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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I'm a car enthusiast who is seriously considering buying my first american classic car. I've restored smaller convertibles -- 71 beetle and a couple of 80-81 Fiat spiders. Am interested in convertibles -- particularly larger ones that could accommodate my family of 5 (3 kids between 3 and 8 yrs).

After doing some searches, I've found that I really like the looks of the 65-67 Pontiac LeMans and GTOs and I've been looking for one.

Since this is my first American classic (my wife had a later Pontiac sunbird POS), I thought I'd buy something a bit more affordable and learn my way around them -- so was looking at LeMans rather than GTOs.

I found one in San Jose that has original color paint, original 326 engine, good interior (door panels are coming apart at the bottom) with 129K on it. Seems to drive ok, but I'm expecting the engine and/or tranny will need some work.

1965 Used Pontiac LaMans Sport Convertible at Fairground Cars Serving San Jose, IID 6819029

What should I be checking for while look it over (again - -had a quick look today)?

There's no power brakes -- is this something that can be retrofitted -- I was concerned by the slower braking?

Is the price of ~18K in the right ballpark?

I like to keep the car factory original, but I'm not too hot on the paint color. Would like to have a darker or brighter color. So -- wondering if this is a great deal that I should get and live with the color or whether I should wait and keep looking.


Thanks!
 

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I'm afraid I don't have any answers for you as I have an 06 GTO, but I am wondering if you ever ran across any good sources for Fiat parts. Last fall I saved a 59 Fiat 1100 from the crusher that needs a total resto. I know a lot of it will have to be custom but things like weatherstripping will just have to be replaced. Ebay has a lot of parts but not everything. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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That's one sweet looking ride, but photos can lie. Power brakes can be added pretty easily, but I wouldn't worry too much about "slower braking". A well set up and maintained manual system will stop just fine - only with a little more pedal effort.

18k sounds a little high to me for a Lemans, but then I'm not a market expert so don't necessarily take that to heart. Then again, if that car really is as nice as it looks it could be well worth it. I wouldn't assume out of hand that the drivetrain needs work.

The real question is, what are your goals? If you're thinking "investment" then it's important to get the car for thr right price. If you're thinking "fun and enjoyment", that doesn't matter as much (and also opens the door for whatever changes you might want to make, including paint color).

We get similar questions from people who are embarking on restoration projects, and I usually respond with "Who are you building the car for? If you're building it for you, then do whatever you want and enjoy it. If you're building it for someone else, then usually staying as close as possible to 'factory' is the safest route."

Still... nice looking car. Make sure you look underneath as much as you can for any signs of rust. Also look along the bottom edges of the body, especially behind trim pieces, for any hint of bubbling that might indicate some developing body cancer. Make sure it doesn't "feel funny" when you drive it.

Bear
 

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I agree with Bear. It's a nice car, but I think the price range should be around 12k. I'm in CA too, and a Lemans ragtop for 18k is too high. My stepsister recently sold a clean original '67 Lemans convertible for $4500....she told me after she sold it. It was factory black with a gold interior. I told her it was worth about 10k. Oh well.... It costs just as much to restore/repair a LeMans or Tempest as it does a GTO, but the money is not there on resale. On the other hand, LeMans' and Tempests are rare and getting rarer as they are being cloned, and what else could you buy for mid 'teens that is reliable, fun, and will actually appreciate in value over time? Try to get the price down and go for it. Check for rust in the trunk and under the rockers. Keep in mind that in today's economy, you would be hard pressed to even paint a Lemans or GTO for 10k or so. Parts and labor are expensive. You've worked on early '80's Fiats...you can fix anything! I like everything I see on the car except the air cleaner. Good luck, and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The car is for me -- not an investment. Thanks for the tips on the what to look for and the pricing.

The color is something that makes me hesitate. I don't want to buy it and then regret it not being the "look" I wanted. Specially, since color is about the most expensive things to change.

Last night I also looked at some ebay listings on 68-69 Firebird verts. My wife prefers that look. I like the squarer lines of the 65-67 GTO/LM, but don't mind a Firebird.

@mike06goat -- I just returned back to the US after 4.5yrs on assignment in India. There are plenty of 1100s there and parts are plentiful. One approach may be to get onto Team-BHP.com forum and in the Postwar cars section there are several Fiat 1100 buffs including one guy who was a designer at the Factory. They may be able to source the parts for you.
 

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Verhead, I always thought Mayfair Maize/Black looked great on '65's. JMO, though. One thing to consider: Firebirds have a tiny back seat, and a tiny trunk. You have 3 kids that will be growing. The Firebird also has no frame, and in a convertible configuration, makes for a much less solid platform than the full frame LeMans. I know the better half is always right, but I think the LeMans would fit a family and their luggage better. It's a more solid and more comfortable car than the Firebird, and better looking to boot!! Good luck.
 

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I have always wanted a Pininfarina. I want to put a mid 90's 3.1L V6 and 5speed out of a Firebird and super charge it For the Spyder 2000.
 
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