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Is a classic car right for me?



  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    C4C irked me too, as a lot of MB W124 and W126 bit the dust. But....useful parts were scavenged first, and it is probably easier now to find parts for a car of that era than ever before. If one assumes the scrapped cars were really heaps on their last legs - at least some parts of them were used to help keep others going.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I thought the experiment was very interesting and really need to be done. Given the number of hits on YouTube, this was no doubt quite educational for a lot of people. I used to hear the old "they don't build them like they used to" cliche so much that honestly I would have donated that '59 Chevy under my own expense just so I can link people to the video. :P

    Next thing I want to do is videotape the repair bills for all the "These cars can go 500,000 miles with no problem" advertisements I see.


  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    I use it to defuse the "I drove a heap like that and survived, so they must be fine!" comments, which kinda ignore the fact that all those folks that DIDN'T survive aren't around to complain...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    It is funny the way kids used to crawl around in cars, no seat belts, put eight people in a car built for six, etc., and here we are.

    I think the bigger problem is, there are more cars today than there used to be (where I grew up, most everyone just had one car; we now have three daily drivers), and today's A.D.D. drivers always worried me when I was out in my Studebakers--that one wouldn't be able to see brake lights that didn't include a CHMSL; that they'd be on the phone or texting, etc. In other words, I worry far more about other drivers not paying attention than I did 35 or even 25 years ago. In fact, I went years without so much as being bumped. Both my wife and I have been bumped from behind by women in the last six months.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    I'd also like to see comparisons of the cost of ownership of very high mileage cars versus those that are scrapped between 150,000-250,000 miles. Two hundred thousand seems to, more or less, be the new 100,000.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I always advise people that once their car hits about 250K, to have it carefully looked over for structural failure---cracks in control arms, tearing of the chassis at anchoring points, mounting of the steering box--that sort of thing.

    I guess as long as your monthly average repairs bills don't approach monthly new car payments, then you are technically "ahead" with a high mileage used car, but of course your loyal steed may not look, or smell, very good anymore.

    Also people have different tolerance levels. Someone driving a car with 350,000 on it might be perfectly happy, as well as oblivious to 25 things wrong with it---"yeah, you just gotta pump the brakes a little" or "gas smell? What gas smell?" or "That clunk in the front end? Hell, I don't know--it's been that way for a year".


  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Yeah, any car with 200,000 miles, not to mention 350,000, is bound to have a few things that aren't perfect. However, that can be some of the charm, or character of the car, so long as safety isn't affected. Oh, and bad smells aren't charming.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    My '06 Saturn ION will never be a classic, and with only 82K miles, is nowhere near approaching that 'old car' status referenced in the past few posts.

    Mechanically, it is in great condition - original brake pads and battery, for example. Cosmetically - that's another story. Scrapes on the front bumper and front passenger door, a couple of missing trim pieces, a small tear in the drivers seat.

    Since I really only use it for errand running and pizza delivery, it fills the bill for me nicely.

    It's due for an oil change and the fuel filter needs replacing, which I'll get to in the next month or so. I'll have the brakes looked at as well.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    This was posted on a Studebaker forum, about today's "Click and Clack" column. Interesting reading I think, whether you like those guys or not: Click-amp-Clack

    I don't even change my own oil, but I've taken two different Studebakers as far as 250 miles away at one time, and I never broke down. So I'd say it's not an absolute 'given' as Tom and Ray say! Of course, the thing is to be prepared, as they say.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    Yeah, the author is pessimistic. When I was younger, I took my old car on many road trips, with few incidents. Back in the 90s, my dad had a few old cars, all of which were taken on trips - no big problems either. Just keep up on the maintenance and be prepared.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    yeah it'll probably break down but so what? These old cars are pretty easy to fix. Usually with old cars that have been sitting such a long time, it's the little stuff that'll get you---belts, hoses, tires, wheel bearings, batteries, stuck thermostat, etc.

    What he should do is the Shiftright 5-50-500 test. What you do with the old car is take it on a 5 mile round trip and drive it HARD. If it makes that, look everything over that evening and then do a 50 miler. Then, back home, same thorough exam, then take your 500 mile trip.


  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I agree, shifty. Before going to South Bend, I'd always try a 50-60 mile trip on the interstate. If everything looks OK before, during, and after, I'd feel a lot better, for sure.

    This past summer I mostly (not always) stayed off the interstate going to South Bend...I enjoyed the drive much better, although it did take me longer of course.

    It sounds like the kid's Dad is mechanically handy...unlike me. I have AAA's best towing plan available, although luckily haven't had to use it....yet.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    I'd guess that the biggest risk I take regularly in an old car is when I drive to the "Das Awkscht Feschst" car show in Macungie, PA every August. It's about 400 miles round trip.

    I've been going to that show since 2002, but at first, only as a spectator. The first time I put a car in the show was 2008. That year, I registered my 1976 LeMans. At the time, my '67 Catalina wasn't fit to make the trip, neither was my '57 DeSoto, and, well, the LeMans is a much nicer car than either of my two '79 New Yorkers.

    But, about 3-4 days before the show, I couldn't get the LeMans to start. And, it was blocking my '79 5th Ave, which I would trust to drive almost anywhere. On the morning of the show, I gave the LeMans one last try, but no luck. So, I started up my '79 New Yorker base model, a car that has a bad habit of staring up just fine first thing in the morning, but would then tend to leave me stranded at work.

    Well, it started just fine, and I drove it to the grocery store to get some ice for the beer cooler. And, wouldn't you know it, damn thing refused to re-start in the grocery store parking lot! I finally got it to fire up, then went to the gas station to fill up. I didn't trust it enough to turn it off again, so I just let it run while I filled up.

    Then, I drove up to Macungie...met Lemko at a Burger King parking lot, and then went to the show. Made sure to NOT turn off the car again until I was on the show field.

    I was sweating bullets when it was time to turn the car on when the show was over, but thankfully it started up. We went back to the Burger King for dinner, and I remember the car starting back up on maybe the 3rd or 4th try after that. On the way back home, I fillled up at a gas station about 95-100 miles from home, but again, left it running, just in case. And got the rest of the way home without incident.

    In 2009-2010, I took the Catalina to that show. In 2009 it was fine, but in 2010 it had developed some kind of issue with the transmission linkage, where it would hold second gear for way too long. But it still made the trip okay, and when I finally had it looked at, thankfully just needed a minor adjustment.

    In 2011, I drove the LeMans to that show, and it didn't do too bad, except that it rained at the show, and the moisture seemed to make it a bit cranky.

    In 2012, I drove the Catalina again, and it did fine.

    Also in 2011, I drove my '79 5th Ave to the Mopar show in Carlisle, and while I saw up there, the power steering pump started to leak, and fast. It wasn't too ornery in most driving, but parallel parking would have been a chore. And in 2012, it started leaking fuel...again, naturally while I was up there. Got that fixed, so for 2013 it should be fine.

    With luck though, my mechanic will have my DeSoto ready, so I might run that to the Mopar show. Not gonna hold my breath on it really being road ready, though...
  • Andre, the gas leak from your Fifth Avenue is still evident on the street in front of our (soon-to-be-former) house.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    Sorry about that! :blush: I got it fixed a few months ago, so it should behave itself and not christen the new place!
  • berriberri Posts: 4,141
    Oops, I gassed my pants - I know, bad pun!
  • Don't apologize! Now I'll look for that mark on the street when I drive by the old place.
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