Classic Cars as daily drivers

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    As I was reading a book on American full-size station wagons at Barnes & Noble today, I came across an interesting line; here it is:

    "As the years progressed, it became evident that certain Chevrolet station wagons from the late '60s and early '70s had developed a reputation for being perhaps the toughest station wagons around." Well, I can attest that those puppies don't die that easily. It is a miracle that my friend's best friend from childhood still owns his parents' '72 Kingswood Estate, which they bought new because he was one out of six kids.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    .......from the '60s and '70s were pretty tough cars; mechanically pretty simple and reasonably well-built. The wagons from that era especially ('71-76) often succumb to rust, though, in the back quarters particularly.

    What is this book you were reading, jrosasmc? Sounds interesting.
  • thedarkwolfthedarkwolf Member Posts: 70
    I just bought some 6x9 speaker boxes and set them on the back seat but there were 6x9 factory holes in the metal part of the package tray. All you would have to cut is the actually package tray. Even with the speakers on the back seat there was plenty of room for 2 people to sit :).

    As far as I know all FE powered galaxies with 390 2v or less got the FMX trans and 390 4v and up got the c6 atleast after 66. I have no idea what the big boys got before 66.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,494
    I put a stereo in a '69 Dart GT I once owned. Looking back, I feel kinda guilty now for butchering up that nice, low mileage car, but at the time I was around 19-20, and had one of the best sounding car stereos of all my friends! It did have the 6x9" openings built into the package tray, but I had to cut through the fabric/cardboard part to put them in. Surprisingly enough, the radio I put in was a perfect fit. I had to take the old radio out through the glovebox though, as it was a big, bulky thing, and looked like it was put in before the dashboard. The new unit though, slid right into the hole in the dash. I didn't have to cut any of the metal dash, but I did cut part of the plastic trim to make it fit. Still, when it was done, and with a piece of dress-up trim that came with the radio, it looked pretty good. As for front speakers, I just had them sitting on the floor against the front seat, so I didn't do any damage there.

    My '67 Catalina convertible only has an AM radio with one speaker, although there's a dummy grille in back. Whenever I'm going on an extended trip, I'll just bring a boom box and put it in the back seat, or even sit it up on the folded-back roof. Usually though the longest trip this car makes is the commute to work on nice days, so I just do without the tunes and listen to the natural music of the engine, the wind rushing through my hair, etc.!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    The FMX is a three speed, but it's based off the Ford-O-Matic. I have two in the trunk of my Mercury, waiting until I have the time & help to get one in. However, they're slightly different. One has a smaller input shaft (for lack of a better term. It's the splined metal thing that hooks to the engine/torque converter, whatever, and gets turned by the engine.) Also, one has a longer tailshaft housing. My big fear is that I'm going to have to take some parts from one of the transmissions, some from another, and some from the busted FMX in the car to get one working unit. I already knew I'd need to keep my existing bellhousing & torque converter, because I didn't get a bellhousing with these transmission, and the 1 torque converter I got is an unknown, and I'd rather stick with the one in the car. Anyhow, is there an easy way to find out which one fits behind a '78 400M engine with pulling out my old unit and hoping I can make everything fit together. Replacing a gearbox doesn't seem like that big of a deal, provided I don't have to open one up, but I have a feeling this job is going to be more complicated & time consuming than I first thought. But once I master a transmission swap, points, condenser, plugs, wires, rotor & cap will seem easy!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My one concern about do-it-yourself transmission work is that automatics are HEAVY. A big American four speed is really about the limit for one man if you're flat on your back under the car.

    Back in the '50s the original Ford-o was a two speed unless you knew how to find that third gear. As I recall...well I can't remember the exact details now but it involved shifting back and forth between and L and D at various speeds. Third gear was there if you worked for it.

    IIRC that was also true of the Borg-Warner two speed AT Studebaker used. I remember finding another gear shortly before the transmission went south.
  • thedarkwolfthedarkwolf Member Posts: 70
    There isn't any aluminum in that [non-permissible content removed]. If mine ever comes out again a c6 will be going in its place.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    for your input on the tranny and radio questions. I've been checking the ol'62 Galaxie 500 out closer and inside the driver's door there is some info. that says the transmission is a C4.? Don't know if this is right or not since the car has had several owners and possibly someone could have put a different transmission in her by now but that's what it reads. Does anyone know how expensive it would be if new seals had to be replaced if new tranny fluid didn't sit well with the old transmission? Also, how much would weather/rubber stripping cost to re-do the entire car? Thanks to all!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    You're probably looking at the data plate. If you haven't already, go to the library and look up the codes in a factory manual or maybe a Chiltons. I think '62 is a little early for a C-4 but could be.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    "The FMX is one heavy mother"

    Tell me about it. I had to pay shipping on two of those mothers, and then haul them around for the weekend in the trunk of my T-bird!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Trust me on this...your '66 Mustang had no tubes in the factory radio. All transistors.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,494
    My '57 DeSoto has 'em, and my '67 Catalina doesn't, so I know it was sometime in between there. I'd guess that some models had transistors before others, though...mainly the more luxurious ones?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My '61 Falcon had a tube radio, but then it also had vacuum wipers and you cranked the engine by hand ;-). My '62 Corvair had transistors. From the early '60s cars I've owned I'd guess that '61 or '62 was the last year for tubes even in economy cars.

    I just checked my old manuals and the '61 Chevy manual doesn't even mention radios. However the '62 Pontiac manual does and it has a few interesting things to say about the superiority of the transistor radio, new that year:

    1. Instant performance (of course).

    2. Requires less than half the current.

    3. With the same or better power output.

    4. Longer life and less maintenance.

    No wonder I don't see tube testers anymore :-).
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I seem to recall that my Dad's '60 Olds had tubes and the '62 was transistor, so it was instant on instead of coming on slowly as it warmed up.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,494
    ...does anybody remember when they finally dropped those little civil air defense triangles off the radio dials?
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    I've never had a car with them, and the oldest car I can even remember driving (my uncle's 64 Impala) didn't have it. It sounds very McCarthy-era, so that's my guess.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    A friend of mine (a bow-tie Chevy fan) used to always comment that Ford had the best radios of any. This is of course, pre-digital days, and we always drove a Ford so I had little base of reference. Things seem to have evened out now, especially with the japanese producers. However my Ford van radio seems to do better than my Chrysler, pulling in stations on the fringe. I remember the radio in mom's last full size Mercury Grand Marquis, it was all analog, but had a weird scan feature. You pushed the scan button and the little needle would slowly slide across the face of the dial, stopping at strong stations, then when it got to the far right, the needle would pop out of sight (into the 8-track well, I guess) and reappear on the left, for another pass. I found one in an old Mercury wagon several years ago in the junk yard, totally worthless, of course, but I drug it out so my son could see what a massive piece of equipment it was.....must have weighted 50 pounds and seemed the size of Shaq's shoe box!
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    Cadillacs had that scan feature, I remember getting into trouble as a little kid pushing the scan bar on my Grandfather's Cadillac before the radio had a chance to warm up. The little needle just kept going from one end of the dial to the other.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I remember hearing Ford radios were better too, supposedly because Ford owned Philco. But didn't GM own Delco?
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    GM made the change in 1962 to all transistors although for some reason, I *think* some of the 1961 models may have made the change.

    And, there were hybrids too that used both. I seem to remember mopars with these in the late fifties.

    And GM had transportables that could be pulled from the dash and used on battery power. I wonder how many of these got ruined in the sand at beach parties?

    I also remember replacing the little black metal tube that failed often. The number on it was OZ4.

    Then there were the vibrators that would go bad.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    I suppose a Toyota Celica from the late '70s would be a great little fun car to drive around in these days, wouldn't you think? They're simple to service and very reliable, so they shouldn't be a problem for the roads of the 21st century, right?
  • blh7068blh7068 Member Posts: 375
    I have a 71 firebird with the original delco am/fm stereo with 8 track....and the tuner on that old delco has less FM fade than the delco tuner on my 02 yukon.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Some how I just don't see a late 70's Toyota in my definition of "classic". Now, a Toyota 3000 GT or whatever that was in "You Only Live Twice", that's a classic Toyota!

    On the other hand, a nicely redone GT would be a very handy commuter car. What did those have? 2 liter engines? You're right, there must have been a blue million of them made, so parts should be no problem and their rock-simple (if I remember rightly). Maybe some add-on performance enhancers and you'd have your own SCCA sedan replica! Cool!

    Enjoy!

    Hal
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    Remember those? Suprisingly fast. My friend had a 340 Duster and one of those Tigers gave it a pretty good run. Especially after the head gasket in the Duster let go. Oil everywhere.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    where to look on the internet or elsewhere as to how to find parts for my '62 Ford Galaxie 500? I want to replace the weather stripping and find some information on the wiring of this car. I just bought the car and whenever it rains, the front floor boards get pretty wet which I believe is the weather stripping around the front doors. I haven't driven it yet when it rains, so I can't think of any other way the water is getting in. Also, would anyone know why the car would blow out what appears to be water out of the tailpipe when I start the car up and it also does it when accellerating sometimes. Any ideas? Please help! Thanks.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    It's my understanding that the water is normal when warming up--it's condensation from moisture in the exhaust system.

    These are the rules of thumb I've used, which may or may not be accurate:

    Water leaking into the cylinders from a head gasket, warped or cracked head or cracked block shows as consistent white smoke.

    Brown smoke is carbon burning off. Normal for an old car.

    Blue smoke is oil burning. IIRC blue smoke on acceleration means worn valve guides, not real expensive to fix. Consistent blue smoke is worn rings and an engine rebuild.

    Black smoke is the engine running too rich. Clean, adjust, rebuild or replace the carb.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    autonuts....check for a clogged drain in the cold air vents just outside the windshield. The vents can fill up with water and leaves, etc. and if clogged will spill over into the car's interior.

    Also check for the plastic water barrier inside your door panels. Sometimes people rip these out when working on window winders, etc., and this will allow water to leak past the outside window seals and drip through your door panels.

    It is unlikely the problem is your door seals.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I've seen door seals go bad, so that very well could be the problem. Over time, the rubber turns hard and cracks. I've actually had to stuff kleenix in around the windows of my '78 Mercury while driving in the rain just to keep water out of the car. Not a ver good (or permanent) fix, but it's better than nothing.
  • thedarkwolfthedarkwolf Member Posts: 70
    http://www.galaxieclub.com/


    After you actually enter their site there is a long list of sponsors and atleast one of them should have what your looking for.

  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    Here are a couple of places


    http://www.galaxieparts.com


    or


    http://www.autokrafters.com


    I can vouch that www.galaxieparts.com is a company of high integrity. I've never dealt with autokrafters personally.

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    How is it possible to use any old VW Microbus from the '60s as a daily driver? My cousin in California has one, a '63 with a 1500cc engine, and the thing can't even get out of its own way. It's even scarier when it gets driven on I-5 outside L.A., since the gearing won't let the van go above 60.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,494
    If you don't do much highway driving, something like an old VW Microbus might not be too bad. Stuff like taking off from traffic lights and stop signs, and keeping up with stop-and-go traffic isn't too big of a deal, since you don't have to push the car to the end of its ability in that type of situation.

    The real problem comes though, when you have to take it out and merge onto the highway!
  • gshumway1gshumway1 Member Posts: 18
    pushing the car may be a key factor in the case of the MB....pushing it off to the side of the road that is!
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You can easily test the door seals with a garden hose, but I still don't think that's the most likely cause of your problem, so don't go buying them without testing. They will be expensive for one thing and may not solve your problem. If you think about it, it's not easy for water to penetrate the crack in the door opening, ( a very narrow vertical surface) whereas it is very easy for it to collect on a wide horizontal surface, like the cold air vents under the windshield or the squeegee seal at the base of the window.
  • avalanche325avalanche325 Member Posts: 116
    I have found that most of the time water on the floorboards is a windshield leak. Unfortunatly, it is usually rust that can only be seen when the trim is taken off. Don't rule out the back window either. I have had that happen, drove me crazy because I was looking up front where the water was.

    The other sugestions given are very valid. New weatherstripping can make an older car much nicer to drive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    And cut down on rattles, too!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Is it true that '60s-vintage VW Bugs and Buses have to have the oil and filter change every 1500 miles? Isn't that too early for an engine?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    There is no oil filter and that's part of the problem.
  • autonutsautonuts Member Posts: 138
    I checked the vents that are just before the windshield, and didn't find any debris (leafs, sticks, etc.), in them. They looked clean. The car's body is in very decent shape without any apparent rust around the front windshield. I don't think it would be the rear window because the backseat floor board doesn't get wet. I'll try the garden hose thing to detect any leaks. It would have to be a very apparent leak because this is happening when the car is sitting idle - I haven't driven it in the rain. Any other suggestions are more than welcomed! Thanks.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,494
    Did you also check where those cowl vents drain out? I'm not sure where they drain out on the '62 Galaxie, but on most cars I've seen, they drain off to the side, down in the crevice where the hood hinges are. Leaves and other debris will get down in those long slats on top of the firewall, but then run off with the water and accumulate where the drains are. Then, as water builds up, it eventually spills over into the car's ventillation system, and subsequently onto the front floorboards. I've had two Dodge Darts, and they're infamous for this!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You've got to check the drains for clogging and you have to check your door panels to see if the moisture shield has been ripped out. These are very likely causes for your flooding.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    I have recently seen some publications in bookstores that are devoted to full-size station wagons. They mostly focus on those from the '60s and '70s, when those behemoths ruled the highways and were the standard mode of transport for families. Do you suppose that the old Chevy Kingswood Estates and Ford Country Squires of yesteryear will have any interest or potential collector value in today's market? I do know of some people who wish the full-size wagons were still being made. Although examples from the '90s are still used cars, I think they will become great collector's items within the next decade.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Some of the old wagons have a certain collector appeal, but only some. The intermediates, like Chevelle, with big engines and 4-speeds (yes you could buy them that way) are pulling good prices, but I don't think an "ordinary" full size Ford or Chevy, or any 6 cylinder car, is anywhere near as interesting to collectors. The collectibility is in the power of the car mostly. So the more power, the more gadgets, the more outrageous the styling, the better the chance that these old wagons will be desirable. So you have to pick and choose when you talk about the collectibility of these wagons.

    For this reason I don't think 90s wagons will be of interest to anyone unless maybe they are AWD. They are not stylistically interesting, they have no big engine options, and they are all the same, one is just like another. There is nothing really interesting about them with very rare exception (Audi Turbo Quattro Wagons, for instance, have good value right now, as they make great ski cars).

    Another factor to consider is that old station wagons are usually beat to hell and aren't worth enough to restore.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Yeah; I've heard Audi Quattro Wagons from the late '80s/early '90s keep their resale value very very well.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    ...also Pontiacs, that are quite expensive (as usual, the more loaded and bigger engine the better). The market for a wagon is not very big, but there were fewer made and relative to two-doors, far fewer 'saved' from the crusher, so they are...very...hard to find now. Prices seem to be generally higher than sedans, but mostly lower than two-door hardtops.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    that's about right. A bit more than 4-door sedans but lower in price than coupes.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,494
    ...the final '91-96 B-bodied wagons becoming a minor collectible, mainly just because they were the final holdouts of a dying breed. Once they put that LT-1 engine in for '94, they were pretty quick too, and handled pretty well...about as well as a station wagon that size COULD handle!

    Another fairly recent wagon that's starting to get popular among the customizing crowd is the '78-83 GM intermediate wagons. They're lightweight and nimble, and their engine bays will accept just about any V-8 GM ever made. In contrast, the Mopar wagons in that class (Aspen/Volare/Diplomat/LeBaron) were a lot heavier, and had engine bays that were very cramped. The Ford Fox-bodied wagons (Fairmont/Zephyr/Granada/Cougar/LTD/Marquis) were very lightweight, but again had a cramped engine bay. I'm sure you could fit a big engine in there if you really, really wanted to, but I've never seen anybody do it. Heck, it was a rarity to even see a 302 in any of these wagons!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    Note: According to a new book about Chevrolet that was just published last month, the company manufactured only 485 Caprice Classic station wagons. In contrast, Buick turned out over 8,500 Roadmaster Estate Wagons. So they can easily become minor collectibles.
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