Jump to content

First car, and curious about older vehicles.


Recommended Posts

So, not going to lie..I'm new to engines/car parts in general..So I have a unique predicament.

I was told by a few friends who are car savvy the pros of owning an older car (Tougher frame, easier to fix, more reliable parts due to less complexity) so as a first time car owner there has always been a type of car I've always been interested in having, even as a kid.

A Cadillac Fleetwood, or the various other types of vehicles that resemble its body (Chevy Caprice, mercury..I forget the name)

I know it probably seems silly for a first time car owner to go after one of these, but I have to atleast ask if this is a viable choice! I'm quite willing to learn if it is viable to own one of these beauties for more then just collection purposes.

I'm willing to pay for restorations of course, but so far here are my main concerns:

1. Parts, I'm aware I'd have to find other parts from scrapped older vehicles, but does this extend to each and every part of whatever breaks on said vehicle? (Can some newer parts work on older vehicles?)

2. Would I have to see a specialist for any repairs, oil changes, or rotations? I'm aware they won't just have whatever part in stock should something specific break, but if I had extra parts would any run of the mill place repair it?

3. In case of accident, what on earth would insurance even cover? Say I get a big dent in my door, how would something like that get fixed?

Additional info: I'm engaged, and my fiance of course has a car that I am at the moment driving, but I want my own, and these types of car bodies are my car crush.

I'm not sure if you guys/gals welcome people who are mostly clueless about cars, but I have to ask anyways! I'm willing to learn about parts if I need to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. Where are you located? You can probably find a local Region or Chapter of AACA near your area. You could then get to know some people in your area who could help you explore this issue and maybe get some first hand experience with cars of different eras. It depends on what era car you are wanting to use as your daily driver. You can drive anything if you want to. You can find parts and people to repair almost anything. My primary daily driver is a 1989 Buick Park Avenue. With that car, it is not much different from driving a "modern" car, except you don't have as many cupholders. I can go to any local autoparts store and get almost any part that I need for that car, usually they even have the parts in stock. With an earlier car, getting parts is usually a little bit more difficult, but it can be done. I even have a pretty good parts supplier for my 1937 Buick Century. I love to drive it, but I would not choose to drive it as a daily driver in my environment without air conditioning.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the welcome, I'm from Ohio, Canton specifically. :)

Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. Where are you located? You can probably find a local Region or Chapter of AACA near your area. You could then get to know some people in your area who could help you explore this issue and maybe get some first hand experience with cars of different eras. It depends on what era car you are wanting to use as your daily driver. You can drive anything if you want to. You can find parts and people to repair almost anything. My primary daily driver is a 1989 Buick Park Avenue. With that car, it is not much different from driving a "modern" car, except you don't have as many cupholders. I can go to any local autoparts store and get almost any part that I need for that car, usually they even have the parts in stock. With an earlier car, getting parts is usually a little bit more difficult, but it can be done. I even have a pretty good parts supplier for my 1937 Buick Century. I love to drive it, but I would not choose to drive it as a daily driver in my environment without air conditioning.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BillP

Call Matt Harwood and make an appointment to go see him. He's a dealer in old cars and has a variety of makes, models and vintages so you could get a feel for older machinery. He's very knowledgeable, easy to talk to and active in the old car hobby. Close by too, in Macedonia.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the welcome, I'm from Ohio, Canton specifically. :)

Hi,

You have one of the most active AACA chapters in US in Canton known as the Canton Chapter which is part of seven chapters of the Ohio Region. I grew up with this group with my parents as members but now belong to the Southern Chapter. Denny and Cindy Robish and other officers on their website would be glad to help. You can find them on AACA list of regions and chapters. The site is being rebuild right now so a little tricky to find. If you have any trouble PM me. By the way, they are hosting an Ohio Region weekend tour with all the chapters in May.

Tom Muth

Cincinnati, Ohio

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard to answer your questions without an Idea of what era car you are interested in. I'll assume about a 1960 +/-.

1. Body and trim parts are difficult to find new. some parts are being reproduced. Much more for a Chevy/Ford than less popular makes. Most mechanical parts are readily available, even from your local NAPA store. The newer the car the easier everything is. To a point.

2. Routine maintenance can easily be done by any shop. The more involved the repair the harder it will be to find someone that knows what they are doing. Here's where a local car club will be a good source of info.

3. Classic car insurance is readily available from companies that specialize in it. It works the same as new car insurance and is probably cheaper...........Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

It should be easy to find any of the cars you have listed above that are in good driving condition.

Fleetwoods, Continentals, Tornados or any of the big cars are great to drive but are a bit of a pain to park in modern parking lots and garages.

Hang around any of the car shows, cruise nights, clubs and these folks will most likely point you in the right direction and show you the ropes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot depends on how old a car you mean. If you mean the big Caprice sedan or station wagon from the eighties or nineties, those are considered a "late model" around here lol. Lots of them still on the road, parts available from every parts store, and every old gray haired or bald headed garage mechanic can fix them in his sleep.

If the car is insured how it gets fixed is the insurance company's problem. Pretty much any body shop can do the work and used parts are available with a little looking.

Going back farther into the seventies, sixties or fifties most parts can still be bought from your local parts store but things like body parts and trim parts get harder to find.

A full size Chev, Olds, Buick, Chrysler 5th Avenue, Ford or Mercury is still a viable transportation car if you are willing to work with it. It may require more maintenance just because of its age. Things like fan belts and rad hoses may be past their best before dates. But, if you take care of the car and maintain it by the book it can be very reliable. Cadillacs cost quite a bit more to fix because they are Cadillacs.

There will be more upkeep than a new car, and gas consumption heavier but if you don't drive high mileages it can actually be cheaper than a new car. The first cost is low and insurance is cheaper. I wouldn't mind a car like that for everyday transportation myself, if I see a good one at a good price.

Good low mile examples turn up fairly often in the estate of the original owner and often sell for $2500 - $3500 dollars, sometimes less. Watch the ads and see what you can find. In your case especially it would be worth your while to pay a little more for one in top shape with low miles. Then maintain it by the book. The book I refer to, is the owner's manual that is in the glove compartment. It has a maintenance schedule you should follow for long, trouble free service.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

My first car was an 84 AMC Eagle I limped home. I had some friends help me and I loved learning how things worked and how to replace things. Even a brand new car is much easier to work on that the common driver would think. As with any DIY project, the first step is to not be scared of the project, and the second is to not be afraid to ask for help (which you're doing already!) I will say, the better the car is when you buy it the better off you are. It's far more fun to learn on a car you can drive and just keep going than to start with a project as your daily driver and have too much on your plate all at once. If it's a second car, it's not as important. Youtube will be your friend too. There is a video about almost every car repair out there. Before you get in over your head, watch someone else do it. You might not be able to do the job on your own just yet, but you'll know if its something a friend and you can tackle, or something best left to a professional for now. Cost of specialty tools would also be a factor in this decision. Get a good set of wrenches and sockets and gradually add to the collection as you need. Better to get quality upfront. I used to recommend Craftsman, but I find the quality has fallen. Still, better than avg hardware store, and if it's local, the replacement policy is more liberal than the professional level tools, and more accessible. Don't be scared to get dirty!

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a lot you can do yourself even if you know nothing about a car. Keep it clean inside and out, wax the paint and chrome a couple of times a year, check the oil, coolant and other fluids regularly, check tire pressure. Generally keep an eye on things and fix small problems before they become big problems.

Those big jobs look pretty sharp if they are in good shape, clean and polished. And can run up very high mileages if maintained. I know many Lincoln Town Cars have 500,000 miles on them or more. They are a favorite in limousine service. I had one, and ex limo, with 375000 on it. I got rid of it because of a faulty intake manifold but it was still running and driving well. Even the leather upholstery was in good shape. Lincoln Town Car, Ford Crown Victoria, and Mercury Grand Marquis are all built on the same platform.

Cadillac on the other hand, has built a lot of lemons that suffer engine failure when they get a few years on them.

Full size GM cars other than Cadillac also are built on the same platform and often use Chev engines. Even some Cadillacs in the early 90s had Chev engines. Those ones are ok.

Chrysler 5th avenue is a little smaller car but very reliable, and may get a little better mileage. Their engine, trans, etc are practically unbreakable but they do seem to be prone to rusting out. Inspect carefully, if you get one that is not rusted out you will have a good car.

It is easy to prevent any of these cars from rusting out by having the bottom sprayed with oil. This is a common thing to have done in rust prone areas and is not expensive.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are near Canton you should check out Motorcars Portfolio operated by Bob Leitky. Bob is a good guy with a long established reputation and deals with cars from 1900 to the 90's. They have about 40 or 50 cars displayed below the McKinley Hotel in downtown Canton.

If you are looking for something in the 70's, 80's or 90's I would shop around. There are plenty of those cars available and it is a buyers market for those now. You don't want something that needs upholstery or rust repair. Find a good solid, non-modified car.

Link to post
Share on other sites

From what you have stated, buy the nicest car you can afford. It will save you much time and money in the long run.

If you stay with a chevy or ford, it will be much more reasonable to maintain, then say a cadillac. There are many more parts available for mainstream cars.

Finally, buy what you like and enjoy the heck out of it!

Link to post
Share on other sites
A Cadillac Fleetwood, or the various other types of vehicles that resemble its body (Chevy Caprice, mercury..I forget the name)

Those'd be:

Caprice Classic

Ford LTD/Crown Victoria

Mercury Grand Marquis

Cort :)www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve

"I never back down and I love a good challenge" __ Hank Williams Jr __ 'Born To Boogie'

Link to post
Share on other sites

The ride in any of the cars mentioned is unsurpassed........ :P .......but, also as mentioned, they make terrible "grocery getters" as navigating modern parking lots with such boats is almost terrifying....... :eek:

I'd love to take my '59 Chev shopping some times but the thought of parking it has prevented me from doing so........that and the thing that people seem to go brain dead upon entering grocery store parking lots....... :mad:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Late 80s to earlier 90s

This Chrysler 5th avenue is interesting..Its aesthetics are pleasing and sounds far more reliable then the fleetwood idea.

Also 90s Cadillac DeVilles seem alright too, I'm looking for that heavier body, but also lower on the whole technology bit, I'm not a fan of cars that you need to fix every two minutes because of a computer failing, while also being a huge fan of the more squared look.

Problem with the Chrysler is, there are none nearby.

Yes, please let us know what year range you're thinking of.

Are you going to use your car for daily driving?

Our answers may depend a lot on your answers, and you

will find people happy to help, and opinions sometimes diverse.

Edited by Ay-Ay-Ron (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, you'll find that some cars in that late-1980's-early 1990's range

will be satisfying. It's nice to drive something different from all the

silver-colored lookalikes in the parking lot!

Chevrolet Caprices, Cadillac (Fleetwood) Broughams should do well for you.

The Cadillacs with the 307 and 350 cubic inch engines are much better, I think,

than the earlier versions of the same that had the 4.1-liter engine.

You can go back into the late 1970's to mid-1980's, after the big cars were

downsized once, and find plenty of good models: Buick LeSabres and Electras;

Pontiac Bonnevilles; Oldsmobile Cutlasses, 88's and 98's, etc.

You can look up old Consumer Reports magazines from that era and see

which models were most reliable. (Your library likely has them; or call the

AACA Library in Hershey at 717-534-2082 and they could scan ratings from

Consumer Reports annual car issue.) The annual car issue rated cars'

reliability for virtually all models for the previous 6 or so years. I know

the Buicks and Oldsmobiles (and maybe others) were usually "above average"

in reliability. I don't know about the Chrysler you mentioned, but in general,

Chryslers from the 1970's and up were reported to be less reliable.

At one point, I was at exactly the same point as you were: wanting to drive

an older model as my daily driver. A man at work who was involved with

antique cars encouraged me. I did (with a '73 Buick Riviera), and I was glad I did.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

77-90 GM B and C body (Caprice, Olds Delta 88 and 98, Pontiac Bonneville/Parisienne, Buick LeSabre and Electra) is a fine car to get started with and are some of the most reliable cars GM ever built. They'll have small V8 engines by design but are reasonably simple to work on and repair. Stay away from the early THM 200 transmissions; they're junk. A 200-4R is a better unit and has overdrive, which can put these big boats into 20+ mpg territory.

There have been a couple of decent full-size Bonnevilles in local shopper paper recently- for under $3000.

In Canton, you're about in old car central. Talk with Matt Harwood or Bob Lichty and they may be able to put you in a nice car for reasonable money. They're both knowledgeable and stand-up guys. Bob had an early-80s Ford Thunderbird on his website a couple weeks ago that would have made someone a great entry level collector car. Yah, I know they're Fairmonts in drag, but I owned a 1980 and it was a nice and fun car, if a bit underpowered with its 255 V8.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You will just have to monitor your local Kijiji or Craigslist, or other advertising media. Are there any Pennysaver or newspaper ads left?

These types of cars come up for sale all the time. You just have to wait for the right combination of car, condition, and price. By following the ads you will soon get an idea of what is available, and what is a reasonable price.

It does not pay to be too dogmatic about what kind of car you are looking for. By looking at a range of cars you increase the odds of finding a good one. You may even get lucky and find something cool like a Cordoba, Imperial, Thunderbird, or Continental coupe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't settle for a bad one.

These cars were sold in large numbers, and often to an older customer. There are ones in decent shape ones around. They have a smooth highway ride and fairly awful handling unless they have suspension options.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a cruise thru the retirement mobile parks, or the parking lot behind the "home".

I see these tanks for sale in these places all the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So I visited Motor Portfolio today and they had a 1990 Buick electra Park Avenue for about 9 grand in total.

38k miles, looks new, as far as I can see no rust or anything.

I sat down in it, fell in love. I also sat down in a 1989 Grand Marquis, I liked it but not nearly as much as the Buick.

I guess I have to go see about a loan now, wish me luck!

I thank everyone in this thread for their replies, you guys have shown me a plethora of cars I've never even knew existed!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just make sure the plastic interior parts (mid 70's and up) are in good shape, they can be very difficult to find, and sunlight is not that forgiving to the plastic. Mechanical parts are no problem

Link to post
Share on other sites

That Buick sounds like a great car but I think you may want to do some more searching. I paid a whole lot less than that for my 1989 Park Avenue but it does have higher mileage. It is my daily driver. These types of cars typically show up on craigslist or ebay. You could try searching in your area on a site such as: http://www.autotempest.com/. That may reveal some other similar cars. Here is one example: http://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/4934768223.html

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, there is a Toyota club, and an internet search might give

a contact number there. Clubs exist to help the hobby, and

they would be happy to give advice to anyone, especially a newcomer

or a younger person in the hobby. They can tell you about

availability of parts.

A 1989 Toyota should be exceptionally reliable. It might not stand

out as much at shows, but get what YOU like, preferably with knowledge beforehand.

Here's a useful price guide available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/2015-Collector-Car-Price-Guide/dp/1440240361

It is the annual book version of "Old Cars Report Price Guide," which is a

magazine of old-car price guides published 6 times a year.

Either should be a good reference, and you'll be wiser if have a better

idea of cars' values.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a couple of Celicas and the front-wheel-drive versions are boring. Jellybean style and very cramped for anyone over about 5'9" 170 lbs. If you like the Celica it wouldn't be a bad entry-level old car, just shapeless and nondescript. 1972-85 (RWD) are much better styled and appointed in my eyes, and those 22R engines are fun engines especially coupled with a 5-speed. The 1982-85 versions have an almost menacing look. Hey, if ya gonna drive an old car, ya might as well make a statement, right?

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've had a couple of Celicas and the front-wheel-drive versions are boring. Jellybean style and very cramped for anyone over about 5'9" 170 lbs. If you like the Celica it wouldn't be a bad entry-level old car, just shapeless and nondescript. 1972-85 (RWD) are much better styled and appointed in my eyes, and those 22R engines are fun engines especially coupled with a 5-speed. The 1982-85 versions have an almost menacing look. Hey, if ya gonna drive an old car, ya might as well make a statement, right?

If your in that neighborhood I would go with a Supra to get the in-line 6, a very nice engine (later put in the Altezza to make the IS300). Better yet, but more expensive, a 240-260-280Z

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody's asked you about your goals, your intentions, and your expectations in your new old car. The cars you've mentioned are what many of us would call modern cars, and while they qualify for the AACA's 25-year rule and would be welcome at any show, they're still going to drive pretty much like any other car you can buy today. They haven't quite crossed over from being mere used cars to being collectable, and while that's sometimes merely a function of time, in most cases, mass-produced cars like the Buick or Toyota will always be footnotes rather than the story, so to speak. I mean no offense to their owners or the sellers of those cars, but my first question to a first-time buyer is about expectations and what you hope to do with the car. And that's something I'd like to hear from you. Are you looking for a collector car or merely an interesting, affordable older car to drive every day? Do you specifically like the looks of the 1990 era cars, do they speak to you because that's when you were growing up, and as a result, that's where you'd like to go with a "special" car? If so, then you're on the right track.

On the other hand, I suspect you're shopping price and with your limited experience, perhaps you're grabbing anything that floats past without really knowing what your options are. I can offer you any of the cars below for under $15,000. All of them are reliable, very presentable, fun to drive, with bona-fide collector value and awesome club support at any level. Parts are plentiful, they are easy to repair, and do not require any special service or techniques to enjoy. There's a traditional British MGB with lots of upgrades, a big Cadillac with all the toys and awesome razor-edged styling, and a Buick convertible with a V8, leather, and A/C. They're all local to you, so you won't have to ship them and you can come see and touch and try them on for size.

post-31138-14314305968_thumb.jpg

For about $18,000, I can put you in any of these very clean, low-mileage cars (two of them with under 25,000 original miles), all with V8 power and three with features like A/C and bucket seats. The Mercedes is a convertible with service records back to Day One and only 60,000 miles.

post-31138-143143059706_thumb.jpg

Any of the cars will take you to work every day, cruise at highway speeds, and will work pretty much like you expect a car to work, and you'll look like a rock star driving them. This is not a sales pitch, but I don't want to see a newcomer to the hobby jumping in without really knowing what's in the water. There are plenty of inexpensive older cars, but those with genuine collector appeal will make you happier when you drive them, will bring you more pride of ownership along the way, and will likely hold their values far, far better in the long run. All of these cars will always be worth about what you paid for them, but I don't think the 1990 Buick or the 1989 Toyota are quite done depreciating yet. My point is, don't settle. Look around. You can do better.

To paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice: I can't define what a collector car is, but I know it when I see it.

post-31138-143143059674_thumb.jpg

post-31138-143143059686_thumb.jpg

post-31138-14314305969_thumb.jpg

post-31138-143143059697_thumb.jpg

post-31138-143143059702_thumb.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood
Corvair van sold instantly (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess I have to go see about a loan now, wish me luck!

I thank everyone in this thread for their replies, you guys have shown me a plethora of cars I've never even knew existed!

You are welcome ... & good luck!

If that 1990 Buick doesn't work out ... you could also look for 1991-1996 Buick Roadmasters.

Cort :)www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve

"Nothing could be finer" __ Girls Next Door __ 'Slow Boat To China'

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Don't suppose anyone knows how I can meet some of the Canton chapter do they? I'd like to learn more, maybe get a look under the hood of one of these older vehicles.

Ohio Region - Canton Chapter

President - Keith Pretorius

4438 State Rt 416SE

New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Click on the above Chapter Name for their website or click on the President's name to email him.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

You give up too easy. Sometimes it takes me a couple weeks or longer to get back to someone who has called me about Oldsmobile stuff, depending on work. I'm also guilty of forgetting about PM's here.

If the Canton group's website shows their meeting dates and locations, I don't think anyone would object if you showed up. You can't be a wallflower either- introduce yourself and let them know what you're looking for. Someone just may have it or know where one is!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ohio Region, including the Canton Chapter plus 6 other chapters are having their quarterly tour May 1st, 2nd, & 3rd of May. We are staying at the

Schoenbrunn Inn

1186 West High Ave

New Philadelphia, OH 44663

There will over 30 cars and maybe 50 or so there.

People will be arriving Friday afternoon & evening. There will be a gathering at the Breitenbach Winery just west of Dover in the afternoon.

Saturday there will be an all day tour till around 3 or 4 PM and then back to the hotel for the evening event.

It should be a good time to make a contact with someone from the Canton club.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear me, seems I'm late to the party. sorry I've been very busy lately!

I'll look out for the next meeting, sorry I haven't been in touch!

The Ohio Region, including the Canton Chapter plus 6 other chapters are having their quarterly tour May 1st, 2nd, & 3rd of May. We are staying at the

Schoenbrunn Inn

1186 West High Ave

New Philadelphia, OH 44663

There will over 30 cars and maybe 50 or so there.

People will be arriving Friday afternoon & evening. There will be a gathering at the Breitenbach Winery just west of Dover in the afternoon.

Saturday there will be an all day tour till around 3 or 4 PM and then back to the hotel for the evening event.

It should be a good time to make a contact with someone from the Canton club.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So I've narrowed it down to these three vehicles in order of most desired to least based on what I hear from others.

1990 Chevy Caprice Classic

1990 Cadillac Fleetwood

1989 Mercury Grand Marquis

I happen to like the large sedans quite a bit to the point where I'm gunning for one, the Buick idea didn't go so well so I figured I'd ask about these options.

Link to post
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
×
×
  • Create New...