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Is owning a classic an impossible dream for me, or do I have hope?


Billy Kingsley
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Let me preface this by saying, my health is not great, it's never been great, and I can't do any actual maintenance of my own car...nor am I even able to actually drive at this time.

 

All my life, I've had one real dream...classic car ownership. Being able to have a classic car of my own...to save a small piece of history...to be able to go to a car show and not have to leave after I've walked around it for a little bit...that's what I dream of. 

 

In 2003, our family bought a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It ran for a while but began to give us continual trouble...so much so that near the end of our driving it we basically wouldn't go farther than we could walk home from, because on more than a few occasions, we DID end up walking home. We tried hard to keep it going...with how much we put into it, I could have afforded an Edsel, which is one of the cars I'd like to have. Probably more than one. Even though we tried, it just kept breaking down, over and over. It last ran in 2015. 

 

This has made me feel like I can't get an actual classic car, because we failed to keep the Jeep running, despite trying to. Honestly, it's made me very, very depressed, because it seems to me like I cannot ever have a classic car, since I couldn't keep the Jeep going. 

 

My mom is pretty well convinced that the Jeep was a lemon when we got it. We found out later that it was already on it's third transmission, and that it had been involved in an accident and the front passenger door was not original, among other things.  She says that cars were made better back in the 1950s, which I have nothing to gauge that on- the oldest car I've ever had real experience being in is her 1972 Chevelle, which we had until rust got it in 1990. 

 

If I do get a classic car, would I have a reasonable hope of it being able to just get in and go to a car show, or would it be like the Jeep, where I'm too afraid to go farther than I can walk home from? My favorite show is 3 hours away from home, and in fact it was there the first time the Jeep just shut off while going down the road. Obviously I wouldn't neglect it, I'd do everything I could to keep it happy, but, I did that with the Jeep and failed anyway. If I ever do get a classic car, I'm planning to keep it the rest of my life, and I'd really like to be able to enjoy it...if I can get one.

 

A couple of other factors to consider- I don't have a garage. There is a self storage unit within walking distance of my house, which I plan to rent one of if I should ever get a classic. It would spend some nights here though, in the open air, especially before car shows. I do have a mechanic I trust, that has kept my brother's car going strong for 14 years now, and advised us years ago to move on from the Jeep. Neither my mom or brother, who would be driving whatever car I should purchase, want to drive a manual transmission car so I can't go back into the 30s or 40s. (if my health improves enough to allow me to drive, I do plan to learn how to drive a standard) My two targets, which I cannot decide on between them, are an El Camino and an Edsel, specifically a 73-77 El Camino and either 58 or 59 Edsel, as long as it's 4-door. While I have a list of cars I love that's a mile long, those two are both my favorites, and something I could actually afford, which is a factor. (The medicine that keeps me alive is very expensive). I'm definitely on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to financial resources. I know the forum here tends to favor pre-war cars but as much as I love them, that's just not an option for me at this time. 

 

I do realize that if I do buy a classic, and it turns out that I'm not capable of keeping it going, I'd be more likely to find someone able to save it than I have been with the Jeep...which I still have, trying to find someone who wants it and won't just scrap it. (it was the first car I ever had any say in my family getting, which plays a huge role in why I'm so attached to it)

 

I've been mentally flipping back and forth between hope of having a classic and despair of never having a classic, and I'm hoping those of you with more knowledge and experience can shed some light on my predicament. Thanks! 

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20 minutes ago, Billy Kingsley said:

Let me preface this by saying, my health is not great, it's never been great, and I can't do any actual maintenance of my own car...nor am I even able to actually drive at this time.

 

All my life, I've had one real dream...classic car ownership. Being able to have a classic car of my own...to save a small piece of history...to be able to go to a car show and not have to leave after I've walked around it for a little bit...that's what I dream of. 

 

In 2003, our family bought a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It ran for a while but began to give us continual trouble...so much so that near the end of our driving it we basically wouldn't go farther than we could walk home from, because on more than a few occasions, we DID end up walking home. We tried hard to keep it going...with how much we put into it, I could have afforded an Edsel, which is one of the cars I'd like to have. Probably more than one. Even though we tried, it just kept breaking down, over and over. It last ran in 2015. 

 

This has made me feel like I can't get an actual classic car, because we failed to keep the Jeep running, despite trying to. Honestly, it's made me very, very depressed, because it seems to me like I cannot ever have a classic car, since I couldn't keep the Jeep going. 

 

My mom is pretty well convinced that the Jeep was a lemon when we got it. We found out later that it was already on it's third transmission, and that it had been involved in an accident and the front passenger door was not original, among other things.  She says that cars were made better back in the 1950s, which I have nothing to gauge that on- the oldest car I've ever had real experience being in is her 1972 Chevelle, which we had until rust got it in 1990. 

 

If I do get a classic car, would I have a reasonable hope of it being able to just get in and go to a car show, or would it be like the Jeep, where I'm too afraid to go farther than I can walk home from? My favorite show is 3 hours away from home, and in fact it was there the first time the Jeep just shut off while going down the road. Obviously I wouldn't neglect it, I'd do everything I could to keep it happy, but, I did that with the Jeep and failed anyway. If I ever do get a classic car, I'm planning to keep it the rest of my life, and I'd really like to be able to enjoy it...if I can get one.

 

A couple of other factors to consider- I don't have a garage. There is a self storage unit within walking distance of my house, which I plan to rent one of if I should ever get a classic. It would spend some nights here though, in the open air, especially before car shows. I do have a mechanic I trust, that has kept my brother's car going strong for 14 years now, and advised us years ago to move on from the Jeep. Neither my mom or brother, who would be driving whatever car I should purchase, want to drive a manual transmission car so I can't go back into the 30s or 40s. (if my health improves enough to allow me to drive, I do plan to learn how to drive a standard) My two targets, which I cannot decide on between them, are an El Camino and an Edsel, specifically a 73-77 El Camino and either 58 or 59 Edsel, as long as it's 4-door. While I have a list of cars I love that's a mile long, those two are both my favorites, and something I could actually afford, which is a factor. (The medicine that keeps me alive is very expensive). I'm definitely on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to financial resources. I know the forum here tends to favor pre-war cars but as much as I love them, that's just not an option for me at this time. 

 

I do realize that if I do buy a classic, and it turns out that I'm not capable of keeping it going, I'd be more likely to find someone able to save it than I have been with the Jeep...which I still have, trying to find someone who wants it and won't just scrap it. (it was the first car I ever had any say in my family getting, which plays a huge role in why I'm so attached to it)

 

I've been mentally flipping back and forth between hope of having a classic and despair of never having a classic, and I'm hoping those of you with more knowledge and experience can shed some light on my predicament. Thanks! 

 

 

 

Here is the list of recognized Classic cars; Start looking for prices in Hemmings to see if you can afford one. If a car you are looking for is not on the list it's NOT a classic car.


Adler – 1928-1934 Standard 8

Alfa Romeo* – All

Alvis – Speed 20, 3 1/2 litre, Speed 25 and 4.3 litre

Amilcar – Application Considered

Apperson – 1925-1926 Straightaway Eight

Armstrong-Siddeley – 1924-1933 Model 30; 1933-1939 Special

Aston-Martin – 1927-1939 All

Auburn – All 8- and 12-cylinder

Austro-Daimler* – All

Ballot – 2LS, 2LT, 2LTS, RH,RH2 and RH3

Bentley – 1919-1948 All

Benz – 1925-1926, 10/30, 11/40, 16/50,16/50 Sport

Biddle – 1915-1922 All

Blackhawk – All

B.M.W. – 327, 328, 327/8 and 335

Brewster – 1915-1925 All; 1934-1936 All

Brough Superior – 1934-1939 All

Bucciali – TAV 8, TAV 30,TAV 12 and Double Huit

Bugatti – All except types 52 and 68

Buick – 1930 Series 60; 1931-1942 Series 90; 1931-1933 and 1936-1939 Series 80; 1940 Series 80 Limited; 1940-41 Buick Roadmaster 70 series

Cadillac – 1915-1935 – All 12 and 16; 1936-1948 – Series 63, 65, 67, 70, 72, 75, 80, 85, 90; 1938-1947 – 60 Special; 1940-1947 – 62 Series

Chadwick – 1915-1916 All

Chrysler – 1926-1932 Imperial and Series 80, Includes Series CG, CH, CL; 1929 Chrysler, 6 cyl, Model 77; 1932-1939 Custom Imperial Series – CL, CX, CW, C-3, C-11, C-15, C-20, C-24; 1934-1937 Airflow Imperial Eight models CV, C2, C10, C17;1940-1948 Crown Imperial – Includes Series C-27, C-30N, C-33, C-37, C-40; Newports and Thunderbolts; 1941-1948 Town & Country

Cole – 1916-1925 All 8-cylinder

Cord – All

Corinthian – 1922-1923 All

Cunningham – 1916 All; V Series from 1916 All

Dagmar – 1922-1926, 6-70 and Series 6-80

Daimler – 1925-1934 6-8-12-cylinder, 3-1/2 Litre and larger

Daniels – 1916-1924 All 8 Cyl; 1920-1926 Model D

Darracq – See Talbot

Delage – 1924-1926 GL and GLS Models, Model D-8

Delahaye – Series 135, 145, 148, 165

Delaunay Belleville – All 6-cylinder

Doble – All

Dorris – All

Duesenberg – All

duPont – 1919-1931 All

Elcar – 1925-1933, 8-80, 8-81, 8-90, 8-91, 8-92, 120, 130 and 140

Excelsior – 1919-1926 Adex Models; 1925-1932 Albert 1 (Premier Models)

Farman – 1925-1931 All

Fiat – 1923-1927 Model 519; 1928-1931 Model 525; 1938-1940 Model 2800, No Military Vehicles

Fox – 1921-1923 All

Franklin* – Pre-1925 please apply; 1925-1934 All models except Olympic;

Gardner – 1925-1926 Line 8; 1925-1926 Model 8A; 1926-1927 Model 8B; 1927 Model 890; Model 90; 1928 Models 8-85, 8-90; Model 130; 1928-1929 Models 85, 95; 1929 Models 125-135; 1930 Models 145,150; 1930-1931 Model 150; 1931 Models 148-158

Georges Irat – 1922-1929 2 Litre & 3 Litre; 1930-1934 Lycoming 6- and 8-cylinder, No Military Vehicles

Graham-Paige/Graham – 1928-1929 Series 835, 837; 1930 Series 837; All Custom 8; 1931 All Custom 8; series 834

HAL – 1916-1918 All

Haynes – 1916-1923 All V-12 Models 1922 All 6 Cyl Model 75; 1923 Models 75 and 77

HCS – 1920-1924 All

Heine-Velox – 1921-1922 All

Hispano-Suiza – 1919; H6; All French models; Spanish models T56, T49, T56BIS, T64

Horch* – All

Hotchkiss – 1929-1940 All 3 & 3-1/2 Litre, AM80, AM80S, 620, 680, 686 Paris-Nice ,686 Grand Sport

Hudson – 1929-Series L

Humber – 1930 Pullman model 6

Hupmobile – 1930-1932, Series H and H-255, U and U237

Invicta* – All through 1938

Isotta-Fraschini – All from 1919 except Tipo 8C Monterosa

Itala* – All

Jaguar – 1946-1948 - 2-1/2 litre, 3-1/2 litre (Mark IV)

Jensen – 1936-1939 All, except 2 1/4 Litre

Jordan – 1929-1931 Models G, 90, Great Line 90, and Speed Way Series Z

Julian – All

Kissel – 1915-1924 6- and 12-cylinder; 1923-1928 6-55; 1925-1927 8-75; 1928 8-90 and 8-90 White Eagle; 1929-1930 8-95 White Eagle; 1929-1931 8-126

Kleiber – 1926 Model 212; 1927 Model 178; 1928 Model 133; 1929 Model 37

Lafayette – 1921-1924 All

Lagonda – All through 1940 Two Post-War V-12 (except 1934-1940 Rapier,)

Lanchester – 1919-1931 Models 21, 23, 30 and 40

Lancia – 1928-1939 Dilambda and Astura

LaSalle – 1927-1933 All

Leach – 1920-1923 All

Lincoln – 1920-1940 All models L, KA, KB, and K, 1941 168 H; 1942 268 H

Lincoln Continental – 1939-1948 All

Locomobile – 1915-1924; All includes left hand drive models 48 and all model 90; 1927-1929 Model 8-80; 1929 Model 8-88

Lozier – 1915-1916 All

Marmon – All Models 41, 48, and 34; 1915-1924; All 12- & 16-cylinder, 1925-1926 D-74, 1927 E-75, 1928 75, 1930 Big 8, 1931 88 and Big 8

Maserati – Application Considered

Maybach* – All

McFarlan – 1915-1924, All, TV6 and 8

Mercedes* – All

Mercedes-Benz – All 230 and up, K, S, SS, SSK, SSKL, Grosser and Mannheim

Mercer – All

M.G.– 1935-1939 SA, 1938-1939 WA

Miller – 1928 & 1932

Minerva – All except 4-cylinder

Nash – 1930 Series 490;1931 Series 890; 1932 Series 990 and 1090; 1933 Series 1190; 1934 Series 1290; 1940 Sakhnoffsky Special Cabriolet

National – 1916-1919 All

Owen Magnetic – 1915-1921 All

Packard – All 1915-1922 6 and 12 cylinder models, except model 116; All 6, 8 and 12 cylinder 1923-1934; All 12 cylinder 1932 through 1939; 1935 and 1936: all 1200-1205 models, 1936 all 1400-1405 models, 1937 all 1500-1502 models, 1938 all 1603-1605 models, 1939 all 1703-1705 models; 1940: all 1803-1808 models; 1941: all 1903-1908 models, plus 160 and 180 Clippers; 1942: all 2003-2008 models, plus 160 and 180 Clippers; 1946-1947: all 2103, 2106, 2126 models; All Darrin Bodied, other custom bodies please apply

Paige – 1916-1927 All 6-55, 6-66

Pathfinder – 1916-1917 All

Peerless – 1925 Series 67; 1926-1928 Series 69; 1929 Series 8-125; 1930-1931 Custom 8; 1932 Deluxe Custom 8

Pierce-Arrow – 1915-1924; All; 1921 Series 32; 1922 and up Series 33; 1925 All

Railton – Application Considered

Renault – 1928 45 HP (40CV) , 40 hp (41CV) Reinastella, Reinasport, 1929-1934, 8-cylinder Nervahuit, Nervastella, Nervasport (Suprastella)

Reo – 1931-1934, Royale 8-cylinder

ReVere – 1918-1926 All

Richelieu – 1922-1923 All

Roamer – 1916–1929 All

Rochester-Duesenberg – 4-cylinder; All 1925 6-54E; 1925-1929 8-88; 1929-1931 8-125

Rohr – 1928-1935 R, RA, F and FK

Rolls-Royce – 1915-1948 All

Ruxton – All

Squire* – All

S.S. and SS Jaguar – 1932-1940 S.S. 1, S.S. 90, SS Jaguar and SS Jaguar 100

Simplex (and those also known as Simplex-Crane) 1915-1924 All

Stearns Knight – 1915-1924 All 6 and 8-cylinder, 1925-1929-All

Stevens Duryea – 1915-1927 All

Steyr – 1923-1929 Type VI Sport, VI Klausen, SS Klausen and Austria

Studebaker – 1928 8-cylinder President; 1929-1933 President except Model 82; 1934 President

Stutz – All except 1915 HCS

Sunbeam – 8-cylinder and 3 litre twin cam

Talbot – 1930-1935:(GB) 105 and 110; (F), Darracq (GB),Talbot-Lago (F) – 8-cylinder 1936-1939; 4-Litre 6-Cyl; 1946-1948 4-1/2 Litre

Tatra – 1927-1948 Models T70, T70A, T80, T77, T77A and T87 with prewar styling

Templar – 1915-1924 All

Triumph – Dolomite 8 and Gloria 6

Vauxhall – 25-70 and 30-98

Velie – 1928 Model 8-88

Voisin* – All

Wasp – 1919-1924 All

White – 1915 -1918 All

Wills Sainte Claire – All

Willys-Knight – Series 66, 66A, 66B; Custom bodied only (Considered by application)

Winton – 1915-1924 All

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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 I am sure that the person was talking about a "classic" car, that is what the general public thinks all old cars are.

 I also wonder what was the reason that he spoke of his many troubles on his first (and only) post on this site.

 

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Sorry Billy.  I understand what you meant by classic car (small c) as opposed to Classic with a large C.  You were quite clear what you are looking for as in an Edsel or El Camino. You also clearly stated you can't consider 30's cars. So welcome to the old car hobby.

 

Old cars do require maintenance.  Ones that don't, tend to be on the higher end of the price scale.  You can't compare the repair costs of a 1994 Cherokee to an old collector car.  Old collector cars are much simpler in design and engineering.  That said you will need some basis of car repair knowledge to keep an old car on the road. Tune ups have to be done more often and there is always something that goes wrong with an old car.  If you are keeping it just for going to shows is one thing but if you need to use it as a daily driver that is something else.  I'd suggest you start by looking at collector cars the no one else wants.  4 door sedans come to mind.  From the driver's seat they look just like their 2 door hardtop brothers.  It sounds like you have a lot of challenges in your life.  It might be that for you it is best to admire the old cars that belong to someone else, at least until your situation improves.  It is an expensive hobby. 

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Billy if you haven't already done so join AACA and the local region.  That investment is minimal.  Try to get your mom or brother to drive you to the meetings.  Be persistent, as some of us are friendlier than others.  Point is, you may soon find yourself getting some ride along invites.  While you cant count on it, we all I am sure know of the car that finds its way to a new owner cheaply because he or she is the right person.  You never know.

 

Hope whatever curve lofe threw you healthwise is beatable.  Sometimes we do not know how lucky we are.

 

Where do you live?

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I consider any car that you don't see outside of car shows to be classic...note the lower case c, as ol'yeller noted. It's a very sliding scale for me... I don't think there is an American car or truck in history I dislike. I'm not big on labels.

 

First and only post? Not hardly. Not even my first post of the day! I gave a little detail on my problems so you reading it would know I wasn't a lazy bum not wanting to work on cars, I'm just not able. 

 

I actually prefer four doors as a general rule. I suspect that will actually help me some day. It would not be a daily driver but I usually attend two cruise nights a week and at least one weekend show from may to September. 

 

I have not joined yet. It's been something I want to do but all my money has been going to the six state road trip I went on a few weeks ago, now playing catch-up. I plan to sign up next week, finally. I don't know if we have a local chapter but I would not be surprised if we do. I should check...I'm in the Hudson Valley of NY, roughly 40 minutes south of Rhinebeck. I know Saratoga has a chapter, and I'm always looking for an excuse to get up that way!

 

Edit: I just checked the local region, the Mid-Hudson Valley region...I recognize most of the cars that are shown. Unfortunately, they meet one of only two nights a month I have something already scheduled, the monthly meetings of the Hudson Valley Historical Miniatures Guild, which I enjoy quite a bit and have been a member of for more than 10 years. Just my luck. 

Edited by Billy Kingsley (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, Pfeil said:

Here is the list of recognized Classic cars;  Start looking for prices in Hemmings to see if you can afford one. If a car you are looking for is not on the list it's NOT a classic car.

 

3 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

My two targets, which I cannot decide on between them, are an El Camino and an Edsel, specifically a 73-77 El Camino and either 58 or 59 Edsel, as long as it's 4-door.

 

Billy, we're here to give you realistic encouragement!

Anyone who read your full description would know that

you are not planning to get a high-end "Classic," but an

enjoyable collectible car that is much more reasonably priced.

 

People on our forum don't focus on pre-war cars.  Those may

get attention, but if you attend an AACA region's show or tour,

you'll see that 1950's and 1960's cars are now the most common

and most popular.  Cars of the 1970's are gaining popularity,

though convertibles of that decade have been collectible for

a long time.  Both of the cars you mentioned would be

modestly priced--the El Camino probably even more so.

 

With a good mechanic that can work on older cars, you should

be in good shape.  Have him (or someone else knowledgeable)

look over your car before you buy it, so you don't have any (or many)

surprises after purchase.  No old car is problem free, but

I find that if you drive a car about 200 miles a year, going through

a full tank of gas yearly, that gives the car enough "exercise" to avoid

many problems happening.  Cars have more problems if they

are not used.  

 

You may find that insurance, through a company such as Hagerty,

Grundy, or J. C. Taylor that specializes in antique cars, is less

than $100 a year.  Garage rental varies greatly depending on where

you live;  and if you're in a small town or in the country, it may be

only $50 to $75 a month.  Mini-storage facilities may suffice, but

they are considerably more expensive than renting a private garage.

 

All the best to you as you ponder this interesting hobby!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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The only time it's 'impossible' is if you don't possess a driver's licence which enables one the ability to enjoy it (legally), unless you only want it as 'yard art'.

 

I could hardly wait until I turned 16 so I could get my driver's licence, but I did want an old car prior to age 16 to work on until that life-changing event came my way.  Of course, I was turned down flat about buying a car before I could legally own drive one.

 

Craig

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I agree with the suggestion you join your local AACA chapter and get to know some old car guys, attend shows etc. You don't have to own an old car to participate.

 

As to your main question under the circumstances, unless you have plenty of money to spend, classic car ownership is probably not for you. There are ways to have an old car on the cheap but they involve having a home garage, tools, doing your own work etc. I take it that sort of thing is out of the question for you.

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Hi, Billy. Here's what I often do...not because I'm interested in buying a car, but because I'm essentially retired and demented:

I go on Ebay and then to the Ebay Motors section. From there I click on the "classics" section, and from there I click on the "Hippie Era classics" section. "Hippie era" is a really stupid way to categorize 1960's cars, but Ebay billionaires aren't really old car guys. It will get you solidly into the era of collectible old cars, though, and typically less money than cars from the 1940's or 1950's, but certainly not always (Corvettes and muscle cars are crazy priced.) From there I click on the "Buy it Now" option, then specify the price range. After reading your post. I followed this procedure, using a price range of $2000-$4000. A lot of the search results will be junked cars or projects, but there are always some running titled vehicles, too. Here's one I found in 20 seconds or so, though I don't know if it meets all of your criteria.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1964-Dodge-Other-Pickups/333367992023?hash=item4d9e47ded7:g:hqAAAOSwkW5dqxGV

 

Only $2995. A '64 Dodge shortbed stepside is a vehicle that's nicely styled and worth having, as far as most old car guys are concerned. Much nicer looking than the '50's era Dodge pickups, IMO. The great thing about old pickups is it seems there's less of an expectation (among the old car community) for them to be restored. There's some more obvious body rust on the other side of this vehicle, but I've heard that high school or community college auto shop programs will take vehcles in for body repair at a greatly reduced fee, but I have no experience with this. The current  owner redid the brakes and put a decent set of used name brand tires on it...two areas you DON'T want to skimp on.

 

Caveat: Ebay can be a real loser in this price range...don't ask me how I know. Sellers of vehicles like these on Ebay can be pretty dishonest, cuz they think that since they're selling a car at a low price, they don't have to be honest for some reason. So that means it's absolutely necessary you inspect the vehicle before placing a bid or an offer to buy.  You should do this anyway, even though it's tempting not to. This probably means looking at cars withing a 150 mile radius for you, but give it some time and you'll find something. I also notice that untitled cars go for a lot less than titled cars. No good in my state, but New York may allow licensing. of untitled cars so that could work to your advantage. Good luck. 

 

 

s-l1600.jpg

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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Here's a '67 Falcon in New York. What little I could see of the interior was quite promising. NEEDS BRAKES THOUGH. If the add is correct (Again, need to inspect the vehicle FIRST) the body and frame is solid, so a budget paint job, dash pad cover and getting rid of the aftermarket wheel tire stuff could make that $3500 car look pretty presentable. Getting rid of rust on chrome bumpers isn't easy, but "67 Falcon bumpers may not be that expensive.

 

1967 Ford Falcon | eBay

 

 

s-l1600.jpg

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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Better to know his year range. El Caminos were made from 1959 through the 80s and the later ones can be a bargain. Small Block and an automatic last a long time if cared for (smoke out the pipe indicates a worn out engine). Wear on the pedals can tell a tale also. Chevrolet made a Caprice Classic for a few years and recall a Rambler Classic if that is a criterion.

 

Too many choices at this point. I usually buy and sell cars on CL.

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Honestly, you are probably just better off sticking with something like a 5 year old Mustang or Camaro for the time being, until you can get some money saved up. Once you do get some money saved up, don't just go out and get the first $2,000 project car you see. You will end up with nothing but headaches while your car sits outside and starts rusting out. Then you will lose interest in the hobby and give up out of frustration. I've seen this happen way too many times. Best thing to do is save up about 10 grand and get yourself a solid running driver. It also wouldn't hurt taking an intro to automotive class at a local community college or spending time around a buddy that works on cars to gain some basic knowledge. Just my 1.5 cents. 

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Thank you everyone for the insight. 

 

One thing I have worried about is that a bad experience may take away some of my enjoyment of old cars...I've been around the hobby for more than 30 years but never truly "in" it, if that makes any sense. Every day of my life is spent thinking about cars. Old, new, race cars, whatever. I've attended more than 25 shows this year, from small 15 car cruises to roughly 3000 cars. 

 

I also question my own self control...I'm a collector bordering on hoarder...I already pay for two storage units to hold my stuff. Will I be happy with just one car?  My property can only hold three cars and all are exposed to the elements, which I know is terrible for cars (why I need to rent a place for them)

 

I do know NY allows you to own a car even without a license. On that, at least, I'm set. It's my vision that's the problem on driving. 

 

My main worry is that I'll finally fulfill my lifelong dream of old car ownership, and then not be able to properly care for and enjoy the car...we tried so hard to maintain the Jeep and failed anyway. I guess it's made me a little "gun-shy". 

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Billy,

 

Maybe a thought for a economical car would be a Chevrolet Corvair. 

 

The price of entry for a decent car is reasonable and the parts to fix them are also reasonable and available.  You could look for a four door Monza with or without a four speed for some fun or an automatic.  Maybe even a convertible.

 

Not a "classic" but a fun car at a reasonable price.  My wife and I used to have a Monza with a 4 on the floor.  Fun car that we could drive anywhere.

 

Just a thought for reasonable entry fee.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

Thank you everyone for the insight. 

 

 

 

My main worry is that I'll finally fulfill my lifelong dream of old car ownership, and then not be able to properly care for and enjoy the car...we tried so hard to maintain the Jeep and failed anyway. I guess it's made me a little "gun-shy". 

 

 

 Billy, I think you've answered your question. Just because you don't have a collector car doesn't mean you can't enjoy the hobby. I know people who have so much investment in a car or cars that it takes over their life. When they go to car shows they can't even walk the show to see the different cars, also some who become so paranoid that once a car is finished they don't want to drive it  for fear of a rock chip or even park it where someone might scratch it or door ding it.

 

  I also want to make it clear about the Classic car nomenclature. The English language is wonderful because it is so precise that it can describe every nuance of the human condition. That's probably one of the reasons it's used in every cockpit or flight deck of every airplane in the world regardless of nationality. I was in the automotive engineering business for over 40 years. I have friends who are doctors, lawyers, Veterinarians, Real estate, mechanic's, steam powerplant managers, ship surveyors, dentist, airplane pilots, musicians, HR managers, Restaurant owners   etc. To people like us clarity means a lot, it's part of our world. I hope you understand.

 

And to those of you who don't  think clarity is important,  just keep calling this a Jet plane;

Image result for image of a biplane

  

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That depends on your definition of 'classic' with a lower case or upper case "c".    And what financial resources are available to back-up your desire to own one.   All of automotive history is available for you to choose from, there are survivors back to the earliest decades.   Narrowing it to the era and makes that appeal most is a personal decision.  You should decide this on the basis of what would please you most then pursue it.  If someone criticizes your choice, tell them you bought the car to please yourself and not them.  You will find many own a certain car to impress their contemporaries, a poor reason to own one.  Buy what delights you and just have experiences with it and enjoy it.  Collector cars are an entertainment, not an Investment, keep that in mind, you'll do just fine.

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The rewards of hobby car ownership are dependent on 2 things ,a dry, secure place to keep the car ; preferably owned outright, and at least some disposable income. 

As has been discussed on a few threads the garage is often the most difficult / costliest part of old car ownership. Hobby cars can be surprisingly cheap. A garage is usually at least 

a few multiples of the car cost. Rent really adds up over the years, and most rental situations are not very hobby car friendly. Many landlords think of  "affordable' hobby cars as old junk owned by down and outers. The last sort of person most landlords want as tenants. Collector cars are in their eyes $100,00.00 1929 Packard's an eccentric friend might own.    If you own a home or part of a home { partners } then save up $10,000.

or so and build a basic garage. Then you are in a position to consider looking for a hobby car. Without a garage your chances of a happy , long term old car hobby are quite poor. Just one expensive

frustration after another. 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Buy the very best example of the most affordable car you can find.

 

What I mean is that it's always smart to buy a finished car, and buying the world's nicest Corvair 4-door sedan is very affordable yet you still will get a quality car. Reaching for a more "desirable" car is great, but you'll inevitably end up with a car with issues and that will be a never-ending run of frustrations, especially if you're on a budget or just starting out. It will be very easy to talk yourself into the more expensive, more desirable car from an "investment" standpoint, but it's almost always a mistake, particularly if you're on a reasonable budget.

 

There's no shame in owning an affordable car and having an excellent example of any car will make you proud. The lack of hassles won't seem like a bonus simply because the car won't be hassling you; you may mistakenly assume that all old cars are like that. Not true. If you buy a car with issues and it hassles you constantly, you'll tear your hair out no matter how "desirable" it might be. This is where experience is a great teacher, and I'm trying to help you learn from my bad experiences. Bad cars are a curse.


After suffering through hundreds of headaches with old cars, I'm always grateful for those that don't give me hassles. If I could buy a less desirable car that would promise me fewer hassles, I'd do it in a heartbeat. That's partly why I own 4-door sedans instead of convertibles.

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2 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

That depends on your definition of 'classic' with a lower case or upper case "c".    And what financial resources are available to back-up your desire to own one.   All of automotive history is available for you to choose from, there are survivors back to the earliest decades.   Narrowing it to the era and makes that appeal most is a personal decision.  You should decide this on the basis of what would please you most then pursue it.  If someone criticizes your choice, tell them you bought the car to please yourself and not them.  You will find many own a certain car to impress their contemporaries, a poor reason to own one.  Buy what delights you and just have experiences with it and enjoy it.  Collector cars are an entertainment, not an Investment, keep that in mind, you'll do just fine.

Please don't get into the process of manipulating words. There is enough of that in politics. As said before the English language is a precise instrument. Most people I talk to in the automotive world call the kind of car such as a Edsel the original author of the thread is looking for a collectible car. 

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Buy the very best example of the most affordable car you can find.

 

What I mean is that it's always smart to buy a finished car, and buying the world's nicest Corvair 4-door sedan is very affordable yet you still will get a quality car. Reaching for a more "desirable" car is great, but you'll inevitably end up with a car with issues and that will be a never-ending run of frustrations, especially if you're on a budget or just starting out. It will be very easy to talk yourself into the more expensive, more desirable car from an "investment" standpoint, but it's almost always a mistake, particularly if you're on a reasonable budget.

 

There's no shame in owning an affordable car and having an excellent example of any car will make you proud. The lack of hassles won't seem like a bonus simply because the car won't be hassling you; you may mistakenly assume that all old cars are like that. Not true. If you buy a car with issues and it hassles you constantly, you'll tear your hair out no matter how "desirable" it might be. This is where experience is a great teacher, and I'm trying to help you learn from my bad experiences. Bad cars are a curse.


After suffering through hundreds of headaches with old cars, I'm always grateful for those that don't give me hassles. If I could buy a less desirable car that would promise me fewer hassles, I'd do it in a heartbeat. That's partly why I own 4-door sedans instead of convertibles.

 

This advice is right on.  An example is my travels with the reassembly of my '1908 Buick.  I have had the transmission apart as part of the restoration.  Looking closely at one of the internal gears, almost all of the faces on the teeth on one side of the gears have spalling.  Consensus opinion of several of us who are truly knowledgeable with cars agree that it probably was bad heat treat of that gear as the other 8 gears look good.  Need to get a new gear made.  Probably another $150-$300 dollars gone on repairs.  The transmission might be OK putting the gear back in, but it is not worth the risk.  This is a fix it right the first time one time.  Off to the gear manufacturer tomorrow.

 

You can remember that in the old car hobby, it is not for the faint of heart or wallet. 

 

Drive it, break it, fix it, repeat.  

 

The older the car the more these two rules keep showing up, especially trying to get parts.  Need to have a good machinist to be friends with and a checkbook because many parts are made of unobtainium.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Given your seeming modest means, lack of facilities and eye sight issues the best advice you have been given is to seek out local car clubs and become part of their group. It does not HAVE to be  the AACA or affiliated clubs. There are usually clubs devoted to every aspect of the hobby that require little to join.

Get to know the locals and soon you will have many helping hands.

And forget the "Classic/classic, antique, original" labels and all the other snobby BS you are bound to hear. Find a bunch of good ole boys and be part of the fun.................Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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The 1973-77 era El Camino's are usually affordable in "driver condition" Rust being the worst problem with them. Any decent mechanic can keep them on the road cheaply.

Just have someone really competent do an appraisal before you lay out the cash. Basic small block Chevrolet engine, T-H automatic transmission, and not too complex in any area of repair other than body panel replacement.

Good luck on your quest!

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Was at a show last Saturday where there were several Corvette owners talking about ordering a new 2020. This must be the new world since before this century I never paid more than $2k for a toy and most were down to $200 e.g. for a FIAT 850 R coupe. This included a split window Fuelie 'vette, a 69 427 T-top,  a FIAT 124 Spyder, and several E-types & recently a GTP with DOHC-6 and a five speed Getrag., all of which I drove, did maintenance as needed (mostly clutches) and sold reasonable. My current project car, a SLK230 (Kompressor) retractible just needs some reassembly and electrics but is nice looking, has a retractible hardtop, and I drove it into the garage. As cooler weather arrives I may even get a round tuit. Was less than a grand, licensed, titled, and insured.

 

So for $10k you can get some nice cars that need nothing.

"I consider any car that you don't see outside of car shows to be classic". Note my .sig, only the tow car is common or has more than two doors.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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I would go the El Camino route if you plan on using the car as a daily driver. Here's a nice 77 with a rebuilt 350 and trans for $6500. Just the cost of doing those two things is the same price as the car. You can easily get most parts from a local auto store and learn basic maintenance while you drive it. Enjoy it for a couple years, then sell it for a nice Edsel sedan when you're ready. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1977-Chevrolet-El-Camino-Classic/143414156093?hash=item2164265b3d%3Ag%3AYiAAAOSw7GBdL9Lv&LH_ItemCondition=3000|1000|2500

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I applaud your interest in antique cars

   collectible cars

      cars only seen at car shows

         Edsels

            El Caminos.

 

Your interest in them doesn't mean you have to own them. You could study the subject that appeals to you and become an expert on them. I love jazz -- but I'm never going to have my own Big band or jazz club -- so I buy a record or listen to it on the radio. I totally love an import car with a little 244 cubic inch engine that's so small you have to look up to see a driver in an Edsel* -- but I'm never going to be able to own one -- so I limit myself to studying them or sketching them. You have an advantage some of us don't have. You are, possibly anyway, at the start of getting involved with old cars. Many of us don't even remember that time. You could write a series of articles or books on the car collecting world from the outside looking in.

  • What Was I Thinking? What the Universe of Antique Car Collecting Is From a Beginner's Perspective
  • A Layman's Guide From Soup To Nuts: Furrin Carz, What's the Difference Between a Fiat & a Ferrari?
  • Forget Modern Junk, Man. Get Yo-Self A Real Car(El Camino with a 454, T-Bird with a 430, get the drift?)
  • The Compleat Car Guy: The 100 Best American Cars From 1900-2000**
  • My Friends Say I'm Off My Rocker, But a 1959 Mercury w/ a 400 HP Super Marauder Engine Is More Fun Than a Drift Car

There's a danger here that if you wrote 5 books like this you might earn a hideous amount of money and get a garage and a shop and a car and have to deal with a whole new bunch of headaches.

 

 

 

 

 

* When I was 18, had a ride in one for half an hour..........a yellow 1968 P400 Miura.

https://apis.mail.yahoo.com/ws/v3/mailboxes/@.id==VjN-3Z8RHeeqQiHXuq8cO-6wJQDFmjWbmGid6Wf7KKCI2Yj3vrF71FovnWSYnTIdSoRCUWhjIv2uHVC2R0Wv8Q9VgQ/messages/@.id==AHtI_z9UnjdgXGQXxQYx8AgSSUQ/content/parts/@.id==1.3/thumbnail?appId=YMailNorrin  ......now THAT is an impossible dream!

 

** I have a book along those lines, THE 100 GREATEST AMERICAN CARS, that Jan Norbye wrote in 1981, but everyone has their own list of best 100 cars, so the field's wide open. 

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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Some really good advice here. Thank you again. While I would love to get my hands on a Full Classic...that's just not realistic. What I like the most (El Caminos, Edsels, early 1950s Pontiac 4-doors, any 50s car) are possible, with a little effort. 
 

We do own our home but not enough space to build a garage, unfortunately. 

 

Quote

There's no shame in owning an affordable car and having an excellent example of any car will make you proud. The lack of hassles won't seem like a bonus simply because the car won't be hassling you; you may mistakenly assume that all old cars are like that. Not true. If you buy a car with issues and it hassles you constantly, you'll tear your hair out no matter how "desirable" it might be. This is where experience is a great teacher, and I'm trying to help you learn from my bad experiences. Bad cars are a curse.

This quote from Matt resonates with me. The Jeep DID give us problems just about from Day 1, and as I mentioned in my opening post, it had given the previous owner problems as well, being on it's third transmission, which we didn't find out until later. I actually think my family and Mopars may be cursed...my dad was a lifelong mechanic, (for the USPS) and the only cars he couldn't get to run properly were all Chrysler products...Cancer got him before we go the Jeep but perhaps it's not a coincidence that it has given us problems. We've had 4 in my lifetime and all gave us trouble. The Chevrolets and Fords we had didn't give us anything like that, but rust got them all. It's possible that my concerns are fueled solely by having a bad car to begin with. The desire to keep the Jeep going is mostly because it was the first car in my family history that I had any say in us getting. 

 

Jeff, your post made me laugh out loud. "What was I thinking?" could be my life quote. I actually have had articles published in Model Cars Magazine. I'm not sure I could pad it out to a full book...although I do have lots of pictures I could use. (I've taken about 10,000 car photos this year alone)

 

I am going to look into some of the local clubs. I never really felt like I belonged, not being an old car owner, but the encouragement I've received here has made me second guess that position. I already know some of the local club folks from being a weekly attendee at their cruise nights. 

 

Thanks again!

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10 hours ago, padgett said:

This must be the new world since before this century I never paid more than $2k for a toy and most were down to $200 e.g. for a FIAT 850 R coupe.

Sometimes, I've actually paid MORE for a small chrome trim piece for my restoration project than I have for an entire car that actually ran and drove!!

 

Craig

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May I direct you to the 1948-1954 Packard Eights, 200's and Clippers four door touring sedans.  Many good, well-restored and simply maintained originals are readily available for under $10K.  They're solid, reliable nice-driving cars with good club and parts support.    They won't knock your socks off but they won't break the bank either. 

Edited by 58L-Y8 (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

I am going to look into some of the local clubs. I never really felt like I belonged, not being an old car owner, but the encouragement I've received here has made me second guess that position. I already know some of the local club folks from being a weekly attendee at their cruise nights. 

 

Billy, the local club is an excellent option for you--

and one that you can begin enjoying right away!

 

I think it's very reasonable to figure that someone

would love to have you ride along in their antique cars.

For example, on tours, everyone gets printed directions

for all the turns on various back roads;  and if someone

is alone in his car, it's hard to read and drive at the same

time.  If you could read the directions and be the 

"navigator," you would enrich his experience very much!

 

And club members, especially once you get to know them,

may be happy to have you ride in their old cars on other

club occasions too.  Experiencing an old car from a

passenger seat is really almost as good as driving.

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Joining national clubs and regions as well is great advice.  Whether for a specific make or general, you will connect with other enthusiasts of like interest, the comradery is a benefit worth well beyond what the annual membership cost might be.   Attend local gathering, get to know folks in the club.  Keep in mind that every old car collector has more cars than he can realistically handle, gladly sells to those who show genuine interest in keeping the car and taking good care of it.  You are young enough to develop those relationships and eventually be the man who becomes the next conservator.

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I actually have a fondness for those Packards. 

I like being a passenger...I take lots of pictures while riding...On our family trip to Ohio earlier this month I took 8500 pictures, and just under half of them were while driving. I photo documented every town we went through and I tried to get every old car or truck we saw. (quite a few old pickups rusting into oblivion visible in farm country along the NYS Thruway) Being a passenger is not a problem for me! 

 

If someone ever did bequeath a car to me, that would be the highest honor I could possibly imagine. But I'm sure it would be bittersweet at the loss of a friend. 

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Don't overlook 1977-1979 rear wheel drive Cadillacs in your search.  The 425 engine is well built, they are designed for ease of maintenance, and are VERY VERY reliable.  The 77-79 RWD Cadillacs are creeping up in value, but still represent an exceptional value for what you get.  A well sorted 4 door Sedan de Ville can be had for under $10k in very nice condition needing almost next to nothing.

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23 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

 

This advice is right on.  An example is my travels with the reassembly of my '1908 Buick.  I have had the transmission apart as part of the restoration.  Looking closely at one of the internal gears, almost all of the faces on the teeth on one side of the gears have spalling.  Consensus opinion of several of us who are truly knowledgeable with cars agree that it probably was bad heat treat of that gear as the other 8 gears look good.  Need to get a new gear made.  Probably another $150-$300 dollars gone on repairs.  The transmission might be OK putting the gear back in, but it is not worth the risk.  This is a fix it right the first time one time.  Off to the gear manufacturer tomorrow.

 

You can remember that in the old car hobby, it is not for the faint of heart or wallet. 

 

Drive it, break it, fix it, repeat.  

 

The older the car the more these two rules keep showing up, especially trying to get parts.  Need to have a good machinist to be friends with and a checkbook because many parts are made of unobtainium.

 

Correction to this post.  I dropped the gear off at the gear company and the quote is $390.00.  

 

You can remember that in the old car hobby, it is not for the faint of heart or wallet. 

 

Drive it, break it, fix it, repeat.    and

 

The older the car the more these two rules keep showing up, especially trying to get parts.  Need to have a good machinist to be friends with and a checkbook because many parts are made of unobtainium.

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7 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

I actually have a fondness for those Packards.  

 

Since Packards are of interest, please check out not only the Packard Club and Packards International websites but also PackardInfo.com.  Signing on is free and there are legions of Packard people ready to answer any question you have. Many of us are active on the PackardInfo forum there daily.  We also search Craigslist and post links to Packards and parts available on it under the 'Various CL Pickings' thread in Cars for sale.  Check it frequently as we continually update with fresh listings that might be of interest.  While much of Craigslist collector cars for sale are rather 'optimistically' priced for what they are and the condition, periodically real bargains do appear.   Good luck, we'd love to have you become 'the man who owns one"

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It’s hard to tell someone that their dream in not achievable. Anything is possible. You need to decide what you are willing to do, or go without, to make your dream of owning and driving a vintage car,  a reality.  A determined person will do almost anything within the law, to get the result they want.

 

I bought a nice clean 4 door Chrysler.  A 1953. You can get these big old beauties for great prices. Actually buying the car might be the cheapest part of this endeavour. I paid $5,900. When I bought it, it looked almost as good as it does today. However, I have spent another $3500 on mechanical repairs. Making it reliable, safe and comfortable. I have so much more I’d like to do yet. I do all my own repairs. I imagine if I paid a mechanic to do the repairs,  I could easily double what I’ve spent so far. Having a home garage, lots of tools, experience, confidence, and funds, are key to owning a vintage car...Well for most of us. If we had tons of money for discretionary spending, who cares right? Go get whatever you want. 

 

My experience tells me that if funds are tight, you have limited to no mechanical experience, you have no shop space & no tools,  this is a recipe for disaster. The idea of owning and enjoying your dream vintage car will likely fade away soon after the initial honeymoon period ends. Unless you can address a few things. 

 

I had other hobbies. Then I purchased 2 vintage cars. I gave up some of my hobbies. I really, really, enjoy my cars. It is indeed a great hobby and is extremely rewarding when you perform your own mechanical work. 

 

 

32426FBC-47F5-4667-AC3A-3CB7446D4D23.jpeg

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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