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"Non-Collectible" Old Cars

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Comments

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...one of those Cordoba "300" models from '79. Y'know, the ones with the crosshair grille and police-spec 360, done up in all white? I think the Cordoba and its ilk draws so much flak just because they're sooo stereotypically '70's! I think they're actually pretty attractive though. I think my favorite of those styles is the '78-79 Magnum XE. I like the '80-83 Mirada too. Slick looking cars, but unfortunately, most of them didn't have anything to back it up. You could get a 180 or so hp 360 as an option in 1980, but most of 'em just had 318's, which were down to 120 hp for '80 and 130 for '81-83. And even though they were "downsized", that was still a lot of car to move around, and they only lost a few inches off the old '75-79 models. Even though they competed with cars like the Monte Carlo and T-bird, they were almost as long as a Caprice or Crown Vic of the time!

    When the Cordoba first came out for '75, it was referred to as a cross between a Monte Carlo and a Jag. That first year, it also outsold every single personal-luxury coupe on the market, except for the Monte.
  • I thought the first model year Cordoba, the '75, was exceptionally elegant, and that subsequent models didn't improve on the original's styling. On the basis of their styling, I would categorize Cordobas as collectibles.

    From a mechanical standpoint, was it the '75 that had the problematic "lean burn" engine?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...yeah, they had it by '75. It first came out for '74, on the 400 and 440 V-8's, but eventually found its way down through all the V-8's, and the Slant Six. I've had two cars with Lean Burn...a '79 Newport with a 318 2-bbl and a '79 New Yorker with a 360 2bbl that I recently bought. As far as I can tell, it was still working properly on both cars. My Newport had about 230,000 miles on it when I bought it, and it passed the emissions test by a wide margin. My New Yorker failed the first time around, partly because I goofed it up when I tuned it up. I changed the spark plugs, cap/rotor, a few filters, etc, the weekend before taking it in, but somehow managed to close the gap entirely on two spark plugs. So needless to say, it wasn't running too well when I took it through the test ;-)

    Both cars would get crappy mileage around town, but both would also break into the lower 20's on the highway, probably partly because off tall gearing. 2.41:1, I think. I think Lean Burn was designed to start running rich when it crapped out, so it wouldn't burn up your valves. Probably wasn't foolproof though! From what I've heard in my Mopar clubs, it's also not hard to convert back to a regular, early '70's style electronic ignition.
  • /6 :O hehe auto and with 190k miles on it it was way under powered but it ran great. I
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...was in the junkyard, and saw an '81 Cordoba over in the corner, that had just come in. This is where they keep their cars before they dismantle them and put 'em out in the yard. About 5 years ago, I saw a '79 Newport over in that corner that was destined to become mine, but thankfully history didn't repeat itself here ;-) I sat behind the wheel of it, just to see how these old beasts felt. It was about as nice as an original-looking 20 year old car can look. Cloth seats and carpet still in good shape. Even the fake wood plastic trim that ran along the top edges of the doors was good. Usually these pieces crack right where the lock button is.

    It was a nice looking car, with its fake-hardtop look (no B-pillar, but those back windows were stationary). I also like the dash display on them. It looks like they took the dash out of an R-body and trimmed it a few inches to make it fit. About the only difference though, is the R-body has an oil pressure gauge, while the J-body (Cordoba/Mirada) only have an idiot light in that spot. I'd say it felt about as roomy as a Monte Carlo or T-bird of the time, although it was definitely wider inside than either of those, and the T-bird suffered from that huge Fox-platform driveline hump. But then, being as roomy as a Monte on the inside, but as big as a Caprice on the outside, probably isn't a very good advertising feature ;-)
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I've always had a thing for these cars. Back in the early '60s my father had one, black with light wood trim. It's a lousy photo but you'll get the idea. Supposedly the engine in my father's had been swapped for a larger English Ford engine. It would peg the 80 mph speedo without blowing up, very un-English Ford like, so there may have been some truth to it.

    About fifteen years ago I ran across a guy who was trying to coax a VW engine into one. I asked him what he was thinking and he gave me this "because it was there" answer. Frightening that someone would butcher a car so casually.


    http://www.stationwagon.com/gallery/1960_Ford_Escort.html

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    These are are often used to make street rods, since they are cheap to buy and different. I see no reason why cars like this should't be "re-created" into something interesting. Like what they do with Henry Js or old Model A Fords. They really aren't historically interesting enough or rare enough to be preserved in their original state. Of course, I would hope that the customization would be well-crafted.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, but a VW engine? Where did that brainstorm come from? What's the point? Even in customization there has to be a point, some kind of worthwhile goal.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well, you can't make a Ford Escort any worse. These cars will only be junked, so as a custom it will be preserved in some form.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, but I think even customizers have to be held to a certain standard. The idea is to improve the car in some way, although of course that's subjective. But if it doesn't go faster or handle better or look better (or distinctive) then it crosses the line from creativity to vandalism.

    This numbnuts was going to put the VW engine in the back--in the back--which means major surgery and suspension alterations. He hadn't done any of the things that take planning or engineering, like installing the engine or transaxle, but he had cut large holes in the sides for cooling. All that takes is a rip saw and some randomly firing synapses.

    Even that customized Capri I linked to had a purpose. Someone had taken all those '50s "trans-Atlantic" styling cues and run with them. It wasn't elegant but at least it made sense.

    Jeez I'm getting crusty in my old age.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well, I agree it is a nutcase engine replacement, but if it fails, that's just one less VW engine and one less Ford Escort, so it's not like a Bugatti has fallen off the rack or anything.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    What exactly was a Buick Centurion of the early '70s?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...was a mid-range full-size Buick built from '71-73. It was basically a LeSabre with an Electra engine. The LeSabres back then rode a 124" wb, and had 350's, while the Electras rode a 127" wb and had 455's. I'd imagine they had nicer interiors than the LeSabre, as well.

    The Centurion was basically a replacement for the Wildcat of the '60's. In 1974, it was replaced by a model called the LeSabre Luxus The Luxus only ran about $100 more than the base LeSabre models though, while the Centurion ran more like $400 more, so I doubt the Luxus came standard with a bigger engine.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Here's a car that I think is underappreciated. Very clean lines, much more muscular than its competition. First low-priced car to have an overhead valve V8 (actually the first of the low-priced three to have any kind of V8). I always thought they looked fast, even though they're not (maybe I watched too much Highway Patrol). Fords of this era were known for their handling according to tests of the time, although of course this is relative. The later 390 and C-6 bolt right in for extra power. The Fordomatic was a two speed in normal use but could be turned into a three speed by shifting between Low and Drive as you wound out the engine. The Victoria has a very attractive interior.


    http://members.aol.com/rdesch/54ford.gif

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Guys: I really want to keep my '87 Chevy Nova with me, even though it's only worth $800 tops. It has 66k original miles, bought new by my dad. Only problem: I am no longer able to control the rust, as I don't think the steel was galvanized.

    What should I do: keep or sell??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well, if you can't control the rust then instead of $800 you'll have nothing soon enough. Rust is a tough nut.
  • jrosas-

    I think Toyota galvanized their cars by '87. I'm surprised it's that bad. My friend drives an '86 Corolla with about the same mileage as your Nova, and it has almost no rust. Just try controlling the rust on a 1977 Toyota! That's what my brother drives. Anyway, I think it all depends on where the rust is. If structural parts of your unibody are rusting through, it might be best to get rid of the car before it breaks in half on the highway. But if it's just the usual quarter panels and door bottoms, you could always fix it yourself, at least well enough to keep it from getting worse. Bondo rust repair can work pretty well when done meticulously. Get a sander, a Dremel tool for cutting out rusted areas, a Bondo kit and some Rust-Oleum primer and you can fix moderate body rust if you're willing to put some time into it. If you're only concerned with function, you can just drive a primer-mobile, but if you want it to look presentable, you can get the car repainted afterwards, like I did with my Pontiac. Good luck.

    -Andrew L
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    These are awkward-looking but interesting cars. You could get a Fairlane with the same 289/271 that powered the Cobra (although I think the Cobra got 306 hp with a Holley instead of the 480 cfm Autolite). Interesting that such a dorky looking car could have such a great engine. You couldn't get it in the better looking Fairlane 500 hardtop, just in a sedan like this one.


    http://www.fairlaneclubofamerica.com/63fs2bk.htm

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I always thought the '63-64 Fairlane (and the '62-63 Mercury Meteor) were really attractive cars. I actually like their proportions...they look like scaled-down versions of the big cars. Back then, weren't 2-door sedans usually pretty popular car to hot-rod? I figured that since they're usually lighter than a 2-door hardtop, but more ridid, that they're a better choice. But then, I wouldn't expect that kind of thinking from an automobile manufacturer!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, except that no one thinks that way except the hardcore gearheads, and you'd go broke just selling to them. Most people want pretty to go with fast and that means hardtop or pony.

    The first Ford intermediates do look a lot like the fullsizers but maybe one styling cycle back, hence the fins on a 1962 car. That's probably why they looked so unhip so quickly, at least to me. The '65 Fairlane also tries very hard to look grownup and ends up looking more like an eight-year-old wearing his father's suit. The '66-67 intermediates are very nicely styled.

    GM also used fullsize styling cues on its intermediates in '64 but I think did a much better job, except for the '64 Le Mans.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...I've never seen a 4-door hardtop version of the Fairlane/Meteor. Did they offer that body style? A few years back, I saw a 1970 Torino 4-door hardtop with a 429. It was green, and about as plain-Jane as they come. I guess that'd make a great sleeper!

    Every once in awhile, I see a '65 Buick Special around town, driven by an old man. I think I've been seeing that car for a good 10 years or more now. At a quick glance, I'll mistake it for a full-size. Probably partly because B-O-P tacked a lot of length on their cars back then, to make 'em look bigger than the Chevelle.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I don't think so. They were pretty entry-level. The S-33 and 500 two-door hardtops with buckets were about as fancy as they got.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    .....four door hardtops were built until 1970 (in the Torino series).
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Speaking of Fairlane/Torino sleepers, in 1970 the base Torino two-door sedan was called Falcon and could be ordered with any of the 429s. Ford's answer to the Road Runner taxicab/musclecar concept but didn't quite have the same image. It was a great idea though. I think the quickest car I ever drove was a '68 RR, stock except the AFB had been replaced by a Holley. That Magnum 383 was a strong engine but no stronger than three or four others I can think of, but pulling around a little less weight made a big difference. That's about as light as big block musclecars got, except for aberations like the Dart 383.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    Remember the 1960s version of the TV show "Dragnet?" Jack Webb and Harry Morgan's characters drove a gold 1967 Ford Fairlane sedan in the series.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 10,369
    In '63 or '64 Ford built a number (500?) of factory-equipped 427 Fairlanes. Mostly for drag racing of course. They called them Thunderbolts and I can only imagine how fast those must have been. They were plain-jane 2-door post sedans with bottom-line trim, fiberglass hoods and bumpers, etc.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    There's a '64 Ford Fairlane that I see every day on the way to work, that's set up to look like a Thunderbolt. It has the inboard headlights removed, supposedly to give the impression of air intakes. But, it's a 4-door sedan! It's sat in the same spot for years, so I doubt if it even moves under its own power.
This discussion has been closed.