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Looking, but not sure


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I will upfront from the beginning here and hope everyone can understand. I have always been intered in older cars, but have never owned one. I actually begged my dad for a 60's model car when I turned 16 back in the early 90's. I am now 36 and still have that itch you could say. I have recently become disabled and sitting at home has really got me down and bored. I have decided I need a hobby. Now, I know some are going to think if your disabled how can you do this. Well physically I am not disabled. It is intestinal problem and until they can figure it out this is what I am stuck with and can't work due to pain medication and my job not allowing it. Luckily I have longterm disability insurance through my job. I can work on things for a few hours, but then the pain starts getting to bad and I have to stop and just sit the rest of the day.

Anyway I have been looking around on craigslist and stuff trying to find something cheap, but not to far gone. I have basically no knowledge of motors, body work and all that good stuff. Is this something I could do with time or should I just forget it and take up model cars? I have the want and to me the need, but lack the knowledge. I am a pretty bashful person and don't think I could ever ask anyone to help me. I don't have a specific car in mind, but do have many I like. I don't have the kind of money it takes to just drop a car off at a shop and say call me when your done. I actually want to do the majority of the work myself. With my limited abilities right now I know that will take me a long time if I never recover, but all I have is time right now anyway. Any suggestions for someone like me? I can't take any kind of votech course or anything because of my problems. They way I see it is if I give up then I might as well say I am never going to recover and that is not me. I am a procrastinator however when it comes to things I know that I have never done for fear of failure I guess you could say so I never start them, but I have my mind set this time I am going to start even if I don't know what to do.

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Welcome Dust.

Tell me where you live and I will check and see if there is a closeby Region or Chapter of the AACA you could contact. To join you need to be a member of the National AACA first.

Hope they are able to help you with the health issues. My granddaughter found out that her trips to the ER in extreme pain like you describe were due to food allergies. Soy turned out to be the worse culprit. She had gone vegan in her diet and was using a lot of soy. Not anymore.

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If you have any Mechanical common sense at all, it will be a nice challange for you to undertake a restoration project. My thought would be to get something that is not in need of a total restoration, But a nice driver to tinker with. Work through problems and components that need attention one at a time. And by all means, do not be afraid to ask questions. I've been repairing, restoring, rebuilding, and mantaining everything from D8 Caterpillars to weed wackers for over 40 years and I still find that I sometimes need to ask questions to sort though a problem.

I also suffered from an intestenal problem a number of years back. I had to change my diet to cut out many complex carbs and eat mostly proten. It took several years of this to feel better, and I feel better now and can on occassion eat the things that I could not for quite a few years without a problem. All in moderation. Dandy Dave!

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Dust,

Quite a compelling story, I had to respond. Hope I can give some moral support by sharing my story.

I'm 39 years old, so very close to you. I've loved cars since I was old enough to walk. Been obsessed with them. The following is a true story...when I was about 12 or 13, I had already been subscribing to Car and Driver for several years. I started going through all the magazines I had and cut out pictures of all the cars I liked. I literally covered every square inch of my bedroom walls with those pictures. Thankfully I used Scotch tape over that old 80's type wallpaper, so my parents weren't too mortified. :D Anyhow, that's the kind of car person I am.

However, like you, I never really learned how to fix them. I understand cars really, really well. I even work in the auto insurance claims business, and am a licensed appraiser. But I never took a wrench in my hand and learned. I've been fortunate over the years to have lots of cool cars, but always took them to a mechanic. Now, with 3 young kids at home, those days are gone. Long gone. Just a few weeks ago, I bought a 1965 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Holiday sedan. Picked it up dirt cheap. Original owner had it for 43 years, and I bought it from the second owner. It's far from a concourse car. It's a "survivor". Shows it's age, but it still runs and drives quite well. With the exception of putting 3 point seat belts in it, I intend to do all the work on it myself. It's a faily simple car, so no complicated electronics and such to worry about. At some point, even if you're shy, you'll want to ask for help. The internet is a great tool, and forums like this are invaluable. I say go for it!!!! Find a car that's still in running/driving condition, but not a show car. They're out there. They'll pop up on Craigslist periodically, not every day. Look for the "less desirable" older cars. The sedans, 6 cylinder cars, etc... I'm sure you could find a 60's GM/Ford/Chrysler family sedan like I did for cheap.

As for the health thing, best of luck. I have intestinal issues as well. I have Crohns' disease. Luckily, it's under control with medications.

Edited by Klayfish (see edit history)
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Dust, consider a Corvair. Parts are readily available,they are as simple as a paper clip,are very affordable and last but not least they are fun cars to drive.

Ed in Fla

1960 Corvair sedan

1964 corvair convertible (wifes car)

1962 Corvan

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

Klayfish it may end up I have Crohns and just haven't had a specialist where I live that has been able to diagnose it. I have most of the symptoms of it. Hopefully my answers will come next week. I have been accepted into the Mayo Clinic in MN and have to be there Tuesday. Sure hate to have another colonoscopy since I have already had 2, but if that's what it takes then so be it.

Kind of strange I have survived 2 brain aneurysms in 12 years, but some intestinal problem is what brought me down. With my aneurysms I was off a total of 3 weeks for both and that was with surgery on both. I have been off a year with this crud. Been a nice break from a stressful job, but not to my mental capacities. Oh well enough of the sob story and on to things I can enjoy.

Marlin it's funny you mention a corvair. That was my mothers first car and she always tells me the stories of driving it around with tv trays as the floorboards becauser hers were rotted out. Says everytime she would hit a mud puddle everyone in the car would be covered in it.

Hope everyone has a good day.

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Dust, you have come to the right place. Already the advice above is good, especially from Klayfish who is in a very similar situation. I will add a bit more and others will chime in.

First, being in OK you are in a place to try to avoid cars that are rusty. Rust is the enemy, it is expensive to have repaired properly. Also, try to find a car that is as complete and original as possible. A car missing significant parts or with amateur modifications is an added chore, especially for a beginner. I think the goal is to find a car that need not be dismantled or undrivable for any extended period, as that will sap your motivation.

Next, in old cars body and trim are harder to deal with than mechanicals. A rough and rusty car with good mechanicals is not as good as an original car that only needs cosmetic sprucing up but needs brakes, tires, exhaust, etc. Most Detroit cars of the 1960s and 1970s have mechanicals that are easily sourced, both locally and through the mail. But they may have trim and body equipment that are hard to find if missing or broken. As an example, I recall as a kid hearing of a Cadillac owner who traded an entire running engine for a good dash that was straight and not cracked.

So what kind of car to get? We have heard Corvair (good), Mustang or Falcon with six cylinder (good), or 1960s family sedan (my favorite). When I go to car meets I have a little game where I look for a good buy for a new enthusiast for $5000 or less and there can be some great cars in that group. No Hemi Cuda or GTO, but lots of 1960s and (expecially) 1970s models, especially in full size cars and four doors. In many cases a 1970s model has that old school driving experience, but better mechanicals and safety and costs less than the earlier model. Take a look at what you can find and afford. When you have a possibility, Google to see what new and reproduction parts are available (catalog a plus) and let us know here for further feedback. Good luck, Todd C

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Thanks poci for the repy. Let me ask as question that may be off the wall here.

There is a guy just outside of town here that has older cars sitting all around his property. From the road you can see many 30's and 40's model cars, but you can also see a few gto's and other cars so no telling what all he has. I don't know the man personaly, but in experience of members here how to people like this feel about someone approaching their property to ask about the cars? I have talked to my wife about and in her mind she is convinced if they are still sitting there then he will probably not appreciate me asking about them. I was thinking about just asking him if I could look at the cars since I like older cars and build a repore with him and then one day after getting to know him see if he would be interested in selling one. Just a great theory in my mind, but he may be a hoarder and not accept it to well. Just curious if anyone has approached anyone like this.

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I would say we ALL have tried to approach a guy like that. All of your theories are possible--hoarder, hermit, "gonna restore it someday", etc. A friendly approach building rapport is the best start, but a guy like that can be wooed for years for nothing. You might make an interesting friend and work your way to the front of the line, but that is a much longer term and psychological project than, say, finding an old car at an estate auction or something. Todd C

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Dust, consider a Corvair. Parts are readily available,they are as simple as a paper clip,are very affordable and last but not least they are fun cars to drive.

Ed in Fla

1960 Corvair sedan

1964 corvair convertible (wifes car)

1962 Corvan

There is a green one for sale right down off of the hill from us. Want it? :) We could get and send photos.

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Poci you're probably right on that one. Being how he sits next to the highway I bet he has been asked a thousand times already. I know an old man that has a few barns with about 40 cars in each one that won't sell any of them. He don't do anything with them just likes having them. Won't even let his own son take one.

There is a 36 chevrolet 2 door sedan in my area if anyone is interested in it for sale. Not sure if I can post links to craigslist on here, but if anyone is interested I can PM you a link. Looks pretty complete and in good condition from the pics. It's not for me right now, but never know one day it may be.

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I know an old man that has a few barns with about 40 cars in each one that won't sell any of them. He don't do anything with them just likes having them. Won't even let his own son take one.

This is a more common situation than we might think. There is some hoarder and some delusion involved. This guy is almost always old and possibly alone and somewhere in there he sees these old cars as (a) a touchstone in his life linking him to his better past and/or (B) a valuable treasure that is a sort of savings account. Not that he intends to sell, but everyone knows old cars are valuable and never lose value, right ;) ? So they must be a good investment. And the regular stream of visitors proves this. Even though they all want to buy them cheap. An additional © possibility is that posessing these old cars makes him the envy of these interested passers-by and that is rewarding to him in his old age. Even if his GTO is deteriorating and deep down he doubts he will ever restore it, just owning it and talking about it may be all the gratification he needs.

Well, forgive me for talking like the Dr Phil of old cars, but like I said we have all met these guys and they are indeed out there. The question eventually becomes if they will sell before they die. If not, then what will happen when the family either fights over the cars or has no interest and they are crushed by the city or something. Everyone has a story and you probably will now hear a few. Again, a guy like this may have a suitable project for you but it is less tricky to look for a car being sold by a more motivated seller. Todd

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I say that you can't go wrong with a Model T or Model A as a starter project. #1- They are EVERYWHERE. #2- Nearly all of the Model T and A parts are reproduced which makes it super easy to get the project finished. #3- There are probably more support groups and clubs dedicated to Fords that any other car. #4- The parts are fairly affordable. I suppose you could start out with a Chrysler product as I did, but parts are scarce for them.

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Dust,

As for approaching the guy, if you don't see a shotgun in his hand, I say there's no harm in trying. I think you'll figure out pretty soon if there's any interest in selling them. But if they're just sitting and have been for years, they may not be cars you want anyway.

Stick with Craigslist or even Ebay. Find a motivated seller who has a running car. There are lots of possibilities. As I said in my original post, a mid-60's or even early 70's sedan should be easy to find cheap. But as Todd said, you may struggle if you try to find trim parts. I know that in the little research I've done, I can find mechancial parts for my Olds all day long, but the body/trim...not as easy. But for me, I have no plans/intentions to do a frame off restoration on this car. I just want to drive it and enjoy it, so I'm not super worried about finding trim. As Keiser said, a car like the Model T (if it draws your interest) has huge aftermarket support. I'll bet you could build a brand new Model T from scratch using all catalog parts if you wanted. Maybe an original Beetle would be good too? Huge parts support there.

And if it turns out you do have Crohns (which I would have think they should have been able to diagnose by now), it's definitely controlable. Knock on wood, I'm doing great.

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Dust, good luck on your health and your car search. It is much easier to learn the basics of mechanics than bodywork as most will tell you. Some good suggestions here already - My two cents, if you like an older pre-war car, choose a Model A or T - personally I would opt for a closed A - very affordable and mechanically simple - a car you can truly learn the mechanics of stem to stern as teenagers routinely did in the 40s, 50s and 60s. I would opt for a 6 cyl. Mustang if you want a 60s car. Only slightly more complicated and there is one on this site now in really nice shape for around six grand. A project would be substantially less. Buy the best one you can afford as there will probably still be plenty of work left and it will pay you back in large dividends. You can use your down time to read up on the mechanical principals and fix most things with basic hand tools.

With an A or T, you can search for an old restoration that could be had reasonably and nurse it back to health. A full on restoration can be overwhelming; a car that needs some freshening would give you a light at the end of the tunnel a lot faster, then you could try your hand at something more challenging down the road.

Also Susan jumped on it first, but join a local club or two; unlike the guy with 40 cars in his yard if you contact an AACA region and even just ask to sit in on a meeting they will welcome you. I know this to be true of Model A clubs and would guess most others are the same as well.

In any event, good luck -

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Dust;

Let me stick in a word for the best beginner car that I can think of....the Crosley. First of all they are relatively simple to find. There must be 30 on Craigslist in various areas right now. They are inexpensive for initial purchase, parts are readily available and they are easy to work on. You can find and restore a Crosley station wagon for under $7,000!!! I am starting on my 5th one right now (some people never outgrow the beginner level). They attract more people at a show than almost any other car since they are so unusual. Also, in Crosleys you can find just about any model you can imagine from sports cars to wagons, to pickups to SUVs. They are small so after you get the fever (no one owns only one Crosley...I have 13) there is always room for another one. Finally, I proudly say that Crosley people are some of the finest and most fun in the antique car hobby. If you want to see Crosleys go to Crosley Automobile Club Inc.- Home for all Crosley Car Owners and look at the pictures from our National show. If I can be of service in helping you find a car, feel free to ask.

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It depends on what interests you more. You mentioned a 60's car are you attracted to the muscle aspect? If so a corvair may not do it for you (although I had one and agree they are still relatively inxpensive but parts are available). If you want a 60's car consider the one off cars, a satelite instead of a road runner for example or olds and buick had thier version of the chevelle, mercury cougar rather than a mustang and so on. I would get something with a good body and bad motor over a bad body and good motor. Mechanics are easier for a beginner and it at least looks decent even if it runs like crap :). A model A is also readily available and they are super simple to work on and understand. one benefit is there is lots of room to get at the motor or under it.

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First suggestion is to look into natural health remedies for your illness. I didnt believe in them either until I tried some, and cured an illness that defied the doctors for years. You could start by reading Living Health by Harvey Diamond. He cured some heavy duty stomach trouble of his own, just by correct food combining. There is a lot of info on the web too. How can eating healthy do any harm

Second, welcome to the old car hobby. For your needs I suggest you stick to a Chev or Ford from the early 6Os. They are the easiest to fix and the easiest and lowest cost to fix.

The dark horse in the race is the Chrysler line. The slant 6 Dodge and Plymouth are my favorites, good cars and easy to fix but not as common as Ford and Chev . If you find a good one, they are usually better buys.

Buy the best, most complete low mileage car you can afford. This will likely mean a 4 door sedan or similar boring car. However you never know your luck. You might find a Barracuda at a bargain, they are usually cheaper than a Camaro or Mustang. Or maybe a Nova or Falcon hardtop. Dont be afraid to ask questions and look at a lot of cars before you buy.

Then get a repair manual and go by it. The ones the factory issued to dealers are the best and not too hard to find. They were sold to every dealer in the country and there are thousands of them around. Usually $2O to $5O at auto flea markets and on Ebay. Will definitely save more than they cost in time and money, sometimes on your first repair job.

That is about enough for a start. You can have some fun and learn a lot of things by hanging around old car cruise nights. Some of the things you hear are even true lol.

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As an example, just a few of weeks ago I bought a 1966 Dodge Coronet sedan, slant six auto, for $4OO. This is a local car with less than 35OOO miles on it. It needs some bodywork and the upholstery is starting to come apart at the seams but it is all complete and runs like a brand new car. The cost to go back on the road will be minimal and all needed repairs can be done by me in my back yard or garage.

Not the most exciting car in the world but you can have a lot of fun at minimal cost, everything is easy to get at and simple to fix, and most everything you need is still available from local stores.

With a six cylinder car, not only are they easier to fix but you can afford to buy gas for them. Some of the big motor cars will draw the attention at shows but you cant afford to drive them anywhere.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Join a club! Join a club! Join a club! The members of the club will be happy to guide you to a really good purchase. If you do it alone there is a good chance you buy a car and THEN join the club. At the first meeting they will say "Oh, you bought THAT car."

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As an example, just a few of weeks ago I bought a 1966 Dodge Coronet sedan, slant six auto, for $4OO. This is a local car with less than 35OOO miles on it. It needs some bodywork and the upholstery is starting to come apart at the seams but it is all complete and runs like a brand new car. The cost to go back on the road will be minimal and all needed repairs can be done by me in my back yard or garage.

Not the most exciting car in the world but you can have a lot of fun at minimal cost, everything is easy to get at and simple to fix, and most everything you need is still available from local stores.

With a six cylinder car, not only are they easier to fix but you can afford to buy gas for them. Some of the big motor cars will draw the attention at shows but you cant afford to drive them anywhere.

Wow! Where did you find a '66 Coronet in great running shape for $400? I've got to come shopping with you next time! :D

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Thanks everyone for all the great advice. I have noticed a few things about old cars. Not speaking about any of you since I don't know you and probably don't live near you. Some around here that have them sitting around think they are a gold mine. Others don't want to get rid of them and some don't actually know what they have. There are a lot of cars disappearing around here. We have tons of metal scrappers running around hauling off cars from people. Some illegaly and some not. They give the guy 100 bucks for it and haul it off and the guy/gal thinks they made a good deal. Got a hundred bucks and the car that won't run and got it out of their yard. Thing is if they would have just put out an ad for 500 someone would have bought it and hauled it off as well. We do have one gentleman here in town that puts out ads to pay twice what a scapper offers just to save the car from the scrap yards. He is also a salvage owner so he is making his money back I'm sure. I live faily clost to 4 3 state lines so I will be keeping an eye out and let everyone know how it goes. It may even be one of your cars if we live close enough. Thanks again

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Wow! Where did you find a '66 Coronet in great running shape for $400? I've got to come shopping with you next time! :D

It was sold at an auction of a defunct Chrysler collector and vintage car dealer named Bill Martin of Will Manor Motors. His family sold off all the best stuff privately then held an auction of leftover cars, parts, tools and "junk".

The Coronet was among a lot of other unrestored junkers. Most went for $300 to $500 to scrap metal buyers.

I happened to know the car because I used to own it. I sold it to a local enthusiast about 5 years ago partly restored. He never did anything to it but traded it to Bill on a 53 Chrysler 2 or 3 years ago.

How I bought the car first is a funny story. I spotted it sitting in a suburban driveway in early 2001. I didn't need another car at the time but couldn't help noticing it every time I drove by. After about 3 months I stopped in one saturday morning and knocked on the door. A teenager with a Sideshow Bob haircut answered the door. When I asked if the car was for sale he said "I don't know. It belongs to my father but I know Mom is after him to get rid of it".

At that moment I knew I could pretty much write my own ticket lol. I wound up buying the car for $50 bucks.

Only after I bought it did I discover that it actually did have 34000 miles on it. The car was bought new by the grandfather of the guy I got it from. He inherited the car and put it on the road but only drove it for a few months then put it away in the garage for 13 years. When I spotted it he had just pushed it out of the garage so he could put his sailboat inside.

I took it home, did a complete brake job, cleaned and sealed the gas tank and did a few other little jobs. At this point it was in perfect shape mechanically and just needed some bodywork. I never did get around to finishing it and eventually sold it for $2000 as described above.

This was an unusual deal but not the first time I sold a car and later bought it back although, making a profit is highly unusual lol.

There are some good buys out there if you keep looking and don't get impatient. I find more cars to buy than I could ever find the time or money for. I'm sure you could do a lot better in most parts of the US than you can around here.

Here is the ad for the auction. The Coronet is mentioned under "Projects" and is pictured 12th row down, far right.

http://sullivanauctions.com/auction-martin-estate-auction-vintage-vehicles-and-tools/

By the way the only reason the Coronet was not listed among the "running" was the battery was dead. I put jumper cables on it and it fired right up.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I no longer bother trying to buy a car from anyone who has lots of them sitting around. Either he is a dealer who will want top dollar, or he is nuts and won't sell because he likes lots of old cars sitting around.

What you want to find is a guy with one old car, and a wife who is nagging him to get rid of it. That is where you find the bargains. He can't turn you down no matter what you offer.

I also found out, it is best to buy from someone well off. A guy with lots of dough who is tired of a car, doesn't care much what he gets for it in many cases. Because a few hundred bucks one way or another are not going to affect his lifestyle. While a poor person will try to squeeze every dime out of a real tenth hand junker.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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This is a "For Sale" sales pitch.

I believe this is the kind of vehicle being described as a decent first car. It is a 1953 Willys Aero (ACE) automobile built by the company that also built the Willy Jeep. Willys built 102,000 between 1952 & 1955. Most mechanical parts are interchangeable with the jeep. This is a running car I have driven 3,500 miles in the last 3 years. It has 60,700 miles as of June 23rd and I will put another 100 miles this Sat on a club tour. I have taken it to one local car show, it received a 1st place in 1960 to 1959 class. I look at it as a touring car and defiantly not a show car. The car is 770 miles from Tulsa in SW Ohio. It is a nice car but my interest is actually in pre WW2 vehicles.

The following link is to the ad previously posted on this forum.

http://forums.aaca.org/f119/1953-willys-overland-aero-ace-304118.html

You can also do a search on " 1953 willys aero "

post-41405-143138577276_thumb.jpg

Edited by huptoy (see edit history)
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