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Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

Posted November 29, 2021 7:56 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: chevrolet collector cars

It's time once again to window shop for your dream garage, and once again our selections will put those basic mechanical skills to good use and keep a decent piece of our automotive past on the road and in daily service. Check out the latest edition of This or That, where we're presenting four Driveable Dreams (a feature title borrowed from Hemmings Classic Car) produced during the 1970s, each with an asking price under $5,000 and currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We suspect a few of our dedicated commentators will consider turning one or two of these steeds into sleepers along the way, or perhaps follow the path of our Road to Improvement program. Opportunity is knocking!

Would you select the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu, a four-door sedan, all original with a 307 engine with a 3-speed on the column. It runs and drives but brakes need fixing and it has 76,128 original miles.

Or perhaps a 1978 Dodge Aspen, a great candidate for restoration featuring a 318 V-8, factory 4-speed, power steering, A/C, new tires and new brake master cylinder.

Maybe a car of more cavernous proportions? This 1978 Mercury Cougar is described as a nice all original car, rare color combo with very nice paint and vinyl top, 46,000-plus miles, clean leather interior.

Finally, consider the 1979 AMC Pacer Wagon, initially billed as "the first wide small car." This one is equipped with a 304 V-8 and while there are some rust issues in the rear quarters, the interior appears to be original and in good condition.

Which would you pick?

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#1

Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

11/29/2021 2:08 PM

Surely you jest....

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

11/29/2021 7:36 PM

What no AMC Gremlin?

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

11/30/2021 7:19 AM

I'd pick the Cougar because it looks like the best of the lot for trying to win the demolition derby I'd entered.

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

11/30/2021 8:21 PM

I'm holding out for a Pacer woody.

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

12/01/2021 3:18 PM

Wasn't the Jaguar XKE available at that price then? There is no dreamier car.

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

12/13/2021 4:27 PM

Wow, what a bunch or junk. For $5K, I had a chance at a 1974 Jensen Healey. I passed on it. Had original paint (chalky white), black hard top, straight body, no rust holes and looked pretty original. The motor was beautiful - twin cam Lotus motor! 4 speed (needed 5), not very pretty in person and terrible fit and finish - like a kit car! You sit very low and it has a bathtub effect - not appealing at all. Interior was in good shape, but I just didn't like it.

I passed - a friend told me I was crazy and should've bought it as an investment. Only needed a little clean up and a valve cover gasket (leaked pretty badly). And tires - dry rotted, old hard tires! I drove our 2002 VW Beetle to go see the car and after the test drive, I jumped in the Beetle and drove home. The Beetle actually felt like a nice car! It has the 2.0L 4 banger with auto - a base model with crank windows - and talk about the bathtub effect! But I preferred it over the Jensen Healey - the drive home in the VW helped me make up my mind - an of course seeing my Alfa Spiders in driveway cemented it (the Alfa's do look good!).

I think there are much better $5K choices vs these cars. Though prices have been going up ...

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

12/13/2021 6:37 PM

I'm with you. Cars (or the vehicle type of preference) should be driven, ridden, flown, piloted, etc. and not 'invested'. You only get one ride on the merry-go-round of life.

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Re: Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

12/15/2021 12:27 AM

I've talked to many people about life (since Covid) and the consensus is that life is short and can be taken away at any time, so enjoy life to the fullest ... well, maybe not to the fullest, but enjoy life!

Live as you were to die tomorrow, but learn as if you will live forever. Ghandi

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