Classic Cars as daily drivers

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    So was the B16--literally agricultural machinery.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I seem to remember the B-16's had soft camshafts?

    Yep, five mains are a heck of a lot better than three. Flathead Ford V-8's somehow managed with three main bearings too and I don't recall folks saying they had weak lower ends..? A bit before my time though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think it depends on how much that crankshaft whips around.

    The B18 Volvo and B20 all had soft camshafts. Volvo made the same lame camshafts and u-joints for god knows how many years. But the camshafts never quit, they just wore down the lobes and the engines got lazy.

    I remember we used to rebuild old Volvo engines for folks in Colorado and they couldn't believe how well they ran. They hadn't had a good camshaft for so many years they had no idea.
  • egkelly1egkelly1 Member Posts: 30
    I am in the market for a car, and late model Caddys seem like a good buy-you can get them 3-4 years old, with very low mileage-I've seen some with as low as 15K miles! What model is the best value, and least troublesome?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Hi eg,

    I think you should post this either in the Sedans Board or the Coupes/Convertibles Board, as this Board is only for "classic" cars. You'll get a lot more respones over there as well.

    thank you

    Host
  • rapunzelrapunzel Member Posts: 15
    My husband's '49 Chevy used to be his daily driver all through high school. Didn't make the move to college, sat at his folks place until he bought his house a few years ago. Lots of time to sit without the proper conditioning, I guess. Anyway, we want it back running, but it needs more work than we know how to do. Okay, than he knows how to do, because I am beyond clueless on this car.
    Anyway, how do you guys find mechanics who are relatively trustworthy and have any sort of clue about how to work on cars of such advanced age? We live in Houston, if that helps any.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Most of the good old guys are long retired or dead.

    Still, there must be someone around who can get that Chevy running. they are rock solid cars that aren't complicated.

    Except for the 216 engine with the babbeted bearings. Finding someone who can fix that might be hard.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    ...back in January, I got a flat tire in Houston, and the place I had it fixed at was in the process of working on an old early '40's Continental. From what little I could gather talking to the people there, they seemed pretty honest and trustworthy. The guy gave me his business card; I'll look around and see if I still have it anywhere. All I remember right offhand is that it was kinda southwest of the high-rises of Downtown (like that narrows it down much ;-) I'll see what I can find though!
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    If you come across another old car club, contact them. They will know of the "mechanic" who can help or they will know someone to contact in the Antique Chevy Club. One thing is going for you and that is the low cost of parts. A set of plug wires won't cost $125 like they do for a late model vehicle.
  • rapunzelrapunzel Member Posts: 15
    Andre, if you can find the card, we'd appreciate it. More information is always good.

    Kinley, we've talked to some people in one of the clubs, but their attitude is usually "Fix it yourself", which isn't an option right now. Time constraints are tight, and where we're living at the moment, you can't work on your cars on property. Don't get me started about them, that's why we're house-hunting. ;-) But we will continue to ask around, because you're right about that being a good place to look.
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    To own a Porsche 911 as my daily driver. I've seen 1984-1989 garage queen Porsche 911 (15-40k miles) in Hemmings and Autotrader with asking prices in the mid to high 20s. Hmmm, I could sell my car for about $19k, put in another $6-9k and budget about $150-200/month for preventative maintenance and unscheduled repairs. Probably need the PCA drivers school too. Although I doubt I'll ever track it. Haven't done it in 4 years with my current 3 Series coupe. I only put about 10,000 miles per year. Drive to work is 6 miles each way. But when I read about $2500 radiators and $4000 clutch rebuilds, it sort of slaps me back to reality. Mr. Shiftright, isell, brentwood or others, is this a workable proposition? Thanks in advance. BTW, I've never even sat in, much less driven a 911. I understand it will have a stiff clutch, no power steering, and not be the most comfortable car around. What am I missing here? I've only wanted one for 25 years. Sincerely, DreaminginAtlanta.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    What's not to like? A 911 is a very practical daily driver. It's not tempermental and if you get a good one to start with, should not cost very much to maintain at all. You might drive the SC model, too, 1978-1983 and compare.
  • MarkinAtlantaMarkinAtlanta Member Posts: 194
    I originally ruled out the 78-83 911SC because of a couple of items that were recommended for these cars. Would be cheaper to insure. A chain tension or guide (I guess for a timing chain) and a relief valve that were standard on later 911 3.2 Carrera models. Need to check my bookmarks to read back up on these. These should not be showstoppers. I'll look back into the 911SC, got my curiosity piqued. Thank you again shifty.
  • seaninmaseaninma Member Posts: 1
    A new job changes daily commute from 30 miles to 100 miles a day. I have a nicely restored 71 nova as a summer toy. 350 and 4 spd are not original, but the rest is stock. Trying to decide between a 5 spd and new gears in the rear end to improve mileage or to sell it. I can't afford to keep it for weekends only. Any thoughts?
  • blh7068blh7068 Member Posts: 375
    Since the drivetrain is not original anyways, why not. It sounds like a good idea if you enjoy driving it. The only concern I would have, depending where you live, is whether the body will hold up in a snowy/rainy climate. I have a 71 firebird that is pretty much original, and am fortunate that I can keep it as a "toy". If it were my daily driver, the body on that car would rot real quick.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I would approach it from clearly a financial angle, as that is the main concern for the possible mods.

    What would the cost of the new tranny and rear end run you? The 350 is not the best engine for gas mileage, so even at 20 mpg, that is 5 gallons of gas a day. Not to mention, that kind of mileage on an old car will rack up repairs fairly quickly. None expensive, but possibly time consuming to fix if your only car.

    I would consider finding a fuel efficient "beater" car as a possibility. I have a buddy that drives an old Saturn as a beater, another an old Geo Metro. All depends on how long you keep the job, I guess.

    I would be hesistant to depend on a 31 year old car long term for 500 miles a week minimum.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Any old '80s Volvo would be adequate for a "beater" daily driver, right?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491
    ...might not be too bad, if it's mostly highway driving. I used my '68 Dart as a daily driver from April '92 when I bought it, up until mid '97, when I got my '79 Newport on the road. I did mostly city-type (and pizza delivery type) driving, so I'd go through front brake shoes about every 10-15K, and rears about every 15-20K. Also had lots of suspension problems, but then it had about 253K on it when I bought it! I also hopped a few railroad crossings and found other ways to get that car airborne!

    As for fuel economy, I usually got about 13 mpg city/17 highway, and actually had the guts (or stupidity?) to drive the car from Maryland to Oklahoma City, back in '95.

    As for the total cost, I think I figured once that this car cost me about $.10 a mile for repair + maintenance + original purchase price, and another $.09-.10 a mile for fuel. So it came out to about $.19-.20 or so a mile to drive that thing. But hey, the monthly payment alone on my Intrepid comes out to about that!
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    If you go with the 3.0 SCs, which are just kick-[non-permissible content removed] cars btw, you do want to do the pop-off Valve on the airbox (No huge deal) and make sure it has the oil-fed "Carrera" Chain tensioners installed a la the 3.2L Carrera engines.

    As long as it has been looked after, theyre outstanding cars.

    Bill
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The 2.7 and 3.0 are sometimes maligned but they are really great engines that need a few tweaks, more so the 2.7.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 584
    I don't own a classic daily driver but I appreciate seeing them on the street. Especially when the owner cares for them. I think a great deal of those individuals.

    Do you remember this noise? It is, IMO, one of the most unique noises you'll hear from a classic Mopar (Dodge, Plymouth, or Chrysler). It's the distinctive noise the starter motor makes while turning over a Mopar V8's which were produced in the 60's and 70's time periods. It sounds good...even today!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    That gear reduction starter was MoPar's signature and it makes me kind of nostalgic too. But not everyone loved that sound. I had a friend who said, "How would you like to wake up with a hangover and have to listen to that in the morning".
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    with a weak battery. That's a sound I remember from the past. Those old six volt systems on a tired old straight eight. Packards were good too. Compared to those sounds, the gear reduction Mopar hooked up to a nice 383-440 or something is music!
  • pallypally Member Posts: 17
    I have had old Pontiacs, a 62' Star Chief sedan, a 66' executive 2dr. hardtop. 73' dodge, 2 64' galaxies... all low mileage cars in excellent shape. The 73' dodge dart had 43000 miles on it in 1999 but it was troublesome. The 62' pontiac had 74000 miles on it in 1985 and kept me busy with transmission woes, electrical problems... and it rode like a tank on the rough roads in Houston. The 66' executive had 64000 miles on it in 1997 also numerous electrical problems, the fastback leaked into the trunk as they all did and just could'nt be stopped. It rode like glass on smooth rodes and pounded and crashed over rough rodes with lots of squeaks and rattles to boot. It also tended to vibrate at speeds over 60 mph and no amount of tire balancing or shock changes could fix it.

    My 67' Galaxie 500 2 dr. hardtop and all 65' - 70' big Fords with the 390 2bbl and 2.75 and 2.80 axle are excellent daily drivers. All the normal things that break are easy to find. The basic drivetrain was used for 20 years in cars and trucks making parts easy to get. The 2bbl 390 will give decent gas mileage 14 in town and 17 on the highway. At 70 mph with the 2.75 axle the engine is turning about 2000 rpm and is inaudible, and yet it's very peppy around town and will leave traffic in the dust with little effort. The main difference in driving a big Ford around the terrible streets of Houston is that it soaks up even the worst bumps easily where as the Pontiacs would bottom and crash. The trade off is that the Pontiac corner much flatter around town and generally gives more precise handling, but it's not worth it if you have bad roads. If you will driving your classic car where the roads are nice and smooth then the G.M. is fine. But here in Houston the big Ford copes much better.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Let me put my Mercury Villager minivan against that Galaxie and let's see who wins.
  • pallypally Member Posts: 17
    Wins what?
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I've got a 67 Galaxie convertible with that drivetrain, though not as a daily driver. The car is very dependible mechanically, just keeping the rust away is the big issue on cars from that era.

    Car is huge inside compared to my 2000 Intrepid, which is considered a full size car today.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    I just bought a '62 Ford Galaxie 500 4 door that has 96,000mi. on a rebuilt 352 and new 2 barrel carb. The interior is perfect and I believe original. I purchased it off of E-Bay. I will pick it up in a couple weeks. The body is said to be rust free but needs fresh paint. I bought the car for $2,500.00 and thought it might be a good deal.? All numbers for the car are suppose to match and it has a valid North Carolina inspection sticker. The person I bought it from has had it for 1-1/2 years and he purchased it at a car show. Said he is only selling it because of one too many vehicles. I've always wanted an old "classic" and hope to use it as a daily driver as did the previous owner. Can anyone advise if this sounds like I made a reasonable purchase? What things to look out for? The tranny is the original as well as the rear end. Any advice or comments on how to care for this year/vehicle or any others comments appreciated! Thanks for listening and your inputs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Not a good deal, not a bad deal. About retail. Fair enough price.

    I think it would make a good daily driver and should be very simple to maintain. I wouldn't put too much money in it, however, since it is a 4-door and will not appreciate much in value. So keep your costs down and don't put an expensive paint job on it unless you really don't care about regaining your investment. Matching #s etc don't matter on this car so if you want to modify it for safety or customize it for pleasure please do so without concern.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    Thanks for the feedback. I probably won't put much money in it just because I bought it in the condition that it is and also I'm only driving it to/from work and occasional trips to the parks. If I need parts for this car, where would be the best place to look besides the junk yards? And do you know of a good mechanic in the Indianapolis area? Thanks, again!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think you should get a copy of Hemmings Motor News for parts sources, and maybe join a local Ford club to learn about good mechanics. You're in a big enough city so that you should have all the resources you need.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    This may sound a little strange, but here goes. One summer, I had the opportunity to ride in my friend's old '62 MG Midget. We took it on the California freeway (I-5 in L.A.); this was a very hard-riding and extremely noisy car by modern standards, even with the thin top up.

    After that, I rode in his '94 Lexus GS300 the next day. What a cocoon of silence that was compared to the MG!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Going over Niagra Falls in a metal trash can would seem quiet after a Midget on the freeway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    ah, that was your mistake. You rode with the top up.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Get a copy of Dennis Carpenter Ford Parts' Catalog... He's in Hemmings. Also, another Hemmings advertisier, Glenn Marion out of somewhere in Missouri is also VERY good. He runs big text (Not display) ads.

    Bill
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    I have 3 convertibles at the house and the difference between the old ones and the new one is unbelievable! Both the Fiat and the Jensen Healey feature that "wind blown" experience in both sight and sound--top up or down. Even my last car, a '92 Mustang LX convertible was noisy with the top up. Compared to my Sebring they all sound like a garbage truck loose in a nitro factory! What the Sebring lacks is that melodious twin cam exhaust sound--which, of course, makes up for any shortcomings of the other two!

    Enjoy the spring!

    Hal
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Would you care to share any thoughts on Triumph TR3s and TR4s from the early '60s? I think that for a while, they were hot on the collectible car market, but I'm not so sure of that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The TR3s are much more collectible than the 4s right now, being older and more "classic" looking. Really good TR3s are punching through the $20,000 barrier but a decent TR4 would be lucky to realize half that.

    I'm not terribly fond of the Triumph marque compared to say MG, because they really aren't built as well. A TR3 is a tough car to restore because it is so hard to get all the panels to fit properly. Triumphs are kind of "crates", bolted together by blind men. But they always seems to perform better than the MGs regardless.

    Still, a TR3 is fun to drive, slowly, on a curvy country road on a sunny day. It is a very British experience.

    My personal favorite among Triumphs is the TR250, made only in 1968, with the TR4 body mated to the TR 6 engine.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I never could warm up to the TR-3. A neighbor had one for years, a faded yellow thing. They're almost atomic cockroach ugly.

    The MGA is flat-out gorgeous. For an inexpensive British sportscar.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    Hopefully some of you out there will be able to give me some answers. Having recently purchased a '62 Ford Galaxie, I would like to know if it will hurt the tranny to replace the filter? and fluid? I was told by a friend that Fords of this era don't like new transmission fluid if they aren't use to having the fluid changed on a regular basis. My problem is that I don't know how many miles are actually on it,if it's the original tranny and if it is the original tranny,how it's been cared for? Is there any way to tell how many miles are on a transmission? How durable were the transmissions for this particular car? One last question, the original radio is still in the car and I was wondering if a modern am/fm/cass radio can be installed in it's place? Something about tubes warming up before the radio comes on, which I know, but don't know anymore than that so wanted to know if this will interfere with the wiring of a new radio? Sorry to be so ignorant about this but I'm learning! Thanks for any input.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    If it's red, not brown, smells satisfactory, not burned, and the tranny shifts O K, it probably is just fine. The original radio can be replaced by a current AM/FM CD unit. Go for the CD as tapes are out of fashion. Tubes or transisters doesn't make any difference. I made the switch from the tube type long ago on a 66 Stang. Have fun.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    Thanks for the info.! Just one more thing, what if the dipstick doesn't show a red color? Should I definitely change the tranny fluid? Thanks.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I always assumed that was a sign of worn-out fluid.

    I don't know why someone told you not to change it unless they thought maybe the seals would start to leak. With old engines sometimes the only thing keeping the oil inside is the sludge around the seals--the seals themselves were shot years ago. ATF is such an effective detergent (I used to use it as a hand cleaner but it's probably a wonder I'm still alive) that maybe running a fresh batch through an old transmission would flush out the crud that's keeping it sealed.
  • thedarkwolfthedarkwolf Member Posts: 70
    You can get a underdash mounting thing for stereos so you can leave your orginal in the dash. That way you can run any stereo you want instead of either getting one made to fit you car or cutting your dash up. I have one in my 67 galaxie and you hardly even notice it unless you look for it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Lessee...you probably have a C6 transmission. Not a bad unit by standards of the day. I don't think I'd mess with it too much, but an oil and filter change couldn't hurt. But I wouldn't hook it up to a torque converter cleaner or mess with the valve body, etc. God knows what you'll stir up in there.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    With the 352 it may be an FMX which is apparently based on the Ford-o-Matic. I think the C6 came out around '66.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah, you could be right I'm just guessing here. I don't really know.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    Not to state the obvious, but if you upgrade the stereo, you will need to put speakers somewhere in the car, which means cutting holes somewhere in the interior.

    The interior on my 67 Galaxie convertible is all original, so only the factory installed front and one rear speaker is in the car. The original radio works, but I just don't listen to music while driving - let's me talk to people about the car at traffic lights.
  • pallypally Member Posts: 17
    If the 62' Galaxie is all original and the automatic is a 3 speed then it is a cruiseomatic. Fordomatics were 2 speeds but i'm not sure they were even offered on 62's with the big block. I think they came on sixes and 292's

    The C-6 came out around 66'.
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