Last post on Jul 08, 2008 at 6:21 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
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Coupe, Convertible, Sedan
#300 of 309 Re: Cars in my past [Mr_Shiftright]
Jun 10, 2008 (7:26 am)
I'd say even a late 60's car is tolerable, if you pick the right one. My '68 Dart wasn't a bad driver. The 318 V-8 was enough to get it from 0-60 in under 10 seconds, and it would hit 100 mph with little strain, and that's really more than most people need in a car. While it just had manual drum brakes all around, they were pretty good as long as they were adjusted correctly. They'd give you 1-2 panic stops before fading, but honestly, that's all you need. And after you've done 1-2 hard panic stops like that, hopefully you're not stupid enough to try for a third! Put it this way, that car put up with some heavy use for about a year, in pizza delivery, and the brakes were never a problem!
As for the ignition system, well you're supposed to change the points, condenser, and plugs every 12,000 miles. I know from experience that they can go further, but that's not always a good idea, I guess. I think I let the points/condenser go about 40K miles once, and the spark plugs around 50K. The plugs will last longer nowadays simply because of cleaner gasoline, but I guess there's nothing you can really do to get longer life out of points.
Also, putting radial tires on a car like this helps immensely. I ran 205/70/R14's up front. Sometimes I had those on the back too, but sometimes I ran bigger 225/70/R14's.
As for lights, well you can upgrade to halogen headlights, which will help a lot. I guess you can't really do much about dashboard lights and taillight/side markers, though.
Some 70's cars actually had better lighting and instrumentation than modern cars! My '79 New Yorkers are almost TOO much. Open the door and you're blinded with 8 interior lights! They also have real gauges for oil pressure, coolant temp, and amps. PLUS an idiot light, for redundancy. They're lit up pretty well at night, although most new cars are going to be better.
**edit: One thing I forgot to mention, about the '68 Dart. When I bought that thing, I was 22, and it was 1992. Prior to that, I had only had a 1980 Malibu and a 1969 Dart slant six. Oh, and my '57 DeSoto. I had also logged a lot of driving time on my grandparents' '85 LeSabre, '85 Silverado, and to a lesser degree an '86 Fox-based LTD, and an '89 Taurus. So compared to those (other than the Taurus maybe), the '68 Dart wasn't too drastic of a change. I guess though, if you were used to only 2008-era cars, and suddenly tried to start driving a '68 Dart, the change would be pretty drastic.
#301 of 309 Things you'll never/rarely hear again...
Jun 10, 2008 (7:27 am)
I think the kingpins are shot.
I've gotta take my car in for a tune-up.
That thing's already got 50,000 miles on it! It's almost shot!
I've gotta change my sparkplugs.
I've gotta go in for a valve job.
My car needs new rings.
You need shoes on you front brakes.
You gotta get your brake drums turned.
I was late because my car vapor locked!
#302 of 309 Re: Cars in my past [andre1969]
Jun 10, 2008 (9:01 am)
I agree. My 1968 Buick Special Deluxe rarely gave me any trouble and I'd be comfortable with driving it today.
Jun 10, 2008 (1:22 pm)
This afternoon, when I got home from work, in 99 degree weather, I decided to test out my '79 NYer. It was a bit cranky at first, but did fire up. 99 degrees is about as bad as it gets around these parts, so I'm hoping this car's hot weather issues are behind it now. The big test though, will be the next time I drive it to work, and see if it gets me back home!
Actually, today is the 1 year anniversary of the first time it left me stranded. I remember I drove it to work, and had to take my grandmother to a doctor appointment that evening. She always goes on the 2nd tuesday of June. Sucker left me stranded at work, and I ended up having to walk home and get another car. But then a line of thunderstorms came though and cooled things off. I went back up to work with a friend to test it out, and the possessed beast fired right up. I didn't want to chance driving it to work today, lest I end up having to walk home in 99 degree weather. So, I guess I don't trust it fully yet, but that will come. With time.
#304 of 309 Cup Half Empty vs. Half Full
Jul 08, 2008 (4:20 am)
I thought I'd share a little wisdom, obvious as it may be to most of you, because in this case the obvious resonated with me, and has guided me on my purchases of used vehicles.
several years ago I was extolling the attributes of a car I was considering, and really wanted to own, to a co-worker, justifying the bid I was about to make to the seller, largely on the grounds of the repair records the seller showed me. I was impressed by the number of items and components that had been replaced or repaired. My colleague suggested that I put that aside, and focus, instead, on what the car needed. Duh! While I hadn't ignored the needs, I realized I was being seduced by how much the current owner had spent on the car. A thorough evaluation of the cars needs prompted me to walk away. Since that time, when considering a purchase, I've zeroed in on what the car will require, not just to pass inspection, but to avoid being nickeled and dimed after the purchase.
Oh, the car I walked away from was a '97 Passat V6. Not exactly the paragon of reliability.
#305 of 309 Re: Cup Half Empty vs. Half Full [hpmctorque]
Jul 08, 2008 (2:33 pm)
Had you bought that Passat you probably would have added another three inch stack of repair orders within a short time.
You dodged a bullet!
#306 of 309 Re: Cup Half Empty vs. Half Full (isellhondas)
Jul 08, 2008 (3:25 pm)
Yeah, as I walked away from that cosmetically like-new, black, sharp looking car, I asked myself "what was I thinking?"
#307 of 309 Re: Cup Half Empty vs. Half Full [hpmctorque]
Jul 08, 2008 (5:33 pm)
you're right..they try to impress,or are they trying for sympathy?when they tell how mutch was spent on their "lawn ornament",
..it's like when i used to clean up used cars for dealers...it doesn't matter what you did,or how long it took-what they do see is what you DIDN'T do..
..how many cars on craigslis say"new motor-needs transmission",or vice versa..?
it's what you still have to do to make it move-as that's what it's main function is,despite the set of gold plated 22's ,or the fuzzy dice-those things won't get you home on a cold rainy night..
#308 of 309 Re: Cup Half Empty vs. Half Full [hpmctorque]
Jul 08, 2008 (5:50 pm)
My colleague suggested that I put that aside, and focus, instead, on what the car needed. Duh! While I hadn't ignored the needs, I realized I was being seduced by how much the current owner had spent on the car. A thorough evaluation of the cars needs prompted me to walk away.
I went through a similar situation a few years ago, with a 1980 Chrysler Cordoba. It had originally been a slant six car, but the driveline had been replaced by a built-up 318 out of a '75 Dart, torqueflite 727 out of a smallblock '68 Charger, and an 8 3/4 rear end, also out of the Charger, with relatively quick 3.23 or 3.55 gears. It was a sweet looking car...in the pictures, at least. In person, not so sweet. Plus, the brakes went out on it.
Most of the sheetmetal was actually pretty good, but the plastic rear fender caps were broken, and a lot of the structure underneath was rusting...and these were unit-bodied cars! The interior was a bit moldly, and smelled of dampness.
But man, did that thing sound sweet when it fired up! I was definitely tempted! Luckily, I came to my senses. The seller wanted $1900 for this thing. And on the bright side, he offered to tow it to my house.
I really am glad I passed on the thing, in retrospect, because less than a year later, I found my '76 Grand LeMans on eBay, and bought it. It's not a perfect car, but was good enough to make the 500 mile trip back from Ohio, and has consistently made it back and forth to four GM shows in Carlisle. And it would need a lot less to make it perfect than that Cordoba would have!
Had I bought the Cordoba, I have a feeling I never would have gotten the LeMans, so sometimes things have a way of working out.
One thing that I find funny about the two, is that while they're both the same basic class of car, an intermediate coupe, the LeMans is actually the smaller of the two. Despite the LeMans being an old school, pre-downsized intermediate and the Cordoba being "downsized", and actually based on the Aspen/Volare, which were considered compacts! The LeMans is 208" long, on a 112" wb, while the Cordoba was about 210", on a 112.7" wb. Not a huge difference, to be sure, but I guess that shows one reason why Chryslers weren't selling. GM comes out with a downsized intermediate, and they seem downright tiny (for the time). Chrysler comes out with a downsized intermediate, and it's about the size of a Caprice.
Gotta admit though, I still have a thing for those Cordobas, and especially the Mirada. I just want one that's in better shape than that thing I saw four years ago.
#309 of 309 Re: Cup Half Empty vs. Half Full [andre1969]
Jul 08, 2008 (6:21 pm)
I still remember the Mirada CMX owned by a friend of mine's mother when I was in grade school. It was white (I want to see a pearly white but I don't know if that's correct) with t-tops and mag wheels etc. It seemed like an unusual car even then back in the mid 80s, when it wasn't very old. I remember it was rarely driven, they must have thought it was something special. Can't remember the last time I saw one like it on the road.