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Hi. We are the 4th owners of a 1955 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday Coupe!! We are also new to the “vintage owner” category.  In the month we have owned the vehicle, we have had use of it for 3 days.  We replaced the fuel pump first thing, it had a minor leak...which turned into a major one once in our driveway.  Next, we replaced the power steering pump, also due to a leak. Thinking that all that was behind us, we took the car out on 3 longer trips- not more than 10 miles each. We started hearing a loud creaking noise...pulled up the hood and anti-freeze was spraying all over the place. Waiting on a new water pump as we speak.   My question is, because I’ve heard mixed reviews, can a vintage car be driven daily?! Or, maybe, SHOULD is the better term?! 

593A4889-D24C-4529-B479-C82DA7D539C9.jpeg

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NICE CAR! Nothing wrong with driving the old cars daily as long as you do preventative maintenance. I was driving my 1931 Dodge coupe EVERYWHERE until my brakes needed attention. I have the new master cylinder and soon will have the wheel cylinders and will be using it as a daily driver again soon. Keep 'em moving as they will deteriorate faster from sitting.

 

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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That is a gorgeous car and can easily be used as a daily driver if that is what you want to do. Regular use is actually the best thing for a car, the problems you have had so far may indicate the previous owner(s) did not exercise the car. Unfortunately the problems you have had are also part of the deal with any older car also and you need to accept that. If you have not already done so I would recommend a full detailed inspection of all mechanical systems, brakes, suspension, tires, etc. be done right away and any marginal issues fixed before they become additional problems. Once that is done just drive and enjoy it!

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While doing the water pump why not change all the hoses under the hood. You say you just bought it you do not know what the previous owner did not do or did.Very nice 55

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If you want to drive it daily, remember it is getting on a bit and has had who knows what lack of maintenance. You should do a full service and preventative maintenance round on it. The usual things include changing fluids (including coolant, meaning replacing the anti-freeze anti-corrosion additive). Look for everywhere that lubrication is required and do so. Look through the manual while you are on this.

 

Personally, I would be very suspicious. It has aftermarket wheels (did you put them on?) and looks low, esp. at the front.

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My always number one item is all new complete brake parts including lines. You only get one chance to stop.

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Spinneyhill, it was lowered and rims by previous owner.  We like the lower stance. Plan to replace all fluids and inspect brakes- might switch out drums.  I agree, only one chance to stop.  👍

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My Grandfather bought a Series 6-30B Pontiac new in 1930.  I took my drivers test in it in 1958 with 99,000 miles on the speedo and it was my daily driver until 3 years ago.  It now has 500,000 miles on it.  My only tow home was when my pressure plate fell apart the day after I was using the car to pull stumps.  I have been in all the states west of the Mississippi,  and everywhere in Canada west of Port Arthur and have driven it year round in all types of weather.  Of course my advantage was it was a one owner car and I had been familiar with it from 1947.

Your Oldsmobile should be able to do this and more.  Happy Motoring.

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If you take the time and sort the car out, you can drive it anywhere you want. You are on the right track. Do the obvious stuff (hoses, brakes, etc.), and take it on longer and longer jaunts and fix things as you find them. After a while, it will get to the point you can trust it for really long trips.

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If this couple can go around the world in a 1915 Ford Model T I can't see why your wonderful '55 Olds can't be driven every day.

 

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If you repair or replace parts that require attention and get it in good order....you can drive the car daily and anywhere!   I drive my Buicks anywhere and any amount of miles I desire without hesitation.  Both very dependable.     

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Old cars were used as daily drivers when they were not old cars, no reason they can't be used today. The reason your modern "daily driver" is reliable is because you use it every day. Expecting a car that gets driven once a month to be reliable is foolish. Therefore, the best thing you can do to make a car reliable is to drive it.

 

My father drove a 1941 Buick Super business coupe every single day, including all winter, from 1976 to 1980  when it was unceremoniously destroyed by a drunk driver.

 

My wife drives a 1966 Mustang every day in the summer, although it has been recently supplanted by a 1956 Chrysler wagon which she just drove to Toronto and back to deliver our kids to the grandparents' house.

 

I drove a 1941 Cadillac 60S last summer every day and this summer I am planning to drive my 1941 Buick Limited every day, once I get the exhaust sorted out. I feel no worries about driving old cars that have been sorted and vetted. I drive an old car to and from almost every day, as a matter of fact. Only one has left me stranded, and that's because the fuel gauge wasn't working.

 

It sounds like you're gradually working through the car and the only way it will get better is by driving. It's hard to pre-emptively fix things that might go wrong, so just go drive. When something breaks, fix it, then drive some more. As you do that process, the time you spend driving will get longer and the number of repairs it needs will get smaller. I think that's a great-looking car as it sits and the hardware underneath is incredibly robust. Don't let anyone tell you nonsense like "it needs a 350 Chevy to be reliable" or "You need to be able to buy parts at any store so you aren't stranded." That's nonsense. Drive the car, sort it as you go, maintain it properly, and you'll have a car that's as trustworthy as anything made in 2018.

 

Most of all, have fun!

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22 hours ago, Philberty2g said:

--might switch out drums.  I agree, only one chance to stop.  👍

 

Phil, if you mean "switching out" the brake drums for

disk brakes, that's one thing you do NOT need to do.

 

Your car isn't a 95-year-old antique with 2-wheel mechanical brakes.

Your car was designed for the super-highway age.

I doubt that any 1950's car reviews indicated that

Oldsmobile's brakes were ineffective or dangerous.

 

Just get all the originally designed systems in working order.

And once you get things "sorted," as they say, meaning that

all the needs are taken care of, you'll have plenty of enjoyment

with your car!

 

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15 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Phil, if you mean "switching out" the brake drums for

disk brakes, that's one thing you do NOT need to do.

 

Your car isn't a 95-year-old antique with 2-wheel mechanical brakes.

Your car was designed for the super-highway age.

I doubt that any 1950's car reviews indicated that

Oldsmobile's brakes were ineffective or dangerous.

 

Just get all the originally designed systems in working order.

And once you get things "sorted," as they say, meaning that

all the needs are taken care of, you'll have plenty of enjoyment

with your car!

 

 

I disagree.  The "1950's super-highway age" was filled with cars that only had bias ply tires and drum brakes.  The tires had such little grip that the brakes were never worked very hard; the tire would lock up and skid before the brakes were at or near their full potential.  When everyone on the road has the same bias ply tires and drim brakes, no one is at a disadvantage.  The 50's car reviews didn't know the brakes were that bad because that's all they had.   

 

Now everyone had radials and discs... an old car with drums usually won't stop as good even if they have the added grip of modern tires... the drums were adequate only because the tires were so poor back then compared to radials.   With radial tires you have more grip, and you always want brakes strong enough to be able to take full advantage of the amount of grip the tires have.   My '64 VW Bug has excellent drums from the factory and now has radials... as long as they're well maintained it will stop as good as a modern car with four wheel discs (both measured with an accelerometer) from in-town speeds; but only once from about 65 mph.  From 70-75 they fade before you get stopped all the way.  My dad had a '57 VW Bug that had been upgraded to the later/improved 58-64 brakes but it had bias ply tires... it wouldn't stop very well; the tires would easily lock up and skid.  Discs don't fade as readily and they have more stopping power to match the grip of radial tires.  

 

A couple years ago I had a '66 C10 with a disc conversion up front and everything else in the brake system was stock.  Dad had a completely stock '66 C10 with drums at the same time.  Both had identical brand radial tires, and both had the brake systems completely rebuilt at the same time.  My truck with discs up front was MUCH more capable of stopping at all speeds; dads truck was borderline worrysome at 45 mph and interstate trips were sketchy.  I just took ownership of my Granddad's '64 C10 and as much as I want to keep it just as he had it, it will be getting the front drums upgraded to discs for safety. 

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Astronaut, you REALLY wouldn't like riding in my 1918 Pierce and 1922 Paige with 2-wheel mechanical brakes.  But I don't try to drive as if I were in modern iron, either....  In anything pre-4-wheel-disc, a driver is wise to drive very defensively and allow extra room.  Yes, other drivers seem to think that even my 90+ year old cars have as effective brakes as their modern ones....

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A 66 c10 is perhaps a worst possible case example..... I have one, I know.....

 

The best plan is to make the stock stuff work as well as it can, and drive the car! Find out what the REAL limitations of the car are and if necessary for daily use, make changes. At least one forum member put a disc conversion on a mid 50s GM car, and then took them back off when they didn't perform as expected. YMMV.

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I don't drive my 1937 Buick Century on a daily basis, but I do drive it about every chance I get, which is quite often. I will simply chime in that I recently was going to tow that car from Wilmington, NC to Auburn, Indiana to drive it on a tour and go to an AACA Meet. I started out with it on a trailer behind a 2014 Ford F250 Super Duty Dually Diesel truck. The 2014 Ford brake booster died 2 hours into the trip. I unloaded the 1937 Buick and then drove it 702 miles to my destination, with an overnight stop in Charleston WV. I then drove the Buick on the tour for more than 200 miles. The Buick never gave me any trouble. It was a lot more reliable than the 4 year old truck.

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