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Hot Rods What's the most low buck car that was the most fun?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Roothawg, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Most likely my 64 Nova SS with the tired 283/power glide....payed a little and drove the heck out of I should have kept BUT sold it to a kid per my Dad to help him out....he flipped soon after....back in the 80's.........many an OT car fer sure...........
  2. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 634

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    I keep thinking about an inexpensive open car for fun. A T bucket is definitely high on that list, but doing it cheap means building it myself and titling a new build in CA is a huge hassle.

    Another thought is what used to be called a Cut-down by the old timers in my area. Usually any old car from the 20's to early 30's with the body completely or mostly removed, and not much more than a seat and a steering wheel left to drive with. Usually Model T or A. Problem is coming up with a title, because this is the stuff that's removed to build a street rod and the title is used for the body. Also not so good for doing my 25 mile highway commute to work each day.

    I know of a few early Jeeps in pieces that could be had for fairly cheap, but no place to assemble them, and honestly, I have no desire to go offroading.

    About to go off topic here. Considered Suzuki Samurai for similar reasons, small, fuel efficient, open top, but the ones I found for sale the owners were rather proud of.

    I also have old Datsun tendencies. I considered a 60's roadster, but they're either used up or too expensive to be cheap fun.

    The best cheap car I had was the one I sold. I had a really clean 63 Corvair for about 4 years that was a blast to drive, with low miles so it wasn't worn out and from a dry area so it wasn't rusty. I overpaid for it when I bought it due to condition, but I sold it in 2008 (I think) for $1500. There was no market for it.

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  3. Corn Fed
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 2,647

    Corn Fed

    Sure, it only goes 35 MPH top speed, but with only $675 in it, this beat up ‘32 mutt has the best fun per $$$ ratio I’ll ever see. My 16 year old son has had a blast working and putting around in it. Just 2 weeks ago he drove it to a local “Old Threshers’ Reunion” and had a guy offer him $3000 for it, but he turned it down because he’s having so much fun with it.

    wicarnut, low budget, Deuces and 3 others like this.
  4. LOWDUG37
    Joined: Jan 31, 2007
    Posts: 834


    This 56 wagon. PYZB7021 (1).JPG
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  5. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 377

    from Motown

    Here are a couple I like. Both could be done relatively cheaply. Your mileage may vary.
    The mint colored T is a Michigan car. I see it a a lot of shows. Really nasty SBC in it.
    In Columbus someone was selling a complete, running, Model A chassis. Could make a Speedster pretty easy.

    Attached Files:

  6. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,913


    @KevKo The T is exactly what I had in mind. Any more pics of it?
  7. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,192


    That's easy. My '59 Ranchero but sadly I let it go! :(
  8. Paid $400 for one just like this in 1959 and had a ball in it. Filled the spare tire covers with ice and beer, parked in the back row of the Drive in movie with the back door facing the screen, rolled the back porch out and dug the movie. It was red velvet inside so we added some red velvet pillows for the girls. Got kicked out of Scrivners and Bobs' Big Boy drive-in restaurants, cruised Hollywood Blvd with a kid on the roof covered in a white sheet. 50's fun, you bet.
    brigrat, Deuces and wicarnut like this.
  9. 97
    Joined: May 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,505


  10. TerrytheK
    Joined: Sep 12, 2004
    Posts: 809


    These days, seems about anything under 10k could be considered "low buck".
    This was mine, picked it up from HAMB'r @Xtrom a few years ago, drove it for a year or so and passed it on to HAMB'r @T Hudson. Y-block, 3-speed with O/D, noisy, leaky, rusty but cool and a great highway cruiser. About as much fun as any car I've ever owned.

  11. I agree, beater is neater.
    TerrytheK likes this.
  12. Driver50x
    Joined: May 5, 2014
    Posts: 28


    In 1985, when I was 17, I bought a 1969 Nova with a straight 6 for $200. I also bought a 1973 Chevy Caprice for $200 with a 400 cubic inch engine. I swapped the 400 into the Nova, along with open headers and a Quadrajet. I jacked up the rear end and added L60 rear tires. I had great fun doing plenty of smoky burnouts in that thing. The floor had a few holes rusted through, the inside of the car would fill up with smoke during a proper burnout.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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  13. Bills 50
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 330

    Bills 50
    from Roanoke Va

    Summer of '70 I was pumping gas for summer money. I bought '57 210 sedan from a Navy guy on leave $200. Pretty decent car with a broken 265, new clutch, Hurst 3sd and Sun tach. The owner of the station sold me a 327-250 out of a 62 Impala $200. Was my Senior ride and until I went into Army.
    wicarnut, craig b blue and weps like this.
  14. Built from left overs in the eighties , Edmond to Memphis and back for a rod run (in July)
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  15. An off-topic vehicle ('68 Camaro) Funny story - borrowed $800 from bank, spring '84. Paid $700 for car, rest spent on insurance, tags & fuel. This car had handmade flares, custom grille, tail lights & a hot 350/350T combo. On the 29th day of ownership, I wrapped it around a pole about 2 miles from home. I had yet to make the 1st payment to the bank which was due the very next day. I had the car towed to my house. The insurance company let me keep the car & gave me $500 for the glass. The car somehow still ran good & drove, kind of. I pulled motor/ trans & sold many parts. The 350 block is now in an off topic drag car ('79 Malibu) Thanks guys!
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  16. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,829



    The lowest cost of a car was the old Model A we found in a neighborhood yard for $5.00. (similar to the one @Solospeedshop got recently… ) So, divided by 2, worked out to $2.50 each. In today’s dollars, it is about $23 dollars. Not bad for a yard find in our own neighborhood in 1957.

    “My brother told me to give him some money so he could offer a low price to the old lady. He offered $2.00, but the lady wanted $5.00. So, my money made the purchase and I was ½ owner of a not so clean, stock, rusty Model A at age 13. I guess owning a car before getting a driver’s license runs in the family.”

    “We worked on it for a week and got it running. At age 13, since I already had experience behind the wheel of a 55 Mercury from our neighbor, back when I was 11. My brother allowed me to drive the Model A around the block for my actual first drive of a car by myself. Being a ½ owner of a car, driving by myself, what could be better than that at the moment? Despite being under age and without a driver’s license?”

    Our tear down consisted of making the motor run. We finally got the motor to start, and we both went down the neighborhood streets. My brother even let me drive it by myself and I enjoyed it immensely. But, because we sold it within three weeks, it really was not the first car I bought and re-energized to life.

    That falls on the orange/red 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery in 1960 as my first real car bought with saved money since I was little. It cost me $160 in 1960. In today’s value, it is approximately, $1500.00. So, it was low buck back then. It was one of those cars that it did not matter what condition it was in, it just started and got where you wanted it to go. We drove the Sedan Delivery in all conditions, rain, fog, sleet, hot days and some late night mist.
    In the rain, the car handled well and we also went "mudding" in the sedan delivery. It slid all over a nearby, Wilmington dirt field, with side ways turns, full circles and sliding to a stop almost hitting a short concrete wall. It did not matter how we drove the Flathead 40 Ford Sedan Delivery, it just kept running. We were lucky we did not flip the sedan delivery over, but we just enjoyed the moments driving that truck/car in any weather.


    What other hot rod with a broken windshield wiper, allows someone to reach around and manually move the wiper (back and forth) in an emergency with ease? There was almost any place we could not drive the Flathead powered sedan delivery. The only exception was going up the steep highway to Big Bear, Arrowhead and Snow Summit during the winter months. That Flathead was lacking in power to make the drive in a normal manner. So, those days and nights called for the 1958 Chevy Impala.

    One try at a shorter drive on Coast Highway’s steep roadway in second gear and sometimes first gear to make it over the top was enough. In local South Orange County in Laguna Beach, San Diego County at Torrey Pines and in Oxnard-Camarillo's, Conejo Grade on the 101 Freeway going up hill was definitely a first gear crawl. But, it was definitely fun driving that 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery all over the So Cal surf scene and road trip places. We lived and learned how to have lots of fun, despite the lack of power.

    P.S. We certainly could not do those rainy day escapades in my brother’s 51 lowered Olds sedan or his 1958 black 348 Impala. But, the sedan delivery delivered what ever was asked of it and it satisfied our teenage moments in hot rodding. Boys will be boys and we certainly were. Spray, sponge wash and dry with a deer skin chamois skin helped keep the fun, looking good. Good old, 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery…my first real purchase with my own saved up money.

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
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  17. thintin
    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 74

    from NEW YORK

    Bought a 1952 chevy 2 door from my uncle Norm......1967 I believe it was, gave him 75 dollars and drove it away. The trip home with this fine ride was about 60 miles ( no big deal at all when you are in your teens and the air is filled with endless possibilities.) About half way home my new hot rod daydream got it's first reality check when the front seat fell thru the floor. ( small ditch in the middle of an upstate ny highway.......big bump on the old suspension). This unplanned downward exit left me looking thru the steering wheel instead of the windshield. Being young and relatively undisturbed by such a minor setback, I steered to the side of the road and got out to inspect this unexpected setback. After intense technical inspection I determined that the seat had indeed fallen through the floor,...and that good ol' uncle Norm had taken it upon himself to rebuild an apparently suspect original floor with a skillful combination of roof flashing, paneling scraps and the highest possible quality vinyl floor mats available. Again.... being young and enterprising, all of this was a minor setback on the road to hot rod nirvana. A 2x4 framed road sign provided the all the emergency structural components to make the repairs needed to make my low rider seat operational again. Drove that old stovebolt for a couple of years , sold it with the 2 x 4's still under the seat......It was good to be young in those days and I miss that car even now......Uncle Norm maybe not so much...
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  18. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 337


    My first hot rod. '48 Chev, 283/3speed on the floor. 18 years old, Summer of '71. Bought it with my income tax refund for $325 from a friend who "had" to get married. I thought I was the coolest hippy in town. 3057_1126121828728_1895431_n.jpg And the girlfriend thought I was pretty cool too 229436_1059155154603_2883_n.jpg
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  19. blue 49
    Joined: Dec 24, 2006
    Posts: 1,202

    blue 49
    from Iowa

    Ten years of fun and counting on this one. Cordova.jpg
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  20. I would say my T is hard to beat for fun per dollar, power to weight is undeniable, just about perfect 50/50 weight bias, it even handles really really well.
    20170819_130400.jpg 20170819_130232.jpg

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  21. When I was in the service, in 1959, I bought a 1949 Plymouth 4 door, hood and trunk filled, metallic blue paint job, and a busted transmission from the back row of a used car dealer for $ 40.00. I bought a used transmission from Pinnacle Auto Parts in Plainville, Connecticut for $ 15.00. We installed the transmission while the car was still in the back row of the used car dealership. I drove that car for my family car, for over a year. I think that was my best deal at the time.
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  22. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,426


  23. hotrodrhp
    Joined: Sep 19, 2008
    Posts: 239

    from Wisconsin

    $50.00 "More" door 52 Chevy. Had to to use the heaviest wgt. oil I could buy ...smoked like a mosquito control truck. Went through through three transmissions and was that a chore . Took that many for a 17 year old kid to stop "speed" shifting . Think after the first I'd have learned to stay out of it. Young and dumb! Many fond memories made in that car....... Some of which I'll deny ever happened!
  24. Funny, that is the exact way I sold my Model A project to the wife! Do I have to tell you it did not work out that way?
  25. BoilermakerDave
    Joined: Mar 3, 2016
    Posts: 263

    from Las Vegas

    C969C280-0595-45B3-9678-C06C777C1972.jpeg Shoebox Fords are still relatively cheap and plentiful. Tons of aftermarket support and easy to work on.
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  26. wingspread7
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 835


    At 15 or 16 a buddy and I bought a 49' Chevy from an old lady on his paper route for $15. I made a license plate for it. Our parents were not told about it. It was so rusted out that any high speed turns caused the body to shift onto the front wheels and you would have to get out and pull the fender off the tire. One night I got it up to about 70 on a dirt road but the dust inside totally blinded my vision and I slammed on the brakes, spinning it and making it even worse. Then in our senior year my buddy finally got caught with it when a friendly cop stopped to help him with a blown radiator hose. He was suspended from school. My dad was very strict but thankfully never found about it. My buddy never ratted me out and took the whole wrap!
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  27. I don't have any super cheap cars stories. First driving in the late 80's in So Cal everything was $$$ by then and not knowing anyone into cars means no connections and having to rely on local newspapers (Recycler). My ot early 70's first car was $900, my first '60 elco was $695 (1993), the replacement '60 Elco after the first one was totaled in 1994 was $1500 (I still have this one).......the surprising one was the '60 Lark wagon for $3500 a few years ago.

    I would either build a T bucket (if your looking to build) or get a running Studebaker or Nash cheap and drive it. Although the Hillmans where cheap and one is running, they're hard to get parts for. I always find myself looking for a '59/'60 2dr Lark to drop a SBC, TH350 and a 8" or 9" rear to make a solid I have the time or room :rolleyes:
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  28. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 4,877

    from Wa.St.

    Lowest buck fun car ($75) was in 1967, a stock '47 Chevy 4 door, motor held into place with rope and a 2x4, column shifter would lock up gears between 2nd & rev., had to get out & rock the 4 door back & forth & at same time move column rods to get free. It wasn't the car so much but the at the time Annett Funicello look a like girl friend that just loved the spacious front seat, back seat & sometimes trunk area!
  29. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 5,868

    from Michigan

    What era were you thinking you might like, Roothawg?

    I've had a few late 40s and early 50s cars. I like them and they can be less expensive than other eras. Pre-war is usually more expensive. And mid-fifties and later can be also. And they have a lot of Chrome and curved glass that can be a problem if it's not in good shape.

    I know you know this stuff... just thinking out loud. Like if it's important if the engine is a V8 or not, etc. Maybe you can narrow things down a little bit. Although, many times when I bought old cars, it was an unexpected opportunity or when I was just searching the ads for "something".

    If you like 8 cylinders, don't forget about the straight 8 engines... Buicks especially. I've had a few. They're great cars. And don't overlook the big cars in general. Nice ride, legroom, bigger engines, big ass steering wheels, LOL.

    Don't rule out the old Mopars. They're usually a bit less expensive than Ford's and GM's. And they're a little different. I found my 53 Chrysler two-door hardtop with no engine and trans for a very reasonable price. From Colorado. Pretty straight and solid.

    I imagine you're looking in the ads I'm seeing a lot of junk for too much money. Keep looking. You'll find a reasonable deal for something nice. And fun.

    Sent from my VS835 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  30. Tri-power37
    Joined: Feb 10, 2019
    Posts: 365


    It’s not just because it was my first car- but it was my first car. I fell into it ass backwards. It was 1984 and a pristine 65 Corvair Corsa was sitting for sale at a gas station like no one wanted it. It was so cheap I can’t even remember the price. The inside was perfect, the body was mint but faded I had it painted ($250.00) then I polished all the chrome and stainless - car looked amazing. Drove the wheels off that Corvair and it never missed a beat!
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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