Now, if the car is a valuable collectible like, say, a 1970 Hemi Cuda, better not to touch it. A car like that, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, needs to be kept original with factory-correct parts. Adding a better engine and suspension would be like painting a friendlier smile on the Mona Lisa.

But if it's one of the many thousands of far less valuable cars that happen to share body styles with more valuable siblings -- a 6-cylinderBarracuda, perhaps - why not make a few improvements?

If anything, the changes, if well done, will increase the car's values in today's market. A lot of muscle car collectors are looking for cars they can drive comfortably and easily. Cold air conditioning and a six-disc CD player wouldn't hurt either.

At Time Machines, Inc., a Florida company specializing in "resto-mods" - a term that's equal parts "restored" and "modified" - about half the customers bring in an old car they just want upgraded.

"I want it to drive like the Lexus I drive every day," said Mike Staveski of Time Machines, describing a typical customer's desires.

Customers typically pay between $150,000 and $250,000 for the restoration and upgrades, he said.

Craig Jackson, president of the Arizona-based collector car auction company Barrett-Jackson brought his own 1969 Camaro to Unique Performance, a Texas company, to have it made into a more livable daily driver.

"After scaring myself a few times by not handling through the corners I decided to resto-mod the car," he said.

Cars: 1969 Outside, 2006 Inside - Continued

Unique replaced the car's suspension and steering components with up-to-date performance parts and eventually replaced the engine, as well. Full-service operation

Some buyers don't want to have to hunt around for a collectible and then deal with the upgrading. For them, there are off-the-shelf solutions.

Time Machines, for example, is offering a series of 1970 Plymouth Barracudas with engines, transmissions and suspensions from modern V10-powered Dodge Viper sports cars.

Carroll Shelby himself, famous for the Shelby Cobra sports car and Shelby line of modified Ford Mustangs from the late 1960s and early 1970s, has lent his name to a line of newly modified 1967 to 1969 Mustangs that look, from the outside, just like Shelby Mustangs of that era.

Unique Performance starts by finding ordinary, often non-running, Mustangs of the appropriate vintage. As long as the bodies are structurally sound and in good shape, that's all that's needed.

"The only thing that's ever utilized on these cars is the shell of the car with the original [vehicle identification] number," said Douglas Hasty, president of Unique Performance.

Outside, the cars are turned into exact likenesses of original GT350 and GT500 cars. (The GT500 is best known for its appearance as "Eleanor" in the 2000 remake of the movie "Gone in 60 seconds.")

Underneath the exterior, there's no attempt to replicate exactly the original cars mechanically. The concept is the same but the technology is modern. The 325-horsepower engine has electronic fuel injection. The cars even have 10-disc CD changers. (A 10-disc DVD changer is available as an option.)

The company has also recently introduced a line of 1969 Chevrolet Camaros and 1970 and 1971 Dodge Challengers upgraded and modified according to designs by car customizer Chip Foose.

Baldwin-Motion, a company formed from the reunion of two famous muscle car tuners of the classic era, offers custom-modified 1969 Camaros that have all modern performance machinery underneath. Engine options include supercharged V-8s that produce about 750 horsepower.

Many of the people who purchase these cars also collect carefully restored "numbers matching" cars, said Hasty of Unique Performance.

"Now they have the means to reward themselves with something cool and collectible that has all the features," he said.

Click here to see five cool "resto-mod" cars.

Below are articles relating to the rapidly increasing values of Muscle Cars in the past few years. Car collectors are no stranger to the added value of their beloved pastime, which if executed the “Barrett-Jackson” way, can yield an investment return that many hobbies of today can not attain. Craig Jackson, president of Barrett-Jackson, a classic car auction company, states “Muscle car values have risen steadily, even right through economic downturns”.

Links to Articles: Cars: 1969 Outside, 2006 Inside

Car Collecting a Hobby with Investment Perks

Business Week Article

USA Today Article






Investing in a Muscle Car

Cars: 1969 Outside, 2006 Inside


Cars: 1969 Outside, 2006 Inside
By Peter Valdes-Dapena

Collectors can now buy classic American car bodies stuffed with all the latest technology.

There's something people often forget about those great cars Detroit put out during the 1950s and 1960s.

They were mostly horrible to drive.

For those spoiled by modern cars with features like steering wheels that steer, brakes that stop in less than "eventually" and engines that don't require repair and adjustment before each start, actually living with a "classic" car can be a bit of a bummer. They're great to look at and to be seen in, but they're often less fun to drive than you might remember.

These are problems that can be fixed with a little modern technology, though.

Go to to see five cool "resto-mod" cars.
five cool resto-mod cars



For late model Mustang parts, check out

Car Collecting a Hobby with Investment Perks

Barrett-Jackson is the industry leader in helping novice and experienced buyers link a hobby to an investment.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., November 19, 2004 –Car collectors are no stranger to the added value of their beloved pastime, which if executed the “Barrett-Jackson” way, can yield an investment return that many hobbies of today can not attain. In order to create the best environment for buyers, the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has developed and uses the Barrett-Jackson Mini Index which is setting the industry standard of how to determine the quality and price of classic cars.

“Car collecting should be a hobby first, with an added bonus of investment for the buyer who is smart about how they approach the industry,” said Craig Jackson, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “We created the BJ Mini Index to measure the value of cars so we can pass this service on to our buyers so they can make an educated decision that may turn into a solid financial investment.”

In a recent comparison, the BJ Mini Index outperformed the Dow Jones Index by nearly seven percent, showing the car collecting industry does yield investment opportunities for those interested in pursuing the hobby.

“The Barrett-Jackson Mini Index was up 25.9 percent year to date over 2003. The Dow Jones Industrial is up 0.81 percent for the same period and the SP 500 Index is up 4.69 percent,” said Stephen Drake, CPA for Barrett-Jackson. “This means that the Barrett-Jackson Mini Index outperformed the Dow industrial average [total returns including reinvested dividends] by 37.8 percent for the one-year period. The BJ mini index beat the Standard and Poors (S&P) 500 Index by 35.6 percent for the same period."

Additionally, over the past five years, the BJ Index has consistently outperformed both the Dow and the S&P 500, showing the BJ Index up 14.9 percent, the Dow down 7.21 percent and the S&P down 19.40 percent over the five year period.

The preliminary index information was gathered from seven cars representative of the overall direction of the car market. These cars are primarily European and American sports cars and U.S. muscle cars from 1957-1970. The cars used in the index were the 1957 T Bird Convertible, 1967 Jaguar XKE, 1967 Shelby GT 500, 1970 Camaro Z28, 1970 AAR Cuda, 1965 Austin Healey MK III and a 1967 Corvette 427/435.

Barrett-Jackson Mini Index
The January 2004 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction showed 40 percent of consigners were new to the auction block. With the amount of new buyers in the market, Barrett-Jackson continues to help educate beginners by having a reputable third-party at the auction to inspect the cars. This, paired with the BJ Mini Index, is the “Barrett-Jackson” way of car collecting that helps turn first-time buyers into repeat investors.

Barrett-Jackson is assembling a more detailed set of indices that will have more cars and will be weighted by importance for a broader, overall BJ Index. There will eventually be five categories of cars, including sports cars, muscle cars, classic cars, custom and specialty, and special interest cars.

The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction is scheduled for Wednesday, January 26 to Sunday, January 30, 2005 at WestWorld in Scottsdale. For more information about registering as a consigner or just attending the auction go to

About Barrett-Jackson
Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the “World’s Greatest Classic Car Auction” in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has expanded to other venues that include Palm Beach, Florida and Southern California.

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson enjoys a unique reputation for its ability to value, market and consult in the classic car market to consistently achieve above-industry prices. The company’s name is synonymous with a luxury lifestyle and high-end classic and collector automobiles. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit or call (480) 421-6694.