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Classic Cars as daily drivers

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    The folks I see using these for daily drivers have short commutes. '64 is old, no safety devices (maybe lap belts), weak drum brakes, no air bags, I wouldn't put a car seat in it. Overall bad idea. No way he can have one for weekends?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I wouldn't consider a '64 Chevelle to be a particularly dangerous car, but it's nowhere near as safe as what's out there today. They only had lap belts, no shoulder belts. And I think belts for the back seat were still optional. I don't know anything about infant seats, but don't you need seatbelts for the car seat to anchor to?

    If he gets a 2-door hardtop or 2-door sedan, which are more valuable than the 4-door, getting a car seat into the back could be a bit of a challenge, anyway.

    Also, these cars just had single master cylinders, seats without headrests, very little useful padding on the dashboards, and steering columns that did not collapse.

    I'd suggest something a little later, like 1968. By that time, they had collapsible steering columns, shoulder belts up front, dual master cylinders, and interiors that were much more impact-friendly in a crash.

    I guess if he has his heart set on a '64 though, some of the stuff like a dual master cylinder and shoulder belts could be retrofitted?

    Putting 250 miles per week on the car is definitely going to hurt its value, unless he buys a high-mileage car to begin with, and then he's going to run into reliability issues. And being a 40+ year old car, it WILL break down on occasion, no matter how well it's been taken care of! How mechanically inclined is your husband?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    A car like this could be reliable enough if it was in good shape to begin with, but I agree with those posters who would retrofit a dual master cylinder and better seat belts.

    As for putting on miles--only if it was a very low miles original car, would this matter. These odometers turn back to zero anyway at 99,000, so people rarely know what the real mileage is on 50 year old cars anyway. Not an issue IMO unless it is documented low mileage, and VERY low mileage at that.

    As for safety, no car is safe, but a back seat is a lot safer than a front one. Most of us alive here right now grew up without car seats and air bags.

    So yeah, go for it if you can do the retrofits and if he drives sensibly. Even front disk brake conversion would be a good idea (if the car has power brakes already).

    Also gas mileage is gonna hurt if gas goes back up to $4 gal.
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    I think that besides the upgrades to the brakes and the belts - if he's really going to do any serious commuting in it, he'd be well served to dump a little money in it up front before he goes road warrioring in it.

    Repairs that are done up front on a scheduled basis are cheaper and a lot (read LOT) less hassle in the long run. When it comes to car maintenance, my whole goal in life is to try to do things on MY schedule. I hate surprises.

    I'm thinking core the radiator, change the water pump and do all the belts and hoses. Perhaps do the ball joints and redo the brakes while the car is down. A new battery is just about mandatory.

    The idea is to cover all the common stuff that might drop the car off the road unexpectedly and fix em before they happen.

    There's nothing worse than being 48 miles from home after work on a Monday evening and blowing a radiator hose. WalMart just doesn't stock radiator hoses for a 64 Chevy any more so there's no quick easy fix. So you get a roll of duct tape and a couple gallon jugs of water. Now you have to limp home AND THEN you have to figure out how to get to work on time Tuesday morning.

    This kind of thing isn't about having 1964 - it would be true with any car older than about 1995 if you're looking at 250 miles a week.

    You two will spend a lot more happy family time together if you do it this way.
    He'll still be out in the garage, but it won't be at midnight on a Wednesday and you won't be shouting at each other ;)

    You don't need to ask me how I learned these things, but I have vivid memories of being in my apartment parking lot at sundown with the hood open, tools scattered everywhere, and my beloved asking "Aren't you done YET?"
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    is to have a full-blowm mechanical restoration done if he wants to drive it 50 miles every day (assuming that hasn't been done already). It doesn't have to be pretty, but all the suspension bits and bearings should be renewed, upgrade the brakes to front discs and dual MC, refresh the rear axle and transmission, carefully look over all the wiring plus the starter and alternator, clean out the gas tank, check over the carburetor and all the linkages, and make sure the metal and rubber fuel and brake lines are good.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,305
    Safety is a relative value. It wouldn't be any safer today than it was when it was new.

    Reliability is also a relative value, but IMO more important when driving 50 miles round trip to work.

    Economy is relative, but considering where the price of fuel is going, perhaps a much younger economy car should previal. The money saved in running the ecocar could be applied to purchasing "the toy" further down the line.

    He will always be able to buy a used car, but will never get another chance to spend time with his real baby. The little one needs his attention now a lot more than the old car at the curb.
  • astphardastphard Posts: 24
    In thinking about a classic car for a daily driver, which of these would be requirements and which are just nice to have? Are there any other things that I haven't thought of that would be necessary for a daily driver?

    Rear seatbelts
    Front lap belts
    Front shoulder seatbelts
    Rear shoulder seatbelts
    Fuel injection
    power steering
    power brakes
    disc brakes
    ABS
    front driver airbag
    passenger frontal airbag
    side airbags
    Going 0-60 in 15 seconds or less
    Rear windshield defogger
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    Well, if you really want ABS and airbags, your classic car will be at most an early-mid 1990's vintage.

    It would be helpful if you further defined what your typical "daily driving" consists of. Also, what cars/era catches your fancy? Are you mechanically-handy or a checkbook mechanic (like me... =) ).

    You might look into a nice 94-96 C4 corvette (unless you need a back seat). They are quite the bang-for-the-buck car, and you can find many low mileage examples...

    :shades:
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,648
    I'd say for daily driving on mixed city streets and modern freeways, you'd want the following for SURE:

    Front lap belts --must have

    rear seat belts -- not really--the front passengers become the air bags for the rear passengers...

    Front shoulder seatbelts -- nice to have if possible--hard to retrofit.

    Fuel injection -- if you are driving climate extremes of heat and cold, FI is nice to have. Fuel injection is "smart", carburetors are "stupid".

    power steering -- not for a 2- seater, but it's hell without it on a 50s or 60s full size car.

    power brakes -- depends on the car really.

    disc brakes -- if they can be retrofitted as "bolt-on kits", I'd do it. Why? Because modern cars stop too quickly for old creaky classics to be following them.

    ABS --NAH

    front driver airbag -- if you have lap and shoulder belts, this is optional. Besides, on cars more than 15 years old, who knows if the airbag will even work anymore?

    passenger frontal airbag -- ask your passenger.

    side airbags -- NAH

    Going 0-60 in 15 seconds or less -- 15 seconds would be about my tolerance level. Why? Because on modern freeway, if you can't get out of the right lane to avoid a blockage, you might end up stuck there for a long time in a slow car.

    Rear windshield defogger --NAH--they don't work very well anyway unless there's frost or snow on them.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    For me the absolute requirement is lap and shoulder belts, followed by good brakes, which probably means disc brakes, which means power brakes. I'd want 0-60 under 15 sec more because I wouldn't be interested in a slower car.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,914
    Other than on a few oddities, ABS and airbag limits you to the mid 80s at the oldest. Otherwise, you can find some 60s cars that meet most of that, or can with little effort.
  • astphardastphard Posts: 24
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm still considering what classic car(s) might work for me. Since I live in southern Louisiana, I'm guessing that would qualify for extreme heat. I'm partial to the styling of early 50s cars, but in reading some of the threads today the steering definitely became a discussion point.

    Anyway, I'm just trying to figure out how old of a car I should realistically start looking at. And it's not that I need ABS or airbags, I just didn't know if car experts felt that they should really be there if one was driving a car daily. And I'm definitely a checkbook mechanic, though I wouldn't mind learning to be more hands-on. Just haven't had the opportunity (or the guts).
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    A freelance writer is working on a story about roadside emergency kits for an insurance company magazine. She’s looking for a good, personal example of why you need an emergency kit in your car -- or about that time you really you wish you'd had one. If you’d like to be interviewed, please send a brief overview of your story to Jenny at atfrostyshouse@gmail.com by 12/10/11.
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