Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1st: Is it a 4-door sport sedan (w/out the post between the doors) or a regular sedan? The pillarless models usually command a higher price, and are much more scarce. For a driver, it won't matter much but it does effect the value. As for the 350 motor, if it's a 'driver' .. again, it shouldn't matter as long as it runs well. All the SBC engines as long as their orange look pretty much the same.
"rust-free" is subjective. In my opinion: the less rust in the most expensive places, the better. I, for instance bought a lowly 6-cyl. 4-door sedan for a dirt-cheap price, and was (luckily) surprised to find out it spent most of it's life in CALI and thus, the floors, trunk, and frame were virtually rust-free. That equals HUGE savings when it comes to restoration dollars. Expect to find some bondo here, or there - but it's not a big deal compared to having to cut and replace trunk pans, and such.
As someone stated above, familiarize yourself with and make sure to check the body mounts. They are a common issue with the "X-framers" and not cheap to repair. You can buy brand-new fenders, hoods, etc. - but the labor in replacing rusted parts climbs very quickly.
As far as reliability goes: these cars, no matter what engine or body style, were relatively simple to own, run, and repair. All cars break down - but repairing a computerized widget-laden 80's box can be a whole lot more frustrating (and expensive) when it comes to service than one of our late-great chevies, which you can buy almost any part now out of a catalogue.
Good luck, and keep us in the loop! ~
'63 Impala Sedan
Last edited by medisalle; 09-29-2010 at 09:47 AM.