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Diego’s AutoHunter Picks

That feeling you get when you miss out on a car


Have you ever thought about buying a particular car from a dealership, but the planets were not aligned? The regret can be big but, then again, it’s just a car, so I hope we can agree material possessions are not worth our emotions. Nonetheless, one of the cars in these AutoHunter Picks bears a resemblance to a vehicle I almost bought years ago. Considering I have never bought an enthusiast vehicle new, and though it seems time is running out in this EV world, perhaps it’s time to have a talk with my wife?

So, learn from my mistakes and don’t miss out this week’s AutoHunter Picks, will ya?

2002 Pontiac Trans Am Firehawk Coupe
When I graduated from college, money was good, so I planned to spec out a 1999 Firebird Formula with the 1LE package. I wanted a stick without air conditioning, and I planned to see how I could move mountains to order it in a special-order color (which was never determined). Then I called my insurance company and decided that I could learn to be happy with my trusty Honda Accord.

So, when I see super Firebirds like this 2002 Firehawk, I reminisce. The Firehawk was a different breed of Firebird (available on the Formula or Trans Am) almost like a factory-sanctioned Royal Bobcat Poncho. This one has just over 2,000 miles so perhaps it’s better for the collector than the guy (me?) who wants to drive, but it’s a classic American throwback with performance and rarity on its side.

1963 Plymouth Fury Two-Door Hardtop
I’m one of those strange people who prefers the ugly 1962s over the prettied-up ’63, but the ’63 maintained some awkwardness that keeps it interesting. For me, the taillights are the best of the 1962-64 set, while the front end is just kinda blah though nothing wrong with it. Ditto the C-pillar, which isn’t sleek but reeks of 1963.

This 1963 Plymouth Fury doesn’t feature the bucket seats of the Sport Fury, but that’s in its favor if you’re headed to the drive-in. Also in its favor is that it’s been in the same family since new. Power under the hood is nothing special (318 V8), but this Mopar has vintage style in spades and features several modern upgrades that make it a very comfortable cruiser. The pictures and presentation are the cherry on top – all AutoHunter auctions should be like this.

1966 Chevrolet Malibu Sport Coupe
I lean towards Beaumont more than Chevelle for 1966, but I do think the SS 396’s hood is the coolest of the 1966-72s, looking like a custom job on the World of Wheels circuit. I have to admit that I respect the builder of this vehicle who added the hood yet abstained from handing SS 396 badges on all four sides because, after all, badges don’t make for a cooler car.

This pampered 1966 Malibu has logged a low 3,500 miles over the past 19 years. The 468 big-block (with dual-quads!) is backed by a 700R4 four-speed automatic, giving more flexibility than what was originally offered. Even if you want to argue about the wheel choice, this Bow Tie’s got a good stance that exploits its charms properly. Otherwise, it features all the typical upgrades you’d expect in a Chevy street machine, which means it has mass appeal for much of the hobby.

1978 Dodge D100 Custom Pickup
Dodge truck production was dwarfed by Ford and Chevy, during this era, so I always enjoy seeing them, especially those multi-colored “adult toys” that pop up on occasion. When it comes to Dodge pickups, it seems most I see are workhorses and have been since new. The 1980s facelift looks good, but I prefer the 1970s for its more unadulterated Fuselage influences.

We often see the muscle truck treatment on Chevys but, lo and behold, here’s a 1978 Dodge D100 Custom given equal treatment. I must admit I’d like to see more like this. Power comes from a 342 V8 so, considering this truck originally came with a 318, I’ll guess this is a similar engine punched out, backed by a reliable TorqueFlite automatic. The interior looks stock, which is another way of avoiding someone else’s bad choices.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in the Southwest.


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