13 all-American V-8 machines to score at the Arizona 2020 auctions
While other venues around the country may bring in buyers interested in exotics, it seems that Arizona Auction Week always gets it right by paying lots of attention to muscle cars and the allure of an American V-8. There will be plenty of Porsches, BMWs, and Ferraris bought and sold, no doubt, but we’ll have our eyes trained on the multi-carbed big-blocks, hood-mounted tachometers, and console-shifter four-speeds that are all waiting to vaporize some bias-plies. Here are 13 cars we’ll be following.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 1143
Wearing one of the coolest Mopar dual-quad intakes ever cast, the 426 Max Wedge engine proves that this Belvedere means business. Who doesn’t love a good cross-ram intake? Even the body looks like it was meant for drag racing, with proportions that already suggest an altered wheelbase. This example, originally a three-speed auto, has been converted to four-speed manual and beautifully restored, although the factory transmission is included in the sale.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 1026.1
If Hemi drag racers are more your bag, this factory lightweight Coronet may be just the ticket, and there’s no doubt about the intent of this car. With the wheel wells moved forward for better weight distribution and a set of mechanical fuel injection stacks sticking through the hood, this purpose-built quarter-mile terror was restored in as-raced condition. If you prefer a more subtle approach to your Super Stock racer, there’s also a plain-Jane version for sale that’s every bit as desirable.
Russo & Steele: Lot 5254
Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Dodge was a hub of Mopar performance, a place where already potent showroom stock cars could be purchased and tuned to reach their true potential. This fuselage-body Charger still has its Mr. Norm’s window sticker and claims to be just one of 69 automatic-equipped Super Bees built with the V-code 440 Six-Pack engine for ’71. It also comes with a sure-grip Dana 60 rear axle with 4:10 gears, the endearing air-grabbing Ramcharger hood scoop, and Rallye suspension, making for a well-optioned car that clearly had performance and style in mind.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 840.1
Earlier first-gen Mustangs get all the glory, but we think it may finally be time for the later ’71–73 Mustangs to shine. The Boss 351 has all of the muscle car swagger you could ask for, with a design that’s unlike anything else on the road in America. Besides that, the Boss 351 is a great foundation for a healthy street engine and was no slouch from the factory, using a solid roller cam to belt out 330 horsepower. This restored Boss 351 has a great set of options, including a four-speed manual and 3.91 rear axle. Fold down that rear seat for all your luggage and hit the road in style.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 1440
Mopars weren’t the only muscle cars getting tuning help from specialty dealers. Ace Wilson Jr.’s Royal Pontiac in Royal Oak, Michigan, was known for hot-rodding new Pontiacs to get the most power from their Ram Air V-8 engines. The dealership would also swap in larger engines from full-size Pontiacs into lighter cars, which is exactly what it did with Mike Rutherford’s brand-new ’68 GTO. In place of the 400-cubic-inch V-8, Rutherford’s Goat got a 428-cu-in Pontiac topped with Ram Air II heads as well as a set of headers and suspension tuning for the strip. The car was a legend on the streets and dragstrips for years and was restored in 2009 with a rebuild of its 428.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 1299.1
For Pontiac fans it doesn’t get much better than a Carousel Red 1969 GTO Judge with a Ram Air IV V-8 and a four-speed. The audacious color and Judge stripes are a perfect match for the tire-smoking performance afforded by the 370-hp, 400-cu-in V-8 and 4:33:1 rear axle. This car has been recently restored with its original engine, transmission, and sheet metal, and has zero street miles since its completion.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 1301.1
Buick is one of GM’s more stately, mature brands, yet it was not one to stand idly by while Chevrolet and Pontiac had all the fun building muscle cars. Indeed, Buick’s GSX Stage 1 was every bit a dragstrip terror as the Chevelle SS and GTO Judge were, and it looked the part as well with its sporty graphics, hood-mounted tach, and decklid-mounted wing. Packing a Stage 1 455 with massive bores and high-flowing heads, the claimed output of 360 horsepower was definitely sandbagging, as these brutes could go toe-to-toe with its Hemi-powered contemporaries—and win.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 641
Hagerty valuation specialist Greg Ingold calls this car “a 4-4-2 in Cutlass Supreme clothing,” and with a 320-hp 455 under the hood, it has all the makings of a muscle car—but with a convertible top and soothing green paint job it could just as easily fly under the radar as a sleeper. Featuring an older repaint, it’s otherwise in original condition and has had just two owners. This car could be a fantastic alternative to a high-priced muscle car while still delivering big-inch V-8 torque and power.
Barrett-Jackson: Lot 1441
A bit flashier than the sleeper SX, the W-30 4-4-2 featured twin hood scoops to feed a high-performance 455-cu-in V-8 with 350 horsepower, down 20 horses from the year before (thanks to a drop in compression) but still quite potent. Just 110 W-30 convertibles were built for 1971, making this wonderfully restored bruiser a rare piece.
Leake: Lot 603
A 428-cu-in Cobra Jet is a lot of engine for a lightweight Cougar. The Cobra Jet engine alone would make this an interesting piece of Ford muscle car history, and the bright green paint would make it a head-turner at any car show, but this particular Cougar is also documented as being ordered by Ford Research Group for factory testing. It has been restored with its original interior, glass, and sheet metal, and the sale includes its original build sheet and a Marti report to prove its authenticity.
Bonhams: Lot 36
Chevrolet’s SCCA Trans Am entrant in the 5.0-liter class, the 302-powered 1967 Camaro Z/28 did battle with Mustangs, Cougars, and Darts. This one in particular was campaigned from 1967–69 by Gary Morgan and racked up 11 first-place finishes and two seconds. Since then it has been carefully updated to participate in vintage racing, as it has recently competed in the Spa Classic. If you’re in the market to trade paint behind the wheel of a real racing veteran, this is your ride.
RM Sotheby’s: Lot 134
It’s true, the Corvette is a sports car, not a muscle car, and a high-revving small-block is a far cry from the typical big-cube torque monsters found in most of the cars listed here; but this is no ordinary Sting Ray. This 1963 Z06 is one of the most desirable of all Mid-Year Corvettes, as it features the elusive “Big Tank,” the 36.5-gallon fuel tank intended for endurance racing use. Just 63 Big Tank Z06 Corvettes were built and this nut-and-bolt restoration is a multiple award winner. Combining the most desirable Corvette body style (the “split-window”) with the most desirable of performance options offered in 1963, along with a red exterior and black interior, might make this the ultimate Corvette up for grabs in Scottsdale.
1970 McLaren M8C
Bonhams: Lot 101
Another one that doesn’t quite fit in among muscle cars, the M8C may be an exotic, open-cockpit race car, but its heart is an American V-8, even if it’s not the right one—yet. Revving to 7000 rpm and beyond, the 350-cu-in Chevy small-block produces 650 horsepower for plenty of racing power. It has been restored to racing condition and has driven at the Monterey Historics. Included in the sale are the parts necessary to return the car to its original configuration, with Ford small-block power as it was originally raced in South America.
Which of these 13 catches your eye and why? Let us know in the comments section below.
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