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Fixer Upper

We are going to start a new series of posts here on called Fixer Upper. Although I love the high end cars that are beautifully restored, restomoded or customized they generally fall into the “dream” category for most enthusiasts. The reality is that most of us can only afford a nice driver car and even those can often exceed our budget. The goal of the Fixer Upper posts is to demonstrate that an affordable collector car is still possible.

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

Here are the ground rules:

  1. Our intent is to go out, look for and purchase a collector car for less than $5,000 but not more than $10,000.
  2. The car will then be looked over for deficiencies and ugly. That is, what needs to be done and what would we like to do before we hit the street with it?
  3. Our goal is to not put more into the car than $15,000 total.
  4. We also hope to have a 20% potential profit in the car when done. In other words if we have $15,000 in the car we hope to be able to sell it for at least $15,000 plus 20% ($3,000) and sell it for $18,000. This will help us move on to the next project which in your case might mean moving up to a better car next time.
  5. One of our strategies is to stay away from the main stream where cars in demand command higher prices. That means we won’t be looking for a Camaro or a Chevelle. It means we will be looking for stuff that is cool but a little different. We will even look at pickups.
  6. We will also try to stay away from vehicles needing major repairs. We want to be able to start driving them almost immediately if possible. Rust must be minimal and no major structural repairs.
  7. We will also be keeping and publishing a detailed cost accounting for all expenses for the Fixer Upper. Even when we screw up and have to send it out to a shop to fix are mistakes you will know about it.
  8. If we do send out for parts we will tell you where and what we thought of their service and products.
  9. We will look for cars on Craig’s List, eBay, insurance auctions and anywhere else we can find a good deal. Heck, if you have a candidate for a Fixer Upper, drop us an email at

    1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
    1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

We have been looking for a possible candidate for our first Fixer Upper and just got delivery on it. We purchased it online through an insurance auction. I hate to buy a car base on photos with not so much as a description of the condition and try to never purchase a car for over $5,000 without seeing it in person. However, sometimes you just have to take the gamble and I did. Now to see if it paid off or not.

Next time we will give you our first inspection and reaction to our purchase, it was less than $5,000 and drives but not safe for the street, yet. It has a 425 cubic inch engine, automatic transmission and air conditioning (doesn’t work) and appears to meet all of our previously listed criteria. It is a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. We will show you picture of it next time!

1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, front wheel drive
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, front wheel drive
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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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