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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone. It is great to have a resource to ask questions and get input from those with tons more experience than I have. For the last 4 months I have been searching for and learning about Lemans/Tempest/GTO's. While in school I had a 1968 Lemans with a 4 speed, 350HO, A/C, posi. I kick myself now for selling it, and have dreamed about this car ever since I have been without it. In my searching so far, I have come across some observations and questions and was wondering if you guys could give your input. 1) First off, on ebay, I am wondering if there are many buyers that are willing to buy a car without having test driven/inspected the car? This seems super-risky; are most of the bidders on a typical GTO living nearby the car so they can go inspect in person?? I drove 7 hours one way to inspect a GTO and it turned out the broker was a complete liar and misrepresented the car- right now I suspect most brokers are not to be trusted. 2) Secondly, it seems like there are a lot of GTOs in the 20-25K range, that have not had engine/trans/rear end rebuilt. If it's just a standard 400ci/350HP, no convert, no ram air, should i expect to be able to find one with rebuilt drivetrain for 20-25K, or is this asking too much (I'm looking for 1968-69)? 3) do these cars run ok with 80-100K miles on them, or should I expect the drivetrain to breakdown at anytime with that kind of mileage? 4) my ideal car would be 68-69 GTO 400 OR Lemans/Tempest 350HO, with A/C and 4 speed. I see so many cars without the a/c compressor, but which came with factory A/C; is it likely that simply putting in a new compressor is all that is needed to get a/c up and running? 4) in 4 months of searching, I have yet to see a 68-69 Lemans/Tempest with a 350HO engine, 4 speed, and a/c- is this something that is going to be super-rare?? or are they out there???? Thanks so much for any input! Dennis
 

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Should be able to get a nice recent resto w/re-built motor/trans between 20-30, cheaper if a LeMans or Tempest. Stay away from the brokers, a lot of guys on the forum are willing to go check out local cars for other members across country. You are in a great area to find good metal restorable vehicles but these days it will cost you well over the 20-30K mark to restore one. If you would consider a 70' pm (personal message) me i may be able to help.
 

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It hasn't arrived yet, but i just bought my 400ci 69 tempest convertible (GTO clone) from ebay for $12.6k.

Two years ago i bought a 98 viper GTS off ebay sight unseen, and I had no worries at all. Ebay does cover your ass. You should read their Vehicle Protection Program information to see if you would feel comfortable.

Having someone see it is good, but at the same time everyone looks for something different, and what's good for you might not be good for them, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the replies and info guys. that is good to hear that a recent restoration can be had for 20-30k.
 

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In my experience Carfax is a complete waste of time. First, it will not accept a 13 digit VIN as a legit VIN, so right off the bat it is useless for an older vehicle. Second, very few insurance companies actually report to Carfax, so you're not as covered as you think you are.
 

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Definitely take your time buying, and make sure you get the best car you can for your money. As most will say here, for every one thing you think the car needs, there are 4 or 5 more lurking in the dark depths.
 

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yeah, it is a real test of patience to want a/THE car so badly, but to not have any good options in sight at the moment. I have felt like an addict searching for a car, but there is no drug to be had...
 

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The other thing- I read the ebay protection policy and it seems to only cover you if the title is fraudulent, or things like that. It says for vehicles older than 10 years, it won't cover you for mechanical problems, even if the seller says it runs fine and it turns out it doesnt. They say the responsibility is all on you to inspect the vehicle BEFORE purchase. This opens it up for all sellers to claim their vehicles run well and need nothing, (being sold as is, of course), and get away with it even if this is not true. I guess the saving grace is if you read ebay's policy on non-pay bidders, you basically get a slap on the wrist for your first two non-pay auctions, even if they are cars! so i guess one could bid on a car and win it, and then inspect afterwards and back out if it was misrepresented...
 

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Also, these cars run fine with miles on them....I overhauled my '67 GTO when it hit 173,000, and it really only needed a valve job. When AC components are missing, it's probably wiser to retrofit the car with Vintage Air, which is an aftermarket AC system compatable with these cars that is less invasive and more effective than the '60's era AC. Good luck on your quest. You should easily be able to find a restored one for 20-25k and a nice driver for half that. A couple of years back, I missed out on a cherry, 80k mile one-owner '68 with a 4 speed and AC....it went for 12k and was a solid western car with zero rust and an excellent driver...about #3 condition, never restored. They are out there. Be patient, and you'll do well.
 

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A 1968 Lemans 350HO, 4 sp, air, is probably a rare car to start with. Looking for a replacement, might be tough.

Here is my take on buying a "restored" car. Define "restored". Original numbers matching or not? There are those who completely disassemble a car, chemically dip the frame/body to arrest corrosion, and rebuild from the ground up with NOS or new repro parts. Top dollar for these cars. Then there is the on-frame restoration where parts are replaced with repro parts, maybe some NOS stuff, body redone & repainted, engine rebuilt, and looks good.

A shiny looking, newly refurbished, car is not always what it seems. Maybe it was totaled out and rebuilt. Maybe it was really a rust bucket to begin with. How do you know? You spend 10 G's and a year later the paint is bubbling and blistering from the rust that was left in the metal because the previous restoration shop did not arrest it or prep it correctly -the heavy rusting going on behind the fender braces, wheel well lips, inside the rear quarter window area, front/back windows, etc.. A lot of issues can haunt you later down the road and cost you more big dollars.

Personally, I prefer an original car even if its beat up and in poor shape. I know what I am getting, period. I can tear the car down myself and redo it, so a plus for me in saving money, but a lot of time -and it still costs. I would be looking for a 1968 Lemans and recreating what you had. Original doesn't really matter unless you plan to sell it, and it sounds like you won't -this time.

Do you have a "Craigslist" in your area on the internet that you can search? I see many rebuildable cars in my area, some very reasonable. Saw a 1969 Lemans, blue, 400 CI, auto, straight body, and ready for the road for $2,500 or BO. The claim was the seller's son had passed away from an illness and he just wanted to get rid of it. No lie. I would have tried for it myself, but have too many projects and am not into flipping cars. Have seen GTO's, Tempest, and other Lemans' come across on Craigslist. Some very cheap rebuilders to say the least. They are out there. A nice long trip along old roads in the country, asking where the "old junk yards are" can sometimes produce results. Ebay, Hemmings, car shows, some of the larger trade magazines, and those dealers who specialize in muscle cars will always be high -and some outrageous.

Partially restored where someone has lost interest or no longer has time can also be a good way to get a better deal. Buying sight unseen is not good practice. I think all of us who tinker with old cars have at one time or another zipped off to look at a car that seemed like a deal of the century only to leave saying, "you gotta be sh*****g me?" It was junk and miss represented to boot. Would have hated to buy it without looking at it first hand and then be disappointed. Friend of mine bought a car off Ebay several years ago, shipped it from California, only to have some issues the seller forgot to mention. He did not get any money back even after having Ebay get involved, he still owns the car. He has also bought others sight unseen where he was very happy with the cars. So no easy answer here except keep looking, learn as much as you can to protect yourself, and when the "deal" comes along you will know it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
great info guys. thanks so much. hearing over and over to take my time and the right car will be out there is good advice- i think it may be sinking in through my thick, impatient skull!
 

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As mentioned earlier, should be a good selection in your area. I ended up paying too much for my car, but was a 4spd and local, which was somewhat rare around here when i was looking! Had i been willing to take a couple of years to find something, I definitely would have found more options. To make me feel a little better, i am reminded that I could have spent 1,000's of dollars traveling around the country, paying for shipping, etc, trying to find a better deal.
 

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I found mine locally on Craigslist. I wasn't looking for a specific car though and looked at many of them over a year. I was looking for a "deal" in which I found but missed several throughout the year. You have to put your time in and be ready to react fast.

That is where I struggled since it is a great expense I had a hard time pulling the trigger and missed a couple of them. I wanted to think it through and research as much as possible before dropping the cash.

I was looking today again and came across this one right around the corner from me. Might be something you are interested in

GTO (1968 - 400 - 4spd - #'s Matching)

Good luck in your search.
 
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