horsepower. It is the car's original, numbers-matching WJ-coded powerplant and it was fully rebuilt to stock specs about 2000 miles ago. It's neatly detailed with Pontiac Turquoise engine enamel, familiar chrome valve covers, and all the proper little stuff. There's a new clutch, a rebuilt Muncie M22 transmission (the only one rated to handle the HO's torque), and a fresh 12-bolt rear end with 3.23 gears inside so it feels suitably luxurious on the road. The suspension is luxury car smooth, but it does have the heavy-duty suspension so handling is adequate and disc brakes were standard with the big engine. That's why it doesn't have the 8-lug wheels (I'm sure you were going to ask), but it does have correct 15-inch wheels and hubcaps, along with a fresh set of radials. Paperwork includes PHS documentation, original manuals, Protect-O-Plate, and a CD-ROM with a service manual on it. There's also a show board and a reprint of an article from the Pontiac Club magazine where this was the cover car in July 2016. This is very close to a #1 quality car, it has a bulletproof pedigree, it is fully documented, and it is incredibly rare for all the right reasons, not just a few options. If you're a Pontiac guy, you know this is an amazing car. If you're not, well, maybe you're going to gag on the $79,900 price tag. But I have to ask--have you ever seen another luxury cruiser this cool? Thanks for looking!
  2. This 1936 Special isn't a car I would ordinarily represent, but that isn't to say I don't like it. I often tell people that what I like and what the business likes are sometimes two very different things. This 1936 Buick Special sedan was referred to us by a good client and the car was owned by a long-time friend of his in the western New York region. Unbeknownst to us, he loaded up the trailer and hauled it down to Cleveland and showed up in our parking lot with it, ready to sell. He came into the showroom and immediately felt that he'd made a mistake. That's nonsense and as a Buick guy, there was no way I was going to turn him away. He's owned this Special for decades and while it's far from a show car, it is one heck of a runner and a car he has used for many, many tours over the years. It is bulletproof reliable, spacious, solid, and it sure does drive well. The paint is quite old and probably done in his garage, so don't expect to win prizes with it, and the black fenders weren't correct for 1936 although I don't hate how they look. So we gave it a modest color sand and buff and brought out a bit of a shine so it looks presentable for driving with a few thin spots that were probably inevitable after all these years. The chrome is original and has the usual light pitting, but nothing is critically damaged and right now the whole car has a complete, all-of-a-piece look that doesn't really need or make excuses. Just drive without worries. The interior is newer and quite well done, offering tan cloth and proper patterns throughout. The driver's seat is firm and comfortable and the back seat looks hardly used. Original handles, moldings, and fittings are completely intact and the dash is in good order. The big banjo steering wheel isn't cracked or falling apart and the gauges, while original, all seem to work save for the ammeter (the car is 12 volts with an alternator). Horns and a few bulbs don't work due to the conversion, but that would be easy to remedy. There's also an auxiliary temperature gauge under the dash. Updated wiring works behind the scenes and the headliner is just beautiful. The glass appears to be original and some of it is delaminating around the edges, but none of it interferes with visibility--the front vent windows are the worst. The trunk is fully carpeted and includes a full-sized spare. The engine appears to be the original 233 cubic inch straight-8, even though it's the wrong color. Aside from the 12-volt electrical system, it remains completely stock and runs beautifully. We've never had any issues starting it--in fact, it springs to life faster and easier than cars half its age. It idles smoothly hot or cold and as I mentioned, it's fantastic out on the road. Plenty of power, easy shifting, light clutch action, and good brakes. We've never seen more than 180 degrees on the gauge and it makes good oil pressure with no smoking or other issues. It doesn't have exhaust leaks or any of those problems, although it does lay a few drops of oil here and there. It's crusty and grimy underneath, but not rusted or neglected and again, it's just about right for a car that you're going to drive instead of show. Handsome artillery wheels are color-matched to the bodywork and carry ancient wide whites, and I recommend replacing those before setting out on a journey--they have signs of age that I wouldn't ignore. Radials would be an excellent choice that would make this a first-rate driver. Yes, I like this car and it's a heck of a lot of fun for just $10,900. That's about the same as a Model A sedan in this condition, and you get a far more road-worthy car with this 8-cylinder Buick. Again, not a show car, not perfect, but solid, complete, and quite enjoyable to drive. If you've been looking for an economical way into the hobby with a car that's not as common as most in this price range, this is a good choice. It's very easy to like and you can upgrade it along the way. Thanks for looking!
  3. Can I reuse 1955 Packard 320 headbolts?

    Good point, Larry. The car we were working on did indeed have an aluminum head.
  4. Wow what a car!

    I don't care enough to do that. I only posted it because multiple people expressed an interest in seeing it. To me, it's a $15,000 car that needs TLC, but not valuable enough to sweat through the pedigree and worry about perfection. It's a beater that someone can have some fun with. You'd be a fool to buy it and try to make it perfect. PS: The red one just sold for $107,000...
  5. Can I reuse 1955 Packard 320 headbolts?

    That's just it--you won't see the stretching. It's thousandths, literally not enough to see with the naked eye. The original bolts looked fine. No visible signs of distress, threads good, no galling, no damaged flats on the heads. But stretched they were, ranging from about 12 to 18 thousandths too long, enough to prevent the head gasket from sealing properly when torqued to spec. We ended up using some Grade 8 bolts that cost about $3 each and were, interestingly enough, the right finish (note that vintage bolts are probably little better than Grade 2 or 3, claims of "things were better back then" notwithstanding). It's not like we shoved mangled bolts back into the holes and hoped for the best. They looked just fine. They were not. And we had to take the engine apart twice because of it. Or you can use fresh head bolts (hopefully some that don't cost $18 each) and never worry about it again. Your money, your time, your decision.
  6. Wow what a car!

    That second digit looks like a "J" doesn't it? I'll check on the other side tomorrow and see what else is there. I don't believe this is the original engine, the half-visible numbers don't appear to match the VIN. It looks like 7551 but the VIN isn't anywhere close to that. So non-original engine but maybe still a '63. I'll verify tomorrow.
  7. Can I reuse 1955 Packard 320 headbolts?

    What are they made out of, titanium?
  8. Wow what a car!

    I think the steering wheel is original and used to be silver like the rest of the interior, it's just discolored by time and sun. Unfortunately, the engine number is obscured. I'm not going to pull the valley pan on an inexpensive car just to find out if it's numbers-matching--it doesn't really matter and doesn't appear to be. We spent a pile of money on detailing, A/C, and tires. The next guy can enjoy it while he improves the little stuff that remains. Runs great, no smoke, not a rusty car, nice bodywork, gorgeous interior. Good starter car for someone. That looks like a TH400 pan to me, too:
  9. Did You Ever Own.....

    I desperately wanted a Reliant Robin, but...
  10. Wow what a car!

    OK, fine. Just go easy, boys. I took it in on trade because the bodywork is super straight and clean, it has working factory A/C, and I really dig the silver interior. Merely driver grade and still needs some TLC (little stuff not working like radio, horn, antenna). We fixed the A/C already. Appears to have a TH400 installed, no Dynaflow. Two floor patches but the rest of the sheetmetal is original; not a rusty car--comes from Tennessee. Drives nice. Not expensive. Have at it.
  11. Wow what a car!

    This is a VERY tough crowd... I have a '63 Riv that just came in and there's simply NO WAY I'm going to post it here and let it get picked apart. It's decent, but if that red one doesn't measure up, my car will get absolutely murdered.
  12. Headlights: sealed beam, Halogen, HID, LED???

    Are exploring space with that thing? Wow! That actually looks pretty butch.
  13. Unknown limo

    I think you guys might be right on the Packard just by looking at the tips of the front fenders. The Packards have that extra extension whereas the Wintons have them all as one smooth curve. I should have waited for Keiser. He's unbeatable at this game.
  14. Can I reuse 1955 Packard 320 headbolts?

    I wouldn't. Head bolts stretch and even if the threads look good, the bolts themselves may not actually be good. Many were designed for single time use (torque-to-yield). We recently had a car in our shop that had a rebuilt engine but had been in a museum for 20 years. We got it running and driving and we found that it was blowing white smoke and consuming coolant. Pulled the head and found nothing wrong and the copper gasket was in good shape. Ultimately, we learned that the head bolts had stretched just enough to keep it from sealing properly once it was warmed up to operating temperature and driving at speed. Head bolts are cheap. Use new ones and be sure that it's right.
  15. 64 Wildcat $7000 but....only 61K miles

    While I would never, ever respond in such a manner, I have certainly explained to one or two people that I'm not interested in selling a car to them. Sometimes the deals just smell bad. An accusatory tone, nit-picking details that aren't really reasonably and commonly known, and other clues often tip me off that the guy making the inquiry is going to waste a lot of my time, demand a substantial discount for the "flaws," and that once he gets the car he will find more which, of course, will also be my problem and my responsibility. My response in these situations is usually, "I'm sorry, I don't think this is a good match. Best of luck in your search!" Some guys take it well, but most respond with similar profanity to that provided by the seller up above. They are unkind and vicious more often than not, as a matter of fact. I understand that car dealers are easy punching bags, but most guys don't take it well when people selling things don't dance when they say, "Dance!" So I don't like what happened up above, but I get it. There are better responses but there are also better ways to approach the seller rather than simply kicking in the door and implying that the seller is pulling a fast one. That's exactly what happened to generate that unkind response--most people, me included, aren't experts on every detail of every car ever made. Expecting a seller to know details that you know isn't always reasonable. Some guys just own old cars without researching whether they used a yellow throttle spring on Tuesdays and a green one on Wednesdays and correcting that particular defect. Some guys just find an old car and enjoy it for a while, then sell it without knowing anything beyond where to pour the gas into it. Keeping that in mind when you open a dialogue can make things go more smoothly. Some guys' money just isn't green enough and you've all met such people. It's not unique to the car world.
  16. 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car $7500

    There are many such sites. Almost every car I've ever had on eBay has shown up this particular site and you can even still find my 1941 Buick Limited listed there and I bought it three years ago. I do not believe they represent the cars as being in their inventory or even that they can sell them to you--they don't seem to be interested in selling cars. My guess is that they're interested in selling advertising to other companies and advertising how much traffic they have coming through to look at "their" cars. These sites will grab your auction photos and description and all the other data and simply post it to harvest E-mail addresses from people who try to contact them to buy the car and to sell advertising in the form of banner ads at the top of their site. There's no response to inquiries and they're not running any scam beyond that. Some sites will run ads like this and call you later to try to collect some money: "Hey, have you seen how much traffic we're sending your way? How about buying some advertising from us?" Feel free to ignore these. I don't think this is a hostile act designed to defraud. They're just harvesting Ebay information for other purposes. But they aren't going to sell your car out from under you or anything like that. Chasing them with a lawyer is probably futile and not money that is well spent. Ignore and move on.
  17. My sons Cody and Riley, respectively, with our 1929 Cadillac.
  18. Unknown limo

    That low hood makes me think Winton.
  19. Survey - How do you drive your classic vehicle?

    What cruising for chicks might look like:
  20. Survey - How do you drive your classic vehicle?

    I buy old cars because their larger trunks can carry more bodies, er, I mean cargo. Yeah, cargo. Usually the guys at the junkyard don't look twice when I say I want it crushed. Also, don't look in the trunk. I mean it.
  21. 62-64 GM wagon

    Ooops, too late. My wife just sold her Impala wagon. Sorry!
  22. PRICE DROP!! 1969 Buick GS 400 Fully Restored

    I just sold this car for $32,000, and it's green. If you can get your car to our shop here in Cleveland, I'll sell it for you for free to help you out, no strings attached. This ad and Craig's List aren't going to do it and that's a really nice car. I know what you're going through and will help if I can. Let me know!
  23. '40-'47 Battery/Temperature Gauge

    I have seen them and the quality isn't bad, but he's right that they won't be a match. The new plastics are a bit brighter and yellower than the originals, but some of that is surely due to age on the originals. So yes, the repros aren't a perfect match unless you replace the entire set. I have a few NOS gauges and the colors vary quite a bit depending on how they were stored, but they're all creamier than the reproduction pieces. It's tough to get them all to match without doing all the gauges at once. However, I will say that you can tweak the color a bit with creative painting (my gauge guy is particularly good at it), so it isn't an all-or-nothing proposition if you're creative. And even some mis-match might be better than broken pieces. It depends on how close you can get.