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

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Comments

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "...nearly killed them."

    I'd leave the "nearly" out, since the new GM is essentially a new company.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    edited February 2013
    We should define any 10+ year old as a survivor, and thus a classic.

    Anyone else here like to comment on this comment? ;)
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    Ten years sets the bar pretty low for a "survivor" car. I consider a ten-year old car to be almost new, just old enough to change the spark plugs. I think a survivor car should be at least 20 years old and/or from the 20th century.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,941
    I think he was only referring to ten yr old Hyundais. ;)

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    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    yeah I drove them new or nearly new, when I was a young 'un working on cars. That's where my "cheap and nasty" remark came from. I was, even at that time, a foreign car buff (except for a few domestics I really liked), and let's just say Vega was certainly built to a price--cheesy interior, very raspy, vibrating engine, bizarre gear rations.

    I liked the styling though, and I can see why people would make rods out of them---what they are doing essentially is getting rid of the two worst parts---the powertrain and the interior.

    Given what Detroit produced in the 60s, the car was junk, really.

    RELIABILITY---well, at least you can say that GM has "matched the biggest imports in reliability"---if you compare it to VW! :P
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My comment was tongue-in-cheek but the thread is funny so let's just go with it!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I'd say mileage is as important, or nearly so, as age. So, to me, a 10 year old car with, say, >200,000 miles that's still usable could be considered a survivor, while one with 50,000 isn't. I suppose at some point, say after 25 years, even a low mileage car could be considered a susvivor. It's subjective, as the responses to your question suggest. To me, though, survivor equates to some combination of age and mileage.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    edited February 2013
    I think the Custom Interior package on a Vega made all the difference in the world...like the difference between a Scotsman and a Golden Hawk or a Biscayne and a Caprice. Took you from hard plastic door panels and acres of black plastic on the panel, and woven vinyl seats, to soft vinyl door panels with vinyl pockets, Camaro bucket seats in good quality cloth or leather-like vinyl, and add the GT and you got full instrumentation, in a woodgrain panel and a fat steering wheel.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    I love the 'survivor' (or HPOC) class at car shows like the huge AACA show at Hershey. They're only origihal once.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    I'd put maybe a 20-25 year cutoff for "survivor" status, regardless of mileage. Then the car is old enough to have required some luck in staying together, even if in a garage most of the time.

    I too like the preserved original cars, especially with original paint and interior.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    well, you know what they say--"lipstick on a pig". :P
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    I remember the 1975 Pontiac Astre Safari (4-speed manual) I had, and as I recall, the interior was nicer than any car I had previously owned (keeping things in perspective... which, at that time, wasn't many).

    My memory may be fading, but my wife agrees. Nice, burgandy-colored cloth upholstered front bucket seats. The back seat was a bit cramped, but I had it folded down 99% of the time. She really enjoyed driving that car so much that, when our girls grew up, she got her 2005 Mini convertible (manual) because she had always wanted another car that was as much fun for her to drive.

    I was one of the lucky ones... I got around 75K miles and had no problems with the car. Traded it for a 1978 Chrysler LeBarron.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 20,646
    edited January 2013
    We should define any 10+ year old as a survivor, and thus a classic.

    Didn't I read that 11 y/o is the average for cars on the road nowadays?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    He was quoting me and I was kidding.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    I knew a girl in college with an orange '75 Astre wagon, woodgrain, saddle Custom interior, 4-speed, and she drove it 'til '82 at least, and across the country more than once, with no significant issues. Worst thing I remember about it was the driver's door 'sport mirror' had fallen out and her Dad had replaced it with a square piece of mirror in the housing himself.

    I have wondered if some of the touted '76 improvements actually started getting phased in in the '75 model year.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I suspect they were. I'm pretty sure my 75 had the plastic fender inserts/liners.

    It was a real dilemma for me when I traded the car. Up to the day I sold it, I had zero problems, but I was just out of college at the time and I simply couldn't afford to be stuck with a car that had major expensive problems and no resale value. I think the salesman at the Chrysler dealership where I traded it must have had some plans for the car, because I couldn't believe the trade he offered.

    Literally, he made me a deal I couldn't refuse. And the car we traded for gave us 7 years and 120K miles of service, only requiring front brake calipers and pads to be replaced. Overall, not bad.

    Still, I would have to say my personal experience is a great example why anecdotal evidence is so unreliable. It still had the self-destructing engine, and for each experience like mine, there were probably thousands that weren't so fortunate.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 11,103
    yeah I drove them new or nearly new, when I was a young 'un working on cars. That's where my "cheap and nasty" remark came from. I was, even at that time, a foreign car buff (except for a few domestics I really liked)

    Your biases have been quite evident for some time, so no need to rehash them.

    It was nowhere near as bad a car as you make it out to be, as others have demonstrated with their experiences. While the early ones had long-term durability problems, they made an excellent initial impression.

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

  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Saw an obviously restored 62 Corvette crawling through the grinding negligently managed traffic this afternoon. Red on red, hardtop on, thin stripe whitewalls.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    I love-love-love '62 Corvettes, but would rather have a more obscure color than red! In fact, if I had to list my all-time-favorite '62 cars, the 'Vette would be at the top of my list.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    I have wondered if some of the touted '76 improvements actually started getting phased in in the '75 model year.

    Now that I think about it, the '75's already had a coolant recovery tank and a "Low Coolant" light that the first ones didn't, and I think (accent on 'think') the radiator was already larger than the first ones too.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    You also bought a Chrysler in the very darkest days of Chrysler Corp. by most all yardsticks. My Studebaker buddy worked for his cousin's Chrysler dealership in '78 and his stories are pretty shocking. Iaccocca's book talks about that period in Chrysler's history. But you got good service out of the car.

    That said, I always liked the looks of those LeBaron and Diplomat coupes. They did a very good job of disguising a Volare/Aspen and moving it upscale. Great interiors IMHO.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited February 2013
    I'd say the same about the LeBaron and Diplomat sedans, especially the LeBaron. However, they were soon overtaken by the '78 downsized GM intermediates. Despite some flaws, such as weak automatics, they were better cars, in my opinion.

    I owned a '78 Lemans with the Chevy 305 and touring suspension. It was still going strong at 114,000 miles, when it was totalled by being rammed on the right side by a panel truck. It was a good car, and more modern for its day than the Mopar twins.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    The one thing that Chrysler had on the Diplomat/Lebaron automatics was the "lock-down" torque converter, which felt like shifting into a high-gear overdrive.

    We never had a any transmission issues, and for cars at the time, it got very good mpg on the highway.

    Both my daughters rode home from the hospital (after their birth), and my wife really had to "work" on her emotional release of the car when she traded it.

    It was a 4-door light grey with grey cloth interior, very nicely done for a car in that price range for the day. The rear seat was also elevated a couple of inches, so one riding in the back didn't feel like he was sitting in a hole.

    Dollar for dollar, that car was probably the most "bang for the buck" I've ever gotten from a car...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    I'm sure someone over on the GM forum would tell you you were paid off by Chrysler or something to say that, but I'm glad to hear that.

    This has gotten me thinking more about those cars. I'd love to see a black or maroon or metallic light green LeBaron coupe at a cruise-in or car show. I haven't seen one in a long time.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I'm sure someone over on the GM forum would tell you you were paid off by Chrysler or something to say that, but I'm glad to hear that.


    One has to remember that cars of that level back then weren't highly "optioned out" like today's cars, so there wasn't a lot to break in the first place.

    In fact, the one we owned had hand-crank windows... Ancient transportation by today's standards.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,560
    Was your Diplomat that really light non-metallic gray that I think they called "Dove Gray"? I see that color show up on occasion at various car shows...usually on something like a Cordoba or C-body New Yorker. Very nice, IMO.

    Chrysler interiors in those days could really be a mixed bag. My grandmother's cousin had a 1979 Volare wagon, that looked pretty sharp in 2-tone black over silver, with a red interior. Inside, the viny seats seemed pretty nice, and I liked the fact that the door panels were full vinyl. No carpet on the bottom as I recall, but no hard plastic either, and no exposed metal, or hard plastic piece at the top. But then, the dashboard seemed a bit cheap, and the headliner was some kind of heavy duty cardboard pegboard looking stuff!

    I always thought the Diplomat and LeBaron were a really nice step up from the Aspen/Volare though. And they did a great job of disguising the fact that it was based on the Volare. You could even get leather seats in a Diplomat/LeBaron, which had to be a rarity for that class of car back then. At least, I've seen coupes with leather...dunno if you could get it on the sedan back then.

    Those '77-79 Diplomat and LeBaron coupes seemed like they'd be a good alternative to personal luxury coupes like the Monte Carlo, T-bird, Grand Prix, etc. It's a shame they shrunk them for 1980, to make room for the downsized Cordoba/Mirada.

    Which engine did your Diplomat have? 318-2bbl I'm guessing? I had a '79 Newport with that engine, and liked it a lot. It wasn't so fast from 0-60, but seemed to have pretty good pull above that. And, it got pretty good highway economy. Around town I was lucky to get 13 mpg, but I also delivered pizzas in it and was rough on it. Out on the highway, it had no trouble getting 22 mpg or so. And as far as weird optioning, that Newport had crank windows...but power locks!
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    I'd put maybe a 20-25 year cutoff for "survivor" status, regardless of mileage.

    Yeah I'd be leaning more towards the 25 year mark.

    When I started driving in the mid 90s, a 10 year old car was indeed a survivor back then because anything from the early 80s was either a rusted out import (like my first car, an 82 Accord), or a malaise domestic.

    Now it's still quite common to see 200k mile early 90s Accords and Camrys. Cars don't rust nearly as much so even cosmetically most of the stuff from the 90s look decent. And since stylistically vehicle looks haven't dramatically changed over the past 20 years to me the early 90s cars look somewhat modern too (maybe it's cause I grew up with them).

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

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    We had the Dove Grey LeBaron with the 318 and Auto transmission, with light grey cloth interior. The interior cloth felt very upscale (at the time, anyway).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Red on red is too much for me, too. I am not a big fan of red cars. Looks good on some late 50s stuff, but even if I had a Ferrari, I think I would want something different.

    Local high end lot has a blue 55 Corvette, amazing car with a six figure price.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Cars are so much better built for no maintenance long hauls nowadays, you can get a Camcord up to 200K with virtually no work. Although I do notice when I see a mint 20 year old Accord or Camry, not to mention less reliable cars.

    I feel the same about age - is a 1992 car really old? I remember when they were new. I started driving about that time. Maybe I'm the one who is old :shades:

    Speaking of that, today I saw a pristine early W220 S55 - no later than 2002. Those cars could be troublesome, to see one bone stock and looking as-new almost counts it as a survivor, to me - many of them are beat and wearing ugly mods. Mint W140s also count as survivors to me, not many around anymore.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    Mint W140s also count as survivors to me, not many around anymore.

    I know, stll like them, they feel like tanks. I saw one at the local public auction a few months ago and was thinking of buying it but the mileage has been rolled back 3 times.

    I found out because our emissions testing in BC has a website where you can punch in the VIN of a vehicle and it will tell you the car's emission testing history for free. It shows the date it was tested and mileage it had at time of testing. So you can look back and see where the mileage kept going up and then down all of sudden.

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

  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    edited February 2013
    And they look like tanks. Very comfy cars, and the later ones say 96+ actually aren't always too troublesome. Early ones are iffy though - if the wiring harness hasn't been replaced, it will eventually need it. Not cheap or easy.

    In Van, I bet there are a number of nice low mileage W140s collecting dust in the garages of money that moved in from HK 20-25 years ago. I remember being in the area then, and W140s were everywhere compared to Seattle or anywhere else I had been.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    What is the harness replacement anyways? The ECU harness? Or something else? What are the costs?

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

  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    W140s, early ones especially, had problems with wiring that was intended to be biodegradable (seriously - that's what happens when greenies infect engineering minds). The insulation was soybean based and will actually attract rodents. IIRC, the engine/upper harness is a routine failure, there is also a lower/body (I think) harness that can also go bad. Replacement parts + labor can be several grand.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    edited February 2013
    My obscure car hanging out in its new garage. Running fine today, even took it out on the highway (a little leery about that as tire age makes me worry). I didn't take it past 65 anyway.

    image

    I think that might be an early Lotus Esprit under the cover - it was really attached firmly, and I didn't want to force it up to get a better look.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,440
    Did you move? Yeah that definetly looks like an Esprit, just imagine the 007 Espirt that was under water and it had almost identical tapered front.

    image

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    NA Miatas eat spark plug wires every 30k miles, too. Feed them or else.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's not a bias actually. I think I could back it all up with good solid data. As others have said, anecdotal evidence is the worst evidence one could possibly rely upon.

    The Vega didn't become the poster child for disaster by accident. There's a reason why the car has such a bad reputation and I don't have that kind of power to do that to a car on my own. :P
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Speaking of under water, yes I moved - owner of my previous garage sold the place, as he finally was able to break even on it, and wanted out. I got lucky, found a garage even closer to where I live, and for the same money. I am happy.

    I like the early Esprits more, even if they are more troublesome. The angular cues are more pure. Notice there is a huge oil spot in front of the car too, signifying that something British might be lurking :shades:
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Why do they do that? Nice to see not only Euros have electrical issues.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's just a wear and tear item. Change the spark plus at 30k, and just go ahead and change the plug wires while you're at it.

    People just forget, and then complain, but it's scheduled maintenance.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Even my modern car has 100K mile plugs. Which is good, as there are 16 of them.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We probably spend the same amount, 3 services vs 1. Funny.

    And I only changed 12 plugs in that period. :D

    I have to look up the interval on my NC Miata, could be longer now. I'm at 26k but it'll take me a while to hit 30k miles.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    An 8 quart synthetic oil change doesn't come cheap :shades:

    Modern car is still fine on its original plugs. Fintail gets them every several years, much cheaper.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    I've had platinum-tipped 100K mile plugs in every new car I've owned since my '97 Cavalier. Shhh, don't tell anyone over on the GM Forum or they'll think it's some kind of insidious scheme.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah a buddy had a 911 and you do *not* want to know what he spent on oil changes.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2013
    This was a '93, so before the 100k tune-up intervals became common.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Oil change and checkup usually just noses past $100. But, needs it less than twice a year. A 15K mile service is a few hundred. Not too bad. On the other hand, tires and brakes are insanely expensive.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,303
    edited February 2013
    I've got to believe that when GM was putting them in to the then-new '95 Cavalier, that was probably the first 100K mile spark-plug interval...or one of the first, and in a dirt-cheap car to boot.

    GM was first to put ABS in everything too, even the lowest-end cars, but at some point in the mid '00's I guess the temptation to lower the price and meet competition that didn't have it as standard, became too great to overcome...unfortunately.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 48,243
    Maybe the biggest 90s advancement - long service intervals. I remember when Ford went to that about 1996, lots of attention was given.
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