Last post on Dec 02, 2011 at 2:24 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
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Coupe, Convertible, Sedan
Mar 19, 2001 (12:52 am)
Just wondering how many of you guys drive pre 75 cars as daily drivers.
Reason I'm asking is a couple companies I might be working for are all based about 40-100 (would only drive this every 2-3 days) miles from where I want to live and was thinking about classic cars that could put up with this, without me feeling bad about putting gobs of miles on them, and would get semi decent milege. This is a couple years off (3-4) but I thought it would be an interesting topic.
I was looking at 1966-67 Chevelles, these are very clean looking cars that would not draw too much attention from regular folks (i.e-they wouldn't be inclined to key it because its not to flashy). I would love to have an SS 396, but that kind of car need to be drive once a week, not as more a daily driver. A 283 or 327 (heck even a 250 -6 wouldn't be bad, considering the reliability of these engines, but I would like some power).
Anyway tell me what you think etc
#2 of 560 Up until a few years ago...
Mar 19, 2001 (7:08 am)
I was driving cars that were older than me as a daily driver, and never had any major problems. From 1990-92, I drove a '69 Dart GT, and when it got wrecked, I bought a '68 Dart 270 to replace it with.
I don't have too much experience with older Chevies...just a 1980 Malibu and an '86 Monte Carlo, both which were in my family since new.
As long as you get one that's not a total piece of junk, and know how to do some basic repairs, you should be fine.
As for how my Darts lasted, well, the '69 was almost flawless, except for needing a water pump and brakework. The '68 had plenty of suspension problems, and a persistently leaking radiator, and also ate two starters and an alternator. I think alot of the suspension problems could be attributed to the car having a V-8, but the same suspension components as a slant six. I know this first-hand, as I swapped some stuff off of the wrecked '69!
As for the Chevelles, my favorite year is the '66, but any of them are nice (never cared as much for the boxier looking '64 and '65 though). One thing I've noticed about the '68-72 GM intermediates, is that they feel cramped inside to me. I seem to remember you saying you were like 6'4" or something like that. Well, I'm 6'3", and drove a friend's 1970 Cutlass coupe once, and it was just a bit too tight for me. I thought it was strange though, the Cutlass being a midsize and the Dart being a compact!
If you're out drving 40-100 miles each way, I would think the car would actually last longer, as short trips, stop and go driving, and just starting the car cold and never letting it fully warm up are usually what makes them wear out quicker.
Mar 19, 2001 (9:26 am)
Yeah, I don't see any problems at all with the cars you mentioned, except the gas bill on the 396. Probably your biggest struggle will be comfort, as these older cars interiors and suspensions make you very tired on long trips. Of course, like Andre says, you need to start out with a sound car. I'd pay particular attention to tires and to the cooling system...if you take off the radiator cap and it looks ugly down there, have the radiator boiled out. Your old car will apprciate that on long trips in summertime.
Mar 19, 2001 (9:45 am)
the seats might not be the most comfortable, but the ride in these cars I always thought was pretty good, of course I'm used to 3/4 pickups and suc..lol
Well I figure its either pay 14,000 for a new Malibu, or pay 7-10,000 for a really good condition Chevelle thats a lot more fun to drive.
It turns out I will be getting a 1,000$ rebate for my truck (saddle bags) so I don't know.
Mar 19, 2001 (10:44 am)
really depends on the person and how well they fit the car. I don't think most old cars are too bad for relatively short trips, although longer trips might be a problem. Back in '95, I drove my Dart from DC to Oklahoma, about a 1300 mile trip. A couple months ago, I drove the Intrepid from DC to Houston, about 1500 miles. Now this might be an extreme test for any car, but I think the Dart and the Intrepid were about the same in terms of comfort.
My biggest problem with newer cars is if they're FWD, the front wheel well protrudes too far into the footwell area, and there's just no foot room. And I find those "dead pedals" just about useless. They put my size 13 foot at too awkward of an angle.
I'd say the biggest annoyance on the Dart, versus the Intrepid, was engine and wind noise. A Dart has the aerodynamics of an outhouse, and a Dart with nearly 300K miles will tend not to be very well-sealed. And a 318 with a dual exhaust is a bit noisier than a 2.7 with smog controls out the wazoo. All I can say is Thank God for loud stereos!
The Dart would wander around the road a bit more than the Intrepid, and need constant minor steering corrections. But it's hard to say how much of this is due to the car's age and mileage, and the fact that their used to be a hill on our street where you could go airborne, as well as a couple of railroad crossings!
As for gas bills, if you're driving a full-size Chevy pickup right now, you won't notice much of a change with a Chevelle, unless you get a big-block!
As for the new Malibu, versus an old Chevelle, I think the Chevelle might actually win out in comfort! I found the current Malibu's seats to be too firm and thinly padded, and just too small (not saying that I have a big butt!) Also, if I sit in the back seat, my head will hit the ceiling. Most new cars also have the gas tank right under the back seat, which is safer from a safety standpoint, but it also makes for a back seat that feels like...well, a gas tank with some thin cloth stretched over it! Now comparing a Chevelle to a current Impala, the Impala may have an advantage. Your experience may vary, depending on your build and what you're used to.
Mar 19, 2001 (1:45 pm)
Also, as long as you're not a stickler for keeping everything original, you can probably retrofit things like stereo/cd player a/c, power windows, maybe even fuel injection? to an older car to make it more livable. A friend of mine has a 1974 Chevy full size truck with an engine from a 1994 chevy, seats from a Triumph, a real nice stereo, and a bright purple paint job he uses as a daily driver. I'm sure the 1994 engine is much easier on gas than a 74 would be, and probably makes as much, if not more, power.
Mar 19, 2001 (2:18 pm)
I am a sticlker for original, but it doesn't effect me too much, because I hate power windows (of course there are cars of this era with them), negative on fuel injection, I want a #'s matching car, and you can buy stereos that fit in properly and usually have like a 6 disc changer somewhere in the car connected so that you don't have to cut the dash. A/C was on a lot of these cars, I don't really care about it either way, never owned a car with it.
#8 of 560 My 62 Impala SS
Mar 19, 2001 (2:32 pm)
drives like a new car. Actually, it is. 41000 original miles. The things I notice right away is the seat is not adjustable, but is still pretty comfortable. No tilt wheel-but again, the position for me seems perfect [I'm 5'10"] I replaced the shocks with modern gas ones, and that along with the radial tires make a huge difference. AS it is now, this car is incredibly smooth, quiet, comfortabele, and with the 327 and Powerglide even, quite responsive. It handles well for its size, and seems well balanced-not nose heavy at all. I drive it every day, but not to work. The worst thing is the slow steering. But then, there are kits for that, and the brakes too. Otherwise, it's a real kick to drive this new car everyday!
#9 of 560 My '62 Impala SS
Mar 19, 2001 (3:52 pm)
I remember had the COLDEST air conditioning!
Nothing like it. My '65 Riviera was the same way. Must have been those hugh compressors and the "good" R-12 freon.
Mar 19, 2001 (5:00 pm)
There were THREE things American car makers did better in those days than anyone else in the world, it was a/c, automatic transmissions and cheap V-8 power that was reliable. European a/c was laughable, Japanese cars couldn't get out of their own way, and most foreign car automatics were either a) terrible or b) made in America anyway. Can't say American styling was very mature, or its technology or build quality very advanced, but for the "native land", these 60s cars were pretty darn rugged. You see a lot more 60s American cars alive today than anybody else's.