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Where to Buy Muscle Cars Online

When shopping anywhere on the Internet, there are two rules. First, make sure the site you are purchasing from is secured. Second, if it feels like a scam, it most likely is. If it’s too good to be true, don’t trust it. With those rules in mind, the Internet has a wealth of knowledge and resources for finding every kind of muscle car you can imagine. There are three primary ways to safely purchase a muscle car the web, each with their own positives and negatives. Prioritize your needs for purchasing methods and what makes you feel most confident in purchasing from the Internet.

Online Car Auctions

There are lots and lots of car auction sites out there. Some big, some small, with varying degree of price, quality, and location. Some of the most well-known and well -respected auction houses are Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, and ClassicCars.com. Each of these sites list some of the most sought after cars in the world and they are some of the most trusted auction houses in the business.

We prefer to use eBay Motors. It offers a certain level of security and buying options. eBay can be a slippery slope and people have been known to fall for scammers, but we refer you back to rule number 2: if it feels like a scam, it most likely is. When spending any large amount of money, be sure to contact the seller and develop a rapport with them as best you can before you purchase anything and do your best to see the car before purchasing. If you haven’t purchased from eBay before, here is a useful resource with some simple steps on how to go about doing so.

Online Classifieds

The classifieds are a dodgy group of websites, so the rules apply here heavily. Do not mistake them for dealers. These are websites that advertise independent sellers. There are many out there that have not been updated for years, so I would stick with the first page of Google when searching for these sites. Here is a little list of some of the best classifieds out there (in no particular order). Again, be always wary of scams, no matter the site.

  • Craigslist – We know, we know, this might be an obvious choice, but it is one of the best resources from gauging local prices in the area, and it deserves a mention. Craigslist offers anything and everything so be prepared to spend some time searching here to find what you are looking for. Again, be careful of scams.
  • Forums – Find yourself a model-specific forum (http://www.chevelles.com/forums/) and delve into the classifieds section (http://www.chevelles.com/classifieds/) if the forum has one. Forums are great for information on any muscle car you can think of, so use them wisely.
  • Autotempest One of the most top-rated sites that encompasses almost every major listing site out there.  It sorts by distance according to zip, make and model. It is honestly one of, if not the best way to search classifieds. http://www.autotempest.com/
  • Carsonline.com - One of the most muscle car-specific sites available.  While this site is straight out of the 90s, it provides you information to outside listings that you may not be able to find your own search.

Online Muscle Car Dealers

These dealers tend to be higher priced but carry a lot of rare and beautiful cars, so they’re at least a useful source to look at some great cars. Like a lot of auction sites, they can be small and regionally located. We always recommend going with the larger sites if you’re going to buy just for safety’s sake, but as with any online purchase, always assume a certain amount of risk.

If you do shop online dealers, do your best to see the car before you buy. This is an investment, not an Amazon purchase. Listed below are some of our favorite dealers.

The Internet has completely changed the way we purchase everything, so always be careful. Finding the best deal online takes time and energy, so be meticulous and most importantly, have fun. We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t fun.

Is R134a Right for my Muscle Car?

If the air conditioning system in your car is not running properly for one reason or another, you are probably looking into fixing it or getting it replaced. However, if your vehicle was made before 1995, like many muscle cars, it most likely contains R12 and you might consider converting to 134a. The debate between R12 and 134a is a complicated one, so we've answered five main questions you might have when approaching this problem. 

  1. What’s the difference between R12 and 134a? R12 and 134a are refrigerants used in car air conditioning systems. R12 was used in most cars and trucks until 1995 when it was replaced with 134a. Other than new car manufacturers over the last few years having switched to 1234yf, it's remained in use ever since.  The main difference between the two is that R12 is the amount of time they remain in earth's atmosphere, with the newer 134a significantly less than the old R12.

  1. Why was the manufacturing of R12 banned? R12 contains CFCs like hairspray once did, that is potentially damaging to the ozone layer. It was banned because of this potential environmental risk and replaced by 134a because 134a, using synthetic oil over mineral oil, does not have as much of a negative environmental impact that R12 does. 

  1. Why should I make the switch from R12 to 134a? The manufacturing ban on R12 makes it difficult to find at most auto stores now.  If you can find R12, it has either been stored or it's been imported.  Either way, it'll be fairly expensive, especially when compared with 134a. 

  1. How do I convert an R12 air conditioning system to a 134a system? There are conversion kits that can help as well as conversion calculators online to aid in the conversion, but the process easy to follow with simple instructions here.

  1. I've found R12 is effective in my car. Should I still convert to 134a, or should I keep the old R12?  If converted properly, most cars can get the same vent temperatures as the car originally did with the old R12.  There are few exceptions, but generally, cars with undersized evaporators (Corvettes, for one) occasionally struggle in 90' plus heat.  If you truly are adamant about R12, it's recommended that you go through the entire system to ensure it's leak-free for years of trouble-free performance.  Most of the same procedures in converting to 134a will still apply when getting an R12 system back up and running.

All in all, 134a is preferable to R12 because it is readily available, affordable and self-manageable on top of being better for the environment. Hopefully, these answers will help you understand the differences between R12 and 134a and guide you in fixing your car air conditioning system. 

Time Lapse Video of Evaporator Restoration

From our friends at Graveyard Carz, here is a time lapse video showing the disassembly and re-assembly of a rare 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T Evaporator Housing.

High Blower Speed

In September, we discussed why you should keep your original factory A/C system. But what if it’s not working?

One common issue is that a fan doesn’t reach full capacity, yet all other speeds work. Most people assume the fan switch is bad, but in reality, the cause is usually a bad blower relay. The switch doesn’t control the high speed, it controls the relay which then activates high speed.

While fan switches can eventually fail, typically they never do on their own. If a fan switch does burn out (due to a loose terminal, there are burn marks on its back, or loses any speed other than high) it’s typically the result of a deteriorating blower motor which is drawing high amperage (or a bad ground connection to the motor).

The same is the case with resistors and relays. If a resistor has a coil burn out or any terminals lose, it’s likely the blower motor. Replacing any of those components without changing or repairing the blower motor may fix the issue temporarily. However, this will only cause the newly installed parts to fail again.

So before you order any new parts for a fan that does not reach high speed, remember to check the blower motor and connections first.

Factory AC

Great classic car events coming in 2019!

As we near the end of 2018, it’s time to start thinking about next year’s vacation! Whether you want to enter into a show, participate in an auction, test your speed or just relax and spectate, check out these events happening next year across the globe!

Saturday Night Car Cruise - EVERY SATURDAY!

If you can’t make it to annually scheduled events, don’t worry. Old Town is home to one America’s longest-running weekly car show and cruise, with show-quality pre-87 model hot rods, street rods, and antiques. The event includes giveaways, cash prizes, live entertainment and best of all, it happens every weekend in Kissimmee, Florida!

The Scottsdale Auctions - January 12 – 20, 2019

Each year, Scottsdale hosts a thriving automotive marketplace. Check out the high-quality assortment of vehicles from entry-level models to full classic models up for auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Bid on something new or consign your old at the Scottsdale Auctions!

Amelia Island Concours - March 7 – 11, 2019

Car collectors and enthusiasts alike will want to plan for this event. Experience auctions, test-drives and seminars from renowned automotive drivers and designers on the Atlantic coast in Amelia Island, Florida. The weekend culminates with the Concours d’Elegance, a distinguished judged car show with some of the world’s finest.

The Classic at Pismo Beach Car Show - May 31 – June 2, 2019

This FREE event attracts automobile enthusiasts from all over the country and is open to all makes and models of cars. In addition to the peer-judged competition, special hand-selected awards are given to the very best. Located on the beautiful Pacific coast, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

Carlisle Nationals - June 21 – 22, 2019

GM enthusiasts, this is for you. Discover an array of vehicles, including vintage muscle to modern models. This family-friendly event in Carlisle, Pennsylvania offers a weekend full of displays, customs, industry leaders and much more.

Goodwood Revival - September 13 – 15, 2019

Plan an international trip and check out this three-day festival that includes head-to-head racing, a car show of pre-66 models and much more. The festival is held annually at Goodwood Circuit, near Chichester, West Sussex and close to the south coast of England. This is an event you don’t want to miss.

Fall Inspection Checklist

October is Fall Care Month

Get your vehicle ready for cooler temperatures this October.
 Preventative maintenance leads to fewer unexpected repairs.

Inspection Check List:

Heating, ventilating and air conditioning- Proper heating performance is just as important as proper cooling performance – keep in mind that we are the A/C and heating industry leader and have the largest inventory of used original parts in the business!

Exhaust system- Be aware of leaks and damage to assure harmful fumes do not enter the vehicle.

Hoses and Belts- Check for cracks, bubbles, and bulges in your hoses. Don’t risk being stranded on a highway with a broken-down car. Read more about replacing hoses here: https://www.originalair.com/when-should-i-replace-my-hoses

Brake System- Have brake system inspected now, especially if you will be driving in more intense weather this winter.

FluidsCheck your engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.

Lighting Check exterior lights frequently. Look for cracks, burnt-out bulbs, and dimmed lights.

BatteryLook for corrosion, leaking and swelling in your battery. The connection should be tight and free of corrosion.

TiresInspect the tread on all four tires as well as tire pressure. Ensure your wheels are aligned and check for any bulging, cracks or bald areas.

WipersEnsure your wipers are not worn down. This will be important should you drive through any inclement weather.

Why Keep Your Original Factory A/C System?

We know you have thought about it when planning to restore or modify your classic car or truck - "Should I keep this factory A/C system?"  We get emails and calls all the time as owners seek validation for keeping their classic system and the costs to maintain.  Well, if you ever wondered, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • It’s cool.  Literally!  Since many classic cars and truck did not come with factory air-conditioning, and even those that did were often stripped of key parts at some point in its life, having a classic with factory air-conditioning helps it to stand out from the crowd.  Especially if it’s functioning and kicking cool air.
  • Resale value.  Having the original functioning factory air-conditioning has proven to help increase resale value.  It can also help your car sell ahead of one without factory air conditioning.
  • There are still options for getting it fixed, and in some cases, more efficient.  Original Air offers customer rebuilding & fabrication services for many parts for your classic.  We also manufacture model specific (and sometimes custom) parallel-flow condensers, sell model specific Stage-1, 2 & 3 A/C performance upgrade kits designed to improve the factory air-conditioning.
  • No need to modify your car.  Many aftermarket air-conditioning systems require some sort of modification to the vehicle and may not fit as well as the factory engineered system

So, don't think about it!  If you have a factory A/C car or truck, keep it and enjoy the benefits of being cool.

Reader Ride: Andy's 1971 Chevrolet C10 350

This truck was my grandfathers. He gave it to me shortly before he passed away. My father actually sold it to him sometime around 1977 so it has been in our family for many years. Grandpa drove it daily to work for quite some time until he retired. From there it became a work truck. Used for pretty much anything you can use a truck for.

I have had the truck since 1995 and used it as my daily driver for more than 15 years. I was always amazed at how reliable it was. When my last child graduated from high school I began to seriously think about rebuilding it. At first I thought I would just fix the rusted parts and paint it. But I soon realized that wouldn't be good enough. As I took parts off the truck I saw that there was much more deterioration than expected. So I did the only thing a car guy can think of, complete restoration!

The project has taken close to 7 years from disassembly to completion. Well, are we ever really done with our classics? At any rate, I have endeavored to stay as original as possible. I have repaired over replace as much as possible. I had to replace the entire floor pan, pillars and cab corners. And instead of repairing the factory air conditioning I opted for cleaning up the firewall and installing an aftermarket A/C system. And instead of the bench seat I chose to install power bucket seats from a 1997 Suburban. But, I was able to make them look similar to the factory option. I also put in the center console from a 1972 Chevy C10. I liked that style because it has cup holders instead of the slots for the seat belts.

The motor is the original 4 bolt main small block 350. I installed a moderate cam, flat top pistons, headers, and an HEI distributor with an external coil so that it sill looks stock. It has the original quadrajet, that I still need to modify so that it can support the changes to the motor. I also rebuilt the TH350 transmission. I did farm out the rebuild of the 3.08 rear end. I had the frame powder coated and rebuilt or refurbished every piece of sheet metal on the truck. I even went so far as to straighten and clean all of the original trim. All of the bed walls, fenders, etc have been cut apart and cleaned of rust and treated with bed liner. All of this was done in a two car garage, including the painting.

It has been an absolute labor of love that at times I never thought would be done. For over 5 years every weekend and some weeknights were consumed with this project. There are still some things I want to do to improve the performance. But as of this weekend the tailgate will go on the truck marking "completion" of the project. Unfortunately my father and grandfather are not around to see the final result. But my step-father is and he has helped me immensely. While this project at times has been difficult, even grueling, I would do it again in a heart beat. Just not in an attached two car garage!!!

Share your cool classic car or truck with us!

We are always hearing about cool restoration and modified car projects from our customers, and would love to see and share that factory equipped A/C cars. We have added a form to our website so that you can describe and upload pictures of your ride so that we may share with our customers worldwide. So get your car cleaned up, grab a camera, and send us your best shots!

Click Here! To Submit Your Ride

Reader Ride: Dave's 1973 Chevy Nova

Many thanks to Dave Keillor for sharing his beautiful Chevy Nova with us!

Our Nova is a low-mileage car that was originally sold in North Carolina.  It came with factory air and I recently upgraded to a R-134a system from Original Air.  The new system is great!  Mid-30s from the center vent and plenty of cool for the hottest days.  The folks at Classic Auto Air's Original Air Group were great!

  • Condenser
  • Hoses
  • Compressor
  • Switch
  • Drier
  • Expansion Valve
  • Suction Valve