Jump to content

First Classic Car with a $12,500 Budget


Guest Jackstay
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Jackstay

Hello,

I have gotten a promotion and I now have some spare money that I would like to spend on a classic car. I have grown up around engines most of my life and am not completely green in the area. I would however like to know a few things about what are good cars available for my budget. My list of wants are as follows: 1) Looks cool 2) Reliable 3) Not terrible on fuel 4) Reasonably fast 5) Manual transmission. To get an idea of where I sit, I rather like Ford Falcons and other saloon muscle cars. Any help would be appreciated.

Best,

Jackstay

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Forum, and old car hobby. Do you want something stone stock or something upgraded? There is a strong Falcon following on the HAMB website, great for information and help, there is a great classified section as well. You should be able to get something street ready for $12,500 IMO. Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Jackstay
Welcome to the Forum, and old car hobby. Do you want something stone stock or something upgraded? There is a strong Falcon following on the HAMB website, great for information and help, there is a great classified section as well. You should be able to get something street ready for $12,500 IMO. Bob

Thanks for the reply, Bob. As long as it looks stock I am fine with it. If a whole number of things have been done to the car to make it ready for the drag strip and only the drag strip, I'm not interested. If someone bored out the cylinders or upgraded the carbs or changed the clutch, I'm completely at peace with it. What's HAMB?

Best,

Jackstay

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest BillP

Your use of the term saloon car suggests you are in the UK. If so, you'd be wise to look for something European for a number of reasons. Parts, familiarity, pool of available cars, pool of potential customers at sale time, etc. If you're not in the UK, just apply the same thinking to where you are.

MGB or C might be a good starter; they are simple, robust and well-known. Parts are easily available. Get one that has had the rust properly repaired, otherwise brace yourself. Either an MGC GT or MGB GT V8 is muscular, saloon-y and distinctive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Study the market for whatever you like the best for at least 6 months before jumping in. There are always subtleties that are lost on somebody not familiar with a particular model. Some things are easy to know, like 4 speeds bring a lot more than automatics in the muscle car world. Other's not so easy to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My list of wants are as follows: 1) Looks cool 2) Reliable 3) Not terrible on fuel 4) Reasonably fast 5) Manual transmission. To get an idea of where I sit, I rather like Ford Falcons and other saloon muscle cars. Any help would be appreciated.

You need to add one more "want" to your list to get a fairly accurate idea of what's available, and that is condition. If you want a perfect trailer queen car for that kind of money you'll have very limited choices. If you can live with a few cosmetic issues on a car that's regularly driven, then a MUCH wider range of vehicles is open to you. Regardless you'll always need to temper any suggestions with what turns you on.

Personally I went from 1960s era American cars to European sports cars because I found there was just more driving fun for the buck there, with (if anything) better support in the market in the U.S. (clubs and parts especially). Your budget would allow for a near-trailer queen quality Triumph Spitfire, MG Midget, or even an Austin Healey Sprite. For a driver vehicle at that money you could be in a Triumph TR4, TR4A, or TR6 easily, and even a somewhat better than average driver MGB or MGB GT. Virtually all of these cars are manuals, something that's pretty rare already by the 1960s in U.S. products. Also all of these cars are much more reliable than their reputations might suggest. My driver TR6 has seen about 10,000 miles since I bought it with only one minor repair. A VW Beetle is also well within this budget, although I think it's probably too far from what you're expressed interests are, (BTW, your choice of the word "saloon" tells me that you're probably already familiar with the British end of this market.)

If you want to stick to American cars, most compacts (Falcon, Valiant, Dart, Nova) car be bought in pretty decent shape for that kind of money, but a mid-size or bigger car would almost have to be a 4 door sedan to be in good condition. If there are are exceptions, they are 2-fold--up market and down market (in very general terms). Chevys reign as kings in the market, with Fords and Dodge/Plymouth Mopars shortly behind. However the upper ranges of each company tend to be less valuable. You'll generally pay less (equal condition) for a Pontiac than a Chevy, for a Olds over a Pontiac, for a Buick over an Olds, and a Caddy over any of them. That's even more pronounced with FoMoCo and Chrysler products. Mercurys and Chryslers (IMHO) are badly undervalued in today's market. Be wary of any fixer-uppers, however, as parts costs do not reflect this difference at all! Also gas mileage will decline in many cases as you go upmarket, although some V6 Buicks and straight 6 Pontiacs are out there to be found and there are oddities. (My former 1960 Buick LeSabre had a rare "export"/regular gas engine that got a reliable 14 mpg city/17 mph highway, about 3 mpg better than "normal" versions of the same car.)

As far as down market is concerned, there is always AMC. Their cars are not to be dismissed, and can be had in very nice shape for not much money. I would bet that a $12K Javelin would be by far the best pony car of a group of $12k Mustangs/Camaros/Firebirds/etc. Even some Studebaker products, especially Larks and Daytonas, are not out of the question. Also some pretty decent pickup trucks and SUVs are available in this price range, however I think all of them would lose on the mpg and fast counts.

Good luck. Taky your time, and have fun!:)

Edited by Dave@Moon (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can get a really nice Falcon for $12,500! I've got a '61... cool, easy to work on, parts are easy to get, great support group over at The Ford Falcon Network. The square bodies '64+ seem to cost more than the round bodies '63- with 64-65 being the most wanted it seems.

They are a good car all around and there is alot you can do with them. Of all the cars i've ever had that Falcon gets the most attention and thats saying alot as i've had many fun oddball cars over the years. I think its because the 60's Falcon has entered that nostalgic age where people had one as a young adult or mom/dad had one etc... I've never met a less than friendly falcon owner, they all seem to be willing to help with whatever they can. A sort of general supporting of the community attitude seems to be the rule, I can't say the same for some other makes i've had.

At any rate, my wife has forbidden me to ever sell our falcon and she's not even really a car person... the proof is in the pudding!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My advice is always to drive everything you can afford, without preconceived notions, and buy the one that makes you smile the most. Don't decide you like a Falcon without trying other stuff on for size. You might discover that you're a Mopar guy or an MG guy instead.

Take your time browsing, learning, and dreaming, that's a big part of the experience!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few suggestions:

Buy the best car you can find and can afford, as regards condition. Repairs and restoration cost a lot of money, you are better off to buy the better car in the first place. Do not be too fixated on one make and model. We are talking about 40 or 50 year old used cars here and chance has a lot to do with what has survived. The wider the net you cast, the more likely you are to catch a really good one, just by the law of averages.

You have to use your judgement here. If you happen to find a car that needs a $500 repair and can buy it for $2000 below market value that is different. You say you know something about car repairs so I leave that to you.

Don't spend over $10,000. Save $2500 for repairs. You never know, even a good car can need brakes, tires, tuneup, battery, new rad hoses etc and these seemingly minor things can add up.

You mention Falcon so I take it you like sixties cars. This is a good place to look. There are some good buys in sixties and seventies cars if you avoid the obviously expensive ones like Mustangs, Corvettes and muscle cars generally. Just last week I looked at an ad for a 1977 Pontiac LeMans 2 door hardtop with 350 V8. It was a good looking car in red, in good condition, and only $1600. This was a great deal, but such deals turn up every few weeks if you keep looking.

Shop your local ads like Craigslist, Kijiji, Auto Trader etc. You will often find nice cars much cheaper than in the national ads. You will have to look through a lot of ads for beat up Toyotas and chain saws but the gems are out there. The national sites will narrow things down to just the desirable cars, but at what a price!

So, keep watching the ads. If you see something that appeals to you at a decent price look it over carefully and make up your mind. There are lots of good buys out there if you use your head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is the Falcon running gear the same as the first Mustang? Bob

It depends on the year. My first antique was a 1960 Falcon that was my daily driver for 3+ years in graduate school. It had a 144 cu. in. 6 with a two speed automatic (too low & too high!). In 1961 they introduced the optional 170 cu, in. 6. Both motors were anemic, and gas mileage varied a lot. My Falcon got anywhere between 16 and 30 mpg on the highway depending on which way the wind was blowing. (The cars are absolutely horrendous aerodynamically.) It had a top speed of 75 mph on a good day in top nick, which is slow by anyone's standards. The 260 V8 didn't come out until 1963 1/2.

By the time the Mustang came out in 1964 it had a 200 cu. in. 6, which I think was still an option in the Falcon with 170 by then as standard. The V8s were optional, and the same between the 2 cars. I think by 1966 both cars had the same engines available.

Falcons are robust cars that (frankly) don't handle well even by the standards of their day (although they're hardly unsafe), and have a serious propensity to rust. The most interesting bodies (hardtop & convertible) were only made from 1963 1/2 to 1965, unlike almost all the other compacts. They are all quite handsome, which most people tend to forget until one is in front of them. Try a few to see if you like them.

Personally I prefer the Dart/Valiant compacts, which equal the Falcon in all the positive points and (especially for the Dart) come in some VERY attractive and interesting body styles. I also think that (if their torsion bar suspensions are in good nick) they handle better as well. Hardtops are available for all years 1960-1976 (except 1967-169 Valiant), along with convertibles through the 1960s and the Duster/Demon in the 1970s. That's just a personal preference, however.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Early Mustangs were all Falcon underneath. They even used a Falcon dashboard. When restoring a 65 Mustang fastback for a customer I took off the rubber dash pad and underneath found a Falcon dash with 2 steel brackets spot welded on to support the pad. The instrument cluster was the same shape but with more gauges.

Later ones from 1968 or 69 were based on the Fairlane chassis. This was the first Mustang with big engines in the 390 - 428 cu in range. Earlier models were limited to a 289 small block engine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...