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New User

Apr 13, 2015, 7:50 PM

Post #1 of 7 (3120 views)

Need some advice real fast! I'm looking into an absolute beautiful '68 Buick Wildcat, Automatic, 430 Big Block. It's being sold for very cheap and it is a constant itch for me to not look into it. I am comparing that car to another being sold for a fair price, it is a 73 Satellite and for what he is selling it, its a near steal. I need fast feedback and advice about what I should choose! I am not looking for a gas hog, but the Wildcat is gorgeous and it may be worth it. Plus, I don't drive very often so it would be a prize piece. It is currently going for 3k. Is it worth it?

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 14, 2015, 2:00 AM

Post #2 of 7 (3097 views)

I'll give you advise fast - DON'T BUY EITHER! If you like the looks and fun of an old car and think for a second what value any would be without spending a day or more checking them out at those ages your nuts.

$3,000 if you knew either was full of original parts could be worth it in parts only for another. Those are two totally different cars of different interest which will change valuations.

The Mopar in 1973 would be first year that had electronic ignition but also the first year of the 5mph bumper law and crossover year when fuel MPG and emission controls were set to begin in 1975 so could be de-tuned or not that year with 1/2 the OE power of just a 1972 model - you only said Satellite not what package it might have?

If you bring along a real old phart that would know which was real or faked it would help. IMO more interest in the Buick.

Auctions and fire sales for old stuff love buyers who won't catch the reason it's cheaper,


New User

Apr 14, 2015, 2:38 PM

Post #3 of 7 (3079 views)

Thanks for the help! Yes, I was aware of the 73 being the year that they changed to the mph bumper. The Satellite was being sold for roughly $2,000 and the 68 Wildcat was being sold for, as I said, $3,000, but I really feel that if i let that go then it will be the car that got away.

I really love the Wildcat but I'm not sure I'm convinced to take the classy, beautiful, big block over the Mopar. For as cheap as the Satellite is (I have no idea what package it has, seller seems sketchy) I don't know which to choose. The Satellite is the next town over as compared to the Wildcat being sold 3 hours North of me.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 14, 2015, 4:20 PM

Post #4 of 7 (3071 views)

Sport - I've never owned a new car and mega tons of classics and antiques plus restorations. You are looking at the price which means absolutely NOTHING for these cars! One the Wildcat, '68 if you need a windshield just because of unseen rust or body flaws and it cracks hitting a bump you are screwed about the whole car - got it?

I'm serious. You can make my cat's poop look pretty with paint and chrome it still shiiiit! This is not a game for being rushed, the timid, or those that don't have a bottomless pit of bucks for it and a place for it as well.

Last pretty dang nice resto I did was an emotional job. Boring model w about no options of the last suicide door Lincoln Continental, 1969 w over 200K on it but known since almost new.

Cost = free. Total expense to make it look new and run new at my costs exceeded $13,000 bucks! Silly moldings, interior trim and crap is unreal costly. I did NOT detail engine compartment or trunk which if real anal about it would mean taking it all out to paint up, get proper original stickers (huge bucks for stupid stuff like that) and so on. It was going to be driven so clean and pretty engine meant little in this case.

Now I said an emotional deal so money wasn't the reason it was who owned it personally. Lost my shirt when I did sell vs what I had in it at cost. It was a boring car except a novelty of the rear doors open backwards and it was freaking huge and had about the most HP of any full size Continentals made, the first high compression 460-4V would pass anything but a gas station and no problem getting a whopping 5 MPG doing it!

This is whimsical fun and a bite easier for those who do at least minor work ongoing unless museum stored to just look at.

It's shocking how much "Bondo" and cheap rechroming can make a crap car look great but will show it's nasty flaws quickly far exceeding the original cost is the problem with the game.

Was reading your mind as you were caught up in price first which is so wrong on top of two totally different cars with different interests if investment (don't count on that with cars) was of any concern. No, for most it will be a Sunday driver kept out of harm's way constantly or just drive these things till you can't take the stupid little things that will go wrong.

Check on the GM what just OE duplicated now rubber for doors, hood, vent windows (think had them) trunk seals that are molded rubber not off a roll cost. Steele & Co. make new OE rubber for many GMs but GMs only.

'68 you had a padded dash and door panels arm rests at least hard to keep them unwrecked from sun alone over time. Nasty expensive to get looking as new redone and forget finding real new about now.

When you deviate from OEM parts and fixes you are usually ruining it's value if it matters to you.

I feel your interest and live it! Many people seek out a car they couldn't afford when it was new and will pay up the butt for one now. You didn't specify but rather just saw two old cars that looked nice to you.

If you want an old car just to have a nice old car take the time to find out one that you like first and fits a budget plus parts available is always an issue.

The scare is you end up with a good looking bondo job with the wrong engine or something and find out it's not worth much and hard to keep running if just wanted to use it.
If really interested in a "driver" OLD car and really aren't motivated by which exact one, I suggest going for some very popular if only for parts available.

Start off with good upholstery, rubber, leather, vinyl or cloth include the headliner too. All those hard to get redone right. Bring someone who's really into it. Someone who knows quickly what is a crap bondo box which can be fine if all you want and it can be made to run dependably if that's what you wish to do and have a dry storage place for cars you aren't going to use a lot.

The right car with the right history you can still do it. It's near impossible to be a passive owner of such things - if only proper storage for low use and still take care of it so it doesn't pull something impossibly expensive on you which is a risk with any but can beat the odds with the right checking.

Again: Rushing into it you'll mess up. Cars for sale cheaper than you think they should there's almost always a reason.

I dare say that those who aren't totally into it will regret it.

It's a tough hobby/game all around,


New User

Apr 14, 2015, 8:09 PM

Post #5 of 7 (3060 views)

Thank you so much for advice, I appreciate a lot. I don't mean to seem rushed into this, I've been scouring craigslist all over for a year now trying to find the right deal. Something that is clearly original, small fixes, etc.

I'm looking for something in a budget, that's not a complete beater, and even if it has issues, small hopefully, they can be fixed. It's actually funny you said something about seals, the Wildcat being sold needs new window seals. I think rubber would be a great replacement.

This specific car, the Wildcat, is all original, 55k miles, needs new window seals, and there is a fingerprint of rust on the rear panels and thats it! I hoped it was a dream come true, that, after searching a year now I may have found something worth while.

I really appreciate the advice and I plan to look further regarding this classic and its stability and level of maintenance.

If I make my decision about this car, it will be my first! :) On the side, I do drive my fathers economy car and honestly I need something of my own. Something I can slave my personal time into. I've always had a die hard love for classics, never knew why.

I thank you lots

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 15, 2015, 2:21 AM

Post #6 of 7 (3048 views)

I think we are getting there with this as a "hobby" mind you. Again reading your mind --you even think about fuel economy of an antique you're not thinking hard enough. It will cost you $100 to $1 just to have it never mind fuel.

That rubber means put up with it or huge bucks and it isn't just on a door same w rust. Suggests doors leak water in and bet if you looked under carpets floors are almost ready to fall thru? It's an old story to say one tiny spot bullshat. If that easy get it fixed and say it's totally rust free. One spot is probably (I can't know without looking at each) a bad fix from before or sign that back of that area is rusted badly unseen up to feet of metal away from where seen and down. If you just Bondo that/those things and never let it so much as get wet again you can have a fun car if limited rust such as that. It's otherwise a value killer as the fix is new metal only.

It could be a total bargain and seller doesn't know what they have which is why you should have any checked out. Start by finding a car meet/show all over the place will begin soon and see some cars and talk to the people who will usually love to talk old cars.

Quite a few may come from family and original or well restored or for some time the "Muscle Cars" of the 60's into 70's but look out for value again. It really isn't all that hard to fake miles, what the real model was totally matters and that engine, trans are what came with it for top buck and interest or done well for a driver - need to know what it is and what you want.

The right car will have a history from new. Actually somewhat common for folks to buy some neat something new and keep a log of every last dinky thing ever done and have original sales sticker that was on window as well.

The $2,000 > $3,000 buck market isn't up there at all. That's a dime for what things will cost if wanted right and OE.

I have to hurry while I have any memory left (don't laugh) about these two cars mentioned some. Not googling a think I recall them new. Buick would have key on dash not the steering column for the last model year and first model year of powered side lighting so look for a fender that doesn't maybe then know it's from something older. Battery cables should be original on a real 50,000 ish mile car cared for at all. The top posts GM clamps were all spring loaded horseshoe clamps not side posts yet! If stored it would likely be altered already anyway to turn a knob to disconnect battery when not in use. That just a couple tidbits.

The Mopar as I call them. Radiator and hoses would have funky round metal spring hose clamps that sucked but if to be OE still used. Most and I would toss those for a driver. Mopars were a cooling system nightmare when a couple years old never mind now. Some is pretty hard like doing all "freeze plugs" with better and paint over as original. They let go all the time without warning then and you about have to pull the engine out to get them all. When one goes the rest aren't far behind!

It's just talk and opinion on my part for some of this. Mopar couldn't make a car not rattle away or sound insulate worth a damn. Feels like driving a metal trash can with wheels to me. Door handles, arm rests, knobs and thing just snap like toy crap. OE paint really stunk. 5MPH bumpers should just have large rubber extensions not whole bumper that stuck out an extra 4 inches like most others but passed with that on about all. The real issue with early 5MPH bumpers was wild extra weight of them and supports behind them. The rule was that you could hit a cement wall at 5MPH with no damage as folks were ticked at cars just touching a shopping cart and wreck grilles and even hoods with nothing for bumpers. 1973 was also the first ever real oil crisis in America with the oil embargo, all oil fuels doubled fast and gas lines the rule. Nixon put on a nationwide 50 MPH top speed limit anywhere in the USA! Yes, 50 not 55 which was quickly changed to as truckers hated either and were a strong lobby to up speeds on then so much nicer interstate roads all designed for safe 85MPH driving short of near cities and certain other impossible problems like thru mountains etc.

Either of those cars could have had drum brakes in the front! Mopars used to only put disc on their V8s for about then. GM was late with about everything except special orders (owned a '68 Olds 98LS special edition) with non electronic ABS disc brakes! Actually Corvette brake calipers which stunk with 4 pistons each!

All Mopars were unit body for ages before that except the "X" frame Imperials - awesome cars! Unit body was both good and bad. Used torsion bars for front springs which is great - adjust ride height. Any rust those twisted the mid floors of cars sub frames right off. Rear leaf springs all sagged even if never driven. Not such a great time for some ideas on assorted cars.

'73 the emission controls were in wait and some already de-tuned as said up top. By that you lost tons of HP and used lots more fuel in the same size engine of a '72 model! Not all but more of the big blocks really took a hit. It ended real Muscle cars. By '74 or '75 cars looked like the just a couple year older ones but were real dogs and pigs.

Know what you are after as said a few times. All cars will seem big compared to today's junk.

Things that stunk for that vintage. All cars had lousy rubber products compared to another generation, tires lacked, brakes lacked, oils for engines lacked so wild care or quick problems, seals for anything engine or body stunk. Driving behavior really stunk. Couldn't handle a curvy road with bumps on much if it wasn't a Corvette or believe it or not the VW Bug! Almost everything leaked or dripped oils from engine, trans and differentials to be checked constantly and people did. Gas stations near always offered to do this for free! Leaded gas varied in great octane for nuke powered engines but also caused early carbon build up and fast exhaust destruction. Tune-ups were a Spring and Fall routine not years like now. All front end parts were greaseable and nobody really did it well so Mopars and others ate ball joints like lunch.

The awesome was brute straight line power and torque and tough drivetrains for it. Top speed handling was terrible on most all.

Mix era of easy fix regular cars, Muscle cars and luxo boat with no weight spared or toys to amuse owners. I did fall for that then for some and some I wanted nothing but a heater not even a radio!

Again, it's all fine and a fun game. Use a car or only a Sunday driver never even let get wet thing now or sit in the sun.

If you want easy go common plain car. Choose "old Lady/Man" types. Chev Nova or ChevyII, Ford Fairlanes, Falcons, Galaxie plain Jane cars without the biggest engines offered. The Mopars-- easy was Darts, Valiant, Coronets and so on. Foreign? I'm bad, not much very good but easy and popular would be the Beetles and like VW cars. Forget Asian back then.

Throw in AMC the struggling 4th largest US car maker. Some really neat stuff but all odd IMO. Totally on your own for parts then and worse now. Can be fun now (to each their own) to own a Gremlin or Pacer either the challenge seemed who could make ugly fashionable - they didn't but funny now.

Again, again, go to a local car meet and see what you want then go find it in the condition you like not the other way around.

You can and will lose your shirt with this. If only that much you won - smile,


New User

Apr 15, 2015, 6:43 PM

Post #7 of 7 (3032 views)

I appreciate the advice Tom, this is something I would love to get into starting as a young adult. I've always had this fascination. Listening and reading the stories of later year cars. Right out of high school I don't necessarily plan to jump straight into college and into a severe and early debt so I wouldn't mind a side hobby, something I will enjoy, even when something goes wrong.

I completely understand the idea of not jumping right into the thick of it, as you said, so babying a car and restoring it the way I would like it (because, as you mentioned, restoration is judged by the owner, or at least that's what I got out of that)

I have to say, you surely educated me a bit there and it all helps!

I truly thank you for opening my eyes and slowing my ass down about this, haha. I talked more to the owner of the Wildcat and once I receive more pictures I will update this thread of my decision and see what you or anyone thinks.

Thanks Tom!

(This post was edited by TheFortunateSun on Apr 15, 2015, 6:47 PM)

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