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Bargain "Classics"--$12,000 or Less and 20 Years or Older

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, I think it best to start with a decent and competent car to begin with, and a Hillman Minx is not my first choice in that category, nor a Triumph Herald or Austin sedan. There's just no way to make anything out of them, no matter how much money you pour in. Not only gutless, but terrifying to steer and brake, and with the build quality of an Italian TV dinner tray.

    Morris Minors can be quite valuable if they are either the station wagon (traveller), pickup or convertible. The sedans are not worth much, and the car is basically granny's ride to church. Not a terribly exciting thing to drive, but if you take your time not so bad, not bad at all.

    I don't think you can chop an XKE coupe and make a convertible out of it, the sheet metal's all different.

    While I am totally in love with MGs and some other of the British sportscar marques, there are a number of postwar British automobiles that are, in my opinion, best left to the scrapper no matter how cheap, as they do not reflect the better moments of the British automobile industry.
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    speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The Association of Italian TV Dinner Tray Manufacturers requests that you cease making spurious comments regarding the quality of their products.
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    rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    This is interesting. I was cruising internet classifieds, and I noticed the average price for a nice 57 Bel-Aire 2-door was around $20,000, while nice Bel-Aire four doors can be had for less than half that. Then there's the 210 model that's even cheaper, and the only difference to the casual observer is that the Bel Aire has chrome tail fins, while the 210 has white painted tail fins. Just a thought, but you can get a good looking 57 Chevy, with all the good looks of the Bel-Aire coupe at half the price.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, this goes to show that buyers dictate the values, not sellers.
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Actually you can chop the S3 XKEs. In the S3s they only made 2+2s and OTSs. And they share the same wheelbase. It's quite involved. Requires a total roof chop of the 2+2, and thena re-skin (Generally using Martin Robey Panels) over what was the luggage compartment to put a "boot" there. Then the area wherer the topis stowed is welded in, atop is installed.. it's painted... voila.

    Well, the S3 isthe only one that I know of that this works on. I do know of a S1 3.8 OTS that was seriously rusted underneath that was saved by a stripped shell of an S1 Coupe with roof damage. Basically the top of the OTS was grafted onto the coupe's shell. That car's alive and well in the northeast.

    As far as the british sedans go, they're certainly cars for someone a bit eccentric. And you have to take them for whatthey are. Minors, Victors and Heralds are dogs. A Vitesse or a PA Velox or Cresta isnt bad at all. A Vitesse is pretty quick if it's a 2.0 and I got ballsy and got my Velox up to 90 easily tonight on I-4 here in Orlando though I never cruise her that quickly. Car has no problem keeping up with modern traffic,neither did my Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre Mk 2. An MG Magnette is also quite capable of running with Modern traffic, and a lot of the Farinas have disc brakes.

    Also, the people whoare going to be buying these pretty much knowwhat we are getting into :) To me,an old British sedan has a level of charm that is unmatched. A Rover 3-Litre is a really stately affair, and not a bad car to drive either.

    rea: Another good buy is a '57 210 2-door hardtop. Worth much less than a Bel Air and quite collectible. But those sedans... Nice cars as long as you buy a nice one and realize that they will appreciate much slower than a ragtop or hardtop and be difficult to sell. Also, you'll easily bury yourself in restoring one. A rust-free and solid 57 Bel Air Ragtop can be bought for $10-15Kish. $25-30K later, it can be a show car easily worth $50K. Those pay to restore. A Bel-Air 4-door sedan is going to take nearly as much to restore.. and will cost $2,500 to buy but be worth $15K when done.

    That be the inherent problem. To me, a '57 Pontiac, Lincoln, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, etc is a much better buy. Also, a 57 Oldsmobile 98 Hardtop is generally going to be better equipped, and a bit nicer to drive than the Chevrolet.

    Bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, there is some logic in buying the more upscale GM products rather than the Chevy, even though the Chevy is "hot" in the 55-57 range right now. You have to wonder about some of these prices bieng pulled down for EXCEPTIONAL '57 Chevy converts...I mean, 75-80K for a Chevrolet? This is pushing the envelope of the rational. It's a pretty car, and I like 'em, but they are really just mass-produced vehicles and pretty crude for 80K. You can buy some awfully tasty exotic machinery for less than that AND still have money left over to keep it running and looking great.

    British Sedans---yes, they vary widely in beauty and ability, from real mutts to halfway decent cars. Best to actually drive one for a day before buying it, to learn all about the peculiar British characteristics you might find in each one. The Herald just says "Death Trap" to mean everytime I used to drive one, as does the Minor, whereas a solid old Rover or a Jag Mk II was pretty decent. I actually had a Hillman Minx convertible, and the word "dreadful" springs to mind, but on the other hand a similar vintage MG Magnette was quite charming in its weird little way.

    More and more I realize that the decision to kill MG for the sake of saving Triumph is truly lamentable. And I think history has backed me up on this, as the MG name is much more highly respected today. Better grab those nice under $10K MGBs, they won't last long at that price. Pretty soon they'll even match the MGA and TD in value, and they've already passed the TR7 and TR8s, and running about even with the TR6.
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    speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Absolutely, you get more car for less money with BOP cars. Compare something like a fully loaded Olds Starfire convertible to a Chevy Super Sport convertible 409/340 Powerglide. The Olds has equal power and is probably more loaded, yet it costs far less. Any Grand Prix has at least 303 hp and a very nice sporty interior, yet they sell for less than a 327 Super Sport. The Chevy name is magical to a lot of people.
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Well,

    I bet when MG returns to the Us in 2004 (As I have heard... idiots at BMW didnt bring the MGF over EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD FEDERALIZED IT! because they were afraid of it eating into Z3 sales.) that MG prices skyrocket much as mini prices are beginning to. $10-20K for a Cooper??? WHat the hell? $5-6K for a clean early 70s Mini 850? WHAT??????

    Those vermin at BMW notwithstanding...

    But those $75K 57 Chevies are the exception. And one I know of here that is worth that is so amazingly over-restored with NOS parts that I can almost justify it.... I mean, it's had the under the hood, frame and underneath of the decklid color-sanded!

    Bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, Americans in particular do seem to go over-the-top with their restorations, and the majority of restored cars you see today are done to a much much higher standard than the factory did them. I'm more on the side of the people who are taking 55-57 Chevs and modifying them with fuel-injected small blocks, disk brakes, good suspension and exhaust and then driving them all day. They LOOK like the original car but certainly drive, handle and stop much better. A nice compromise, and a good way to get your money's worth at least. Just looking at a stock '57 Chevy isn't worth 75K to me thank you very much. I'd need to use it...a LOT. It's not like they are rare and irreplacable. You crack it up, you just fix it, no big deal on a car like that. But an aluminum bodied, tubular frame car, well, that's a big big hassle to fix.
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Yup.

    I understand the logic much as I disagree with it.

    Personally, I'd say that if you took a nice 4-door Bel Air Hardtop, threw in cruise, Air, a nice stereo, polyurethane bushings, some decent shocks, a set of modern tires, a vette drivetrain with modern fuel injection...

    Heck, you'd have a neat car that's realistically safe to drive. I've seen that.

    Personally, I don't like these over-restored cars. It's an old car dammit it oughta look old! :) I once bought an XK150 that was that nice. JCNA 99.85 pt car. Beautiful. I was terrified to drive the thing!

    Bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The joke is "A number one car will win you a trophy, but a Number Three car will liberate you"
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    qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 33,019
    sorry for the delay in answering. Guess I didn't subscribe to this before.

    Anyway, I didn't mean that you don't like Alfas. I knew that you owned at least one. What I meant is that you wouldn't like me suggesting the 70s Spiders in this thread (again) because the Alfas were brought up earlier here and I believe you broke it down and suggested anything pre-Spica might prove to be on the expensive side and anything post-Spica, obviously, is newer than 25 years old.

    So, basically, I was simply pointing out that Weber conversions are done all the time. I was just coming up with a defense for the 70s alfas, that's all.

    '11 GMC Sierra 1500; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c; '20 S90 T6; '22 MB Sprinter 2500 4x4 diesel; '97 Suzuki R Wagon; '96 Opel Astra; '08 Maser QP; '11 Mini Cooper S

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    corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    I have always thought the following two cars are classics or will become classics.

    1974 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty 455 - This car proved that the era of muscle car madness wasn't quite over when the Feds required new vehicles to carry (much needed) emission control equipment. This car was, without gawdy graphics, a relatively clean styled car with above average handling characteristics for the time. But above all it went like stink.

    1977 Lincoln Mark V - I know this doesn't quite make the 25 year target (give it a few months and it will). This car was the last of the truly gargantuan two-door personal luxury coups that had become the fad in the late sixties and early seventies. It had some classic styling cues - Bentley style grill, opera window, spare tire trunk hump and front quarter panel fins. I know it's not everybody's cup of tea, but from a person who used to own one I can attest that it, to this day, remains the best highway car I've ever driven. Smoooooooooth.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, these cars have shown some appreciation value, that's true, but I don't think of them as 'bargains' since I think they are fully priced and thus will appreciate very slowly...that is, the supply is meeting the demand, so the prices are stable. Given that the SD455 is fairly rare, it's interesting that it isn't all that valuable after 25 years. This is not a good sign. I think the problem is that with only 290HP pushing 3,700 lbs, the car really isn't very fast. It's more show than go by muscle car standards.

    The Lincoln Mark V has to struggle against large production numbers...well over 80,000 were made, and today you can find as many as you'd like to buy.

    Still, while no bargains, these cars might be nice as an "affordable nice ride" and I don't expect the value to go down, like it will for many 70s American cars.

    So the market shows that there is some limited interest among collectible car owners who are shopping at around the $8,000-12,000 mark.
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    rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    That spare tire hump on the Lincoln was purely decoration. The spare tire was really stored between the trunk and the back seats, covered by a piece of gray carpeting.
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    corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    I know the rear trunk hump in a Lincoln Mark V does not house the spare tire. Remember, I used to own one of these vehicles. I was pointing out that the Lincoln was one of the last over-blown Detroit luxo-two-doors. The hump is merely one of the styling cues that helps distinguish the car.

    The Mark had a huge trunk, but, as you pointed out, that big spare tire mounted on the shelf between the rear seat and the deep well of the trunk really ate up a bunch of space. I think that shelf was bigger than the entire trunk on my 1984 Toyota Cressida!

    Mr. Shiftright - please!!! The 455SD was, and still is, a fast car. It makes wonderful sounds and decent track numbers - in fact better numbers than some of the big muscle cars. For instance, the SD will beat in almost every performance category the likes of the 383 Roadrunner, 396 Chevelle and 428CJ Tornino. It is also helpful to convert that 290 net horsepower to a gross figure when comparing it to pre-smog equipment cars.

    This car is underappreciated by auto enthusiasts, and I'm not sure why. It was a legitimate attempt to prove that, despite what the government was requiring at the time, the muscle car era wasn't over. Pontiac was, of course, wrong - at least until the mid-1980's.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, I don't know what else to say about the 455SD other than that it is not much collected by Pontiac loyalists. There is obviously something about the car that people do not like, otherwise it would be a hot ticket. Either they are all ignorant or they know something.

    Like you say, you could modify it, but then the collectible value, such as it is, goes down.

    Probably what will happen is that the more desirable Trans Ams are either restored or destroyed and become higher priced and less available, then that scarcity will drag the SD455 up in value.

    But the car has refused to grow much in value despite a very hot market right now. I think this is due to the large numbers of earlier Trans Ams still available.

    I'll check on the performance numbers--either you are optimistic or I pessimistic, but let's have some fun and see if we can come up with numbers. Just on paper at least, the car is not impressive, as it is heavy for the HP rating. Could be they geared it low, which would help 0-60 numbers. We could tell that by finding out the top speed rating.
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    corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    http://www.angelfire.com/mi/jamos1/sdtrivia.html


    Check out this link by a SD enthusiast - sorry, I can't vouch for the accuracy of this site.


    They indeed did come with a low gear ratio rear end and four speed manuals, AND there were only very few ever produced.

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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Seems like pricing is all over the map.....highest asking I saw was at $19K for a show car, but that sounds very optimistic and comes from a dealer.....probably the very nicest cars are peaking at $15K in real money.

    As for performance, if you lump all the claims together and average them out, it looks like the 1/4 mile in the high 13s with probably around 310 real HP. Faster than I thought, but maybe...oh, what....a 6 or 6.5 second car in the real world? There are some little Japanese coupes that can dust it nowadays. You need in the low 5s to brag with confidence on today's streets, don't you think?

    Anyway, it's fast enough to be collectible but again, I think having so many "purer" Firebirds to choose from keeps the serious buyers away. Maybe the production numbers are low, but it's interesting how easy it is to find them for sale. Gee, in 5 minutes I had about 12 of them.

    Well, we'll see how the car does in the future. It has power and some rarity in its favor, but on the negative side it's not the best of its type. In other words, if they had never made earlier Firebirds, it would be a hotter ticket than it is.
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    dranoeldranoel Member Posts: 79
    Wow, That gives me a problem, 25 years means 1976 or before. To me those are new cars, I guess I've been around too long,I always thought a "classic" had to be built before World War ll ( for you younger people that means 1941 or before) But I suppose in a few years we'll be talking about those old classics built before 2000.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If I restricted "classics" to "true" classics in the tightest definition, these boards would be near empty. The term "classic" really just means "collectible" these days, and that's fine (unless someone calls a Pacer a classic, then them's fightin' words!)
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    rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    A pacer *IS* a Classic.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Go to your room!
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    corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    And stay in your room until the rest of us on this board say you can come out! Pacer, ha! I mean really!

    Now the Gremlin.........
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    rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    My pacer can beat up your Gremlin ;-)
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    merckxmerckx Member Posts: 565
    I've thought for years the Mk1 Magnette is a very handsome sedan.Ihave only seen them in books-they have a very pleasing roundness to them.I don't know why,but often admittedly mundane(or worse!)cars I think interesting.Renault Dauphines and Pueguot 504s,for example.There was also an entire school of 2+2 coupe design in the mid-sixties.These cars are now thought of as some of the stodgier examples of there marques-why do I love them so?Cars like the Gordon Keebler,some 60s Alvis coupes,even some of the more upright Maseratis and Ferraris.To me the "crowns"like the Muria,Boxter Diablo have a cliched sameness to them.
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    corsicachevycorsicachevy Member Posts: 316
    Pacer vs Gremlin - "Battle of the Titans"

    I wonder if Showtime would pick that up on a pay-per-view basis?
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Problem with Magnettes is that they are amazing rustbuckets...but they are rather nice, and if you don't put too much money in them (because you'll never see it again) I think it would be fun to have one. They certainly have more appeal than an Austin A40 or a Humber.

    Peugeot 504 is, amazingly, a pretty good car, and dirt cheap to buy. It's a pleasant driver, and very comfortable and not too expensive to keep up. Parts are a chore, but with the Internet and UPS, everything is possible.

    The Dauphine is a problematic car, cute and all that but it will torment you.

    A Maserati Quattroporto is a hell of a nice car for around $7,000, and if you can find a non-abused one, it could serve you well. V8 power, beautiful leather seats (among the world's best interiors!) and 4-door luxury without having to suffer the numerous defects of an old Jaguar XJ6. The Quattroporto is a much better car that the Maser Bi-Turbo, which may in fact be among the few truly unfixable cars in the world.
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    First,

    Shifty, want me to scare you? I saw a Pacer on the road here in Orlando recently with a "Collectible" plate on it. This was on an old Beater. This is why they no longer issue "Collectible plates methinks :)

    Oh, there's some early Magnettes out there. I know a guy in Fargo, ND witha nice one. Really classy little cars.. Nice wood and leather Int, not too bad to drive wither and nice looking.

    They're out thereandnot that expensive.

    And,from a former 84 Q-Porte owner:

    Price an exhaust system and brake rotors, both of which they go through quickly.

    Bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yikes! I don't wanna know...but at least you got to sit in those seats!
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Welll...

    The joy of owningone has to be crusing along the highway at 90-100+.... thoseseats...oooohh.....

    Bill
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    mrcpfg1mrcpfg1 Member Posts: 5
    "Javelins and Gremlins and Pacers, Oh, my!"
    (Oh, no!!!)..........dorothy
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    "I'll get you...and your little Festiva TOO!"""

    heeheeheeheeheehee!

    (secret Shiftright confession...I always LIKED the witch when I was a kid!)
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    rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Secret rea98d confession: Dorothy is hot!
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's no classic, but the cheapest sports car in the world right now has to be the Fiat X1/9. You see them in decent shape as low as $1,500 and I believe the price is still sinking.

    Mid-engine, great handling, so-so power, fun to drive, targa top, and the build quality of a take-out food container.
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Spitfire???

    Thems cheap and fun.... AND Parts are easier to get.

    Bill
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    dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    I think I'd go with a first generation RX7 or MR2 ahead of the X1/9. Might cost a few hundred more up front but you'll be way ahead shortly thereafter.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The only "problem" with the RX7 or MR2 is that they are not open cars...to get an open car for the price of dinner and a show in Manhattan is a pretty good deal.

    Spitfires are also cheap, that's true, and equally budget-built as the Fiat. And most British sportscars of this era have an excellent parts supply.
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    mwdreammwdream Member Posts: 91
    I have been wanting an older car for sometime and have somewhat decided on a Triumph Spitfire for many reasons...

    1. An almost complete frame up restoration can be found around for only $6,000. A decent driving car can be had in the range of $2000 to $3000. The hood lifts off providing complete engine exposure for easy repair access. Parts are available from many catalogs.... etc, etc... the car just looks good IMHO. Chrome bumpers, nice lines, etc... (60's style ones)

    I hope the British experience does not taint my desire for this, as someday I hope to move onto an MGA, more money, but I love that cars looks.... a decent running restore in the $6000 - $8000 range.

    I figure I can get a good Spit for $2500, sink another $2500 in restore and then sell the finished product for about $2500 HA HA, its a learning experience though.... there is a grease monkey inside every man.
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    dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    At least you are going in with the right attitude about return on your investment.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You'll get more money for that Spitfire if you sell in late Spring (and buy in early Fall).

    And remember, stay away from RUSTY CARS!
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Yup...

    NO RUSTY CARS! And I really think that $2,500 will get you a nice clean one.

    For the fun you'll have with one.. a bargain. Blow the $2,500 on webers.. minilite wheels..etc.. :)))

    Bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I don't like Webers on English cars if they have the original SUs...but if they are using those later vacuum-depression carbs that resemble SUs...what were they...um....Solex? You could throw those over a fence and get a Weber, okay.

    But Webers are very tricky to set up, they eat gas and they are expensive. SUs are simple, easy to work on and do a great job. No need to ever get rid of them unless you are going all-out racing with special cams/pistons, etc.
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    rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    You could fit a Chevy 3.8 or 5.7 in there pretty easy and get a lot of power in a little car! And when you get tired of it, Mr Shiftright would *love* to buy it from you ;-)
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    im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    If I still had my 74 S3 XKE OTS with webers.....

    That thing ran like a raped ape. AMAZING difference, but it didnt come with SUs.

    I was thinking later a later spit for the aforementioned.

    OK, Next Quiz (And Shifty I bet you knoiw this one)

    What does "SU" Stand for and WHY???

    Bill
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, yes, THAT was the name of the carbs I was thinking of....it was STROMBERGS that were a nuisance on later British sports cars. Yep, I'd consider Webers as a substitute for those on a later XKE, but I'd never swap Webers for SUs unless I was racing in a class that permitted that type of swap.

    V-8 Conversions.....actually, you all have Shifftright's permission to stuff V8s into any Vitesse, TR7 or Vauxhall you want, as these cars are all from the grimmest days of British automotive history. Best to use them up, play with them, anything but restore them (be merciful to those of us who remember the better days) ;)
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    dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Stuffing a Ford V-8 in a TR7 must be OK. Triumph did it. (Yes, I know there was more to it than that).
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh yeah, that Rover V-8. Well, it did turn the TR7 from dreadful into mediocre, that's true, but when you consider that MG was dismantled in order to finance the TR7 and TR8 you can see how appalling a decision that was. Both these Triumphs dropped off the edge of the earth as soon as they appeared. Nobody cares about the 7s, and the 8s have a small following because of the V8 (it's not a fast car, but it is sort of interesting, sort of).

    Generally, factory designed V8 conversions work a lot better than the homemade ones. Now if the TR8 had a Ford 289 in it rather than that slug of a Rover/Buick, that might have helped. It worked for AC + Ford after all.

    But, if you must have a Triumph, the TR6 or TR8 are both hovering in the $10K or under range for decent ones (the TR6 is stronger in the marketplace), and they are both modern enough to drive comfortably on today's roads, and I doubt either one will go down in value. How high they go in value is debatable, but we'll see. What you want to avoid are TR7s, GT6s and Spitfires unless you really want to tinker on a budget...nothing wrong with that. Better hobby than beer drinking (I think).
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    dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Huh, I always thought it was a Ford V-8 in the TR8. Glad I'm not being paid to be an automotive historian.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Don't TR8 owners wish!

    No, it's that "engine that won't die" 3.5 Rover aka Buick. It's not a bad engine, nor a great one...it's rather lazy for 3.5 liters, putting out 148HP in US specs with fuel injection, and perhaps 165 or so in Euro spec. So, pushing a nearly 2700 lbs car, you are dead meat at a stoplight race with a Honda Accord V-6. Even a Miata will beat you.

    It's too bad the TR8 didn't come to the US rather than the TR7...Americans would have been more interested in it. Also it is unfortunate that it looked just like a TR7, even though it is really a totally different car in many respects.

    Handling is typical dicey Triumph, but you work the throttle and steering wheel on the understeer and you'll get around just fine.
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