Big Beat

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  1. Thank you all. I ended up ordering the Uniroyal Tiger Paws from Walmart @ $65 each.
  2. So it's time to replace tires on my '79 Chevy Monte Carlo, which currently still wears Toyo narrow whitewalls that have probably been on the car since the 1980s. Narrow whitewalls are not exactly common anymore and it appears that my only choice is a special order from Coker. And Coker only shows a couple in my size (195/75R14), Tornel and Travelstar - brands that I have never heard of. My question is this: do any major brands still make narrow whitewalls? Or should I just get the Tornels or Travelstars from Coker? If you have recently bought a set of period-look tires for your 1960s or 1970s car, what did you get, where did you find them and what has been your experience with them? Thanks.
  3. About the Russian video... the car is part of an antique car collection that is displayed at the restaurant in Moscow. The video was posted by the restoration shop that restored the Studebaker and several other cars. The voiceover is mostly about the history of the Studebaker company, not much about the car itself other than pointing out some features. Not sure what the connection is between the restoration shop and the restaurant. I didn't watch the whole video, but that's the gist. Here's a link to pics of some of the other cars restored or being restored by the shop, including several other Studebakers: Studebaker vehicles have recognition in Russia, just like Buicks do in China, because everyone fondly remembers the Lend-Lease Studebaker trucks from WWII. Ask any layperson to name an old American car company and they'll probably come up with Ford and Studebaker, in that order.
  4. The last modern car that I really admired and aspired to own was my 2000 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. A small, peppy 5-speed wagon that could go anywhere. They don't make fun cars like that anymore, newer Subarus are much bigger and have too many electronic bells and whistles, plus I don't really like their current styling. Nobody makes small all-wheel-drive wagons, now it's a choice between an econobox hatchback or a Jeep. I looked forever for a nice Outback Sport. Loved that car. But after a couple of years I stupidly sold it, because I was living in NYC and got tired of shifting in traffic jams every day - so I got a Forester with automatic instead. Big mistake, as I soon found out about the infamous head gaskets, and then I moved away from NY, to where I could've been enjoying driving a 5-speed... So maybe some day I'll look for another one of these. Other than that, no. I like some modern cars more than others, but none inspire admiration or aspiration. I have no use for sports cars and exotica, and current models don't really have my kind of personality.
  5. I'm a preservationist/contrarian kind of guy. I don't restore cars, I tend to find a good one and just preserve and maintain it as best as I can. I like underdog cars - unpopular models and body styles, orphan brands, etc. I usually gravitate to stuff that has either never been mainstream, or had once been all too mainstream but has since fallen off most folks' radar. My interests are primarily "mid-century modern": 1940s to 1970s. My dream garage would include both an AMC Pacer and a pre-war Packard. For the past twelve years, I've been in a long-term relationship with a '79 Monte Carlo. If I could ever afford more than one hobby car, my second one would be something from the 1940s or early 1950s.
  6. Doesn't the world have enough of those cut-up hot rods that all have the same look as a million other customized "Deuce Coupes"? If the condition is beyond saving, then OK, sure, but I think this car looks too nice to hot-rod. I understand that this car may not be valuable enough to be worthy of a proper restoration to most people. But if this was my project, and restoration wasn't in the cards, I'd at least keep the body totally stock and make only mechanical upgrades, and make sure that these upgrades are not obviously visible. I would preserve at least the overall appearance of a real 1920s car, if I couldn't preserve its character. Of course, it's a moot point, as I'm not in the market for this kind of project. I hope someone buys it and saves it.
  7. I restore vintage musical instruments, and it's the same story. Every time I list an old guitar or a drum set for sale, I get bombarded by scammers, dreamers, ghosters (folks who just don't show up and don't bother to let you know - there's actually a word for this, as I have learned) and tire kickers... er... string pullers. Only a very small percentage are serious buyers who actually follow through. It can indeed get very frustrating. But the one thing I have learned is that one just cannot get too emotional about it. It is strictly business - buying, selling, adapting to the market and hopefully, making a profit. If something repeatedly fails to sell, it gets parted out. If it's not worth parting out, it gets donated. If it's not good enough to donate, it is given away for free to be used for art projects. If nobody picks it up for free, it gets discarded. Simple. I can think of better things to do than flying off the handle and filming myself stomping on some old clarinet while screaming obscenities at the universe at large, just to prove some incoherent point to someone who failed to buy something.
  8. A few years ago my daily driver was a '91 Corolla that had 285K on it when I sold it, still running great, no issues other than some minor cosmetics and my desire to upgrade. One potential buyer called to verify the mileage, she was hoping it was 85K and a mis-print. Another asked "What problems does the car have?" None, I replied. "What's the mileage?" 285K. "Well, maybe that's the problem", he said and hung up. The third caller showed up and bought it. I wouldn't be surprised if it's still running somewhere. So my guess is 285K is high mileage in a used car these days. Back in the 1980s, I would walk away from anything over 60K. My '79 Chevy reflects this - it STILL only has 35K on it. Now THAT I consider low mileage.
  9. Out of that lot, the Olds looks like a real winner, with the Buick a close second. OP, why do you want to RESTORE a car when there are plenty of very good running, driving cars that will cost you less? If you never owned an old car before, restoration should be the last thing on your mind. Buy a running car and enjoy it first. Learn to live with an old car and to handle its needs. Fix up whatever needs fixing, gain some experience. If you still want to try restoring one after that, you'll be in a much better place.
  10. I have seen several Russian cars in Brooklyn - a Chaika limousine, a GAZ-21 Volga, a Zaporozhets, a couple of Zhiguli (Lada) sedans and a Niva. The Zaporozhets was used as interior decoration in one Russian restaurant on Coney Island Avenue, since closed. I don't know what happened to the car. The Volga was a regular at local car shows, unfortunately, it was destroyed during the 2012 hurricane. There was also one Dnepr motorcycle, a copy of a 1940s BMW. All the cars were owned by Russian expats. Brooklyn is full of Russian mechanics who remember working on these cars back in Russia and parts are available online, so it's feasible, at least within driving distance from Brooklyn. Lada and Niva cars are also familiar in Canada. Elsewhere, I'm sure it's more of a hassle. Of course, there is quite a following in Russia, with its own forums, clubs, museums and car shows. I have some interest in these cars, but I doubt I'll ever want to own one. For the price of importing one, there are more interesting choices right here in the USA. But if I was living in Russia, I'd probably buy a 1950s Pobeda.
  11. My '79 Monte is a "survivor". I bought it from the estate of its original owner 13 years ago. The car has never had anything changed on it other than maintenance items (tires, hoses, battery, etc.). The first time I took it to a car show, I was actually worried that it was too new to be admitted. I was shocked how many cars on the field were even newer. Now it's even more shocking to me that she is actually 40 years old this year.
  12. Nice car, and it looks good enough to preserve, rather than restore. Do mechanical work and get it running, clean it up a bit, fix whatever needs fixing. But do not take it apart until you have driven it a little first. You may be happy enough with it by then to keep it a preserved original - which would make it MUCH more interesting for many. And if you do decide on a full restoration at that time, you'll be in a much better place for that, too.
  13. I find such hoards very sad. Those cars just sit there and deteriorate. He never drives them, he no longer even has the strength to organize them and keep all the junk and debris and mice away from them. Yes, it's a nice collection and it's a good thing that somebody has saved these cars for posterity, but they are certainly not actively enjoyed in the present. Just memories, mostly, at this point probably better served by a good photo album instead. I always thought that keeping two or three well-maintained cars was much better than a neglected hoard like this. Heck, I only have one vintage car, and life gets so busy sometimes that I can't find the time to take it out for a drive as often as I'd like.
  14. The only way to get there with no money is to do all the work yourself and trade up. Buy something, fix it up, flip it, invest in the next project. You'll need plenty of skill, lots of free time and a well-equipped garage. And a really good supply of patience. Do you? When I was a teenager, I wanted a Gibson guitar. Not being able to afford one, I learned guitar repair, fixed and resold several cheap guitars before I got to the used Gibson ballpark. It took me about six years to go from junky Harmonies and Hondos that I learned guitar repair on, to a damaged '74 Les Paul Custom, which by then I could restore professionally. Of course, with cars, that road is even more difficult, slow and expensive. It can be done, but you'll always be wishing you had just a bit more starting capital saved up, up front, to save yourself the aggravation. Life is too short for that. I've learned that lesson with guitars as a teen, which is why when I set out to buy my first vintage car, I made sure it was the absolute best example of that model that I could find.
  15. I was last there in 2008. My brother had just bought a new Honda CR-V that we were driving. He decided to take it out on the sand, and was embarrassed when his brand new car got stuck and needed help getting pulled out. His next CR-V a few years later was an AWD model.