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Discussion Starter #1
Everyone loves to give their opinion or thoughts on a situation. Right? Well, please give me your thoughts on my situation. There are no wrong opinions at this point, as I'm months away from starting on my car, a 1965 LeMans.

So I don't have to repeat my story, if you don't know about my car at this point please review the first couple pages of my introduction thread: LINK

I'm still in the pre-planning (dreaming) phases of my build, but I'm not just sitting by twiddling my thumbs doing nothing but typing and talking about it. I've been buying major items in preparation for what is ahead, and that has lead me to a bit of a fork in the road. I haven't quite made up my mind as to whether bring this car back to the showroom glory my mother received it in, or to muscle it up a bit.

I've been presented with a running Pontiac 400 for a good price if I want it, but I don't know if I want it. I could buy it, and stick it in the back of the garage until I'm ready for it. Or I could pass up the idea and just go the stock route.

If I bought the 400, then I would also buy a mini tub kit, narrow the rear end, and build the car so it could do wheelies from stop light to stop light.

If I don't...... then I'm going for stock. Bolt for bolt.

So, should I build a hot rod, or restore a rare Montero Red with Parchment interior, 326 Lemans that my mother ordered brand new from the local dealer? Is a numbers matching car worth anything if it's been wrecked the way mine has?
 

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:agree...if you had just picked it up as a project with the damage i would probably lean the other way, but it being basically one owner original i would restore it to that. As long as the frame is put on a rack and brought back to tolerances it should not effect value as the resto will take care of any and all damaged parts.
 

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Wrecked/ rusted what ever as long as the repairs are of good quality and thorough. A restored car will usually bring better money then a street rod. Well one that is mild compared to an over the top one anyway.
It still comes down to what you want, the time, money, and skill that you want to put into a car. Dreams are dreams, and some will out way the pocket book, and/ or the skill and time you have.
What is it that really would make you love the car. Something you use a lot or something that you like to get your speed addiction filled. How many hours do you really have and how many boxes of mac and cheese are you willing to eat.

I have 7 muscle cars 2 of which are torn apart for total restoration, 2 dirt bikes, a street bike, a sport bike, 4 large aquariums, guns, and I love computer and first person shooter games. Plus a wife and kids, friends and family with many of the same. That need help as much as me. Throw in the wife's and kid's car, pick up truck, 2 trailers, 2 homes, and all the equipment and tools to keep it all going. It makes me want to head to the Keys and start living on the streets some times.

That all being said. What is real and what do you have right now? Does the car run, do you have another car that you are playing with? What is the interior like?

I really like the tail end of the 65. I like mini tubs and blown engines but also equally like pro touring car a lot. Eric's project is way cool but Rukie's 65 is also something I would be proud of to have.
Cars for me are hard to point and say this is the style I like and stay true to it. Kinda like music some times I like to have slipknot rattling the garage door and other times some Frank and Dean just seems the right thing to have going.
When I was 19 I started my 67 rs Camaro hard top project. I had a pile of cash a 427 block, heads, crank, intake and 30 dreams as to what direction I wanted to go. 2 years later it was pewter grey with medium dark blue Strips. 13:1 pistons and an aggressive head job. I was looking for the high 10's at the track. The interior was in good condition. The 350 trans was running well with a shift kit and the 3.73 10bolt posi would leave twin scares down the back roads. A couple times of unloading every thing the engine would give up the trans started singing a song of please stop it hurts very very bad and the car not moving turned me to not launch it like that anymore. So I started working the high bank S turns out in the Indianapolis back roads. Walking the car sideways all the way through the curves and watching in the rear view mirror as the smoke was coming off the fresh posi marks left on the corners was better the any friday night date. So I started to do the suspension and moved in a new direction.
Now that I am older I think for me it is a nice marriage of raw power and good performance all around in driving. This is how I am building the 66 hard top GTO keeping it's basics original. The body, interior, and it amenities like A/C. But putting in a healthy engine an over drive trans, sway bars, bushings and reasonable tires and rims for corning but not to crazy as to coast an arm and leg to replace or burn up to fast. This car didn't have an engine or trans when I started. It was a basket case and is a collection of parts. So doing what I am is easier in my mind then a car that is original. I have 4 others that are all original and that is why the 2 GTO's are first.

Now the convertible 67 GTO is another story on its build. I don't have the original engine but it is what it is and I feel it would be better to keep it close to what it was all along, no mods. I have a 68 400 GTO 2bbl engine and a 69 m21 from a camaro. I am still looking for a 67 3.55 posi. The body is all original. Never has been wrecked and is still all factory metal.

For you I would way my money and decide what is the 400 right now. Is it a more powerful engine then the 326? Is it so much more that you will really feel a difference? Do you have to do anything to it, rebuild, or are you wanting to add stuff to make it more powerful. How much is it going to yield and what is that coast as compared to leaving the 326 as is and adding the money to the whole project? Compared to if there is nothing wrong with the 326 and can run it as is.
400's are plentiful, so even in a few years you will be able to get one maybe not as cheap as now, or maybe even cheaper, who knows? I believe you posted that you had a 5 year truck resto. So I am sure you have an Idea of what is what.

If we are talking dreams then I guess the sky is the limit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To fill in a couple of your questions, likethat, I am in the middle of a different custom hot rod build right now. The Pontiac would be my second one.

I'm no more financially limited than the next average guy who is into cars. I have the means go either direction. Though I must admit, my wallet and my wife aren't as afraid of restorations, as they are of hot rod ideas.

The 400 is stock and would need to be built up, if I were to go that way.
 

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A TRUE restoration is a far higher "bill" than a "hot rod". In today's world, it takes upwards of $80-100K to "do" one "right". The LeMans simply doesn't have the "resale" value. If it were a GTO, I'd have a different view.

The 400 is superior to the 326 in MANY ways. It is also the most solid basis for a "stock block" performance engine. It's quite easy to get more than 500 HP on 93 octane today, with a "461" (400 block, 4.25" stroke).

Build what YOU want!

Jim
 

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If I bought the 400, then I would also buy a mini tub kit, narrow the rear end, and build the car so it could do wheelies from stop light to stop light.

?
doing wheelies from stoplight to stoplight is probably not your best option. unless you want to experience jail.
 

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Ghost Town, I vote for a re-do of the original paint and interior, with upgraded insulation, and running the 400 V8 with a mild build. Tubbed cars on the street are as silly as the "MACHO" on the side of a Macho Trans Am, and are totally '80's. You can get nice aftermarket tires and wheels that will hook up, handle well, and look great. The F.A.S.T cars running original spec rubber and rims are in the 9's and 10's....all with no tubs and no butchering. My vote is for a stock looking LeMans with some juice under the hood and the original 326 packed in cosmoline in a bag stored away safe. Understated and capable is way cooler than in your face bling. "Speak softly and carry a big stick" --Tedddy Roosevelt
 

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i'm with geeteeohguy, sleepers are great. put a mild cam into that 400 so you've got good midrange and leave everyone looking at your tail lights.

that is, of course, if you don't want to do a full frame off resto. that would be very cool in it's own right and if you're already building a hot rod, a well done resto on this could make the car a nice cruiser.
 

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So, should I build a hot rod, or restore a rare Montero Red with Parchment interior, 326 Lemans that my mother ordered brand new from the local dealer? Is a numbers matching car worth anything if it's been wrecked the way mine has?
I'll help you answer your question, by asking you another one:

Who are you building the car for, and why?

If you're building it to try to maximize re-sale value for "someday" in the future, in essence, making it so that someone other than you will want, purchase, and then get to enjoy your car. Then the bolt for bolt resto is usually the safest ---- although, it's very doubtful that you'll ever be able to recoup the cost of doing the work, just because of what the car is. You will however, for the time that you own it, be able to take it to car shows and have other people ooh and ahh over it - for whatever that's worth to you.

If you're building the car for YOU, or your family, to enjoy - then look in the mirror and ask yourself which approach would plant the biggest smile on your face, for the longest period of time, for the amount of money you've got and are willing to spend.

It's your car, your cash --- satisfy yourself first. :D

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Let me add a little more to the story.....

I grew up loving cars. Unfortunately, I loved them more than my Dad, who was great at fixing the family cars and what not, he just didn't teach me anything about them. I wasn't even allowed to get my license until I was 18, and I grew up in rural farm country. My Mom was the one who loved the classic cars so anything I learned about the cool old stuff came from her.

Anyhoo.... my mother saved her old cars from when she was a kid. A '53 Bel Air convertible, and this '65 Lemans that she bought brand new. We kept them out on the farm during my entire time growing up and I dreamed about restoring them when my time came. I swore to myself that I wouldn't let those things continue to sit like my parents had.

I finally have arrived at a point in my life where I wanted to focus on these cars, but I didn't want to use them as my learning projects. I knew I was going to go through some pains and frustrations of figuring all of this car stuff out. There for, I bought a beat up old '50 Chevy 3100 short box truck to use as my first time project. I've been working with this truck for five years now and have learned a ton. Not just about Chevy trucks, but about what it takes to tear an old vehicle down to nothing and build it back up again. The truck started out bone stock, but now has a '79 firebird front clip, a triangulated 4 bar rear end, Air Ride Technologies suspension system, a "????" engine (long story, but either a built 327 or 383), 5 speed tranny, discs all around, everything powder coated or painted and blah blah blah... (this isn't about the truck). Basically, it's one customized SOB at this point. Low, fast, and cool when done.

What is the biggest thing I've learned with the truck other than basic automotive knowledge that I was seriously lacking? That building custom stuff is a real pain in the butt. And expensive.

Presently, I'm 35 and married with no kids. I will never have kids (let's leave it at that, shall we?). I will never sell this car either. Never ever. In other words, resale means nothing to me.

This post is going no where for the general public to read but I'm going to post it anyway. Typing all of this out, along with some other advice I got this morning has pretty much helped me make up my mind.

I want to get in this LeMans and drive off in it just like my darling mother did in 1965. Little 326 with a two barrel carb going on nice road trips.... I'll let my truck breath fire and "do wheelies from stoplight to stoplight". :)

I think my mind is made up guys.

Thank you all for your responses! :D
 

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That Truck/bird sounds cool, lets see some pics. Think you will have the best of both worlds and will have something to drive while you work on the Lemans. If you need parts i have the Tempest glide original 65 build date trans and a 326 i have not broken down yet. My Tempest came out of Idaho, have an Uncle in Eagle who helped me with the deal...:cheers
 

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A stock '65 Tempest/LeMans is an economical, solid, comfortable, reliable and fun to drive car. Plenty of power and good looks. Good luck with your project.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Awesome! I'm sitting in Eagle right now. Work here, but live on the other side of the valley.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Pictures of the truck will come soon. Pics of the chassis anyway. The frame went to get powder coated today and will start to get assembled on Monday. I had to wait a full MONTH for my RideTech stuff to show up. Seems like everything that I've bought for that thing has been on back order lately.
 
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