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Hi - first time poster here. I'm looking for a new car and was hoping to solicit some recommendations based on my preferences. I'm quite flexible but here are a few specs to inform the recommendation.

 

* Budget $15K

* I live in Los Angeles and need something that can handle city driving

* I drive on average ~25-40 miles total a week - usually on the low end.

* I prefer something that is relatively reliable and easy to work on when necessary

* Would prefer something I don't have to give white glove treatment to

 

I've seen some 1940's Ford Deluxe that look pretty cool and are stated to be in good running condition. But I don't really know enough about cars yet to know if this is good for my needs. 

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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58 minutes ago, socalcoach said:

Hi - first time poster here. I'm looking for a new car and was hoping to solicit some recommendations based on my preferences. I'm quite flexible but here are a few specs to inform the recommendation.

 

* Budget $15K

* I live in Los Angeles and need something that can handle city driving

* I drive on average ~25-40 miles total a week - usually on the low end.

* I prefer something that is relatively reliable and easy to work on when necessary

* Would prefer something I don't have to give white glove treatment to

 

I've seen some 1940's Ford Deluxe that look pretty cool and are stated to be in good running condition. But I don't really know enough about cars yet to know if this is good for my needs. 

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

Hi there. Some things I'm not quite clear on: Will this be your only car? You've come to the AACA forum, and mentioned 40's era cars, so you're looking for a collectable or vintage car- How old does it have to be? How stock/original does it have to be?

 

Most people have their collector cars as second cars, and I presume you will too, but if not, that would be difficult to deal with. A modern car is a good thing to have, too.

 

As old collector cars in original configuration go, the more recent the car is, the more usable for transportation it is. I have no idea what city driving in LA is like, but I hear horror stories. 1940's Fords in stock form will not have the acceleration, power or stopping ability that's conducive to city driving even in places much smaller than LA. Purely in terms of function, I'd look for something something later (American cars from the late 1950's on), but a stock 40's era Ford will be fine for recreational driving on less traveled routes. Many people at the AACA forum aren't big on street rods. Having said that, many people new to old cars don't realize that a lot of street rods are built more to be usable in modern traffic than to be race cars.

 

Whether original or street rod, you will be working on this car a lot, at least in the price range you're talking about (generally speaking.) $15 K will get someone a nice car, but maybe not one where all major components have been nicely restored. If I were you, and if function is as big a requirement as you suggest, I'd look at cars from the early '60's on. If you want the  '40's look, you could consider a mildly rodded vehicle, but I don't honestly know what 15K will get you. BTW, it's my perception that most collectable old (pre - 1973) cars for sale online are routinely priced significantly above their realistic value. Good luck.

 

 

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Friends swear by their Model A Fords in LA - say they do well in traffic, do well up to 45 mph (which is as fast as they usually go in traffic), often get to valet park right in front at no charge, parts availability in a day, and ... They have a 1935 Ford Phaeton for road trips. I heard wild talk of a 50's 2 seat Thunderbird possibly  in their future. 

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Thanks for the reply!
 

Quote

Hi there. Some things I'm not quite clear on: Will this be your only car? You've come to the AACA forum, and mentioned 40's era cars, so you're looking for a collectable or vintage car- How old does it have to be? How stock/original does it have to be?

 

My wife drives a newer mazda and I have a Camry with 150K miles. Given I drive so little, I'd like to get rid of the Camry as it is starting to need many repairs. It doesn't need to be too old but I really like the look of the metal bodied vehicles from the 50's. It doesn't need to be stock or original at all.

I've heard of something called a restomod which incorporates modern features into an older vehicle. That actually sounds ideal.

LA city driving is low speed, lots of stop and go.
 

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1940's Fords in stock form will not have the acceleration, power or stopping ability that's conducive to city driving even in places much smaller than LA.


That's really good to know. Is there a place where I can maybe test drive some options? What's a good way to get a vehicle I'm considering purchasing to be checked out and properly valued? I'm happy to hire a mechanic to do this if that option even exists.

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2 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Friends swear by their Model A Fords in LA - say they do well in traffic, do well up to 45 mph (which is as fast as they usually go in traffic), often get to valet park right in front at no charge, parts availability in a day, and ... They have a 1935 Ford Phaeton for road trips. I heard wild talk of a 50's 2 seat Thunderbird possibly  in their future. 

 

The Model A and 1935 Ford Phaeton both look amazing. Are those legit viable options? Where would be a good place for me to look to buy one and/or test drive? Who can help me evaluate the condition and price of the vehicle?

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Yeah, sounds like you're ok with a modified car. That will help in some ways. OTOH, modified cars (resto mod, street rod, etc.) aren't standardized, and it could be some mechanics will have difficulty figuring specs out. Something to consider.

 

24 minutes ago, socalcoach said:

I'd like to get rid of the Camry as it is starting to need many repairs.

 

This statement is a bit troubling, given that the old car that will replace it will be a primary source of transportation. I don't know your Camry's history, but generally speaking going from a Camry with 150K on it to an old collector car - freshened up or not -  is moving up on the maintenence/repair spectrum, not down. Not trying to discourage you, just want to let you know that old cars as a primary source of transportation almost becomes a lifestyle choice more than a car choice. Many on this forum are totally into that lifestyle, which is awesome and what I love about it, but it's not for everyone. 30 miles a week isn't much, but if you're going places you're required to be (work, etc.) I don't know. If your Camry is generally reliable besides the need for repairs, I'd recommend keeping it until you see how well the old car works for you. Good luck.

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OK first question: if an only car do you need an automatic transmission and air conditioning (Santa Monica/Marina Del Rey have the only perfect climate I know of but cam get rather warm elsewhere) ?

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37 minutes ago, JACK M said:

Slant six Dodge Dart.

Very reliable and easy to get parts and easy to work on.

 

Or Plymouth Valiant. The slant 6 is an excellent engine. Here's one for sale in Ohio with a stick shift for $12k. Good luck on your search....

 

https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/cto/d/batavia-1968-plymouth-valiant-100/6980535463.html

 

 

00l0l_7oqZRxGs8os_600x450.jpg

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Following up here on some of the responses...

 

* I live near the coast so ac isn’t required but would be nice to have an option to add it as a project 

* I want to emphasis the need for a daily driver - not something I’ll be keeping stored in a garage all the time

* For this reason, I don’t want something that has such a nice paint job that I’ll be worried about keeping it cleaned all the time - cars with patina or older paint job are a-ok with me

* I absolutely must have a vehicle that can handle street driving but will also handle the occasional trip on a highway where I need to keep up with traffic at 65-75mph (sadly, I think this will rule out options like the Model A)

* I prefer a larger vehicle that I can use for occasionally transferring music instruments or the occasional trip to Home Depot for supplies

 

Great point regarding limited rear-view in 40s vehicles.

 

Is there a Ford Deluxe option or replica or restomod that will work? I love this style of car and it’s size is very utilitarian for what I want.

 

Ok let’s talk repairs. First and foremost, I need reliability in the sense that I want to enjoy my driving without always worrying if I’ll have to be inconvenienced by a breakdown. If that means I need to make an investment in the beginning to get it there, I’m happy to do so. Ongoing maintenance I do myself is also fine.

 

I also don’t mind working on the car or making repairs as needed myself, but preferably, I’d be able to choose the pace and degree of repairs on my own terms, most of the time. Stuff always happens, even with newer cars so I don’t expect perfection.

 

Recently, my Camry started shifting slowly and the check engine light came on. I got the codes checked and autozone said I needed a new intermediate speed sensor A.

 

Ok so I called the Toyota parts house and they said there could be up to 4 of these sensors. They didn’t know which one was A. Oook.

 

So I YouTubed and found a tutorial but they called the sensors NC and NT. Called Toyota again and they didn’t know what these acronyms meant or where they were located or how they related to sensor A vs B.

 

In the end, there were two sensors located near each other - they were the exact same part. I order two from Amazon, replaced them and all was fine until ...

 

The vehicle was idling very rough. Long story short, when you unplug the battery, you have to do some ignition key combination to get the Camry into a state to “relearn” the idle. 

 

Basically, there was a ton of misinformation and unknowns that made the process much less pleasurable even though in the end, the repair was physically easy to do and cost less than $50.

 

I know very little about classic or older cars but I get the sense it might be easier to install a power steering conversion kit than it is to troubleshoot all of the modern electronics in my Camry.

 

I’m open to the fact that maybe a classic car isn’t right. I just think the look of most newer vehicles are down right boring and plastic and cheap.

 

I could care less about impressing others. I’m restoring my 1927 house, I love history and my personality is one that appreciates older things. Having a vehicle that matches who I am is icing on the cake.

 

Hope this sheds more light. I’m grateful for all of your ideas and helping this layman expand his understanding.

 

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" ac isn’t required but would be nice to have an option to add it as a project " in general the AC option also includes a bigger radiator, bigger alternator, bigger battery and different duct work. Is not just an AC kit.

 

"occasionally transferring music instruments or the occasional trip to Home Depot for supplies " my immediate thought is either a Chevvy El Camino, Caballero (GMC), or a Ford Ranchero - the American version of a UTE. You didn't say how many people you need to carry since they only have a front seat. If need more then the were some very stylish station wagons that predated Minivans and SUVs. I prefer 2-door wagons myself.

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That Pontiac wagon looks more like a restomod. Everything under the hood is recent including the AC & wonder if that's an OD trans.

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Again, I'm not sure this would be the best functional choice, but since the OP mentioned this type of car specifically, I thought I'd post it because it's very cool.

 

I like it and seems to fit the OP's profile: Not pristine, but in good condition, and original looking..referred to as a "survivor" though it had a repaint 30+ years ago. Great interior. $15,000, though I think they'd come down. The bad thing is it's in Texas, and you definitely need to check it out first. Check for smoke and knocks from the engine, as well as indications of overheating. Flatheads do have a reputation for overheating, but I've never owned one so I can't comment. I would LIKE to own one, though. I think any sort of big city freeway travel would be dubious if this car doesn't have overdrive. I can get my stock '54 Ford wagon (engine never rebuilt) up to over 80 mph and easily cruise at 65, but I have overdrive. Don't know if that was offered by Ford in '46. These coupes look great. One of the few I've seen that hasn't been hot rodded.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1946-Ford-Super-Deluxe-Super-Deluxe/233367752346?hash=item3655cd4e9a:g:1k8AAOSwWbRdom1X#viTabs_0

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4 hours ago, Modeleh said:

That Pontiac Silver looks right up my alley, but I have no idea if that's a good deal or will satisfy my driving conditions. What would be a good way to dig into that? Thanks for looking for options btw - super helpful.

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3 hours ago, JamesR said:

Again, I'm not sure this would be the best functional choice, but since the OP mentioned this type of car specifically, I thought I'd post it because it's very cool.

 

I like it and seems to fit the OP's profile: Not pristine, but in good condition, and original looking..referred to as a "survivor" though it had a repaint 30+ years ago. Great interior. $15,000, though I think they'd come down. The bad thing is it's in Texas, and you definitely need to check it out first. Check for smoke and knocks from the engine, as well as indications of overheating. Flatheads do have a reputation for overheating, but I've never owned one so I can't comment. I would LIKE to own one, though. I think any sort of big city freeway travel would be dubious if this car doesn't have overdrive. I can get my stock '54 Ford wagon (engine never rebuilt) up to over 80 mph and easily cruise at 65, but I have overdrive. Don't know if that was offered by Ford in '46. These coupes look great. One of the few I've seen that hasn't been hot rodded.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1946-Ford-Super-Deluxe-Super-Deluxe/233367752346?hash=item3655cd4e9a:g:1k8AAOSwWbRdom1X#viTabs_0

 

This listing is what drew me to this model in the first place! I absolutely love this particular car, paint job and everything. I could pay the $1500 to have it shipped, but how the heck do I know if this is a good deal? I wonder if there's a mechanic in the area who I could trust and pay to go scope it all out for me....

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7 hours ago, socalcoach said:

 

 I wonder if there's a mechanic in the area who I could trust and pay to go scope it all out for me....

 

You may be able to find someone from this site to check it out for you for a nominal fee. It's been done before....

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On 10/14/2019 at 2:13 AM, socalcoach said:

 

The Model A and 1935 Ford Phaeton both look amazing. Are those legit viable options? Where would be a good place for me to look to buy one and/or test drive? Who can help me evaluate the condition and price of the vehicle?

  You can buy a real good Model A for $15K or less.  (However they offer a pretty primative ride

  quality)   You won't find a good 35 Ford Phaeton in that price range.  Remember the old saying,    "If the top goes down, the price goes up."  Applies to all makes.

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15 hours ago, socalcoach said:

 

This listing is what drew me to this model in the first place! I absolutely love this particular car, paint job and everything. I could pay the $1500 to have it shipped, but how the heck do I know if this is a good deal? I wonder if there's a mechanic in the area who I could trust and pay to go scope it all out for me....

 

I've kind of sworn off ebay because of some negative experiences, but obviously many transactions turn out good or else there wouldn't be thousands of old cars for sale on the site. The very good news about this car is the seller has a very good rating as a seller  including other vehicles, one or two in this price range. (Very important...some people buy twenty $5 items on ebay to get a good rating, just to scam someone on the sale of a big ticket item.)

 

From everything I can see, this vehicle looks like something worth owning, in part because it hasn't been drastically modified. Some old car sellers will put lipstick on a pig. You can see this hasn't been dolled up in the last year to cover body related problems. The body's not perfect though. If I were interested in this car, I'd first have the seller email me a pic of the valid title in his name, with whatever other info he wants redacted blacked out. I've had ebay sellers tell me they have a title only to find out after the deposit was made that they don't. The other thing I'd do is invest in a plane ticket to TX. Or, like you said, maybe you could pay a  local mechanic from a nearby town (by the seller) to check it out for you instead. I can't say if the price is correct or not. There used to be a commonly available publication at newstands that had market prices for most old cars at different condition levels. Can't remember the name of it, but they were never too far off on my cars, but that changes from region to region. 

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Thanks - this won't be the car I buy but I love the style and this gives me a target to shoot for in terms of year / make / model / look.

That said, is this make/model (1946 Ford Super Deluxe) a potential for daily driving and occasional highway speeds? I'm also up for trying the Model A too but I don't like the version with the spare tire on the side personally.

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1 hour ago, TerryB said:

Model A with standard 4 cyl will never do freeway speeds, the non modified cars have mechanical brakes too.   Most all autos after 1940 have hydraulic brakes that are much better at stopping.

Why do people insist that hydraulic brakes are an improvement.

A Model "A" with mechanical brakes can easily lock up all 4 wheels. even 16 inch wheels with 600-16 tires on them. Can hydraulics do better ?

And with mechanical brakes you never experience that sick feeling you get in a 5000 pound vehicle when the brake pedal hits the floor (64 Chrysler Imperial).

I'm going to be seriously looking for a Model "A" next spring and wouldn't even consider one converted to 12V or with hydraulic brakes

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2 hours ago, vermontboy said:

Why do people insist that hydraulic brakes are an improvement.

A Model "A" with mechanical brakes can easily lock up all 4 wheels. even 16 inch wheels with 600-16 tires on them. Can hydraulics do better ?

And with mechanical brakes you never experience that sick feeling you get in a 5000 pound vehicle when the brake pedal hits the floor (64 Chrysler Imperial).

I agree, but with the caveat that hydraulic brakes do give a crisper finish to your stop than mechanical brakes.  On the other hand, with hydraulic brakes especially on multiple cars one must track the "last flush" frequency and inspect for leaks in five places at every lube job.

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Hydraulics has mechanical pressure advantages over mechanical especially at the OPs desire to do freeway driving.  There’s a reason we use hydraulics to move loads, use hydraulic jacks to lift things, and to stop things.  Yes you must maintain hydraulics with fluid changes and monitoring the condition of the brake system.  If there was no performance difference autos would still have mechanical brakes today.

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