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I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

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Comments

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    One thing going for the Chevette was good rust proofing for that class of car, and the period. It was much better than the Vega, Pinto and the Japanese econoboxes of the '70s in this regard. This is one reason why Chevettes outlasted some of the other subcompacts. Another reason is that, unlike the Vega, for example, the Chevette, basic as it was, had no major design weaknesses, at least that I know of.

    As you may know the Chevette was designed by Opel.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,299
    Good points, but I'd have still rather owned a later Vega new than a Chevette. In '76 they were base-priced identically (hatchback to hatchback). I trust most people know I'm in a minority there. ;)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited February 2013
    One thing going for the Chevette was good rust proofing for that class of car, and the period. It was much better than the Vega, Pinto and the Japanese econoboxes of the '70s in this regard, due to greater use of galvanized steel. This is one reason why Chevettes outlasted some of the other subcompacts, at least in areas where rust is a problem. Another reason is that, unlike the Vega, for example, the Chevette, basic as it was, had no major design weaknesses, at least that I know of. I'm not suggesting that the Chevette was a paragon of durability, just that the body was more durable than that of most of its rivals.

    As you may know the Chevette was designed by Opel.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    Another reason is that, unlike the Vega, for example, the Chevette, basic as it was, had no major design weaknesses, at least that I know of.

    I think brakes might have been a weak spot in the Chevette, but I'm not positive. Most of the other issues I've heard of were relatively minor...squeaks, rattles, oil leaks, etc. Things that might be annoying, but wouldn't cripple the car (unless you let the oil run dry). And, things that could be attributable to most cars of that period, anyway.
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,938
    Another thing that may have helped keep Chevettes on the road is that NOBODY I knew drove them hard, modified them, etc. In comparison some of the Vega owners thought they had a mini-Camaro...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,299
    When I married my wife, she drove a 1978 Chevette 4-door, 5-speed. It had eleven hard midwestern winters on it, although it still looked okay. However, it smelled like gas inside and eventually one of the shocks (struts) went through the shock tower up front--common on those cars as they got old.

    I bought her a new '90 Corsica 5-speed and the night we picked it up, I hadn't seen her happier...come to think of it, not sure when I next saw her so happy! She drove it three years or so, then I got it while she got a new Caprice Classic. I drove it 'til fall of '96 when it had 108k miles and I 'treated' myself to a new 4-door 5-speed Cavalier. The Corsica never spent a single night in a garage. It was a good car.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    Speaking of Tempos, I saw a Topaz today at the gas station in decent shape actually. IT's funny bewcause I see more Tempos than the early 90s Escorts. Those are almost all gone and I actually liked their styling before they rounded them off in late 90s.

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    You know, now that I think of it, the early 90s Escorts are mostly gone here, too. I still see a later Tempo here and there, but can't recall the last time I saw a Topaz. And the pre-91 Escorts, can't recall the last time I saw one.

    But I did see something odd tonight - a Lancia Scorpion - in the rain! Probably not a good idea.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    Lancia Scorpion, wow that's rare too.

    Speaking of older Fords I see the early 90s Thunderbirds too from time to time. For somer reasons their owners think these are collector cars although I think styling has held up well over the years.

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    Rare and probably rusting as we speak.

    Those T-Birds attract an older sedate driver, probably many well cared for, just watch out for the 3.8. I remember at the end of the 90s, classified ads for those would tout their supposed collectibility.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    I see a lot of teenagers, early 20s guys usually driving the TBrids. Affordable and decent looking cars if you can find some for $1000-$2000.

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Yes, the Chevette strut towers were a point of relative weakness, but 11 hard Midwestern winters suggests that they weren't a design defect for a '70s entry level car.

    Interesting about the Corsica. Was it a I-4 or V6? How did the Cavalier compare to the Corsica, durability wise?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    The 3.8 was most problematic in the FWD Ford products, and less so in the RWD ones. The main reason for the problems, usually head gaskets, is that it's a tight fit for the 90 degree angle 3.8 in the FWD cars. That restricts air circulation, thereby restricting cooling. This condition also caused premature transmission failures in FWD 3.8s.
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,024
    It wasn't so much the cooling problems. The biggest reason was the iron block combined with aluminum heads. They expand at different rates and the gasket fails.

    Yes, the FWD products had more issues, but honestly I think just because there were many more sold (Taurus, Sable, Continental, Windstar) than the RWD models. Ask any Ford mechanic they will tell you the RWD cars (Tbird, Cougar) fail as well.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,299
    I actually put more miles on the Cavalier--129.6K miles. Both it and the Corsica still had cold air, neither had had the 'you'll have to replace the intake manifold gasket' issue (neither did my '02 Cavalier with 112K). I would actually say the Cavalier was probably a little better than the Corsica. I had the cheapo plastic wheel covers on the Corsica which upwards of 100K miles would fall off easily. The Cavalier had bolt-on covers. I had a smallish area of crazed painted on the Corsica--it was dark grey--and I never had any paint issues whatsoever with either Cavalier, but both had clear coat. But I don't regret that Corsica one bit. There was a good rebate on it at the time too IIRC. It was a four, BTW. The Corsica was a larger, more comfortable car IMO, with better seats and upholstery.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    My uncle lost a transmission in a 3.0 Taurus, and my mother lost a head gasket in a 3.8 Taurus (at ~80K miles, maintained regularly). My uncle also had the intake gasket/manifold 3.8 issue in a LeSabre. My mother and brother (he dealt with issues in V6 Sundance Duster/Neon/Lumina) are both Toyota converts now.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    Might be things to get out of estates for cheap. I see hipster types in older cars around here, especially things like slant 6 Mopars, and of course old VWs.
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,024
    I lost a head gasket at 65K ish in my 93 Taurus 3.8. The transmission was still going at 100K when I dumped it. I had a feeling it wouldn't have lasted much longer because at WOT it didn't like to shift into 3rd bouncing the engine off the rev limiter.

    My mother had the 3.8 in her 96 Thunderbird and she had that car for 10 years, but only put 45K on it. No head-gasket problems but I think the low mileage helped and by 96 Ford changed something to help the HG problem. That car did like to leak anti-freeze and puked up an entire A/C system.

    I still remember when my Stepdad got that car for her. We were at the dealer and they had two 96 leftovers in January 97. One was a gorgeous dark blue 4.6, and a Pacific Green 3.8. There wasn't much price difference between the two and he told the dealer he would be back. In the car on the way home I told him to get the 4.6. When he went back he got her the 3.8 thinking she didn't need the extra power. :cry:

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the early 90s Escorts are mostly gone here, too

    I had a '91 Escort GT, until it was totalled in 1998.

    The power train was solid, ran for 107k miles on the original clutch despite some, uh, enthusiastic driving. :shades:

    The motorized mice belts drove me crazy and some interior trim starting falling off, and the door cards were beginning to come unglued.

    That was when Ford and Mazda were related, so it actually had the 1.8l engine from the Protoge and Miata.

    Fun little car, but interior quality wasn't that good.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    edited February 2013
    I remember my mom's Taurus (also a 93) started making sloshing sounds - like something had leaked behind the dash. Maybe a heater core issue too? I don't remember any smells though. But by then, it was near its end. She dumped it when the engine failed. Kind of sad, as the car was pretty trouble free otherwise. It was white with a blue interior, all the excitement of a fleet car, but it was a GL with power everything, wheels, etc.

    I also remember when the transmission in my uncle's 3.0 died - suddenly, only reverse worked. A few days earlier, it was shifting oddly - would stay in gear far too long, kind of like what you describe. Heads up for next time, I guess. He got it fixed, but a few years later it caught fire (!) and was a total loss. He fixed the LeSabre after its intake issues and kept the car, as he likes the engine otherwise.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    edited February 2013
    I remember liking those GTs when I was in high school. Around 1993-94 maybe, I remember my dad pointing out an ad for one, and saying I should get something like that. The car was still like 8K used, and I just replied "you going to buy it for me?" As I was maybe 16-17 and didn't exactly have that kind of cash saved up. He was very into a first car being an old car, which is why I started with a 66 Ford. Taught me about dealing with cold stalling, flooding, steering when the car stalls in motion, anyway.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    He was very into a first car being an old car, which is why I started with a 66 Ford. Taught me about dealing with cold stalling, flooding, steering when the car stalls in motion, anyway.

    LOL, I can relate. My grandpa was nice enough to give me his '75 Buick Regal when I got my license in '87. It taught me many of the things you mentioned above. It taught me to never leave the house in the winter without a heavy coat, hat, gloves, and always have a good pair of walking shoes no matter what the weather was;)

    OTOH, I get get 6+ teenage girls in it, so it wasn't all bad;)
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,024
    as the car was pretty trouble free otherwise.

    Mine was a total nightmare. It was a loaded to gills LX silver/grey leather. Off the top of my head, it had the HG failure, tie rods two/three times, idled at 3K intermittently, leaked everything, blew air only through defrost, and the WOT tranny problem. This was all between about 65K and 100K.

    I'm sure I missed a few things, but I can tell you my previous 89 Grand Marquis was much more reliable.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2013
    One thing I hated (besides the motorized mice) was the oil filter was on the side of the block, above the exhaust. Very poor placement, you had to reach up from the bottom to get to it, and I would use a diaper to catch the oil that spilled no matter what you did.

    You could get an oil filter relocation kit for the Miata but I never found one for the Escort.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,299
    I had a very late model Mustang rental once, about 25 years ago, in Richmond, VA. I can't recall if it was a four or a six, but it went 50 mph without my foot on the gas. I went out to dinner with a coworker who's a Ford guy (I still work with him at a different company), and he accused me of being a complainer and Ford-hater. I took him for a ride and his eyes about bugged out to see my foot wasn't even on the gas.

    Similarly, my '81 Monte Carlo, when cold, would barely stop in reverse--even as a new car. You'd have to stand on the pedal to get it to stop. I never took it in for that, but a couple years later I met a guy at work who had a Cutlass Supreme and he complained about that, saying he'd better not hit a kid because of that and if he did GM would be sorry.

    I never heard any media attention to either of those issues.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    Now that I remember it, the Taurus got taken in for a warranty claim, as a strut started making noise within a few weeks of purchase. The AC was also long gone by the time that gasket blew. I think it also lost a starter or alternator sometime in its life. But no leaks or weird things come to mind. My mom is pretty easy on a car though.

    Oh yeah, I swear it had an 85mph speedo too - in 1993!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    I drove my friend's 1983 Monte Carlo (305) once - I think it idled around 15mph. Braking seemed to require more planning than I was used to.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    The Galaxie was an 8 passenger - and it was a 2 door :shades:

    Really has moved me away from ever wanting a carb car. The 9mpg combined with insane cold-bloodedness, and what seemed like constant adjustments.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    That's what shops are for :shades:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    I've never had enough road to get up to 50, but on level ground, most of my old cars, when warming up, will idle up to around 30 mph or so without touching the gas pedal.

    They might actually get up higher, but I've never had the opportunity. Either a red light, stop sign, sharp turn, or hill would present itself before I got going too far.

    Even once the fast idle has kicked down, my '67 Catalina and '76 LeMans still feel like they pull harder than they should. But, I'm afraid to mess with them too much, because then some other issue will most likely crop up!
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,024
    I swear it had an 85mph speedo too - in 1993!

    It did. I remember because I had it pinned when I got snagged by the cops for well over the limit! :surprise:

    Andre,
    My one and only carbed car (79 Continental) idled really fast before it warmed up as well. 30 MPH without touching the pedal was certainly possible.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm too cheap. Plus I enjoy doing it - to a point.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    I remember pegging the needle on my mom's car, too. :shades:

    Actually for the day, that 3.8 seemed like a decent enough performer, or maybe just felt that way after driving the fintail.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    I passed that point when I was in my 20s - the resultant oil spill + oil in my hair and skin was more annoyance than the money saved. And now, I like to see my cars up on a lift so I can give a good inspection, and have someone else check for any immediate needs.
  • tjc78tjc78 South JerseyPosts: 9,024
    Actually for the day, that 3.8 seemed like a decent enough performer,

    The 3.8 had a decent amount of torque so it was quick out of the gate, however, it ran out of steam quickly. I just looked it up and for a 92 LX (which must be 3.8) a time of 9.2 0-60 and 16.8 quarter. The 93 GL shows 11 and 17.8. IIRC the HP difference betweent the 3.0 and 3.8 wasn't much so that is a surprising difference.

    2017 Buick Enclave / 2019 Volvo S60 T6 Inscription

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    I think they both had 140 hp, but the 3.8 had a lot more torque. My grandparents had an '89 Taurus LX with the 3.8 and a '94 GL with the 3.0. I had driven them both, and the 3.8 definitely felt a lot quicker. Much nicer car, overall, as well. The '89 only had about 30,000 miles on it when they traded, so it didn't have enough time to cause much trouble, although I think it did stall out once or twice.

    Going back a bit further, it seemed like the older 120 hp Ford 3.8 had decent power, compared to other engines of the time. Before the Taurus, they had an '85 LTD with that engine. When I had my learner's permit, I logged a lot of driving time in it. It was definitely quicker than my '80 Malibu, which had a Chevy 3.8 (229) and 115 hp. And was quicker than the '82 Cutlass Supreme I had, which had a Buick 3.8 (231) and 110 hp.

    I think the Buick engine had 190 ft-lb of torque, while the Chevy was really low, like 175 ft-lb or so?

    Now, once Buick started fuel injecting their 231, its power really improved. But even then, my Consumer Guide from 1985 tested a Century with the 125 hp 231, and an LTD with the 120 hp 232, and got 0-60 in 11.5 seconds for the Buick, 11.9 for the Ford, so not a huge difference. They also tested a Celebrity with the 112 hp 2.8 (173) and I think got 0-60 in 11.2.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    Sounds like a GM 3.8, both even have an achilles heel.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your girl friends don't like the smell of gear oil cologne?

    That stuff does stink! :D
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    My wife had a 1991 Mercury Tracer when I met her. The paint didn't hold up well and the rubber door sill trim dry-rotted. I broke down twice behind my house in my old neighborhood and needed to be towed so I could get my car out of the garage it was parked in front of. She traded it with 107K miles for a new 2001 Chevrolet Impala.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    LTS, or base model?

    The odd thing was the base engine was 1.9l, while the LTS got a more modern DOHC 1.8l.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    Wasn't the 1.9 a Ford engine, a holdover from the Escort? I mean, from the Ford-built Escort, not the Escort that Mazda built for them?
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    I think it was the base model as it had plastic wheel covers with these circular openings along the circumference.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep.

    I really only looked at the DOHC 1.8l models.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,299
    ...this one is a far, far cry from the one we last discussed, but I bet this was a sharp little '76 Vega when new...a GT wagon, 5-speed, with Custom interior option. I would have liked the optional side striping though.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1976-Chevy-Vega-GT-Wagon-/160968666258?pt=US_Cars- _Trucks&hash=item257a7aec92
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    One "bid" for $850...yeah, right.

    Worthless in that condition? Maybe $250 for bits and pieces.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,788
    The only Taurii we have ever had were SHO's, so this is all new to me. :P
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,299
    That eBay ad has 1,815 hits as of this moment, pretty amazing.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    That eBay ad has 1,815 hits as of this moment, pretty amazing.

    1800 of those hits are from Edmunds forums users and lurkers, the other 15 from people who might be interested in it :P

    boomchek: driven 10,000+ cars, sold 1000+ cars, owned 50+ cars

  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,223
    A few oddballs this evening - 70s Datsun extended cab pickup, early R107 450SL - probably 1972-73, what I think was an early Viper - no side windows - just these clip on looking, covers, VW Phaeton, 90s Alfa Spider with a flush rear end.

    And speaking of Vega wagons, about 10 years ago, I spotted this "Nomad" waiting to be discovered and saved:

    image

    image
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited February 2013
    Interesting! Thanks.
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