Last post on Jan 10, 2013 at 1:37 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
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Car Buying, Classic Cars, Coupe, Convertible, Sedan
#1 of 178 Is a classic car right for me?
Jul 05, 2008 (3:49 pm)
I've always loved the styling of the older classic cars but have shied away because of potential reliability/cost issues. But now I'm thinking that I might make my next car a classic, and keep my current reliable Toyota Corolla in case my new car is in the shop. As you can probably tell, I want my classic to be a daily driver. I'm debating between 2-3 different options I might take.
1) A cute 2+2 roadster like an Alfa Romeo 1750, an Austin-Healey 100-6 or MK, a Sunbeam Alpine, or a VW Karmann Ghia (love the styling, hate the slowness).
2) A convertible (or possibly a coupe/sedan after reading the thread on convertible ownership) from the late 40s or early to mid-50s that has a real backseat, but that's not too long in overall length (I don't want an 18' boat). Probably looking at an American make like Ford, Dodge, Plymouth, etc.
3) Or, stick with a modern car.
I like my creature comforts like a/c, cruise control, and a cd player. I want a trunk that can at least fit 2 carry-on sized suitcases, and a backseat that can at least fit a dog if not more. If I have a convertible then I want the top to go up quickly (and preferably automatically). With the price of gas at $4/gallon I want to get at least 20-25mpg. And I live in the hot and humid deep south, so rust may be an issue. I'm not a purist, however, and not everything needs to be original. And though I realize that older cars are going to be in the shop more often then modern ones, I don't want to be handing over all of my money to the mechanic all of the time. And I only want to pay about $20-25k.
So, the question is....is a classic car a good option for me?
#2 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [astphard]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jul 05, 2008 (5:49 pm)
Given your criteria in #s 1 and 2, and your budget, i don't think there's a car that will meet all those requirements. For $25K + convertible with electric top + reliability + AC + reasonable size, you are going to have to try a compact 60s convertible (Buick Special, Dodge Dart, etc).
Of the foreign cars you mentioned, the Alfa would be the most reliable, and if you bought an 80s model, you can have AC. You don't need an electric top with one of those---it's a one hand operation. And you don't have to spend more than $10K.
#3 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [Mr_Shiftright]
Jul 05, 2008 (7:15 pm)
I am new to this discussion group and not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but here goes. I stumbled across an Olds F85 (63) 2 door hard top with serveral, what I thought any, odd options. this car had power windows ac, and fuel injection on a small V8 engine 283 I think, small block any way, Olds might have had a 330 cubic I think. This car was in excellent unrestored condition. Any one have any idea of its worth? I would like to make this guy an offer but not sure what to offer? Any help would be helpful.
#4 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [joncyn]
Jul 06, 2008 (4:05 am)
I don't think the Olds 330 came out until 1964, but I could be mistaken. And the 283 was a Chevy engine. If it's in original condition, a 1963 F-85 should have an aluminum 215 V-8, which was supplied by Buick. It put out 155 in stock form, 185 hp with a turbocharger, and there was a 215 hp version in a limited production hardtop model called the JetFire.
As for air conditioning, it really was considered a luxury item back in the 40's and 50's, and even early 60's. It was mainly Lincolns, Cadillacs, and Imperials that had it. It was a very pricey option in those days. I think a/c on a GM car in 1956 was a $565 option. A Chevy started as low at $1800 for a stripper 2-door sedan that year, while a Cadillac started at around $4200 for a base hardtop coupe. So needless to say, not too many people were going to buy a new Chevy and then order an option that added 1/4 to 1/3 to the base price!
Also in those days, the prevailing attitude tended to be that if you bought a convertible, you didn't need air conditioning. As a result, I'd imagine a/c was rarer in the convertibles than it was in the closed cars. My mother bought a 1966 Catalina convertible, brand-new, her senior year in high school. I remember asking her if it had a/c, and she just looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "Why would it have air conditioning?! It was a CONVERTIBLE!!"
I think by the late 60's, air conditioning was really becoming popular. By that time, the prices of the cars had risen, but the cost of the a/c had actually dropped, to around $300-350. I've had two Dart hardtops, a '68 and a '69, both with a/c. The '68 probably MSRP'ed around $3300, while the '69 was around $3600, so by this time, the a/c was only about 10% of the total price of a compact. Much more reasonable.
You could probably get a big 60's convertible with a/c, a power top, nicely equipped, for a reasonable price, as long as you didn't go for some high performance model like a Catalina 2+2, Impala SS409, etc. I bought a '67 Catalina convertible for $3775, but that was way back in 1994, so I dunno what it would be worth today. But you said you didn't want to lug around 18 feet of car. I think my Catalina comes in at 17 feet, 11 inches.
#5 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [joncyn]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jul 06, 2008 (5:58 am)
Yes Andre is right, the engine, if stock would be a 215 V-8 with a carburetor-----no 283, no fuel injection, no turbo, etc. There was I believe a 4 barrel option on some models.
So if it has a Chevy engine with aftermarket fuel injection, then it would have to be priced as a street rod, not a stock '63 F-85.
Street rods are priced mostly on how well the work is done, and how much HP has been added, and how tasteful/tasteless the modifications are.
You'd have to give us lots more details, as well as some photos, to get any idea of value.
If in fact, it is a completely stock '63 F-85, we could give you a pretty accurate value I think.
#6 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [astphard]
Jul 06, 2008 (6:13 am)
a mid 60s mercedes 280 se cabrio would be very very cool
#7 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [deskman]
Jul 06, 2008 (7:06 am)
Bad thing is a good 6cyl 280SE cabrio will cost him 40-50K, and a low grille will average 50% more. But you can't get anything as timeless for the money, for sure.
#8 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [astphard]
Jul 06, 2008 (6:27 pm)
A vintage (65-66) Mustang Convertible with the C engine would provide your needs.
The C engine has the 2.8 rear end ratio for economy whereas the A engine has the 3.0 differential for performance. Many are still on the market with Air, Automatic, & Power Steering. They continue to increase in value, but not at a sky rocketing rate.
Your Bowser will fit easily in the back seat and the trunk is very generous.
Part availablity is very ample for this motor car.
Install a Pertronix ignition and it'll go forever.
#9 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [euphonium]
Jul 06, 2008 (6:37 pm)
"A vintage (65-66) Mustang Convertible "
That'll work, but I have to mention it's a tin can when it comes to accidents. Using these as a daily driver does bring with it risks, some common to all cars of this vintage (minimal safety equipement), some common to many convertibles, the Mustangs in particular (very limited body strength, you have to be careful not to bend the body during restoration), and some particular to Mustangs (drop-in gas tank, fuel can enter trunk in an accident). I grew up with a '65 Mustang, none the worse for wear, just make sure you're aware you're not dealing with a modern vehicle.
#10 of 178 Re: Is a classic car right for me? [texases]
Jul 07, 2008 (8:05 am)
Agree with your opinion which is applicable to ANY vehicle of that vintage. Your experience with the '65 is valid. I've been driving my '66 for over 41 years and realize what it is and is not.