Pick of the Day: 1955 Chevrolet pickup

During the 1950s, the hot setup for four-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC pickups came from NAPCO, which provided the Powr-Pak 4X4 Conversion as a bolt-on package that turned a regular rear-drive truck into a capable and durable off-roader. The conversions started as dealer-installed options but later were installed at the factory.

The Pick of the Day is a 1955 Chevrolet half-ton pickup restored to how an original NAPCO-equipped truck would have come from the dealer. The lofty stance was part of the 4X4 conversion, so while it might look as if a modern lift kit has been applied, this was actually how they came.

The pickup stands tall with the NAPCO conversion
The pickup stands tall with the NAPCO conversion

This step-side pickup looks like a time capsule from a Forest Service past, in Air Wing Gray with painted rather than chromed bumpers and grille. It is powered by a 235 cid six-cylinder engine hooked to a four-speed manual transmission with “granny” first gear, which provides slow but mighty takeoff power from a dead stop.

From the Tucson, Arizona, dealer’s description in the ClassicCars.com advertisement, the truck has just over 51,000 miles on its odometer and is apparently ready to hit the dusty trail. The NAPCO conversion includes a dual-range transfer case that is rubber mounted for smooth operation.

The simple interior of a work truck
The simple interior of a work truck

The dealer makes no mention as to whether this was an originally optioned NAPCO pickup from the era or if it has been converted in more-recent times – there are several companies that advertise NAPCO installations for vintage GM pickups. That would affect the value but take nothing away from the ownership experience.

Whatever the case, this is a good-looking classic Chevy that’s nicely equipped and offered at the reasonable price of $25,997. The question now would be whether to subject the well-painted pickup to the potential dents and scratches of off-road exploits, or merely use it for cruising around and showing off.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

 

 

Pick of the Day: 1973 Chevrolet Vega

While wandering around the venues last week for the collector car auctions in Auburn, Indiana, I was particularly, though not literally, struck by two vehicles. At Worldwide Auctioneers, a hot-rodded 1974 Ford Maverick was among the consignments. At Auctions America, an apparently box-stock and amazingly preserved 1980 Chevrolet Chevette still with its original tires and with only 8,000 miles on its odometer was among the consignments.

My response to those vehicles: When in the world did a Maverick and Chevette become collector cars?

Which brings us to the Pick of the Day, a 1973 Chevrolet Vega kammback station wagon for which the private seller in Costa Mesa, California, is asking $17,500.

But wait. Before you start laughing, you need to realize that this is no box-stock Vega wagon. No wimpy four-banger resides under the hood. Instead, there’s a 350cid Chevy small-block V8 with Weiland aluminum intake topped by a 670 Holly “street avenger” carburetor and equipped with Sanderson custom shorty headers, Thrust dual mufflers, and custom aluminum radiator.

The TH350 automatic transmission has a shift kit, B&M slap shifter and high-capacity cooler. Power flows through a new Richmond rear end with 2.73 gears.

Front brakes are vented, drilled and slotted discs with ceramic pads. Suspension is upgraded and the wheels are period-correct slotted 14-inch mags; the seller will include the stock 13s.

The interior has been updated with newly upholstered seats and performance gauges, the seller notes in the advertisement for the car on ClassicCars.com.

“Daily driver,” the seller promises. “Rolls straight, brakes straight. No unwanted sounds. Has a low lumpy idle. Gets thumbs up everywhere it goes.”

So when did a Chevy Vega become a collector car? Perhaps right now.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

My Classic Car: Roxy’s 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air

The 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air, lowered and upgraded V8 powertrain
The 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air, lowered and upgraded V8 powertrain

In 1958, I turned 16 and got my first car, a ’50 Chevy convertible my two older sisters had abandoned. I fixed it up, and for the next two years it was my cruiser for school, and most importantly, the drive-ins at night!

Back then, on the west side of Denver, the hot spots to cruise were Berry’s Drive in, 2 Frosted Scotchman’s, The White Spot, and a couple more. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO clone

The Camaro is powered by a 427cid V8
The Camaro is powered by a 427cid V8

Ever since I wrote about the 1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1 COPO coupe at Mecum’s upcoming Denver auction, I’ve been thinking about ’69 Camaros with big-block engines. The authentic ZL1 is the featured highlight of the auction, expected to go for north of a half-million dollars.

The COPO Camaro is a legendary creature, a back-door effort by gearhead insiders at GM to defy the corporation’s racing ban and create a handful of cars with outlandish performance capabilities. Just 69 COPO Camaros were built in 1969, with only a few remaining in original condition. Continue reading

Rare ’69 Camaro ZL1 highlights Mecum’s Denver auction

The Camaro ZL1 has its original aluminum 427 V8 and four speed | Mecum Auctions
The Camaro ZL1 has its original aluminum 427 V8 and four speed | Mecum Auctions photos

Mecum expects 1,000 collector cars to cross the block July 20-22 during its third annual Denver auction at the Colorado Convention Center, where the docket features an array of muscle cars, sports cars and classics.

Leading the list is a bright-orange 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 coupe, No. 30 of 69 produced that year. It also is one of the few surviving examples with its original all-aluminum 427cid ZL1 V8 linked with the factory four-speed manual transmission. Original equipment also includes heavy-duty suspension, brakes and other performance components. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Dana Chevrolet Camaro racer

Dick Gulstrand couldn't wait for Z/28, so he built his own to race
Dick Gulstrand couldn’t wait for Z/28, so he built his own to race

Pick of the Day is a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro modified for racing by Dick Guldstrand and later restored to racing spec by Guldstrand’s mechanic. The car is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a prominent classic car dealership located in Scotts Valley, California. Continue reading

Cousins: Camaros, Firebirds seize spotlight at AACA museum

AACA Museum celebrates 50th birthday of GM's F-body cousins -- Camaro and Firebird | Photos by Nick Kurczewski
AACA Museum celebrates 50th birthday of GM’s F-body cousins — Camaro and Firebird | Photos by Nick Kurczewski

With the introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro in 1966, followed one year later by its mechanical twin cousin, the Pontiac Firebird, an all-out performance battle was officially launched between General Motors and the Ford Motor Company. Targeted squarely at the Mustang, Ford’s runaway sales hero that had been launched for the 1964½ model year, the GM duo had a tremendously difficult task ahead of them: unseat the very vehicle that inspired the term “pony car.” Continue reading

Year of the Lowrider includes new Petersen exhibition

Gilbert 'Magu" Lujan created Our Family Car, a 1950 Chevrolet sedan, that will be part of the exhibition | Petersen museum photos by Ted7
Gilbert ‘Magu” Lujan created Our Family Car, a 1950 Chevrolet sedan, that will be part of the exhibition | Petersen museum photos by Ted7

Why do Lowriders prefer Chevys? See related story.

2017 is emerging as the Year of the Lowrider.

Consider:

• Historical museums in Colorado and New Mexico recently concluded exhibitions focused on the colorful cruisers with their sometimes hyper-hydraulic suspension systems, and the museum in Santa Fe also published a significant new book on the subject. Continue reading

Yenko Camaro races to top of Mecum’s Portland results

Mecum had a good crowd of bidders and spectators in Portland | Mecum photos
Mecum had a good crowd of bidders and spectators in Portland | Mecum photos

An intense-looking 1968 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro, documented as originally sold by Yenko Chevrolet, roared away with the top spot at Mecum’s collector car auction last weekend in Portland, Oregon, selling for three times the result of the N0. 2 car.

The 427/425-horsepower coupe, one of 64 Camaros performance-enhanced by the legendary Don Yenko in a behind-the-scenes deal with Chevrolet, hammered sold for $395,000, not including auction fee, to lead the sale at the Portland Expo center. Continue reading

Concours and events: Bloomington Gold’s Corvette party

Bloomington Gold's parade of Corvettes | Bloomington Gold
Bloomington Gold’s parade of Corvettes | Bloomington Gold

Bloomington Gold, the longest-running all-Corvette show in the nation, stages three days of events Thursday through Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, featuring judging for prestigious awards, an autocross and other competitions, and Corvette laps around the iconic Brickyard oval.

Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world are expected to attend the gathering, which has been held every year since 1973. Since then, Bloomington Gold has become the benchmark for Corvette excellence with intensive judging to the highest standards for Corvettes vying to achieve Bloomington Gold Certification ratings for authenticity. Continue reading