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The real value of "old" cars?



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    You can have the master cylinder bore re-sleeved if it's too pitted, so that's fixable even if it's ruined inside.

    I would certainly creep around in 1st gear as these are non-syncho 1st gear transmission and usually first gear is not sounding too good.

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  • I was comparing the parts sourcing and resto work performed by the mechanic on Andre's DeSoto and LeMans vert. What project car doesn't get a mechanic's touch to handle some of the needs?

    The Austin is +50 y/o british tin with numerous "adaptations." If dad/son get in over their head with it, would most mechanics even touch a project like that?


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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    I've been exchanging emails with the Austin seller and I can tell he's really a decent upfront guy.

    I guess he was thinking that our son is 16 and this was to be his first car. Our son is 30 but he didn't know that. He tried very hard to talk me out of it.

    First of all, it's a right hand drive which kills it for me.

    He said it does run quite well but it's a handful to drive. He said it leans and wallows through corners. He said it has primitive turn signals with a switch in the center of the dash and they are non cancelling like an MG I once owned.

    He said the windows don't have winders and they have to be opened manually. It has a very low ratio rear end and although it could drive on the freeway he would never attempt this. It has a Morris Minor engine that he says runs very well.

    He cited a couple of clubs and said that parts have never been a problem.

    Sounds like a very nice guy who is just tired of this old Austin.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    All depends on what your son can deal with I guess. It would have to be a sunny Sunday putt around town car.

    With the inop brakes, I'd be making him an offer a bit lower than his asking price. No brakes, non working windows, RHD, probably some missing unobtanium (in NA) trim pieces , all work against the rarity and awkward coolness. It's approaching project car hell eligibility.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Picture yourself in a RHD car of this type trying to pass someone on a 2-lane road!!! :surprise:

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    I don't know of any 4 wheeled vehicles that thing could pass :shades:

    But think of how easy it is to parallel park!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    The windows do open and close but they slide from side to side I think rather than wind up and down.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    edited September 2010
    I was just thinking.

    Me, in an Auto Parts store...

    " I need a water pump"

    " Sure, what kind of a car?"

    Well, it's a 1957 Austin but I think it has a Morris Minor engine in it"

    " What, exactly is an Austin and what is a Morris Minor?"

    Fumbling through catalog pages.....

    " Oh, I do see a Morris Minor...what year is the engine?"

    " I'm not sure"

    " Well, what size is the engine?"

    " I think it's around 1000 cc but I'm not sure"

    " You'll have to pull off that water pump and we will have to send it to England to see if our NAPA partner over there can match it up"

    He switched the mechanical rear brakes (!!??) and put in hydralics but out of WHAT??

    I think this would be like stirring in a pile of you know what. The more you stir, the worse it stinks!

    Hey Fintail, how about you? Just a few miles away from us!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    Have any of you ever ridden as a passenger in the front seat of a RHD car?

    I had the most HARROWING ride of my life when I was very young. It was an old VW Bug on the freeways of Los Angeles.

    No seat belts, semis on boths sides of us.

    Everyone should try that one time!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Usually if I appraise a car and it has RHD, and IF that car were available as a LHD, I deduct about 30% of the value. If they never came as LHD, like say the MG TC, then there's no penalty.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    I wonder if the windows are glass and not some kind of perspex material.

    Could be a fun project if bought for maybe in the $1500 neighborhood...I just look at that thing and think that my barely newer fintail is like a spaceship in comparison.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    edited September 2010
    It could be fun, but you'd REALLY have to like the ins and outs of British cars (to me they are like dogs and kids...maybe fun to play with, but I prefer they belong to someone else), and it would have to be cheap. There's just too much room for a nightmare with the "updated" components and no doubt backyard mechanic installations. There's not a lot of room for upside, and I don't believe it is suitable for highway driving.

    It also has to be 100% rust free, especially in the structure. These are cars that can have audible rust on a mere foggy day.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    Very true words. to say that car is primitive wold be a huge understatement.

    I wouldn't mind a nice fintail if I could find one.

    Shifty, your thoughts on those?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    edited September 2010
    My opinions on them - buy the best you can afford, beware of rust, seek a fuel injected model, and a car that has been driven now and then to keep everything operational. Roadworthy ones are getting kind of scarce anymore too.

    I went to an estate sale on Yarrow Point a few years ago where they had a very nice and pretty light yellow 230S (dual carb model) - excellent cosmetics, but had 20 year old registration, so I don't know what lurked under the hood. They had been wanting $2500 for it, I don't know what it sold for.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    edited September 2010
    Yarrow Point huh? I had an aunt and uncle and four cousins that lived on Hunt's Point. Interesting story.

    Shfty, FYI, the "Points" compare to Belvedere waterfront.

    Cars that have been sitting for years scare me. the engine was probably frozen after 20 years for sure!

    Are these 4 cylinders or 6's?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    edited September 2010
    It was right as the housing price boom was doubt the house was going to be a teardown for a tacky mcmansion.

    This car could have been started now and then and kept alive - but it was sold by the time I saw it, so I didn't ask. The paint and interior were pretty fantastic though, those are very expensive to get right. If someone got it for a couple grand and put that into it again to put it back on the road, they did ok. Nice original colors, always garaged, complete.

    They can be 4 or 6cyl - usually told by dual vs quad headlights, although there was a 6cyl dual light exception, the 230. 6 cyl cars are much better to drive in modern traffic, but the little 4s are fine for a hobby car. Diesels are painfully slow and a little clattery even compared to a stereotypical old MB. All of them are very sturdy, handle fairly well, and feel a lot heavier than their mere ~3000 lb weight suggests.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    I've always liked those. What years were they produced and are some years better than others?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    The Belvedere waterfront is rather creepy to me. The houses have signs outside that say "armed response", which means, they'll shoot you. Howdy neighbor!

    FINTAILS -- these are very good cars. I drove one for many years--commuted every day from NYC to Jersey when I worked for Mercedes. Never let me down. Compared to my Jaguars and MGs, my 220Sb Benz was like an alien spaceship from an advanced civilization that had actually harnessed the power of electricity.

    57 Austin A 35--- I stand corrected---the 948cc engine would be a stock factory engine just like the one used in the later Morris Minor and Sprite. This powerhouse allows you to go from 0-60 in about 30 seconds, with 34 hp readily at hand. The rib cage transmission would be an upgrade, however, as would be the differential.

    I think the best vintage British car ever made ("best" in terms of reliability I mean) was the MGB.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    After having owned two MG's an A and a B, that doesn't give me much confidence if you think an MGB is the "best" in terms of reliability!

    The Points here in WA aren't as bad but I guarantee you if you just start driving around and a cop sees you (they will too!) and they don't know who you are, you WILL get pulled over. I did twice!

    My cousin's neighbors were the Nordstroms, John Erishman (Nixon), Kenny G and Craig Mc Caw among others. These people like their privacy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    edited September 2010
    That list of people doesn't have anyone on it I would take the time to bother anyway. :P Belvedere seems to have quite a few Iranians. This could possibly explain the paranoia.

    MGBs were *great* cars. Of course, if one is unfortunate enough to inherit a clapped out one that was worked on by monkeys, then of course one's experience might be less than wonderful.

    "Great" is relative---I did use the term in relation to *other* British cars of the era.

    You could actually set out across the country in an MGB and hope to see your destination.

    My personal standard for any car deemed "reliable" is this:

    "It'll get you home".

    Not necessarily running well, but home nonetheless.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    edited September 2010
    They were made from ~1960-68, as Euro cars didn't go by standard North American model years. Model years 1961-68 in US, but production started late in 59.

    Cars from 1963 onwards have dual circuit brakes and can be had with 4 speed auto, these are probably better if that technology matters Later cars are sometimes found with a floor shift manual, which wouldn't be bad - better than a 4 on the tree. Otherwise, save for trim and the first series vs second series engines (FI moved away from fintails after 1965), they are pretty much the same through the run.

    Regarding getting pulled over in the ritzy areas - I take my car out for a spin throgh the Points and nearby areas almost every time I take it out - never been hassled. I think what you are driving matters a lot to the badge wearers.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,734
    Regarding getting pulled over in the ritzy areas - I take my car out for a spin throgh the Points and nearby areas almost every time I take it out - never been hassled. I think what you are driving matters a lot to the badge wearers.

    Or maybe they consider you a curmudgeon who'll require them to take time off to argue the ticket in court - just kidding!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited September 2010
    "... what you are driving matters a lot to the badge wearers."

    I'm guessing that the car's condition matters more than brand or model, or am I wrong? On the other hand, I'm thinking that maybe the badge guys (does gender matter?) are more lenient with old luxury models than with the popular priced ones. How the driver is dressed and groomed also makes a difference, I imagine.

    A clapped out Detroit mastodon with sagging springs and loud pipes would be a sure recipe for being stopped, while a somewhat rusty, sputtering Jag or Rover, driven by an elderly gentleman wearing a suit, would probably just garner a shrug from the local law man.
  • Generally used car value depends on its manufacturing date and also its condition.
    If the car is very old and in good condition you may get some good value.
    But it again depends on the technical specs condition like engine and other parts. ;)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,910
    Condition, or cleanliness, probably play a big role too, yeah. I keep my cars fairly spotless, and I have never had any issues about looking suspicious - even though I have usually been younger than the average driver of whatever car I have owned at the time.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    "My cousin's neighbors were the Nordstroms, John Erishman (Nixon), Kenny G and Craig Mc Caw among others.

    By chance did your cousin move from Hunts Point to Orcas Island? My son's inlaws lived across the road from Kenny G & close to Nordstrom before they went to Orcas. :surprise:
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    When my aunt and uncle sold the Hunt's Point home in the mid seventies, they bought a place in Squim and another in Palm Desert. They loved to golf. My uncle was a WA state legislator if that rings a bell?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    With a For Sale sign on it.

    A Fiat...I know...Fix it Again Tony and even worse.

    It's a 1979 2000 Spider. Last year for a carburator. 68,000 miles same owner who happens to own a auto repair shop. He'e owned it for 20 years.

    Amazing interior after six years of storage under a tarp.

    Straight body with several rust spots...not bad though.

    Runs as nice as can be. Just replaced timing belt water pump and some other stuff.

    Asking 1800.00.

    Worse than a British car? Shifty?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    edited September 2010
    The Fiat Spider is a nice little car to drive. Much more sophisticated than a British sports car, which is really cave-man technology.

    However, 1979 was just about the death of British sports cars, so it's not a fair year for comparison.

    Ideally, one should compare a 1968-191 MGB with a fuel-injected Fiat Spider 2000, say from 1981 or so. Either one of those would be a great car to have.

    A "needy" Fiat Spider is just a pile of parts. Not worth fixing at any price. You can buy a real sweetheart of a Fiat Spider for $5000 bucks, and you can't get from an $1800 neglected pile to a $5K Spider for 4X that difference in price.

    Nothing is more expensive to fix on an old car than bodywork and paint. One is always better off buying a pristine-looking car with a bad engine than vice-versa.

    Value of that Fiat? $600 in my opinion.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    As you know, I value your opinion and I had arrived at the same conclusion..

    I just thought I might be missing something.

    I do like the way they look and sound. Maybe I'll look for one that is "done".

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