Classic Cars as daily drivers

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Would YOU ride on a Lucas elevator?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Makes you wonder how Spitfires did so well against Messerschmidts.
  • carphotocarphoto Member Posts: 37
    Is a leading supplier of electrical and electronic components to the aerospace industry in the US and Europe. If you fly on a commercial airliner, there's Lucas onboard! Usually the biggest problem with Lucas electrics in cars is the hack mechanic who last worked on it.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Was Lucas electrical on TWA Flight 800?
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yep, those Brooklyn gangs are not only tough, but well-equipped! I do remember that story....a reporter finally confessed to starting the rumor I believe.

    Maybe mechanics didn't do a very good job on British cars, but I can assure you the OLD Lucas components were pretty much awful.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Cancel my flight ! Hello, Greyhound..?
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Lucas Aerospace is, as noted, a prominent supplier of electronics to the commercial aircraft companies. And their stuff is very reliable. It better be. A guy cursing at his smoking MG is somewhat humorous. 400 people plummeting to their deaths is not.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Different company, different times (thank god).

    Actually, I eliminated almost 100% of the electrical problems on an MGB by replacing the battery cables, replacing all the fuses and cleaning the fuse holders, and installing an alternator. Abut a $150 investment.

    The Lucas generators were very very bad. Curse them!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    So Lucas Aerospace isn't the same as Lucas you may find in a Jag or MG? That's a releif. Maybe Lucas aerospace should change their name, considering who they are being affiliated with in the minds of the public!
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    of the incident. CNN obtained a VCR tape of a party on a deck showing the ascending flare of the SAM prior to the plane being struck. The CIA confiscated that tape immediately. "We don't want the public to know how honestly they are vulnerable to such attacks as it would diminish the air travel industry and the government taxes associated with it." How easy is it to prevent such an attack compared to the easyness of getting some insignificant reporter to confess a hoax? We will never know what they won't tell us.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    All you have to do is examine the credentials of the "witnesses" and "experts" supporting this new conspiracy theory, and the word HOAX just leaps out at you. I certainly don't believe a word of it. Just some people trying to make a buck or get on TV. Pitiful.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    I didn't mean to imply that Lucas Aerospace was a different company than the automotive supplier. I think they are different divisions of the same company. Sometimes different divisions of the same corporation can have very different reliability (Think Saturn).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Is Lucas automotive still in business? I haven't kept up!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Well, the only british car makers are foreign owned now, so I doubt they have any customers left. Even before Ford bought them out, many of the "Lucas" electronics on Jags were made by Bosch and sold by liscense under the Lucas name.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    It turns out Lucas was purchased by TRW in 1999. Judging by the website TRW is trying to let the Lucas name die out. There isn't a single mention of it, except in the history section where it mentions the acquisition.

    http://www.lucas.co.uk/home/main/1,,,00.html
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,521
    I used to have a friend whose last name is Lucas. His father was a bus mechanic and self-proclaimed know-it-all. I let him do some work on my Dart, which he did by the spit-and-baling wire technique.

    Ever since then, my friends and I used to call any shoddy work on a car as "Lucas"...as in "Hey, look at that Lucas-ed up paint job!", or "Look at the Lucas-job they did on that exhaust system!" I guess we didn't know how close to home we were hitting ;-)

    -Andre
  • djg66djg66 Member Posts: 3
    I PURCHASED MY DREAM CAR, A 66 MUSTANG 289 COUPE A YEAR AGO. AFTER 2 MONTHS OF OWNING THIS CAR I WAS HIT BY A STOLEN CAR, WHO RAN A RED LIGHT AND RAN. I CAN TELL YOU FROM EXPERIENCE, THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO EVER EXPEREINCE AN ACCIDENT IN AN OLDER CAR. THE CARS TODAY ARE BUILT TO FALL APART AND ABSORD THE IMPACT, OLDER CARS ARENT. IT SOUNDED LIGHT A TRAIN WAS RIPPING THREW THE FRONT OF MY CAR. MY LEGS WERE BOTH BRUISED FROM THE STEERING WHEEL AND CENTER CONSOLE. THE SEAT DOESNT LOCK FORWARD, SO THERES MOVEMENT AS YOU BOUNCE AROUND. ITS JUST INCREDIBLE HOW MUCH DAMAGE ONE OF THESE OLDER CARS CAN DO TO YOU. I USE TO LOVE OLDER CARS, I NOW LOOK AT THEM DIFFERENTLY. STILL LOVE THEM BUT WOULD NEVER CONSIDER DRIVING THEM DAILY. I ONLY TAKE MINE OUT FOR SHORT TRIPS OR AT LOW TRAFFIC TIMES. PEOPLE OFTEN SWERVE INTO ME WHILE LOOKING AT MY RED STANG. OTHERS JUST WANT TO RACE, SOMETHING YOU JUST DONT DO WITH A 35 YR OLD CAR WITH 224,000 MILES ON IT. THE ENGINE WOULD DO IT BUT THE SUSPENSION WOULD TAKE THE BLUNT OF IT AND STOPPING, WELL, MAYBE YOU'LL STOP AT THE END. I LOVE THE POWER FROM THESE CARS BUT I THINK YOU SHOULD KEEP THAT JOY FOR THE WEEKENDS.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,521
    sorry to hear about your accident. I was in a pretty bad accident years ago in my '69 Dodge Dart GT. I got run off the road and hit a traffic light pole sideways. Now I don't know how fast I was going when I actually hit the pole, but the impact smashed the passenger side door in about a foot. The doors on that car were thick though, so it only penetrated the passenger cabin maybe 4 inches.

    I got banged around a bit, but nothing major. I think part of the reason that I didn't get hurt was BECAUSE I was driving an older car, though. My Dart tore that pole off its base, whereas a more modern car designed to crumple might have just wrapped around it and been damaged more.

    I also know what you mean about people swerving to look at your car, wnating to race, etc. That GT was sporty and muscular looking, but only had a slant six. Of course, the average person wouldn't know that, so I had Camaros and Mustangs and plenty of lesser cars trying to race me all the time.

    On Friday night, I took my '67 Catalina convertible out for a spin, and I swear, at every single traffic light, somebody wanted to race! EVERYBODY! 4-cyl compacts, a 240SX that tried to beat me before his lane ended (he didn't), and a '75 or so Cutlass Supreme that came out of nowhere. His engine sounded as loud as mine, so maybe it was like a mating call that attracted it or something ;-)

    -Andre
  • halsey1halsey1 Member Posts: 3
    Starting in 1968, items such as shoulder belts, collapsible steering columns, and the like, came into use. I had a 72 Cutlass Supreme - thanks to a tree that danced into my lane, I ended up hitting it head on at 40mph. Wiped out the front end, but I walked away. I won't drive anything that does not weigh at least 3500lbs and has a full frame.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    When crashing into a tree or other immovable object, the weight of the vehicle doesn't matter at all and the full frame probably works against you from a safety standpoint. If you insist on full frame construction, your options are pretty limited. I think the only cars available today with full frames are Towncars, Grand Marquis and Crown Vics. Are there any others?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,521
    I think weight might make some difference, just in the fact that with added weight comes more momentum, and more energy required to stop it. When, say, a 5,000 lb vehicle slams into a wall, all that added weight puts more force on the front of the vehicle as it crashes, than would be applied to a lighter vehicle.

    The best example I could think of, and this is a bit extreme, but a fully loaded tractor trailer crashing into a tree versus an empty one. While I wouldn't want to be in either, I think my chances of survival would be greater in the empty one, because there isn't as much mass forcing me into the tree.

    -Andre
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    But its a whole different ball game when one car hits another. Take another extreme: An 80,000 pound 18-wheeler hits a 2,000 pound Geo head on. Granted, this dang near never happens, but a pickup hitting a Corolla would be similar, if less drastic. It just goes to show you get a heavy vehicle to protect you from one kind of accident (hitting another car), then you loose safety in another kind (hitting a tree). You just have to place your bets and take your chances.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,521
    ...or design is going to be best in all types of crashes. As for hitting a large tree, I think you'd be better off in an old full size car (full frame if Ford or GM, Unibody if Chrysler), than you would in most full-size pickups, simply because you sit further back from the front of the vehicle.

    I've seen a few results of what happens when a big vehicle hits a small one. A friend of mine used to own a '78 Newport, and he t-boned an early 90's Accord. Popped it right between the wheel centers, and must've penetrated about 2 feet into the passenger cabin. The Newport got totaled mainly because it had no book value, but I'm sure it could've been fixed for around $1,000 or so. In fact, I think the worst thing that happened to it was it bent a rear axle when it hopped the curb!

    -Andre
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Yes, the key is to decide ahead of time which kind of crash you are going to get into, then you can figure out which car to buy.
  • djg66djg66 Member Posts: 3
    I DONT KNOW ABOUT WEIGHT OR ANYTHING ELSE LIKE THAT, JUST THAT IT REALLY HURTS WHEN YOUR IN AN ACCIDENT IN AN OLD CAR. SEE I WAS TURNING LEFT WITH A GREEN LEFT TURN ARROW, IT WAS A HUGE INTERSECTION, THE SPEED LIMIT IS 45 I BELIEVE, AS I WAS MAKING MY TURN, I SAW A 80'S OLDSMOBILE SPEEDING TOWARDS MY RIGHT. SEEING THAT HE WASNT GOING TO STOP AT THE RED LIGHT, I TRIED TO STOP BUT WITH MANUAL DRUM BRAKES & BEING FEMALE, STOPPING IS ALWAYS A QUESTION. HE TRIED TO SWERVE BUT THIS ONLY CAUSED HIM TO FISH TAIL STRAIGHT INTO THE FRONT OF MY CAR. HIS BACK END CAME RIGHT INTO THE HOOD LATCH, POPPING THE HOOD INSTANTLY. I WOULD SWEAR HE BOUNCED A COUPLE TIMES BUT MY MEMORY OF THE EVENT IS ONLY BRIEF PICTURES. AFTER THE HOOD WENT UP, IT SOUNDED LIKE A TRAIN WAS RIPPING THREW THE CAR. HE THEN GLARED AT ME AS I WAS SCREAMING AND DROVE AWAY. SMOKE WAS POURING OUT OF HIS CAR. LUCKLY FOR ME, A OFF DUTY OFFICER WAS THE ONLY WITNESS, CHASED FOR AWHILE BUT HE WAS SPEEDING THREW MAJOR INTERSECTIONS RED LIGHTS. THE FIRST PERSON WHO DROVE BY STOPPED AND PUSHED ME OUT OF THE ROAD. WHEN HE CLOSED THE HOOD, I WAS AMAZED! THE CAR WAS STILL THERE! I GUESS SINCE THE HOOD WENT UP, THE DAMAGE DIDNT LOOK AS BAD. BROKE THE HOOD LATCH, FAN WAS HALF WAY INTO THE RADIATOR. THE OFFICER SAID THAT IF I HADNT TRIED TO STOP, THAT MILLA SECOND DIFFERENCE, I WOULD HAVE BEEN DEAD, SQUISHED BETWEEN THE DOOR AND CENTER CONSULE. SINCE I DID SEE HIM COMING, I BRACED MYSELF AND OF COURSE, SCREAMED. THIS CAUSED ME TO INJURE MY JAW. I NOW HAVE TMJ, SOMETHING THAT CAUSES INCREDIBLE PAIN. TRY NOT TALKING OR EATING. $6K DAMAGE, FRAME IS STRAIGHT NOW AND IT HAS A PERFECT $3K PAINT JOB BUT IM SCARED TO DEATH TO DRIVE IT. ALSO CANT AFFORD ALL THE REPAIRS IT WILL ALWAYS NEED. RIGHT NOW THE TRANNY LEAKS AT THE FRONT SEAL, I THINK FROM THE ACCIDENT. YOU WERE LUCKY WITH THE POLE, HITTING IT ON THE SIDE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF YOU HIT IN THE FRONT. THATS ACTUALLY WHAT MY CAR LOOKED LIKE, AS IF I HAD HIT A POLE HEAD ON. I STILL LOVE THE CLASSICS BUT LIVING IN THE VERY BUSY BAY AREA, I DONT WANT TO DRIVE ONE. I HAD A JUNKING OLD PICKUP TRY TO RACE ME THE OTHER DAY. ALSO GET PEOPLE TAIL GATING ME FOR NO APPARENT REASON, I GUESS THEY ARE JEALOUS. NOW THAT ITS PERFECT, ATLEAST LOOKING, PEOPLE SEEM TO RESENT ME, AS IF I THINK IM BETTER THAN THEM. HOW CAN THAT BE? THEY ARE DRIVING $30K CARS AND HERE I AM IN MY HOPEFULLY $10K CAR! I HATE TO SELL IT BUT I NEED TO MOVE ON AND EVERYTIME I SEE IT, I RE-LIVE IT. I LOVE THE FEEL OF THE POWER AND THE SOUND IS ADDICTIVE. THERE ARE ALOT OF PLUSS ABOUT THESE CARS BUT THE NEG.'S ARE OVERPOWERING.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Old cars are very rigid in structure, they do not absorb energy, which is the key to survival. While it is true that if a 2001 Daewoo hits a 1956 Cadillac at high speeds there will be pain on both ends, still, remarkably, the Daewoo driver might end up with a much worse off car but a much better off face and chest and arms and legs.

    Part of the violence in a collision is that your body decelerates so rapidly....say from 60 mph to 0 miles per hour JUST LIKE THAT (hey, pick up your eyeballs on the way out). So a collapsing car alleviates this violence somewhat, and of course that pillowly air bag will hurt far less than the old cars little nifty, pointy, rigid switches and mirrors and dials and horn ring.

    My friend was driving his little 1938 MG, a flimsy little toy car two seater, and T-boned a Ford Pickup that turned in front of him. He lived but was pretty banged up...I think what saved him was only that the little car collapsed like a cardboard box, but not far enough to crush the driver's compartment.

    Once the driver's compartment is penetrated in an old car, you are pretty much history. Modern cars crunch up very nicely, but the passenger compartment is pretty strong on modern cars. You can often see this on videos of test crashes.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Please turn off the caps lock. Thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Thank you dg, I was just about to mention that to the gentleman.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Lady, actually. (No offense intended by the term "Lady", I still consider it more respectful than "Woman" but I know some people don't).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    (shiftright....slinking away in embarassment....)
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Sorry about the accident.. but easy on the CAPS LOCK... Ouch!

    Bill
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    just checked this topic.Layson's is repro-ing a huge number of parts for the "A" body including the first generation. www.laysons.com
    Their catalog has doubled in size since last year. If I had the money [well; if I could ignore my bills......] , have 20 or 30 pages with corners folded down as a wish list.
    Haven't got any pictures of the Valiant yet. It was in for surgery, but no paint yet, so it looks like a real beater. Will get a scanner soon and have before and after.Sorry it took so long to answer.
    As to daily driver, my plan was to get the car it's rebuilt engine and drive it well into this current century. Did that,but something happened along the way; parts started drying up for awhile, a new engine didn't transform it into a new car, while 3 speeds on a manual is really all you need in Hell-Ay,it really is like driving a truck from the 30's [my stress level went WAY down when I bought a car with automatic]and the shifter is not reliable[though reapair parts are now available,[bushings,etc.],the weakest link in a great little car.Other stuff goes wrong and even though it's inexpensive to repair, it's constant.
    Safety - well;that's all relative. I've driven it for 20 years and never felt my life was in danger, perhaps because I learned to drive in cars from the 60's that were far less capable in the handling department. Hey; the new ones will absorb my rigid structured mini tank any way!!!*)
    It's a time machine-when I'm in it, everyone I've ever cared about rides with me, it's a moving reminder of every adventure, mishap,good time I ever experienced in it. Besides I've always driven carefully,[torturing machinery to show off has never impressed me anyway]and you don't beat members of your own family!!!Wringing my hands over "what if" tends to suck all the pleasure out of everything these days and I can't live that way.As a practical way to commute inexpensively, my theory was great on paper, but not so in actual practice.Maybe I've gotten soft, maybe my priorities changed,but I haven't been able to make it work out so well, though I could do it in a pinch.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    Also consider;millions of people drove cars of this era for billions of miles every day under all weather conditions,road conditions and traffic and accident situations.No one thought twice about putting their entire family in the station wagon and putting 3000 miles under it's belt over a two week period. What has changed that would make a mid 50's and up vehicle less 'safe' on the road now?
    What makes me uncomfortable is knowing that my steering wheel can explode in my face and possibly break my nose or arm or even kill me! [I'm not that tall]Or I could buy a new vehicle with tires that separate and blow out right from the factory!
    The Valiant has seat belts, and I've never driven anything without wearing them since I got my driver's permit at 14 [Iowa...].
    I am not so sure that we haven't become more informed consumers as much as we have become more paranoid people.Many of the most self serving organizations such the Center For Science In the Public Interest will run to the press with horror stories about movie popcorn that kills, death in your dish rag and on and on, because it gets them publicity and helps when it comes to funding their organizations [hello,can we say Ralph Nader anyone?].
    It just makes me wonder how we ever evolved over millions of years without all the alphabet soup organizations that attempt to foster fear and paranoia in order to increase their authority in deciding public policy.How'd we EVER survive without the nag-ocracy we enjoy today?
    Shifty; you're always good at seeing a side of things I miss-- what say you?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, like anything else, whenever you apply a "solution" you most cases you get some plusses and minuses (exception--INDOOR PLUMBING!).

    Certainly there is ample evidence to show that injuries and fatalities have dropped markedly since the 1950s. Whether this is all due to safety equipment, or rather better car design (brakes, steering), better drivers (doubt it!), lower speed limits, or a combination of the above, who can say for sure? Statistics can be manipulated to serve the manipulator.

    As for myself, I'm content enough with 3-point belts and a safe dashboard. If that's good enough for a racecar (well, okay, they have 4-point belts) that works for me.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Race cars have 5-point belts (Some Winston Cup cars actually have 6 or 7 point!), and indoor plumbing can back up and ruin your floor (and your day). That being said, if I hit something in my 78 Mercury very hard, at the very least I'd pprobably end up with my seatbelt breaking my colalr bone, although the car may survive. In my 1995 T-Bird, the car would be beyond repair, but would slow me down slow enough I might get away with fewer, or no, injuries. This is just speculation of course, so take it for what you will. For cars, older is better in a crash, for drivers, newer.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, yes, that's a pragmatic way of putting it....new cars give their life for you, old cars let you do the giving.
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    I love it. Thanks for the response. Was truly wondering if I might simply be ignorant about a particular aspect that I should be considering. Thankfully, I think people who drive the "oldies" know their limitations and compensate in the way they handle them.Drums aren't as good as discs, 5 turns of the steering wheel to get the same amount of steering response in an old car is very different than 3 lock to lock and there's something REAL spooky about feeling as if the body of the car is not connected in any way to the chassis the way our 66 Mercury Montclair felt. All pillowy ride and no control or input from the road.And total isolation from road noise.
    I think though, that if my Valiant's manual shifter were an automatic, I'd be taking it to work more often [12-15 miles one way,depending on the route I take].As it is I generally keep it on this side of the hill, run errands with it on the weekend, go for Sunday drives etc.It's a blast under those circumstances, while it can be like driving a truck on a daily basis:no power ANYTHING [steering, brakes] and a manual trans.that is delicate to put it kindly,it can just add to the commute stress.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Statistically, drivers of "classic" or "collectible" cars have a very low accident rate, presuming of course they aren't racing.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,521
    I'm guessing your Valiant has manual steering? It's just that 5 turns, lock-to-lock sounds like a lot. I think even in my '57 DeSoto, it's between 3 and 4. If you want real fun though, try a power steering car with a failed pump! I bought my '68 Dart 270 that way, but somehow just got used to it. It was a good tricep builder! In fact, about a year later when I bought my '82 Cutlass Supreme, it got me into a bit of trouble. I was used to throwing some muscle into the wheel to make it turn, but when I got into a power steering car, I'd often end up practically throwing the wheel too far, because I'd try to use the same amount of force!

    I always thought my Dart had good road feel too, but maybe that was because the power steering was broken! I did finally get it fixed. Turns out I let it go for so long that it destroyed the pump and the box. I think it cost me something like $300.00 to get them both replaced (but with used parts)

    I never really thought too much about safety when I drove my Dart, but things have changed over the years. I bought my first Dart in 1989, and at the time, I'd say the chances were that I'd hit something that was flimsier than me. But since then, cars have put on weight, and there are many more trucks and SUVs out there than 1989 (or 1992, when I bought the 270). I think my 270 weighs just under 3000 lb. That puts it in about the same class as cars like the Accord, Camry, Altima, and maybe a bit lighter than the Sebring/Stratus and Malibu. Cars like the Intrepid, Impala, and Taurus outweigh it by 400-500 lb or more. And its not hard to find SUVs that are nearly double its weight.

    I still don't feel unsafe in it, though, because I know its limitations, and don't push it beyond them. I run 205/70/14's on the front, and 225/70/14's on the back, which probably push its threshold well beyond whatever its original equipment bias ply tires would've been. However, when I get behind the wheel, I know that it's not going to handle as well as my Intrepid, and I try to respect that.

    I forget what year the collapsible steering column became standard (1967?), but know mine has it, and the dashboard has more padding than most modern cars. Plus, the seating position is far enough back and there's enough crush space that I'm not really worried. And the car is unitized, so they're somewhat designed to crumple. I've spent plenty of time in junkyards scrounging for parts, and have never seen an A-body smashed badly enough to distort the passenger cabin.

    In fact, if you ever want to see just how tough the A-bodies were, check out Steven Speilberg's "Duel". There's also an episode of the "Incredible Hulk" that robbed most of the footage from it, so you can see it there, too. Anyway, at one point, they run a '70 or so Valiant sedan into the side of a cliff. I don't know at what speed, but rest assured that most modern cars would've suffered much more serious damage. Then, it gets run head-on into a semi (I still say it's an AutoCar but have read it's a 1958 Peterbilt) and still, doesn't get THAT smashed up. My only fault with that movie is that the Valiant only tops out at 90-95 mph. My '69 Dart had a slant six, and had no trouble topping 100. Oh well, maybe Dennis Weaver was just to chicken to go any faster ;-)
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    Great car movie.Yeah, the Valiant has manual steering,am exaggerating a bit with 5 turns, but you KNOW when you're trying to park it!! I'm so used to it that I can park it anywhere. Part of my "plan" was to get the most simple car I could find with the fewest number of accessories that could go wrong.At the price "range" I was "shopping" in,we're talking 15 to 18 year old cars at that time;1960 to 1966 or so.The theory is sound, just leaves the basics to be repaired.
    And once I could no longer find bias plies the radials I was forced to use have improved the handling even more.
    I have a metal dash board, and that DOES give pause, but feel like I've got more contol with the manual steering and shift than in the modern car I drive to work.[and even that one stays within my desire to keep things as simple as possible- a 1999 Cavalier- a highly evolved 1975 car you can buy brand new!It's as uncomplicated as you can find these days. LOL]
    As soon as I get Mothra [the Valiant--it told ME what it's name was]painted and re-upholstered I'd like to register it with SAG for the movies.But only for background-NOT the sequel to "Duel" !
  • justfind6justfind6 Member Posts: 30
    Hi guys, I really want to get a convertible as a weekend driver, and rather than buy a used Miata, I'd like to get something old with classic car insurance.
    I'm not into the old Mustangs, but I love the '60s/'70s big boat convertibles such as the Lincolns, Caddies etc. I don't care about speed, just want a cruiser. And bigger is better. So is cheaper, as long as I get something decent for my money.
    Any recommendations?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,521
    Well, I have a '67 Pontiac Catalina convertible that I love. It's not quite in the Lincoln/Caddy/Imperial "Boat" class, but at 215" in length and a 121" wb, it's not exactly small.

    I have radial tires on it (215/75/R14) and it handles pretty well, not that much worse than some more modern cars (well, maybe about on par with a '96 Roadmaster!) It can seat 6 in relative comfort. Normally, convertibles give up a lot of room in the back seat and trunk, but this one gives up very little.

    Back then, stock Pontiacs mated a big engine (389 in the earlier years, a 400 from '67 on) to tall gearing (mine has a 2.56 rear), which would give good acceleration and good highway mileage. Somewhere along the line, someone tried to hot-rod mine though, so mileage suffers a bit. I only get around 10-11 in the city, and about 17-18 on the highway. But on the plus side, when you floor it, it'll chirp the rear tires on the 1-2 upshift!

    As for insurance, I have classic car insurance through Hagerty (www.hagerty.com) and it's $133 a year for two cars, full coverage (My Catalina and my DeSoto).

    I don't know what they're going for nowadays, but I paid $3775 for mine back in 1994. It's a good looker, but does have a few problems. The power top doesn't work, and the heater/ac control needs to be replaced. It also needed new ball joints, which I hear were a common Pontiac problem. Supposedly they were under-sized.

    But still, I'm sure an Impala 'vert would demand more money than a Catalina or Bonneville, and most of them would only have 283's or 327's, and 2-speed automatics. Most Pontiacs would have 389s or 400's, and a 3-speed auto.

    Well, good luck in your search...let us know what you end up getting!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I've always like those Lincoln convertables of the 1960's. The ones with the suicide doors. That would be my reccomendation.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Be VERY careful!! I love them too but they are usually PIGS! Lots of electrical problems, weak front ends, Exhaust manifolds that crack and are almost impossible to replace...I can go on and on.

    Still...I do like them.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    And I don't think they can be had very cheaply.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    I think a lot of the works of the top mechanism on these was from the '57-59 Ford Skyliner. Which was known for its miles of wires, switches and relays. Trouble shooting it was like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle of a picture of the ocean.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883


    I had a '60 T-Bird convertible.... An original California Desert car that had been restored. Except the plastic wire coating in the original wire harness was brittle and cracking.

    You wanna talk short-out and blown-fuse and blown-relay nightmares.

    Cost me $3K in electrics to get that car right

    Bill
  • justfind6justfind6 Member Posts: 30
    Thanks for the recommendations, all. I love the Lincoln too, but until I'm ready to spend $15 - $20k on a good one, I'll hold off on that.
    I really like the look of the Catalina though, especially from the back.
    Whatever I get will be a garaged weekend driver, and I have a good mechanic friend who can help me out with it. Electrical work I could do myself, but I'd rather not.
    I can sympathize with Bill's wiring problems. I once had to rewire a motherboard to a mini-computer because my boss at the time replaced a fuse with foil from a candy bar and the thing went up in flames later that night. That was about 2000 separate wires. All had to be labeled, removed, and rewired to the new board by hand. Never again...
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Member Posts: 414
    Wrapping a fuse with a candy wrapper. That belongs in the "Cheap repairs" topic. I've done that one.
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