Actually it's not quiet that far and more west by south west.
What you want to look for in the desert south west are the sun bleached bones of a car that is for sale as a used car. That way you know it is rebuildable (assuming it can be driven most of the parts should still be on the car). The interior will be a cracked and rotted mess, but that is ok as you can probably find a parts car around your neck of the woods sitting on the ground with no frame or floor left as it has all rusted away up to the belt line but having a full clean interior.
Rust is your biggest concern. GM built these cars to last for seven years or 100,000 miles and no more. They fully expected and desired that the car rust to pieces so that you would be forced into replacing it with another GM car. Since there is very little sheet metal offered to repair rust (compared to a Mustang or Camaro where you can build a brand new car top to bottom with all new parts for less than restored originals are selling for), you have to be very selective in choosing your project car.