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Author Topic: Country Classic Cars, Staunton, Illinois, November & December 2006 . . .  (Read 25276 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« on: October 21, 2014, 01:17:29 AM »

Country Classic Cars .  .  .  
Staunton, Illinois
November 16, 2006





Visiting car dealers used to be something I did constantly when I was new driver beginning in 1982.  Car nuts love to browse.  In the days before the internet, browsing meant actually driving through the lot.  The goal was the same then as it is now – to see what you can see.  In the 1980s, it was still possible, though not common, to find 1960s classics and muscle cars on the dealership lots.  This was a big deal because of the state of the industry in those days, (i.e. muscle cars were faster than anything "new").  I specifically remember spotting a 1966 Lincoln Continental, a 1964 Imperial convertible, and a 1979 Hurst/Olds in those days on the dealership lots around Altoona.

Driving through a dealer's lot is something I still do today, but not nearly with the same level of intensity as before.  Age has a lot to do with that.  Goals and priorities change.  But the modern dealership also has a lot to do with that.  Dealers operate on the "volume" principle.  Classics, muscle cars, and anything "older" don't translate into volume.  The hobbyist in me is a little sad to find that this once favorite pastime has become obsolete.    

The flip side to this is that it has given rise to the dealer who specializes in collector cars.  The dealers I have described to this point  -  Daniel Schmitt, Gateway Classic Cars, and Moto-Exotica  -  are all collector car dealers and tend to cater mainly to the buyer looking for something that is not necessarily perfect, but turn-key and ready to drive or show.  And the prices I have described previously seem to reflect that philosophy.  Expensive blue chip collectibles can be found at each place.  But a majority of the inventory is priced well within the reach of Mr. & Mrs. Average.  

Country Classic Cars in Staunton, Illinois sits along I-55 about 20 minutes north of where it intersects with I-70 outside of St. Louis, Missouri.  Unlike the others mentioned above, Country Classic Cars tends to cater to the lower end of the pricing spectrum.  This place is HUGE, (over 600 vehicles in inventory), and offers a lot of project cars and inexpensive older daily drivers.  I discovered this place while doing the modern version of “browsing,” and was so impressed with what I saw that a visit was in order.  





It was never unusual for my wife and I to hop in the car and head somewhere on a road trip.  What was very unusual, however, was the fact that we made this trip on a Thursday.  I must have been off work for some reason that I no longer remember.  We were greeted by the security guard when we arrived.





And he kept a close eye on us while we were there.





Country Classic Cars consists of several huge buildings plus a very large outdoor area.  The project and parts cars were kept outside.  With 600 vehicles in inventory, the buildings were packed.  





I’m going to apologize in advance for the quality of some of the pictures.  I had owned my then-new Canon S3-IS for 3 months at the time of our visit, and wasn’t used to it in low light situations.  I must have had a difficult time keeping still long enough to get a good picture.  But hopefully, you'll get the general idea .  .  .  
« Last Edit: June 18, 2016, 12:01:53 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 01:39:54 AM »

This is a 1977 Mercury Cougar XR-7. 





This car had the 400 CID V-8 that made 173 hp, which was typical for the era.  The car was advertised as having 41k original miles, and looked legit.  It was beautiful inside and out !  For the $5,950 asking price, I'd definitely own it. 





The 1964 - 66 Chrysler Imperial has always been a favorite of mine.  This car was a 1964 Imperial Crown sedan that showed 35k original miles on the odometer.





Power comes from Chrysler's 413 CID V-8 that made 340 hp.





I've always liked Chrysler interiors and dash panels from that era.  Designers were very creative when adding chrome trim to the instrument panel and did a great job with this car. 





Asking price on this car was $8,450, which sounds like a great deal. 





The 1977 - 79 Lincoln Mark V is also a favorite.  I love the overall design and refer to it as one of the best from the time period.  The body lines are flawless !





This car is a 1978 model with 102k miles on the odometer.  It also has a rare for the era moonroof.





The asking price of $3,950 seemed quite reasonable.


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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 01:58:43 AM »

This 1964 Cadillac Sedan de Ville was listed for $9,850. 





This is one of those "blurry" pics I mentioned above.  The strange thing about it is that the "Sedan de Ville" script and chrome bumper are all clear.  But everything forward of that, (or upward in the photo), is blurry.  Anyone know why ?





More Cadillac goodness  -  this is a 1968 Coupe de Ville.  I like the green color.





The odometer showed 85k original miles.





I see that after the most recent paint job, someone forgot to add the "Coupe de Ville" script to the rear quarter panel.  Asking price was a reasonable $8,450.





This 1966 Chrysler Newport convertible looked really nice, and was listed for $13,550.





The asking price of this 5k original mile 1987 Chevy Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe was a rather expensive $17,950.  Even though the Aero cars are somewhat rare, (only 6,052 made that year), that still seems high.  Unfortunately, the picture is not the best.  The headlights and front bumper cover on the right side of the photo are clear.  But the further left you go, the worse it gets. 





This 1967 Chrysler 300 convertible is very rare, one of 1,594 made that year.





This would make a great weekend fun car for $8,550 !





A few spaces away was a 55k mile 1968 Chrysler 300 convertible, one of 2,161 made that year, that was listed for $6,950.  Howdy Elenberger, who owned the museum in Altoona where I worked, owned one of these, same color.  Great car !





Lousy picture, but a great car !


« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 08:54:46 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 02:25:21 AM »

This is another 1978 Lincoln Mark V with 59k miles.  Asking price was a very reasonable $4,950.





The 1977 - 78 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is one of my favorites !  This particular car is a 1978 "Custom Classic" edition that featured special paint and interior colors.  Only 2,000 were made, 500 of which had the optional moonroof.  This would be the last of the big Eldorados. 





This car had a mere 6K original miles on the odometer, and an asking price of $19,950.





This is a 1968 Mercury Monterey fastback.





Ford stylists did a great job with the "fastback" styling in the '60s.   





For the $5,950 asking price, the buyer would have had this beautiful fastback body that was powered by a 429 CID V-8.





The only problem is that Mercury didn't offer the 429 in the Monterey until 1969.  I'm not sure what the story was with this car.  But I'd own it for that price !





Cadillac made 8,950 Eldorado convertibles in 1975.  This car needed some work, but could be had for $4,950. 





This is a 1966 Cadillac Deville convertible.





It wasn't perfect, but was very complete. 





It was advertised as having been recently painted, and looked pretty nice.  Asking price was $9,950.


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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 01:43:31 AM »

This 1967 Chrysler Newport was one of my favorites on that day.  I thought the car was in great shape and would be well worth the $6,650 asking price.  And I really liked the color combination. 





Question for the photographers - when you look at the photo below, stuff on the right side of the picture, (the fish emblem on the glove box door and the wing window handle), are not so much "blurry" as "double exposed."  Yet the stuff on the left, (the brake pedal and numbers on the speedometer), seem to be in focus.  What's happening here ?





The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible is always a favorite.





Several Eldorado convertibles were available in varying conditions.  I don't have any information on this car.  I think I see 5 digits in the price on the windshield in the above photo.  The car looks really nice if the photos are any indication.


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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 02:04:40 AM »

We reached the end of the first building and headed outdoors to see the inventory that seemed to drift toward the "project car" end of the spectrum.  As expected, this was reflected in the asking prices.  This place is huge !  As an added benefit, being outdoors meant that I was able to take much better pics.  





This 1976 Cadillac Series 75 Limo is actually quite rare, (one of 834 produced that year).  Asking price was $1,950, which didn't seem too bad all things considered.  Aside from the obvious paint issues, the car looked pretty complete.





Another rare car !  





This 1960 Lincoln Premier is one of 1,010 produced that year.  





This car looks like it has been sitting here for a long while.  Asking price was $2,450 on that day.  However, I remember years later the price being somewhere in the $850 range.  As the tour continues, you'll see that "$850" comes up quite a bit.





This 1977 Chrysler New Yorker looked like a good buy at $2,950.





The outside looked decent.  The inside was actually quite nice.  I've always loved the seats in these cars !  





This is another 1979 Lincoln Mark V listed for $1,850.





This 1977 Cadillac Seville was listed for $1,650.  It looked like it needed a little more work than the comparably priced Mark V above.  I'm not a big fan of the aftermarket flip-up sunroof.


« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 11:24:02 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2014, 10:45:32 PM »

they still have a pretty sweet inventory, even have a 1930 chevy coupe! sweet place!
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2014, 11:53:30 PM »

they still have a pretty sweet inventory, even have a 1930 chevy coupe! sweet place!


I love looking at their website !  They just recently gave it a makeover, and it looks great.  I should make a trip back there just to walk through the place .  .  .
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2014, 12:36:36 AM »

This is a somewhat rusty 1964 Cadillac Sedan de Ville listed for $1,850.





The description on the windshield says "trans out."  Turns out that this was to be taken quite literally.





This 1978 Lincoln Town Car looked like a pretty decent car for $1,450. 





This 1966 Cadillac Deville convertible was complete, but rough.  Asking price when I was there was $3,450 which seemed pretty unrealistic.  I remember seeing this car on the website for a few years afterward.  It finally disappeared once the price dropped to around $850.





This rusty 1969 Olds 442 was listed for $5,950.





The description on the windshield said it was a legit "numbers matching" car.  But just about every panel would need work/replaced.





Beginning in 1962, a "non-letter" Chrysler 300 was added to the 300 line.  The limited production "letter car" rocket was now joined by "non-letter" car for those who wanted a 300 without the exotic hi-po goodies, or one with 4-doors.  The car shown below is a 1964 non-letter car which probably came with a 383 CID V-8 that made 305 hp, (the 1964 300K could have come with the 390 hp 413 CID V-8 topped with two 4-bbl carbs on the work-of-art long ram manifold).  This car's non-letter status combined with its condition explained the $1,650 asking price.





Judging by what's left of the tires, this 1959 Lincoln Mark IV had been sitting in that same spot for a while. 





The "Breezeway" rear window distinguished the upscale Mark Series cars from the entry level Capri and mid-level Premiere.





For the $3,250 asking price, you would appear to get a complete car.  If you're looking for one to restore, this is a good place to start.  The really hard to find items, like the chrome trim pieces, were all there.  The inside was pretty complete as well and actually didn't look too bad.  Unfortunately, the ground visible through the holes in the floor indicates rust.  That can be a big problem on these cars because they are unit body, (the largest unit body cars ever built).  I love the 1958 - 60 Lincolns and would love to have one.


« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 12:40:35 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2014, 01:02:39 AM »

This pair of Mercedes-Benz coupes also showed a bit of rust.  The car on the left is a 1970 250C that was listed for $2,850.  The car on the right is a 1972 450SLC that was listed for $3,950.





I remember really liking this 1967 Mercury Monterey fastback.  I've always thought Ford did the fastback body style better than anyone.  And I love the color combination.  The price wasn't listed, but I'd still love to have it.





This is a 1980 Cadillac Eldorado convertible that was listed for $4,650.  This interesting thing about this car is that Cadillac didn't make an Eldorado convertible in 1980.  However, coachbulders such as Hess & Eisenhardt, Coach Design Inc., ASC, and American Custom Coachworks would build you one if your pockets were deep enough.





We headed into the next building to take some more double-exposed photos.  This is a 1972 Mercury Cougar XR7 that was listed for $7,950.





I'll always be partial to the 1965 Cadillac because that was my first car.  This Sedan de Ville was quite nice and priced accordingly at $9,950.





Why so expensive ? It had 20k original miles on the odometer.





Here we go again.  If you open the image below in a new tab, you can actually zoom in and clearly read the 20,549 odometer reading.  Yet the steering wheel and shift lever are double exposed. 





Beautiful car both inside and out.





This 1969 Cadillac Deville convertible could be had for $6,850 which may or may not have been reasonable depending on all the fluid under the car.


« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 11:28:01 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2014, 12:10:22 PM »

I'll always be partial to the big Lincoln Town Car from 1977 - 79.  This 1978 model was listed for $2,950.





A few engines were housed in this building.  This Ford 429 CID V-8 could be had for $650. 





Oldsmobile revived the 442 name in 1985 after a brief period of hibernation.  Power came from Oldsmobile's 307 CID V-8 that made 180 hp, which was a decent amount for the dark ages era of the that time.





Three colors were available in 1985:  White, Medium Grey, and Black.  All had a silver lower body color.  A total of 3,000 were produced that year.  I had a white one without the T-Top option.





This 1970 Ford Thunderbird was listed for $6,950 on the website, (marked down from $7,950). 





The Fifth Generation cars weren't as well received as others.  Ford sold almost 237k Fourth Generation cars over the three year model run.  Almost 5 model years were needed to sell the same amount of Fifth Generation cars.  This car was beautiful inside and out.


« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 01:06:07 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2014, 12:43:21 PM »

I headed back outside to take much better pictures of lesser quality cars.  The 1977 - 78 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz will always be one of my favorites.  They have the most comfortable seats, (think "Lay-Z-Boy" as opposed to "Recaro").  This 1977 model looked a little rough for the $4,550 asking price.  The chrome trim molding that runs across the top of the door identifies a 1977 - 78 Biarritz.  It looks like the tires were just recently re-inflated.





Pontiac made more than 200k Firebirds in 1979.  But only around 10% were the "Formula" model.  I don't have the engine/trans combination labeled for this car.  But a Formula could be had with the Trans Am's 400/4-speed combination.  Those cars are extremely rare.


 


I found a pair of 1973 Cadillac Eldorado convertibles.  The white car below was listed for $1,950.  It's got its share of surface rust.  But at least the top is up, (and able to keep most of the elements outside).  It looks like a good starting point for a project.





The same could not be said for the red car shown below.  I would call this a parts car.  There isn't a whole lot left of it.  Asking price was $850.





The 1977 - 79 Lincoln Mark V is also one of my all-time favorites.  I find the car's lines nearly flawless.  They're just beautiful from bumper to bumper.  This particular car was only $1,950, but needed a bit of work.  The window being down didn't help matters any.





The Mark VI which debuted in 1980 wasn't nearly as well received as its predecessor.  After seeing the beautiful lines of the above Mark V, Lincoln customers didn't know what to make of the smaller and strangely proportioned Mark VI.  This 1980 model featured an unusual color, and didn't look too bad for $2,150.  I had a 1982 Lincoln Mark VI 2-door. 





The price of $850 seemed to be the "parts car" asking price.  If it was really rough, it was $850 regardless of what it was.  This $850 1962 Cadillac Fleetwood must have been pretty rough under the exterior, which didn't look too bad all things considered. 


« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 12:43:13 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2014, 01:16:39 PM »

Plymouth's Barracuda was introduced on April 1, 1964, meaning it pre-dates its Ford Mustang competitor by 2 weeks.  Getting a jump on the competition is always a good thing.  But it didn't make a difference in this case.  The Mustang outsold the Barracuda by more than 8:1.  This 1964 Barracuda was listed for $6,450.  Whatever you do, don't break that rear window !





This 1966 Mercury Monterey featured a rebuilt 390 CID V-8.  Asking price was $2,950, which wasn't bad at all, (depending on what it looked like underneath).





This 1949 Cadillac Series 62 was listed for $6,950.  





This 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 sedan was one of my favorites, (believe it or not).  For the $4,650 asking price, the potential buyer got what I'll call a really great driver.  The paint chipping away by the windshield cowl shows that this car was originally green.





This 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix was listed for $7,450.





The full-sized 2-door Grand Prix has always been a favorite of mine.  This car has the 8-lug wheels.





This 1974 Z28 is one of 13,802 made that year.  This decent looking car was listed for $7,550.


« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 11:35:29 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2014, 01:21:08 AM »

The next building housed the really nice and more expensive cars on the lot.  This building also featured better lighting, meaning my pictures stood a much better chance of coming out clear.  This is a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SL Roadster that was listed for $15,950.





Love the Pontiac Grand Prix !  This 1964 model was a 389/4-speed car that had the optional 8-lug wheels and was listed for $17,950.





The 1959 Cadillac with its larger-than-life tail fins and acres of chrome has become the definitive symbol of 1950s styling in the American auto industry.





This Coupe de Ville was advertised as a 68k original mile example.  





Almost 22,000 Coupe de Ville 2-doors were made that year.  Asking price on this car was $34,900.





For 1960, Cadillac realized that it had "Jumped the Shark" and decided to tone things down a bit, starting with the fins.





This is a 1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible.  A drop-top Caddy could be had in two trim levels in 1960.  The Eldorado Biarritz carried an MSRP of $7,401 which was a lot of money back then.  The Series 62 was the lesser expensive of the two starting around $5,500.





This absolutely stunning car was listed for $29,950.  


« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 01:22:50 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2014, 01:46:12 AM »

I headed to the next building to be greeted by this 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.





This car was advertised as having 63k original miles on the odometer.  Aside from all the dust, the car was beautiful.





The $10,950 asking price seemed pretty reasonable given the condition of the car.





This 1971 Ford LTD convertible is one of 5,750 produced that year.  Asking price was a pretty decent $6,350.





This is a 1961 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe.





Power comes from Cadillac's bulletproof 390 CID V-8 that made 325 smooth and quiet hp.





This 74k original mile car was listed for $10,950.





And since I really love Cadillacs, this is a 1975 Eldorado convertible.





According to the windshield, a lot of work had been done to this car.





The paint was new.  The engine and transmission had recently been rebuilt.





The asking price was $7,450, which I thought was a great deal given all the work.


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