Last post on Oct 13, 2009 at 9:31 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
What is this discussion about?
Coupe, Convertible, Sedan
Jan 19, 1999 (5:54 pm)
This is still a great time to shop for that
"classic" car you've always wanted, either as a
second car for Sunday driving or as your only
We're not talking restoration project here, but a
decent-looking, good-running car with style and
that retro look and feel that only an old car can
Here are the suggested criteria for "Bargain
1. $5,000 or less for a decent example.
2. 25 years old or older so as to guarantee
exclusivity on the road, a vintage style and feel,
and the pull of nostalgia.
3. Readily available in the U.S.A.
4. Preferably, but it's not mandatory, that there
be a plentiful parts supply.
Okay, I'll start off with my first suggestion for
potential buyers in the next post! Let's have yours
Jan 19, 1999 (6:02 pm)
Here's an affordable "classic":
1967-1974 MGB Coupe or Roadster
For $5,000 or less, you get a good-looking, rugged
and simple car with an endless supply of
affordable parts. It's one of the last true
"classic" British sports cars that hasn't gone over the top yet in value, due to the large numbers produced and still on the road. Fun to drive (except in snow perhaps), the coupe is the better of the two in winter rain and cold.
Best years are 1967 (first year with synchro 1st
gear transmission) to 1974 (last year of chrome
bumper cars and good handling and power).
#3 of 852 The Management
Jan 21, 1999 (4:32 pm)
[Please feel free to delete or edit as necessary to maintain domestic tranquility and to keep the site free of any discord or any challenging or troublesome thoughts.]
I guess this is supposed to replace 'Relatively Affordable Great Old Cars', which is now frozen.
So for relatively affordable great old cars that are less than 25 yrs old or cost more than $5K or that exist only in very small numbers, I guess we need to start new topics? Also if one wants to inquire about a car whose age and current market value they're unsure of? Or for just discussing various aspects of some relatively affordable great old cars, but not necessarily inquiring about price information and availability?
How about Lotus Elan Plus 2S's? Too much money? Too few examples left on the road? I don't know whether parts are plentiful or rare. How about that beautiful but fantastically unsuccessful Morgan coupe that almost brought the company down in the early 60's, before they gave it up and went back to concentrating on the nostalgia-mobiles that the public demanded of them? They're rare enough to be valuable, but they may still be obscure enough to be available cheap due to low demand. How about the Lancia Scorpion (Monte Carlo)? Is it 25 yrs old yet? Or the Fiat 850 Spider: parts are plentiful, but are strewn all over the road.
Also, the only way I have found into this conference is through the link from the now defunct, frozen one. The 'Town Hall' page still lists the same old conferences - none of the new ones.
On MGBs, I assume you're talking about fairly clean, daily drivers. My source (not gospel by any means, but worthy of consideration) lists especially clean examples at up to $7500.
Jan 21, 1999 (11:19 pm)
The Classics conference will be fully operational by 1/31, so we're still in the construction stage. Soon though, it will appear in everyone's sidebar and the confusion will be over.
I'm sorry if the affordable old cars got frozen, I'll see if I can unfreeze it.
I picked the criteria for this topic....under $5K, over 25 years and good parts supply, because I was hoping it would actually encourage people to go find, buy and successfully maintain one of these affordable "classics".
I don't think the Lotus Plus 2 qualifies on price (they start about 7K) or parts availability (tight)or being successfully maintained by a "beginning" collector, so that's out...ditto the Morgan...
But the Fiat 850 qualifies on all counts, and the Lancia is JUST outside 25 years, but close enough to qualify on all counts, so we could count those two if you'd like to say anymore about them...both of those cars are easily found at around the 2,500-3,500 level in good shape.
#5 of 852 Sir Nigel
Jan 21, 1999 (11:42 pm)
When I wrote that I hadn't seen that you already started a bunch of topics that covered a lot of ground.
I just get a little concerned that there seems to be so much emphasis on sticking to the topic and breaking down each subject into such rigid categories that creative tangents get discouraged and consequently real conversation becomes difficult. Conversation's kind of a fluid thing.
But it's mostly just my own identity problems and low blood sugar and all. I'll try to be good.
Jan 22, 1999 (2:46 am)
You can create a completely wide-open topic if you'd like, please, or just recreate the original Affordable Cars topic, or start an "Under $20K Topic"...whatever works for you. I'm keen for anything that's appropriate to Old Cars.
Most Edmund's users, by the way, pop in and out for information, or read many topics without participating, so it works for them to have good structure.
So, where were we? Oh, yeah, very cool retro wheels for under $5K that you can actually drive in the real world and get from one place to another without having your own coffee cup on a hook at the repair shop...
#7 of 852 C13
Jan 27, 1999 (6:20 am)
What do you think about buying late model MG Midgets (with the bizarro bumpers), and just exchanging the bumpers for the good kind?
Needless to say, it'll never have any resale value, but that don't matter. This is not for 'concours' or even 'collectible', but just for flailing around on the road.
Also, would you and any others here who can, be so kind as to compare and/or contrast the old familiar roadsters with the Miatas they've driven? It may be apples and oragnes, but there must be some aspects of a certain Miatas (early, middle or late) that are similar to (or not as good as, or better than) one old roadster or another. I'm thinking in terms of handling and general feel, mostly.
I used to sell them, and I was amazed that after having read all the hype, they didn't really feel that great, handling-wise. Most of them have power-assisted steering, for one thing. Seems really dumb to me.
Jan 28, 1999 (6:10 pm)
The rubber-bumpered Midgets? I think they completely screwed up a once nice little car. The bumperwork was hideous enough, but they raised the suspension (to conform to US bumper height requirements) and that threw the handling all off...also the emissions equipment, which was poorly engineered, killed any semblence of performance. I believe the top speed of the later Midgets topped out at about 70 mph with a tailwind. It' a sad story for a swell little car.
But, some people still drive them and like them, so most of them do find a loving home...I guess if you don't ask too much of them and put the top down, it's a fun cheap ride into town.
Jan 28, 1999 (6:17 pm)
Regarding the comparison of the modern Miata to cars of the past, that's a very astute observation, since it is no coincidence that modern drivers are once again falling in love with the small, tight, rear-wheel drive roadster. In my opinion, it's the world's most fun driving, in a small, rear-drive two seater with lively, high-revving SMALL engine (Sunbeam Tigers not withstanding, since you steer those with the gas pedal only).
While the Miata obviously looked to the Lotus for the stying que, I think the car they were really trying to imitate in feel and fun-factor were the Alfa Spyders ( of which I own one...ahem) and the MGB...either one of which is a "classic" roadster that can still deliver miles of reliable fun for under $5,000, and be totally forgiving in handling no matter how hard you push them. You have to do something truly nuts in an MGB or Alfa to have it bite you. (I almost got bit driving a BMW Z3,so I know it's less forgiving than my car).
Long live two seats, open top, rear-wheel drive, no power steering and 6500 rpm redlines...yeah!
#10 of 852 C13
Jan 28, 1999 (7:06 pm)
I agree with all you say, but really what I meant to ask about was the feasibility of turning a later Midget into an ersatz early Midget. Whatever atrocities need to be undone - bumpers removed, springs replaced, emissions controls removed*, that's what I'd do.
Of course for all that work, you'd probably be better off just getting an older one. I guess I'm trying to find a way to liberate the later ones from a life of shame. Maybe it's not feasible. Maybe it's best to just give up on them. But they're so cheap.
Hey if you think that's a perverted concept, I also want to get a pre-66 Karmann-Ghia with a perfect body and install it on a 356 or 912 (911?) floorpan with a real bad body but good mechanicals.
I know it's nuts, but I think it's tragic that that excellent Ghia styling and Karmann coachwork should be known ONLY as a cosmetic improvement on a nasty old VW. There ought to be at least one Ghia on the road with mechanicals that are worthy of the body.
*Mind you, I'm into low emissions. I operate on the theory that a properly tuned car has very low emissions. You just have to keep it tuned.