On the Web
Since so many people are finding their classics on the Internet, in one way or another, we couldn't ignore this venue for finding your next project, or turnkey classic Chevy. You've got eBay Motors, Craig's List, Racing Junk.com, and even the website for auction giants Mecum and Barrett-Jackson have online bidding available during their auctions.
The nice thing about the web is if you live in the rust belt or similar area where almost everything is rotted out and in need of major body work, you can look at possible deals in more arid climates that preserve classic Detroit steel better. To work within our west coast/east coast theme here, we each looked up cars on eBay within a 500-mile radius of our respective offices, scouting for a good deal on a first-gen Camaro and '68-'72 Chevelle. Here's what we found.
Hill: The details says the car is running and drivable, meaning you can still have fun driving this '69 as a Rat rod of sorts while working on it. Seller says the front driver's floor needs patching, rear floors are solid, and in the photos it looks like the rear window area needs some attention. Bonus is the factory A/C, easy to repair and always handy in the hot southern summers, or a hot summer anywhere for that matter. When we saw this the top bid was $5,600, and the auction had four days left.
Hill: Scouring eBay, this was the best, reasonable Chevelle deal to be found in our search parameters. When spotted the auction had a little over 24 hours left, but hadn't met the seller's reserve price. The info listed a lot of new items installed, including sheetmetal, work already done, and included new parts that make this a pretty good deal if it stays under $10K.
Head: The best deal on a Chevelle I could find happened to be outside of California in Las Vegas. All the bodywork was already done, and according to the seller, all the interior, glass and bumpers are included. If you are one of those guys who can do it all except paint, then this is a car to consider. It's an original V-8 A-body, but it's sold with no motor. Everything else I found in my search was in the $12K-$30K range, so it's safe to say people in California are really proud of their cars.
The Bottom Line
There are still deals to be had out there; it just takes a lot more legwork and research than it used to. While almost everyone wants a '69 Camaro or '70 Chevelle, at some point when you're on a budget, reality has to come into play. While that dream Camaro might not be within reach financially, there are plenty of other cool Chevys out there that can fit into even a modest budget, provide just as much fun and enjoyment, and quite possibly be the stepping stone to eventually acquiring your dream car.
Head: Here is the most reasonable Camaro I could find in my search. Even though the reserve had not been met, I suspect it is in the $10K-$12K range. According to the seller, it's a true SS car with a factory four-speed, no rust, and runs and drives like a top. It has a non-matching numbers motor, but the rest of the driveline is. The seller was nice enough to offer to pick you up at the airport if you come to look at the car. With the prices of first-gens going higher and higher, this might be a chance to get one before it gets fully restored and the price jacked up to the moon.