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Guest BJM

Daily Driving An Old Car

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Guest BJM

My sister, a Honda Odyssey mini van driving mother of 5, was aghast when I said I was not going to replace my 2004 Pontiac Bonneville with a "new" (meaning off new low mileage new) vehicle. She objected because of dependability issues presented by an older car.

I said I was tired of the $310 per month payments, higher insurance and another "payment" of $284 to register it annually. I could afford a lot of repairs and maintenance with the $310 + saved each month.

My sister countered with the "old cars break down and cost more" argument. However, I think my biggest issue is that new cars are so s-m-o-o-t-h. and #2, you might stick out like a sore thumb. The smoothness is most evident from stops.

I had a 100,000 mile 77 Olds Regency - purchased for $500 and when I took off from a stoplight I didn't do anything different then I would in my 2004 cars and people were just buzzing around me. That old car just took some time to "ramp up".

Anyway, I was browsing this old car dealer wesbite I look at and found this car, offered for $4750.00 probably purchaseable for $1000 less. Not sexy, a four door, but has a lot of creature comforts. This would be a nice commuter car wouldn't it? I drive 20 miles more or less one way and put about 12,000 miles per year on my 2004 Bonneville.

Country Classic Cars L.L.C. - Antique and Collectable Cars and Trucks - Cars

It looks like a legitimate 35,000 miles. (Pretend for a second it is) My 2004 Bonneville had 33,000 miles when purchased and cost $14,500. I have had engine work, performed usual maintenance and now have 100,000 miles.

When I look at this otherwise forgettable 66 Olds 98 four door hardtop and move around the photo set, I grow to enjoy it's formal elegance more and more. Not to mention it was top of the line in 1966, not a bare bones car by any means.

The satin esque upholstery scares me. I can't believe that interior has held up that well over the years.

Mechanically, it's a simple beast with bulletproof components like the TH400 transmission. Easy to work on brakes etc. A modern crossover (cost average $35,000) gets no better then 19 mpg combined. I'll bet in my mixed suburban driving I could get 16mpg out of this numerically low rear axle ratioed car.

In a pinch it would fit 5 easy and my daughter would have tons more room in the back (as she did in that 77 Olds)

Drive it as a daily driver, 12,000 miles per year for 6 years and either sell it or keep it as a collector car. What do you think of this concept and does anybody do it now?

Edited by BJM (see edit history)

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I'd get it if I was you. It looks cool to me.

I've got the same idea about a new car. I've got a 2001 Silverado with 192000 on it and no plans to replace it with a 350.00-400.00 or more a month car payment.

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Bryan,

One of he best cars I ever had was a 1995 Chevy Caprice ex-highway patrol police car. I bought it cheap right out of service with 112,000 miles on it. It was not pretty and the inside needed serious cleaning but it was roomy, fast, dead reliable, and got 15 to 18 mpg on regular gas. I put over 55,000 more miles on it and while I had to fix things along the way the original drivetrain was still strong when I sold it. The biggest issue with daily driving an older car is whether you are willing to do the maintenance and fix the things that will go wrong, most people with new cars do not want to be bothered.

That Olds you are looking at would be a fabulous road car and looks to be in great shape, I would buy it in a minute if I could. The only caution would be that if it really has only 35,000 miles it could need a lot of work due to sitting unused for so long, many times really low miles are worse than high miles mechanically. The other possible negative may be finding parts, although I doubt that is an issue with Oldsmobile. I'd plan to go look at that car in person and give it a good test drive. Let us know waht happens!

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I had a 1979 Lincoln as a daily driver from 1996 until 2004. I had less problems with it than people with much newer cars. The reason I stopped using it as a daily driver was because winter salt was kiiling it. My current daily driver is a 1994 Buick, purchased new. Anyone that says that anything from the 1970's or new can't keep up with current traffic is clueless. Both cars were faster, braked just as well, and handled just as well as most new cars.

The 1966 Olds looks like it would make a nice daily driver - in Florida or California. I would not subject such a nice old car to snow and salt. You would be surprised at how much rust will appear in 6 months. I think all old cars have some degree of rust and salt just massively accelerates it to look like a beater when it probably would remain the same if driven only in nice weather. If you would be planning on using the Olds with that upholstery daily, I would put a seat cover on it to protect the seat material.

I have been to Country Classics several times. While everything looks good on their website, many cars look like they have been pulled out of a junkyard in person. When I was there last summer, a bunch of the cars had been sitting there so long that their wheels were sunk halfway into the mud and the bottom of the car was resting on the ground.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)

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SEt aside about a $1000-1500 for intial repairs/maintenance that it may need before being truly road worthy as a daily driver. It may not need anything but if it does and you have already budgeted for it you won't be starting with negative feelings as soon as you buy it.

BOB

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My 59 Skyliner was pulled out of a field 2 years ago, new radiator to diff is reliable! starts in -20 or +100 deg, drives great and is comfortable too. She is thirsty (no more than my 04 F-150), and gets me home every time. She is cheap to insure and oozes coolness no new car can match.

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Drive it as a daily driver, 12,000 miles per year for 6 years and either sell it or keep it as a collector car. What do you think of this concept and does anybody do it now?

That's 72,000 miles.

Let's assume you drive that much, but still lead a lifestyle where breaking down regularly in a old car and having to get towed home doesn't effect your lifestyle enough to matter. And let's assume that you never have to go anywhere when it's -15 degrees outside and that reasonable scenario could kill you.

Now assume that the trade-off between cheaper repairs for old cars and fewer repairs for new cars balance each other out. It's very likely that it would be the case. (For instance the Prius is essentially a maintenance-free car for the first 72,000 miles. Light bulbs and brake linings last longer than that.)

Now let's look at the gas. Assuming gas is a constant $3.50/gal forever (good luck!), the difference between driving that many miles in a 15 mpg Olds vs. a 50 mpg 2010 Prius is $11,760.00 in added gas cost. If the Olds gets 12 mpg, you're looking at an extra $15,960.00. If the Olds gets 10 mpg, you're looking at an extra $20,160.00. At that point the new Prius was essentially a free car after the gas savings.

When gas goes to $4/$5/$6/etc. those numbers will look like pocket change.

BTW, I chose the Prius because 6 years from now it will just be another car, not the pseudo-social statement some people dismiss it as now. Just about every car will be at least that efficient.

And when you're done, you will have worn out a 1966 Olds (or spent a fortune in paint and upholstery not to), instead of trading in a car worth almost 1/2 of what you paid for it.

The Olds is definitely the cooler ride, but it comes at a cost.

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I had a 1979 Lincoln as a daily driver from 1996 until 2004. I had less problems with it than people with much newer cars. The reason I stopped using it as a daily driver was because winter salt was kiiling it. My current daily driver is a 1994 Buick, purchased new. Anyone that says that anything from the 1970's or new can't keep up with current traffic is clueless. Both cars were faster, braked just as well, and handled just as well as most new cars.

The 1966 Olds looks like it would make a nice daily driver - in Florida or California. I would not subject such a nice old car to snow and salt. You would be surprised at how much rust will appear in 6 months. I think all old cars have some degree of rust and salt just massively accelerates it to look like a beater when it probably would remain the same if driven only in nice weather. If you would be planning on using the Olds with that upholstery daily, I would put a seat cover on it to protect the seat material.

I have been to Country Classics several times. While everything looks good on their website, many cars look like they have been pulled out of a junkyard in person. When I was there last summer, a bunch of the cars had been sitting there so long that their wheels were sunk halfway into the mud and the bottom of the car was resting on the ground.

Ive been there too, to look at a '63 Fairlane. It too was sunk up to the rockers in mud, and the pass side tie rod was bent beyond belief from being dragged around by a tractor. Guy on the phone said it was very clean and rust free and would just need minor repairs from sitting for many years.............

That olds looks great, definately check it out though!!

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Guest BJM

No purchase from Country Classics would be made without being there in person but I think they offer a needed alternative to the way way overpriced usual old car dealers.

That aside, this was just an example. I have another 2 years to flog this 2004 Bonneville, which gets an honest 27 mpg in combined commuting, sitting on leather, heated in winter with all the other accoutrements of a as new $27,000 car.

Dave, I understand your point. However, to buy an off-new Prius would mean another car payment of probably $300-$350 per month, which cuts into my old car hobby and wine cellar money.

This was just an example, and I think it's on the high side. There are tons of cool rides from the 70's to mid 80's that you can get for $1500. Or Reattas or last geb Rivieras 95-99 for $3500. Granted, those have "modern" issues to deal with, so a person would need a reserve - but say your transmission goes out on your 1990 Reatta (or car of choice) - you put a reman in and with the same maintenance you would expect of a Prius - you get 200,000 miles out of that transmission and scracth it off the list of worry items.

And - it's not all gas mileage. To me, it would be relaxing and enjoyable to be behind the seat of that 66 Olds 98 for 3-4 years. By then, maybe I want a newer car or truck. And the Olds would still only have roughly 80,000 miles.

I appreciate the comments - it appears some on here are doing it already!

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When we returned from the AACA 50th Anniversary tour the neighbor across the street had a new 1985 Ford Crown Victoria in the drive. He and his wife have passed on and we bought the Vicky 3 years ago for $500. just spent $175.00 on an exhaust system and my wife drives it every day. We may show it at Hershey since some think it is an "Antique" beats walking to the show field.

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Bryan,

Some of us have already "done it" and have moved-on to more modern rides for our daily slog. ;)

I did it for the first 20 years of my driving life ( 1985-2005 ): drove nothing that was less than 25 years old.

Frankly, just from the pics alone, that Olds looks too nice to be a daily driver.

Don't know where you live (and I'm not asking you to make a public statement), but winter-weather is one of the biggest enemies of a vehicle. Salt / brine road-treatments will tear-up a vehicle before you know it... in areas where they just use cinders for traction, you still have to worry about paint / glass chips. Then there's all the wet slop that will be dragged inside the car on your shoes...

Even if the winter weather is not an issue for you, as a daily driver, you will be putting wear and tear on the car, especially the interior. Those seats look really nice, but I'll bet the foam padding underneath is hard and crumbly, and will start to break-down under daily use.

Also, consider UV exposure, probably a more insiduous enemy of vehicles - UV kills paint, vinyl trim, interior fabrics... silently, slowy, relentlessly. Especially vivid colors such as red.

Then there's all the mechanical issues you will confront as you bring this car back to life: original parts that are reaching the end of their normal service life after 40 years / 60,000 miles, plus "perishable" parts ( rubber, hydraulic brake plumbing ) that do deteriorate strictly from age and chemical deterioration, even if the vehicle is mothballed in a "neutral" climate controlled environment.

Rubber suspension bushings and hoses chemically decompose as they age, and even if they appear to be "like new", once the vehicle goes into service, things will quickly start to deteriorate.

Hydraulic brake systems used DOT-3 fluid, which absorbs moisture from the air over time, and the steel tubing & master & wheel cylinders corrode from the INSIDE-out. DOT-3 brake-fluid turns to a yellow-ish gel then powder, seizing wheel-cylinder pistons. Even if stuck pistons break free, the wheel cyls usually begin leaking in short order.

Suspension joints such as ball-joints/Kingpins, tie-rod ends may be packed full of once-soft, now fossilized grease, which has no lubricating benefits and prevents fresh grease from reaching the moving parts... so now you've got a heavy car, grinding-up expensive suspension parts.( That may have been 70 % worn-out already)

Then there's the issue of parts availability.... the farther away from 1960's-'70's Mustangs and Camaros you get, the less likely you will find parts at your local parts house. Most mechanical parts are still available, but many have to be "special ordered" now, which take anywhere from three-days to a week. That's a long time to have your "daily-driver" laid-up.

As I write this, I feel like I'm only offering "reasons why not"... not trying to be negative for the sake of being a grump, rather I'm trying to relate what I have been confronted with in using older vehicles for everyday transport over the last 25 years.

When I consider/purchase an old vehicle, unless I have positive documentation from the seller of repair/restoration of given systems/components, I plan on rebuilding/replacing the following:

Brakes (usually the ENTIRE system: steel lines, flex hoses, master & wheel cyls)

Front suspension (inspect, clean-out, re-lube, replace as-needed)

Rear springs (inspect/replace springs, eye-bushings, shackles)

Fuel system (pump, flex-hoses, lines(as needed), boil-out tank, repair-replace sending unit, rebuild carb, etc)

Electrical system - inspect/repair/replace: battery, cables, starter, alternator, regulator, points & condensor, plugs, wires, bulbs, etc.

Cooling system - replace hoses, thermostat, radiator cap, check/repair radiator, water-pump.

Accesories: wipers, heater/defroster, seat adjustment, windows (power assists?)

Tires

Shocks

( Notice I didn't mention anything about paint, chrome, or upholstery... )

You can either go through the vehicle and check/address all these points BEFORE you hit the asphalt with it ( which means a significant capital investment AFTER purchase), or "just get it on the road" and deal with any issues as they come-up, when they come up ( think "side of the road" ;) )

As a final thought, most vehicles are sold on appearance first, then performance... anything that compromises this Olds's appearance is going to DRASTICALLY reduce its re-sale value. That includes daily wear & tear.

Most folks that would consider an old car want something that functions, but more importantly that "looks cool" and that they are proud to be seen in. :cool:

There is a certain pride in owning / driving a shabby(?) jalopy that is mechanically reliable, but that's a special kind of joy that is not usually shared by the casual observer. (Or by girlfriends / spouses! ) :rolleyes:

( The '41 De Soto in my avatar fits this description ! :D )

Think carefully about how this scenario fits-in with your financial situation and trasportation needs... if you can comfortably make it work, and have a back-up vehicle, then go for it...

Above all, make sure the damned thing is safe before you take it out on the road; you're talking about two-tons of Oldsmobile - make sure the brakes are up to factory condition, and the tires & suspension are in good order.

Here endeth the "sermon" :cool:

Edited by DeSoto Frank (see edit history)

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Bryan,

Unless you almost NEVER go over 35 MPH or on the freeway, I would advise against it. I also don't advise going the $20K-35K new car route, either.

In addition to the gas costs Dave mentioned (believe me, Washington WILL get gas back up again), there is the HUGE survivability factor that is added by modern brakes, ABS, airbags, traction control, crumple zones built into the car, and much, much better seat belts and side impact beams in the doors.

Also, you have to consider getting the A/C fixed (R12 is about $50-60 per can, that car may take up to 4 cans) and the availability of parts. And, finally, if you buy classic car insurance, you can't use the car as a daily driver. And, if you have conventional car insurance and suffer a total loss, you will almost never get your $4750 back. They will low-ball the living daylights out of you, and it will be more trouble than it is worth.

I've done something similar to what you want to do, with very, very good results. Back in '05, I bought a 2000 Buick Park Avenue Ultra from a local Cadillac dealer, with 116,000 miles on it. The car now has nearly 190,000 miles, gets 24-28 MPG in mixed driving, never uses more than 1/2 to 3/4 of a quart of oil between changes, and has needed very minimal repairs. And, it has virtually every safety feature on it, including front and side air bags, ABS, Stabilitrak, 4-wheel disc brakes, and is as big or bigger than the Olds on the inside. I paid $6100 for it in '05, and in today's used car market, I could probably get $3000 for it today, giving me a dependable, safe car for less than $1,000 per year. And, I can get parts for it at nearly any part store.

I also did the same thing more than two years ago for my son, with a '97 Ford Taurus with 149,000 on it. It belonged to an elderly driver who lived out of town, but when the car was not driving into town, it was in his garage. It looked brand new! Very dependable, still runs fine, and very easy to work on and find parts for.

I suggest you watch the local ads (AutoTrader, cars.com, etc) and find a well-cared for 5-7 year old full-size GM or Ford product that was well taken care for, and buy it outright with no payments. That way, your monthly payment can go for routine or preventive maintenance, and you have all the safety benefits of a newer car.

The bottom line is this: 100K miles is nothing these days on a car that has been well cared for. Check the ads, talk to owners, find out which cars should be avoided (Cadillac Northstars, especially pre-2000 models, for example) and buy a car you like that will give you safety plus economy.

Joe

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Bryan,

Unless you almost NEVER go over 35 MPH or on the freeway, I would advise against it. I also don't advise going the $20K-35K new car route, either.

In addition to the gas costs Dave mentioned (believe me, Washington WILL get gas back up again), there is the HUGE survivability factor that is added by modern brakes, ABS, airbags, traction control, crumple zones built into the car, and much, much better seat belts and side impact beams in the doors.

Also, you have to consider getting the A/C fixed (R12 is about $50-60 per can, that car may take up to 4 cans) and the availability of parts. And, finally, if you buy classic car insurance, you can't use the car as a daily driver. And, if you have conventional car insurance and suffer a total loss, you will almost never get your $4750 back. They will low-ball the living daylights out of you, and it will be more trouble than it is worth.

The bottom line is this: 100K miles is nothing these days on a car that has been well cared for. Check the ads, talk to owners, find out which cars should be avoided (Cadillac Northstars, especially pre-2000 models, for example) and buy a car you like that will give you safety plus economy.

Joe

My 1976-79 Lincolns are/were usually traveling at 80 mph on the expressway. No problems stopping them either. I see no reason why a 1966 Oldsmobile cannot be driven on the expressway.

A/C conversions to 134a cost me about $100 on all of them. I also carried liability only on them for insurance. You get zero if your car is totaled. But you will spend more for full coverage each year than they would probably give you for your car anyway.

I also survived two accidents without any injuries in two of my Lincolns. In spite of ABS, airbags, energy absorbing crumple zones, etc. the drivers of new cars that hit me were not so lucky.

My 1994 Buick was purchased new and always babied. In spite of that, at 150,000 miles it really started piling up repair bills. I wouldn't buy a car with over 100,000 miles on it. Others might have had luck with that, but you should be able to get a 50,000 mile one for not much more and get a lot more years of life and fewer repairs out of it that will more than make up for the price difference.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)

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You only live once. If you spend money on transportation that you don't enjoy your not getting "value" in terms of experience. If paying the extra money for gas is worth the experience "value" go for it.

I understand the concerns about safety. I work at a hospital and see people when they come in after a crash. However, statistically speaking, the odds of you being involved in a major accident are minor. That being said, not having modern safety improvements can change a minor accident into a "major" accident.

If I was in a warm climate I would go for it. The perceived benefits outweigh the minor, but very serious, risks. You can treat your drive to work as just another daily commute, or your own very cool parade of one.:cool: Best of luck on the decision process. Keep us updated!

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LINC,

I understand and appreciate your interest in your older cars. However, no two accidents are the same, so saying " I survived...." as if to imply someone else could do the same isn't valid. And, I wouldn't endorse driving down the road at 80 MPH in a 30-year-old car to anyone.

Bryan,

Please make your decision after considering all the positive and negative factors of what you are thinking about doing, and not just the emotions of driving a great-looking older car.

Joe

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Guest BJM
Bryan,

...finally, if you buy classic car insurance, you can't use the car as a daily driver. And, if you have conventional car insurance and suffer a total loss, you will almost never get your $4750 back. They will low-ball the living daylights out of you, and it will be more trouble than it is worth.

Joe

Joe,

I would have liability insurance only, no comp or collision. No different then when I just had liability insurance before the 2004 Bonneville on a series of "beaters" I drove while my wife had the nice car. That's no different then it was with my old man. Mom got the LTD station wagon and he drove some small truck, car or such with only liability insurance.

It's a partial risk you take but I pay $85 per month for full coverage versus $15 per month for my 71 Chevy C20.

With no car payment, reduced insurance and less maintenance I can afford more of what else interests me while still enjoying a cool ride. Again, the 66 Olds was just the best example and trust me, cash talks and I'll bet $3500 you'd be driving that car away.

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Guest BJM

Safety - I have never felt unsafe in the old behemoths I have driven. I am 46 years old and never been in an accident.

Salt/road damage - I agree that it might make a person wince to subject that 66 Olds 98 to the ravages of Iowa's winters BUT it's not a collector car when you drive it every day. It's a cool used car. Remember the comparison was buying this old Olds (as an example - you can fill in your car of choice) or getting an off-new 35,000 mile car and paying $310 per month (or more) payment, an additional $75 to $100 per month full coverage insurance and so on.

I would say this - the front seat in the Olds would get a tasteful seat cover, when driven in snow it would get frequent car washes including under body pressure washes, but saving $400 per month buys a lot of car washes! (and parts for my projects and wine for the cellar and 401k increases and daughters eduction ... or ... buy a nice new car with a lot of creature comforts.

New cars are nice, don't get me wrong, but I can see myself behind the tilt/telescopic wheel of that 98, enjoying a relaxing ride into work just as well.

Highway speeds - The 66 Olds was made for highway speeds. This car would be most cumbersome from stops lights. The 425 Olds motors had forged cranks and connecting rods, and were over engineered, as was the TH400.

Granted, the drum brakes are inadequate but I drive slower then my grandpa and anticipate very well. Bad snow day? I'll stay home.

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I have nice fairly new (less than 2 year old) semi-expensive (great than $50K) car sitting in my garage but I find myself driving one of my old cars almost daily - usually a vintage VW Beetle or my 75 BMW 2002. Why? It is fun. I love the thrill of getting into an older car and taking a ride. I drive about 70 miles each day to work and back and the ride in the older stuff makes it much more enjoyable to me. In fact if I didn't need a nicer car at times I probably wouldn't own anything but an older one. (And in fact I have still considered selling my new car and using my wife's car when needed). Yes, when I drive it I add wear and tear to it, etc but if you can't enjoy the cars, why have them? Yes the value may go down while I drive it but this is a hobby and that is part of enjoying a hobby. I don't hunt, fish, drink or do much else for a hobby so the money I lose is minor compared to some hobbies. Plus driving an old car everyday allows me to enjoy my hobby everyday instead of just weekends or special activities.

If you want an older car for a DD I would make a suggestion. Buy one and drive it for a while before you sell your current ride. You may not like driving one as a DD. While fun, it is different and not everyone likes that "different" experience. If you see you do like it, sell your current ride and keep drivign the older one. If you don't like it, you won't be stuck driving it until you can get rid of it.

Just my 2 cents

Bob

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LINC,

I understand and appreciate your interest in your older cars. However, no two accidents are the same, so saying " I survived...." as if to imply someone else could do the same isn't valid. And, I wouldn't endorse driving down the road at 80 MPH in a 30-year-old car to anyone.

Joe

Granted, no 2 accidents are the same. By the same token, just because you are driving a new car doesn't mean you will be safe. And just because you are driving an old car does not mean you are unsafe. If you are driving a pre-war car without seat belts and and with wood frame, your odds of survival are probably lower. However, by the 1980's many cars already had the same safety equipment as new cars now. Cars of the 1970's are also quite safe and tough despite the fact that they do not have air bags. It depends on the vehicles invloved. Not just whether a car is new or old. In an accident between a 2010 Suburban an a 1976 Chevette, I would rather be in the Suburban. However in an accident between a 1976 Suburban an a 2010 Chevy Aveo, I would still rather be in the Suburban. What it is, is more important than what year it is. And yes I survived those 2 accidents. I think that is more reliable information of how the specific car I was driving will react in an accident than someone guessing what might happen in an accident between different year and model cars.

I am not encouraging anyone to drive 80 mph. But the notion that anything that is not brand new cannot be driven on the expressway is ridiculous. Anything from the late 1960's - 1980's is more than capable of driving on an expressway. If I did not feel my car was safe enough to drive at 80 on the expressway, I wouldn't drive it at all. If it is unsafe at high speeds, it isn't much safer at low speeds.

BJM, I washed my 1979 Lincoln regularly and had it repainted twice. The salt still caused rust to keep coming back and even new rust to show up. the same deal with my 1994 Buick - repainted once and rust still coming back. The only way to avoid salt causing rust is not to drive it in salt. Of course in Chicago they drop 2 inches of salt for an inch of snow.:rolleyes:

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Dave, I understand your point. However, to buy an off-new Prius would mean another car payment of probably $300-$350 per month, which cuts into my old car hobby and wine cellar money.

$300/mo for 6 years is $21,600.00. If the Olds has a big 425 that's getting 10 mpg around town, that's almost exactly what the extra gas will cost you to run the car ($20,160.00) over a good hybrid like a Prius. Obviously that's the most extreme (but plausible) case, and the difference between a modern hybrid car and (for instance) Joe's relatively modern Buick would be less. However people rarely consider the cost of fueling a gas hog until after they've already bought it.

At 12,000 miles/yr. fuel costs start to get out of hand pretty quick, and it's going to get worse. I know some people like to reject this idea along with the moral issues of burning more fuel than is necessary (lumping them together), but the financial question shouldn't be discounted so easily.

You're talking about thousands of dollars per year no matter which decision you make.

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Guest BJM
$300/mo for 6 years is $21,600.00. If the Olds has a big 425 that's getting 10 mpg around town, that's almost exactly what the extra gas will cost you to run the car ($20,160.00) over a good hybrid like a Prius.

At 12,000 miles/yr. fuel costs start to get out of hand pretty quick, and it's going to get worse. I know some people like to reject this idea along with the moral issues of burning more fuel than is necessary (lumping them together), but the financial question shouldn't be discounted so easily.

You're talking about thousands of dollars per year no matter which decision you make.

Geez Dave, you keep reducing the mileage this car should get. I have owned 4600 pound 1972 Buick Electra Limiteds that got a legitimate 16-17mpg.

Your next post will have this vehicle getting 8 mpg!

Quit comparing my car to a Prius. I would not buy a Prius if I was considering a "new" car. I owuld look for a commuter car but my brother drives a 2 door Honda Civic Si that's a blast to drive - I would probably look at something like that.

I would consider a Buick 2 door sporty model but freakin' GM won't green light it. Driving has to be fun and comfortable. I am sure the Prius is comfortable in a modern sense but why does Toyota have to style it to look like a dog?

You basically are trying to compare extremes. Try something "reasonable" - how about a 2010 Camaro with the 300 hp V6 that should delvier, say, 25-26 mpg or the new 300hp V6 Mustang.

It is true I will probably end up tag teaming a Reatta (2 seater 27 mpg) and a 95-99 last generation Riviera (27mpg) to accomplish this task but my mixed commute - 20 miles one way, 17 miles on the highway 3 on streets - optimizes my gas mileage.

I'll try later to do a comparison with a Camaro V6 and see what the difference is but get off the Prius already! Worse yet - project into the future at a Prius getting 75 mpg in 2015.

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I drive 70 miles a day round trip to work. Personally if I had to doing it in something as boring as a Prius I think I might just shoot myself!!! If the OP want to have anantique as a DD let him - he is asking about driving an old car not how it will compare to a Prius

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Guest BJM

Bob,

I respect Dave's opinion and he frequently defends the Prius and the need to reduce gas consumption in modern autos. I get that. I think America went way wrong encouraging the SUV and big truck culture. I could go on but don't want that to be a focus of this thread.

Now, you commute 70 miles one way? In that case, I could NOT drive an older car without a car payment. Gas would eat me up.

BUT there are a ton of cool smaller cars I would consider using as a DD. One I am buying is a 280Z Datsun.

When restored it will be in the rotation, maybe driven once per week. Volvo, yes Volvo - made a cool sprts car called a P1800 with a 4 cylinder. And they go 300,000 miles with maintenance.

It's hard to find an American car in that class I guess.

OK Dave - from the Honda website for a 2010 Honda Civic Si ---> 21 City/29 Highway mpg. Combined = 25mpg.

1966 Olds 98 four door, 425 cubic inch engine. 12mpg / 17mpg = 14.5mpg

12,000 miles per year x 4 years = 48,000 miles

Olds gas cost at present Iowa $2.56 x 3310 gallons = $8473.60

Honda = $2.56 x 1920 gallons = $4,915.20

Olds price $3500

Honda off-new used (one year old / 15,000 miles) = $20,900 KBB

Insurance Oldsmobile liability only = $30.00 per month / $360.00 annual

Insurance Honda full coverage = $125.00 per month / $1500.00 annual

The Honda would need financed. An old car in decent lower mileage condition would not. $17,400 financed for 60 months at 8.5% = 357.00 per month. ($17,400 is the Honda sales price of $20,900 - $3500.00 = $17,400.00. The $3500.00 represents the cost of the Oldsmobile which instead would be used as a down payment on the Honda in this example)

$357.00 x 12 months = $4284.00 + $1229.00 gas + $1500.00 + $350.00 maintenance (tires amortization/filters/oil) + $400.00 registration tags = $7763.00 annual cost for 2009 Honda Civic Si :eek:

$0.00 payment x 12 months = $0.00 + $2118.40 gas + $360.00 ins + $700.00 maintenance* + $40.00 registration = $3218.40 annual cost for 1966 Olds 98

* having owned and DD several higher mileage old cars, (early 70's Buicks, a 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix, etc - I disagree that maintenance costs would be higher for a 35,000 mile 1966 Olds 98.

Put in a Pertronix elec ignition module, the tires are less costly then a Honda's low profile rubber, put a 6 year Interstate battery - once, brakes would require replacement once - do it at the start of ownership and they should last 48,000 miles. You might have or want new exhaust, rebuilt carb, and regular maintenance for peace of mind might be more but can be done in the driveway (coolant) and a trans flush is $110 but last 60,000 miles in a TH400 (so you would do it once)

Now here is the reason I would consider it (outside of the enjoyment of driving a classy old car) $7763.00 - $3218.00 = $4545.00 in my pocket each year or an additional $379.00 per month for vacations, my old car restorations, daughters college savings, wine for the cellar or what ever your interest is, $4500 is $4500.00 .

Edited by BJM (see edit history)

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Jake, I agree the advice is all over the place. Was trying not to jump into the swamp but....

I have always said the only reasons to get rid of a car is you are tired of it, it doesn't do what yu need any more (car vs truck, size of truck) or it is so rusted out it is no longer safe to drive. Out of the 40+ cars I have owned (collector and daily drivers) two have been new and one of them was a left over year end deal.

I would say as long as your vintage DD is not depended on for long trips you should be in great shape. I make that limitation just because of getting parts on the road when you have to be somewhere.

If you are in the salt belt plan on it to dissolve during your ownership, but your not driving a rare irreplaceable car and who knows how many new old car collectors you will inspire into the hobby.

I have know several people that have done what you want to do, 3 with 60s vintage cars, they got years of use and eventually they were no longer safe because of rust. Two more (years ago now) drove Model A Fords year around. They restored them and did everything underneath in Imron paint and cleaned them well and often. They held up fine but they had short commutes.

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