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Attractive Older Cars and Why You Think So

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  • I'd be curious to hear some of your opinions concerning cars built in the last ten-fifteen years which will likely look good to auto buffs thirty years from now, in the same way that buffs today admire, for example, the original Buick Riviera or the 1955-57 Chevies.

    My votes go to the 1995-99 Buick Riviera, the first generation Oldsmobile Aurora, the Mazda MX-6, and (I can't really remember the actual years this one was in production) the second-to-last generation Oldsmobile Toronado, the one from the mid-to-late 1980's (before they made the trunk longer and ruined the proportions).
  • the new Chrysler 300 M. . . I think it's stunning.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Personally I don't think the next generation is going to be able to tell many 90s cars apart from one another, with the exception of the very sporty ragtops and a few of the stylish coupes. The 300 M is attractive, I like it also, and it may merit some attention in the future. I think the Rivieras you mentioned have somewhat nice lines, but they already look a bit clumsy, I think. I believe the Toronados, or any Oldsmobiles for that matter, are doomed to obscurity for being rather ordinary and undistinguished cars compared to their contemporaries. I mean, who turns and looks at an Oldsmobile on the street anymore?

    The cars that will most likely be admired in the future are the very same ones that are strongly admired today. So if it's not stopping traffic in the year 2000, it probably won't in 2020 either--this is what history has revealed so far, anyway.

    Thanks for the Jag site and info. I agree, the Jag automatic of that era is hopeless, and the fuel injected cars are a much better risk.

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  • Heartily endorse the Jag lovers web site. The guy who runs it also runs a site with links to commercial Jaguar sites and information. This can be found at www.jagweb.com
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Thanks for all the great advice on Jags, and for the two web sites, which I've bookmarked. I think I could live with an old Jag pretty easily. I don't expect 100% reliability, and our weather is mild (SF mid-Peninsula). I was wondering about the SUs. Based on my limited experience with them, they seem reliable, although you have to keep them topped off with oil. I synchronized them without screwing up, which suggests they're easy to work on. Is it possible to install factory FI without breaking the bank, and if so, is it a good idea? Also, growing up I liked the 420 more than the Mark II, although the Mark's classic lines appeal to me now. Is there any difference in demand and price between the two models? Does anyone have a preference, and why?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Oh, the difference between the Mark II and the 420 is staggering in terms of value. The 420 is currently hardly worth anything at all...I mean, I know you see guidebooks that say they are worth $7,000 but you'd have a hell of a time selling one for that amount. Just to give you an idea, the Sports Car Market Price Guide, which is probably the leading authority on classic car values in America, and which follows all *real* transactions by private parties and auctions, gives the Mark II a four-star **** rating, which they describe as " The **** car will outperform the market at large, perhaps 25% gain in 36 months.

    They rate the 420 with one star * , and describe it thusly "The * car means Woof! Woof! A dog that nobody cares about and most likely never will".

    Rather harsh, but in fact that's about the truth of it, in terms of market value.

    I think the reason is that most people perceive the Mark II to be a much handsomer, better performing and better proportioned car, and this is why $20,000 and more is not too much to ask for a really nice one with the *right* equipment...which is wires wheels, 3.8 engine and 4-speed overdrive. A Mark II with RHD, automatic and disk wheels is worth considerably less!

    SU--the SU is a great carburator and don't let ANYONE tell you differently. If they do, they just haven't learned about them. Now some old Jags, like the XJ6, will not have SUs but STrombergs, and those you want to stay away from. But SUs, once understood (geez, only 3 moving parts!) and calibrated, give very decent power throughout the rev range and are quite reliable.

    Yes, I think an old Jag would like California climate, although I wouldn't take one into the valley in the summer!

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, three moving parts sounds like my kind of carb, especially after years spent rebuilding 4-barrels. Is the 420 the one that looks like a 3/4-scale Mark X/420-G?

    My understanding is that the Jag overheats because of a) a long-stroke engine with lots of internal friction, and b) large hemi-head combustion chamber passes lots of heat to the coolant. Any truth to this?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    By the way, regarding your posting that today's headturners are tomorrow's collectibles--believe it or not, my '98 GTP turns lots of heads, especially among those too young to vote. I hope this doesn't mean I'll be seeing GTPs at concours twenty years from now!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Well, I don't know, I can't see that far into the future, but given the track record of cars produced in large numbers on an assembly line, you might see a GTP at a local car show, why not, but not at Pebble Beach. Perhaps "head-turning" was an unfortunate choice of words. It wouldn't, for instance, turn my head, but I'm not 18. On the other hand, few things that turn 18 year old heads end up being revered by humanity, but maybe someday 18 year olds will rise up and rule the world and then they'll set the rules (what a grim thought, but....).

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  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    Well, this topic's a pleasant surprise.

    How do you post a photo?

    I'll throw one out, if it hasn't been mentioned yet: 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter cabriolet by Pininfarina. I'll post a photo if I can figure out how.
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    So I'm a failure as a netizen.

    I'll just have to do it the old-fashioned way.

    http://www.ferrari.it/vetture/ieri.e/212int51.html
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    image

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  • What I consider strong (in a way) candidates for collectibles in the future are, for instance, the last full-size RWD GM cars: '91-'96 Chevy Caprice, '91-'96 Buick Roadmaster, '93-'96 Cad Fleetwood. The Caprice to a lesser extent probably, but to big-RWD-car lovers (like me and I'm not even a 50-year-old!; 17 to be exact) it does mean the end of an era -- and weren't '57 Chevys just as common and plain one day?

    Especially the wagon versions of the Chevy and Buick just might turn out to go up in value significantly -- the only '70s car that remained alive until the '90s with typical styling elements like 9-passenger space, 18' length and fake wood on the sides!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    I think the problem with the cars you mentioned is that most are 4-doors.....even a 57 Chevy plain-jane 4-door isn't worth hardly anything today.....and also, the '57 Chevies were wildly popular with young kids back then, and also very closely tied to cultural "revolution", rock and roll, etc. A modern Caprice or Buick reall means nothing to people other than being a car I'm afraid, so I don't see them myself as being collectible. They are kind of ordinary, although certainly nice rides, made in large numbers, and not much on excitement.

    This is not to say some people in the future might not preserve and cherish a 1995 Caprice here and there...but I just can't imagine in the year 2025 the crowd going wild, flashbulbs popping, as a Caprice is driven onto the auction block!

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  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    I can't imagine flashbulbs in 2025 either. Do they also use Speed Graphics in the world of the future?

    !{

    Actually it might be kind of cool to use antique cameras to cover an event about antique cars.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,074
    Based on your reasoning about the '57 Chevy market, we should expect to see Japanese pocket rocket coupes as the hot ticket in the future, since that's what the kids of today seem all hot and bothered about

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (mine)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    In theory, perhaps, since the "current excitement" is a criteria for collectibility (based on past history of such cars that have become collectible)...BUT....BUT..."current excitement" is only ONE of a number of factors that must be in place. What most of the "hot Japanese coupes" do not have is RARITY and RARE PERFORMANCE OPTIONS...in other words, there are a lot of them and they are basically all the same.

    About the only Japanese cars I see as possible future collectibles are the Acura NSX (rare, expensive, high performance), the Mazda RX-7 twin turbo (rare, beautiful, high performance) the Datsun 240Z (struggling right now because they are not rare, but as they expire over the years, they may make it!). Of lesser collectibility but still,, perhaps, preserved in the future would be the more common Miatas and no doubt the HOnda S2000 roadster--but don't expect them to attain any kind of big dollar value. What I'm saying is that they won't be junked.

    I think a year 2000 "Japanese hot coupe" is going to be about as valuable as a 1980 and 1990 Japanese hot coupe...that is, not much. These cars will, I suspect, be recycled when they are worn out.

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  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    anywhere, from the 50's, 60's, or even 70's? And why aren't there any left? {Not just a tongue-in-cheek-question] I remember seeing a Datsun around 1962-in Southern California. Someone was driving the piss out of it.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Sorry, I just don't see someone paying 35,000 bucks for a Neon or Civic :-( I'd much rather have the Roadmaster. (I'm 19, btw)
  • C13C13 Posts: 390
    That sounds like a buyer's market for Datsun roadsters, no?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    Yeah, you can pick 'em up pretty cheaply it seems. There doesn't seem to be much interest in them.

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  • I agree with rea98d (post #183). I'm almost your age (17) and I also prefer a big car. I love the last GM full-size RWD cars. When equipped with the 5.7 LT-1 (later years) they're not too bad on the performance front, either.
  • 1) RWD Chevy Impala
    2) Mercury Marauder(*when* it comes out *if* it lives up to billing)
    3) Corvette ZR-1(I think they made this in the 90's so it counts)
    4) Dodge Viper
    5) Lexus SC300/SC400
    6) Maxda Miata(It will never be an expensive classic, but it will be in demand for some time)
    7) Jaguar XJR
    8) Jaguar XK8
    9) BMW Z3
    10)Audi TT
  • Sorry about that, should have gone into future classics...
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Doesn't get enough credit for influencing Ford's New Edge styling.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'd like to nominate some cars that will never make it to the Museum of Modern Art: '49 Olds coupe, '53 Stude coupe, '54 Buick/Olds/Cad, '57 Chrysler 300. '55 chevy, of course. Just about any FoMoCo from '49-57. Just about any '57. At least they had personality--sometimes too much personality. Design classics for the masses.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,349
    All very decent looking cars for their time...I think 1958 hit a wall for bad taste but between 55-57 especially there were some very nice designs. The 1955 Chevy is so clean and simple. It's a shame the '53 Studebaker had the technology of a 1923 Studebaker underneath that lovely body, but oh, well...at least we got the small block V-8 in 1955 from Chevy and the beginnings of handling and brakes on American cars with the Corvette. I'm not a big fan of Virgil Exner and his Moon Rocket styling however.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yes, Exner's cars did look like melted space ships in the later years, say from '60 on. But look at the overall shape of the '57s. The Plymouth, for example, is much more modern than the Chevy and Ford--lower beltline, more glass area. It's the detailing that was either humdrum (Plymouth) or overwrought (Dodge up), especially the grilles. The cars with the simplest details--300 C/D/E--let the shape speak for itself, and rather elegantly, even with fins. Just my opinion.
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    Maybe not the most attractive of all time, but a clean design with the classic pony car long hood/short rear deck layout. I think it was originally conceived to replace the gen 3 Camaros. They probably would have been more popular if they were the old front engine rear wheel drive design. But as for styling they do appeal to me. I bought a brand new GT model in '91, but had to trade it in on a 4X4 when we moved to snow country. It was good car, handled quite well but didn't ride too hard.
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    I had one, bought it in 1982 in San Diego. It had a about 67,000 miles on it when I got it. It was just a beautiful looking car, two tone paint white roof over a maroon body. Lots of chrome, it even had small tail fins. Gorgeous red interior, pretty fancy for a base model. It had a 394 cid 10.25 to 1 compression ratio big block V-8 with an Hydramatic tranny (PND21R), not a TurboHydramatic. Sold it when I got married, needed the cash.
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