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A Personal Automotive Dilemma


Guest Rudedog

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Guest Rudedog

So I am pretty much a newbie on here, but I have been around cars my whole life and recently was lucky enough to be in a place where I could acquire my first, of what I hope is many, classic cars.

After several months of tinkering and working I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the Hydramatic in my Lincoln (it's a 54’ Capri by the way) needs rebuilding. The cheapest I can find for someone to do it will be in the $2500-2700 range, which honestly isn’t bad. However, for about $3000 more than I paid for the whole car, there is a 1953 Cosmopolitan not far away that is a complete running survivor with only 60k on the odometer. Now, my uncle who sold the car to me laments the sale and has said he will reverse our deal and take the car back so I am really only out a few hundred bucks that I have spent on repairing and replacing some parts that were necessary to get it running.

Here is the dilemma though; I know my uncle, and the rest of my family. They are all in their 50's and 60's now, and they want a cruiser that looks the part without the fiddly bits associated with classics, so I am pretty sure that once my uncle has the car back, he will cannibalize a drive train from a late model car and retrofit it into the Capri. His work is impeccable and I would love to see what his skill could do with something like that, but I feel torn. If I sell him the Capri back, he will gut it. If I keep it, I will spend far more than $3000 to get it anywhere near the condition of the Cosmo.

Honestly I probably will go through with it. I know that it would make my significant other extremely happy if I struck the deal as she has been subjected to years of automotive television and understands just how extensive and costly the work to restore the Capri would be. The pros and cons of the deal are financially stacked against the Capri so it doesn’t make sense to keep. I just hate the idea of one of these marvelous machines being gutted and resto-modded.

I’m posting this because I read a thread similar to this a few days back and was interested to hear what some other's opinions were on the subject.

Thanks!

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If the cost of the transmission is a stumbling block, I'd suggest trying some 'out of the box' ways to get it done cheaper. $2500 seems pretty steep for a basic rear-wheel drive trans. Many times the repair price skyrockets because the car is a 'rare antique' and the tech has a yacht payment to make. Ask for repair recommendations at used car lots or even junk yards. Most areas have low-cost servicers; the trick is finding them.

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Guest Rudedog

The issue with the trans really is just a catalyst for the decision. The car also needs a complete interior and paint. I have a guy who will paint it for peanuts (paint cost+$100 bucks and a case of beer), and a good interior shop who can kit it out like new, but even with my connections I will spend a minimum of $5,000 just on those. So even if I found a guy to rebuild the transmission for $1,000 I will spend more than twice the difference in cost for the other car.

I actually have called around to most of the older, established transmission shops in my area, and I have gone in personally to several salvage yards to inquire about what to do. Unfortunately the steel cased hydramatic appears to be one of those that it is just getting harder and harder to get worked on. I even briefly considered rebuilding it myself, but honestly, tearing apart a 60 year old A/T is a bit daunting to me.

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Guest Dodge1939D11

Wish I had a guy that would paint my car for $100.00, paint and a case of beer.

What it boils down to is what would make you happiest?

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Guest Rudedog

Yeah, he does amazing work, show car quality. The trick is that you have to catch him sober and not give him the beer until the end of the job! I wish I had a photo of the job he did on a motorcycle for one of my uncles. Beautiful blue metal flake on the frame, fenders & tank. Silver flames with ghosted flames inside and green accents and a hand laid orange pinstripe to seperate the blue and silver. All of that...$400 bucks.

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Guest Dodge1939D11

Jeez.

Just asked my Wife's friends husband how much for a repaint on the 39 dodge and he quoted me $5000.00. I think I will stick with the current paint for a while.

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