Happy Friday, Autopians! As you may have heard, the Autopian has gone Hollywood this week, hanging out at the LA Auto Show. Jason, David, and Matt have been there, checking out the latest car models, schmoozing with auto industry folks, eating tiny crustaceans out of garden equipment… you know, all that perfectly normal stuff you do at a car show. I didn’t get to go, so I decided to bring a little Hollywood magic to Shitbox Showdown by featuring two cars that have been used as “hero” cars in TV shows. First, however, let’s settle up yesterday:
A wise choice, I think. A 3800-powered GM sedan usually a safe, if not always exciting, choice. This one’s extra horsepower should provide some amusement.
Now: The concept of a “hero car” in a movie or TV show is an important one, because cars are important. (I assume that, since you’re reading this site, I don’t have to tell you why.) Certain cars get linked so firmly with certain characters that you can’t see one without thinking of the TV show – every gold second-generation Firebird is “Jim Rockford’s car,” for example. And the car has to fit the character’s personality; you can’t put Thomas Magnum in a Sentra and expect the same results.
For today’s choices, I’ve selected two cars that are both used by their respective protagonists for fighting evil: hunting down demons, killing vampires, that sort of thing. (Yes, I know this theme would have been better a couple of weeks ago, but I just thought of it yesterday morning.) One of these cars isn’t quite right, but it’s as close as I could find for sale. And remember – this is still Shitbox Showdown, so neither of these cars is exactly ready for that big chase scene yet. Let’s see which one you’d choose.
1967 Chevrolet Impala – $7,500
Engine/drivetrain: 350 cubic inch V8, 4 speed automatic, RWD
Location: Newton, KS
Odometer reading: unknown
In the long-running TV series Supernatural, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles play Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who travel the country hunting demons, cracking wise, and running afoul of entities both human and otherwise. Think Kolchak: The Night Stalker meets The Dukes Of Hazzard and you won’t be too far off. The real star of the show, though, is the Winchesters’s car, a jet-black 1967 Chevy Impala four-door hardtop.
The car I found for sale is the same year, model, and body style, and it’s even from Kansas, like the car in the show. It’s not quite as pretty as Sam & Dean’s car, however.
This Impala has a 1990 Chevy 350 V8 and TH700R4 overdrive automatic, probably out of a pickup truck. The seller says the engine is in good shape, but the transmission needs rebuilding. It might be easier to just replace it, however; they’re not exactly hard to find.
Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done here. The seller says the car is 95% complete; what’s missing looks to be mostly interior trim pieces. I’m sure reproduction parts exist for ’67 Impalas, but four-doors? That might be a taller order.
It needs some rust repair, but the seller seems to think it’s saveable. They have a replacement rear quarter panel available from a parts car, which would take care of the worst damage. There are a lot more photos in the ad of the underside showing the repairs needed, if you want to see them. The seller is also including a set of the same “saw blade” aftermarket wheels as the car in the show.
1967 Plymouth Belvedere – $9,395
Engine/drivetrain: 383 cubic inch V8, 3 speed automatic, RWD
Location: Cadillac, MI
Odometer reading: unknown
Runs/drives? Actually, yes!
In the Buffy The Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel, David Boreanaz plays the title character, a vampire cursed with a human soul, and therefore a conscience, who is doomed to wander the world forever atoning for his past sins. He hangs out his shingle as a private investigator, and with a motley entourage, battles demons, vampires, and an evil law firm. Angel’s ride of choice is a black 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX convertible, because of course, if you’re a vampire in sunny LA, a convertible is ideal, and not impractical at all.
I couldn’t find a GTX convertible that wasn’t fully restored and cost at least as much as a nice RV, so I had to settle for this Belvedere two-door hardtop. It’s the same basic body style, and it’s a big-block at least, so it’s kinda the same car. Paint it black, grab a Sawzall, call it good, right?
Unlike the Impala, this old Plymouth actually runs and drives. I’m not sure how roadworthy it is, but being able to turn the key, put it in gear, and make it move under its own power is huge for a project car. It’s the difference between an inert lump of metal that sucks up your time and money, and a real honest-to-goodness car.
That’s not to say there isn’t some work to do. It needs new rear quarter panels; they’re included, and the seller says the rest of the car is solid. The missing side trim is also included. It’s powered by a 383 cubic inch engine, backed by a good old Torqueflite automatic. Can’t go too far wrong there.
It’s encouraging to see other Mopars in the background of the photos. It means the seller likely knows their stuff. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be honest, but usually someone who really likes the car they’re selling is less likely to try to pull a fast one.
Well, that’s our show for the week. Tune in next week for more crappy old cars, pop culture references, and lively debate. See you then!
(Image credits: Impala – Hemmings seller; Belvedere – Autotrader seller)
That Impala would be worth $500, at best, if not for the show. But 15 seasons of fetish object changes the market. This is the least expensive one I’ve seen in quite a while. I don’t look often, because it’s usually a fruitless search.
But I picked the Impala anyway, because it’s the one classic car my spouse would never ever object to me spending money on, either directly or in tools to work on it, and I would also enjoy a Supernatural replicar.
Seriously. I could buy an entire truck full of Snap-On tools with no discounts, and it would be just fine if I said they were for working on Baby. I could buy a hydraulic lift and excavate a pit in the garage if Baby needed them. A pair of rotisseries for the chassis and body? Sure, if Baby needs it. GM 502 big block crate engine and a Hotchkiss suspension? Sure, that’s what hero car has…
Anybody else see a $500 Chevy and a $1200 dollar Plymouth? You have to go with the Plymouth on condition, but those prices seem a little crazy to me.
One thing I will add though, style and presence have in inverse relationship to popularity. When I was a kid that era Impala was everywhere, a boring car owned by boring people.
Giving it a fresh look after decades of not staring at them all day everyday, looks like a pretty clean and sharp design.
That Impala evokes gritty scenes in big-city crime dramas from the ‘70s: it fishtails wildly on glistening pavement as the cops in a Mopar take potshots at it. Occasionally it will understeer heavily while firing a hubcap at an unsuspecting pedestrian…
Yeah, the Plymouth is much rustier than I’d ever touch, and overpriced to boot, but the Chevy looks like even more work to end up with an uglier car. Between the two, I’ll take the Belvedere.
The prices on both of these cars are INSANE. I’m voting “present” today.
Very reluctant vote for the Plymouth. I’ve never watched either of these shows, but was aware of the Supernatural/’67 Chevy connection, mostly because I bought a die-cast version of it. As an owner of a 4-door ’66 Biscayne, I really wanted to vote for that Impala, but just… no. That thing is sooo rough. Those “small” patches in the trunk mean at least 3 patch pieces. Added all together it’s an entire new trunk floor. Plus it needs an entire quarter. And, speaking from experience here, the frame is almost certainly starting to resemble a particular European cheese on both sides up around the transmission crossmember. All that before interior, rubber trim, glass etc. for a sedan Chevy made roughly a million of? Good grief.
The Plymouth on the other hand at least runs, drives, and has the right number of doors to recoup some of the costs of restoration. Plus I put together a Jo-Han model of Richard Petty’s ’64 Belvedere when I was a kid, so that’s gotta count for something.
I have nothing against 4doors, but that is way too much asking for a rusted out/ non-op / bad tranny sedan. The Plymouth needs work but it seems to be an infinitely more “do-able” project, and the 383 / torqueflite combo should move her with authoritah when she’s good to go 🙂
I chose the Mopar because Dean was terrible for Rory.
Well Shitbox is definitely the correct word for these two examples today. Jesus take the wheel please. Both of these should be living in a wrecking yard, especially at the asking prices. To term this another way if both choices were ACTUAL turds, there would be two “floaters” in the bowl. Both should have been flushed away decades ago. YMMV.
Gimme the Plymouth. But instead of the demon hunting theme, I’d go in a different direction. Sawzall the roof, get a tarp and some cardboard, and replicate the GTX convertible from the end of Tommy Boy.
would you rather go for the Hellcat?
Sorry, couldn’t resist!!!!
In keeping with the TV theme, I’m voting for Mr. Belvedere
These BOTH look completely fucked. No on both.
It looks like the Impala caught the demon and then let it hang out for a decade or two. I’ll take the Belvedere and call it Mr.
Four doors, 95% complete, and $7500.
Three numbers that prove math is not taught in Kansas.
I’m shocked there’s a single Impala hardtop that didn’t find its way to BC. Still, $7500 for a facsimile of quite possibly the most important object in the entire universe?
Interesting thing about the Impala: it was so popular on the show that they made an episode starring just the Impala. It’s called Baby and it’s from season 11, episode number 4.
As a long time Supernatural fan, Impala.
While I have a soft spot for Impalas, that thing is just a pile of parts waiting to suck money. If it had the original parts, maybe.
The Plymouth wins as it is running but not a basket case.
you can have David Tracy fix it on the cheap, but that might not be enough rust for him, and also wrong brand 🙂
Easy. Belvedere is a coupe, has more cubes than an ice maker, and actually runs.
…I couldn’t help myself.
I should mention that the Impala, looks-wise, reminds me of an old high-school girlfriend I ran into recently.
Two fine picks here. I had to go with the Chevy because I had a lot of wheel time in a ’67 327 Caprice, and the memories are all good.
Additional Film/TV credits for almost-67 Chevies:
“Baretta” 1966 Chevy Impala 4-door.
“Dirty Mary & Crazy Larry” 1966 Chevy Impala 4-door (early scenes, used to jump drawbridge).
I really really wanted to vote for the Impala, but it’s to far gone, especially for that money. The Plymouth it is … and I hope the new owner makes it an old-school NASCAR tribute.
Agreed. This is the car Richard Petty drove to 27, (yes 27) wins in the 1967 NASCAR season. And won almost 1/3rd of the races he entered that year. Today’s drivers ain’t got shit on the King…
The paint looks very odd on the Belvedere. At first glance, I thought it had a new front clip and door put on it. But the roof is the same color as the front.
Despite enjoying Supernatural much more than Angel, I gotta go with the Plymouth
1) I’m not Australian
2) it just looks like its in better shape overall
I’m disappointed you didn’t find a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale, which was Ash’s car in the “Evil Dead” series.
Hail to the King, baby
Maybe Sam Raimi has already bought them all?
and destroyed them in a bit scene somewhere
The good news is they are at least available across the multiverse.
Exactly. My immediate thought was “Neither, I’ll take Ash’s Delta.”
(User name checks out I guess, huh?)
My grandparents had this exact car. And my 16 year old self beat the shit of it. One of the few offerings for 1973 that could light up the rear tires for about 100 feet…Miss that car now days.
That car was owned by Sam Raimi and has appeared in all his movies, even The Quick and the Dead
I’ll do movie cars some other Friday. That would be a good choice.
I appear to have made it 100% for the Belvedere. Let’s keep it that way. No one should be paying that kind of scratch for a rusty Chevy that looks like raccoons staged a combined orgy/pitfight death match in it.
Exactly. That Impala has the 60’s GM tax.
The link I saw below that heap was for a running but not driving 1965 Impala that costs $5,000 less. It’s a straight 6 instead of a V8, but still. You’d be better off buying that much more intact car and looking for an engine swap. Or you could keep the 6 and enjoy the car for the aesthetics.