Is an old 60s truck a good first car?

zeppelinkushzeppelinkush Member Posts: 7

Hi. Just a quick question. I want to get a car soon. Like within the next couple of years. I am 17 and I was either thinking between getting a used Camry, Lexus, or a really cool early 60s Chevy Apache or GMC Sierra truck. Just wanted to know if it's okay to get an older car and how much pain it will bring me.

Cars are particularly expensive in the country I live now.

Any tips?

Are old cars/trucks hard to maintain?

Details are appreciated. Thank you!

My budget is under $10,000

My main choices are:

1993-1995 Lexus ES300
1955-1966 Chevy Truck
1998-2004 Toyota Camry
2001-2002 Mitsubishi Lancer

Thanks again!


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454

    For an older ride, I'd want to get something relatively "common" where I lived so I could hopefully find someone to work on it and be able to find parts.

    Do you mind me asking where you live?

  • zeppelinkushzeppelinkush Member Posts: 7

    Yeah! I live in Ecuador. I've looked at classics online, and the most common ones other than Beetles (and in good shape) are pickup trucks. The government taxes the crap out of cars when imported, making them cost 2 or 3 times more than they should. I am looking forward to working on an older truck, but I am a complete newbie to the car world and I'm also worried about the availability of parts. I can't keep investing in the vehicle. Here is a good taste of what older cars are available here:

    Thanks for your reply.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited March 2014

    Those are some real classics! You'd probably do just fine with some of those Chevy trucks. There's tons of them on the road up here in the US.

    I got to visit down your way back in 95 and had a great time. As I recall, your roads were in pretty good shape, even on a remote bus ride to a drop-off spot to canoe in the Oriente. So my guess is that you'd be able to find an older truck or car that hasn't been too beaten up. And since you have interest, you'd probably be able to do some of the work yourself on an older vehicle.

    But yeah, overall, the newer Toyotas you are considering will be more reliable.

  • zeppelinkushzeppelinkush Member Posts: 7

    Nice! Yeah, Ecuador is a beautiful country. I hope you had a great time down here. Ecuadorians generally believe that roads are in a LOT better shape than they were just a few years ago. This government has done a lot in that aspect. And yeah, the truck I would be purchasing would be 'restored' (in good physical shape). I don't know about the engine though. What kind of work would I need to do on it periodically? It's somewhat tricky to get older cars to pass 'inspection' down here every year. So basically, my main worries are: -Cost -Time -Safety. Would a sedan from the 60s be a worse or a better choice? Why or why not? Take a look at this '64 Impala for example:

    Thanks again for your input.

    PS: If you ever plan on visiting Ecuador again, take a look at this:


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454

    Try posting in this discussion too - the guys over there are much more knowledgeable than me:

    Project Cars--You Get to Vote on "Hold 'em or Fold 'em"

    Safety? Go newer.

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 49,718

    old trucks like that can be fun, but will quickly become a real chore for daily use. Especially in any kind of urban setting. You really need to drive one to understand the difference if you have only driving a normal car. Plus, will eat gas, and have nothing passing for safety features (or much in the way of brakes or steering!)

    Logic says as a starter car, something like the camry (with the lexus just being a glorified V6 Camry really) for a good combination of functionality, reliability, economy, safety, etc. Especially as an only car/daily driver.

    now, at some point when you can afford a "toy" car, a truck like that could be perfect.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD, 2023 Maverick hybrid Lariat luxury package.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    Old trucks are very cool, and will keep their value, but as a primary source of transportation, they may not be the best choice. The "pros" are simplicity, easy of repair and pretty good reliability (in the 1960s models); "cons" are gas consumption, lack of safety features, large size, lack of comforts, usually no AC. After a long day on a bad road, you'd be ready to get out of that truck and not come back for a week.

    So I'd say it would be a great second vehicle, but not a first.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 32,602

    I think it comes down to how reliable you need it to be. Would I do it if I had to trust it to get me back and forth to work everyday to support my family? No. But if it was more of a pleasure/convenience transportation device (can still jump on the bus to school), then I think it could be a good learning experience.

    Fairly steady: '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '01 Xterra, '20 S90 T6, '22 MB Sprinter 2500 4x4 diesel, '97 Suzuki R Wagon; '96 Opel Astra; '08 Maser QP / Rotating stock, but currently: '96 Daihatsu HiJet, '97 Alto Works, '11 Mini Cooper S

  • zeppelinkushzeppelinkush Member Posts: 7

    Yeah, all of your points make a lot of sense, and I'm not really going to be in the market for buying a car for at least another few years. I just wanted to get some insight.

    How much money would I have to invest in this truck, say, monthly?
    Would the Impala be a better or worse choice?
    What sort of repair would I be expecting to do on the vehicle?

    Thanks for your replies.

  • jprocjproc Member Posts: 135

    Well I remember starting to drive in the 60's and if a car lasted 50,000 miles it was doing pretty good.A 50 year old truck from that era? I wouldn't count on it being very reliable

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481

    When you buy an old vehicle, "how much" you will have to spend monthly to keep it running depends entirely on what you bought in the first place--if it's really "old" and not much has been done to it but "kept it running" then you may have a long list of future problems to deal with---just the normal ravages of age and time---belts, holes, seal leaks, exhaust rotting out, tired suspension bushings, wheel bearings, u-joints and the usual generator/alternator, water pump, master cylinder, etc. Unless the vehicle was totally restored, you can count on these things either being bad when you buy the truck, or in constant need of some attention.

    Best thing you can do if you buy an old truck is to have already set aside additional $$$ to tear right into the truck the day after you get it, and replace as many worn out or substandard items as you can find.

  • zeppelinkushzeppelinkush Member Posts: 7

    @jproc Yeah haha my dad has talked about that.

    Thanks for that detailed answer. I'm going to keep researching this topic and keep all these points in mind.

    What do you guys think of going even older? (50s Chevy Trucks or Sedans?)

    Take a look at this nice 55 Bel-Air for the price of a '62 Apache:

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