The best late ’60s to early ’70s cars to restore

Compared with the muscle cars of the cars of the 1960s, the cool cars of the late 1960s to early 1970s are much more affordable. In this article, we will look some of these cars to consider for restoration.

1967-1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass

For we older journalists, it’s hard to believe that GMs Oldsmobile line of automobiles aren’t made anymore. But fret not, if you still want to drive an Oldsmobile, plenty are available in the collector car marketplace. The muscle car guys are going to pay big money and scoop up the big block 4-4-2 models but there are plenty of the less powerful Cutlass models to restore. The chassis parts of Oldsmobiles interchange with all the other GM A-body cars, so finding parts is pretty easy. Exterior body and trim parts haven’t been reproduced to the same extent as other GM models but they are catching up.

1967-1974 Volkswagon Beetle

If there ever was an iconic car of the 1960s, it would be the VW Beetle. They were the car of the counterculture and for true independent thinkers. Today old Beetles are becoming harder to find but there are plenty of them out there. Look for a 1967 an up model because they have the more “modern” 12 V electrical system. Also, our friends at recommend reading up on VW Beetle rust issues. Those old Beetles were famous for rusting in hidden body areas so buyer beware!

1972-1974 Plymouth Barracuda

Deep pocketed Mopar fans want the 1970-’71 models but the later models, especially the 1973-’74 Barracudas, are downright affordable. Thankfully, an large supply of new body, trim and interior parts makes restoration a breeze. Just make sure the body doesn’t have any serious rust, because these cars are unibody (i.e. no frame.)  Demand will always be there thanks to their good looks and wide appeal.

1971-1972 Chevrolet Chevelle

Aside from the early Mustang, more parts have been reproduced for GM’s A-body cars than any other. The 1966-’70 Chevelles are already pricey to buy, so instead go for the more affordable 1971-’72 hardtop or convertible models. Restorations are straightforward, thanks to their basic body-on-frame construction and availability of parts.

1967- 1972 Chevrolet Nova

Novas are great cars to restore. Large production numbers (over one million built) equals affordability today, making the Nova an excellent first-time restoration project for those on a budget. Parts for these old novas are down-right cheap. Keep them looking stock, though, and it will be far easier to sell down the line, especially if it has a small-block V-8 under the hood.

1970-1973 Plymouth Duster

If you love Mopars but can’t afford a ‘Cuda, Charger, Challenger or similar muscle-type model, here’s the next best thing. Dusters are easy to work on, supported by numerous parts suppliers and because they were mass-produced in big numbers, they are easy to find.  The best news is that Dusters are often quite affordable on the used car market.

1968-1972 Dodge Charger

Many consider the Charger to be the best-styled car of all time. Every mechanical part is obtainable, with the list for reproduction body panels growing daily. Like many cars of this era, rust can be an issue, but patch panels are available for almost all of the sections of the car. Production totals were fairly high, so they are easy to find. The bigger the engine, the more you’ll pay, but it will also be worth more in the end.