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Ever Have a Car that Fights you Every Bit of the Way?


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I've been working on a car (not AACA eligible). New clutch, suspension, et. al. It's fought me at every turn. Getting bolts off, getting connections unplugged. Putting thing back together.

 

Everything has been a complete hassle.

 

I've got everything done and it's still fighting me. Some wiring problems have suddenly popped up. 

 

Has this happened to you? My antique cars have never been this bad.

 

Give me a Franklin any day.

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The Skylark Gran Sport sitting out in the shop. I don’t think anything was done once on that resto. The paint & upholstery, only because those skilled tasks were done by someone else. Ever lay awake at night wondering why the hell you’re doing this...

 

Mark

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Demons...

 

My wife had a MG Midget for a few years that loved her and hated me. It was that simple, she could jump in it and drive 5 hours each way into Boston without any issues, then if I tried to go into town 10 miles away, it would have issues before I got there... I was so happy when it left our garage and not because it gave me more room!

 

Some cars just have demonic tendencies...

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A racing buddy of mine bought a used racecar from another acquaintance at the track.

The seller had named that car "Satin". Problems came with it, break downs, flat tires, ill handling, on and on.

It was no ones particular car and it kind of got passed around our group of friends.

I was asked if I wanted to drive it one night. I hesitantly accepted but told my friend that I wanted to spend the day on it before I raced it.

I swapped out some tires, tightened up a few bolts, changed a shock and cranked a bit of wedge into it.

Come time to qualify it wouldn't start. It had run earlier that day. One crewman quickly figured out that the distributor was wet.

Blew it out and qualified way back in the pack.

Not a bad heat race, I passed a coupled of guys.

I cranked a little more cross weight for the main.

The only time anyone could remember that car finishing a main event without issues. And yes, I won.

The next time I was offered I passed.....And the car went back to its old ways.

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When it’s an old car you tolerate it and it’s part of the experience.  When it’s more modern it’s frustrating especially when you find it never ends as with a late model Dodge minivan I own.  Our van was at the dealer for warranty issues,  they had it and drove it more than we did.  Frustrating because it’s a wheelchair conversion van and the majority of the issues were engine related, not the conversion stuff.

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I have had a couple cars like that. I once had a '54 Nash Ambassador that let me down literally every time I drove it. And there was a '62 Lincoln I owned for seven years but never once made it anywhere without a breakdown.  I sold the latter car to someone who told me he never understood why I sold it. He replaced literally one bolt and said it's the best car he ever owned. Then there is one I sold a while back that ran beautifully for me for years but would act up in front of every potential buyer.  That one didn't seem to want to leave. I think cars must have souls.

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One nice thing about doing this as a hobby vs profession is when we have days like this where nothing is cooperating we can walk away for a while.  Its amazing to me how just starting over on a problem a day or two or even just a few hours later can suddenly make all the difference in the world. or is that just me?

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Yes, all Chrysler products made between 1978 and 1994. My dad was a lifelong mechanic and the ONLY car he ever gave up on was our 78 Cordoba. Nothing he did with it would work. After only a year or two it was given away. 

My brother's first car was a K-Car. 4 years old when he got it, it never worked properly. I can't remember everything that was wrong with it, but it was always acting up. I do remember it sitting in the driveway for a while after some guy in a pickup decided that stop signs didn't apply to him, and my dad eventually using a tow line to drag it to the scrapyard behind his VW Quantum. The K-Car was replaced with a Horizon, that only lasted 2 years before it was replaced.

 

In 2003 we bought a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee and it gave us all kinds of problems. Mostly, it would stop running whenever it wanted to...usually going down the road. Occasionally at stop lights. Sometimes it wouldn't start at all. Just about every mechanical part was replaced and it didn't help, the problems persisted. The only thing that never gave us a problem was the engine block itself, I think.

Although not mechanical, my brother's current car, a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, had really poor build quality but is still running strong. The paint was so weak that grocery bags scratched it. (Now fading and peeling). The Chevrolet Bowtie fell off while sitting parked one day. It got flooded in 2017 and the exhaust rusted off, and it goes through struts often, but it's still mechanically sound. It's the longest my family has ever owned a car.  

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5 hours ago, RansomEli said:

I've been working on a car (not AACA eligible). New clutch, suspension, et. al. It's fought me at every turn. Getting bolts off, getting connections unplugged. Putting thing back together.

 

So what was the prime motivation that clinched the purchase?

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I have had my share as a young teen driver 33 years ago. Everywhere I turned stuff was breaking or needed adjustment. I was kicking horse turds walking to school and work, while the car was down. Working on my next pay check, I endured. 

 

I racked it up as experience. I learned that when you can only afford cheap junk, expect to perform accordingly. Bad luck that fought me the whole way? I don’t think so. Just every darn thing was wore out. 

 

Today I buy old junk, park it and go over everything. The process could take years.  I don’t buy it and expect to be my daily driver. Lol. Back then I did. 

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8 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

NON AACA vehicle you answered your own question. When will this Forum ever return to the stated goals of the AACA? Bob 

Bob you stated this best, we all can complain about "modern" transportation that we feel should be reliable ( to get us to and from places that supply what we need for AACA   cars we are working on) . Let's get back to what older vehicles we like that make us forget about the general ones we have to put up with.

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I often wondered if the AMC Gremlin was aptly named by the people who had to design it.  They were so proud of their gremlins they used an image of one for a logo.  Note- AMC Gremlin is AACA eligible!

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Just now, TerryB said:

I often wondered if the AMC Gremlin was aptly named by the people who had to design it.  They were so proud of their gremlins they used an image of one for a logo.  Note- AMC Gremlin is AACA eligible!

They made great bodies for  North Eastern Modifies, also AACA eligible. Bob 

42361510.jpg

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Sometimes I curse the Ford Motor Company when working on my (fomoco) cars and tell myself that the Chevy's I had as a kid were never this hard to work on. The Chevy's  probably were, but memory is selective. Truth is I'm not that great of a mechanic.

 

The vehicle I owned with the most problems with was, without a doubt, a 1969 Triumph TR6 650cc motorcycle. Ironically, it was probably the prettiest vehicle I owned, too. But it left me stranded in the middle of a busy intersection one too many times, so it was gone, and I never wanted another one. The BSA 500 twin I owned, though, was very reliable and all original. I loved that bike and now and then I wish I had another one.

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Not to crow...
but have had very good luck with my '40 Ford. From P.O. stories, it had a '63 municipal plate on it, and was bought by the pre-P.O. in '77.  I don't believe it was registered since at least then (who knows). I bought it in '03, running but needing a lot of 'go-thru' / no wiring other than to the motor.  Fasteners that certainly looking like they were last attached in 1940 came apart willingly. It's a simple machine, never garaged / quite rusty, but it has been fairly joyful to work on.

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I've been working on this for a few weeks because we've had a rash of people being unreasonable about old cars and what they can be, with expectations that are all out of whack. So this is the new disclaimer that will be on every single car on every single page of our website starting next week:

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are at all curious about the condition of any car in our inventory, please come look at it personally or pay someone smart to do it for you. Inspections are ALWAYS welcome at Harwood Motors and if you don't do it, you have nobody to blame but yourself if the car isn't what you expect later. You should know up front that old cars are messy, unreliable, prone to breaking down, and probably have decades of unknown repairs by unknown people with unknown skills. A vast majority of old cars, including muscle cars, hot rods, Full Classics, trophy cars, and other vintage vehicles are junk. Like 99.4% of them. Do not expect perfection, do not expect us to re-restore a car before selling it to you, do not expect that it will run forever with indifferent maintenance like a modern car, and do not expect that everything will always work perfectly. ALL OLD CARS LEAK, even the expensive ones, so stop asking. Sooner or later, you WILL have problems with any collector car you buy. This is true for all cars, those in our inventory as well as those in every other dealer’s inventory. Some dealers may lie to your face and tell you that their cars do not have issues—that is simply not possible. ALL CARS HAVE ISSUES, regardless of the price--perfection is not on the table with old cars. If you are not man enough to deal with it when the time comes, don’t buy an old car. If you are a whiner, a complainer, a crybaby, or someone who expects that buying from a dealer is a safety net for your bad decisions or a guarantee of perfection, we’d rather you not buy a car from us. If you’re someone who does dumb things and then uses lawyers to get what he wants anyway, we don’t want your business. If you imagine that owning a 70-year-old used car is the same as owning a new Lexus, you are going to be badly disappointed and we don't want it to be our problem. If any of that sounds like you, save us all a bunch of headaches and go buy a new Mustang instead. Thanks.

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10 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

I've been working on this for a few weeks because we've had a rash of people being unreasonable about old cars and what they can be, with expectations that are all out of whack. So this is the new disclaimer that will be on every single car on every single page of our website starting next week:

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are at all curious about the condition of any car in our inventory, please come look at it personally or pay someone smart to do it for you. Inspections are ALWAYS welcome at Harwood Motors and if you don't do it, you have nobody to blame but yourself if the car isn't what you expect later. You should know up front that old cars are messy, unreliable, prone to breaking down, and probably have decades of unknown repairs by unknown people with unknown skills. A vast majority of old cars, including muscle cars, hot rods, Full Classics, trophy cars, and other vintage vehicles are junk. Like 99.4% of them. Do not expect perfection, do not expect us to re-restore a car before selling it to you, do not expect that it will run forever with indifferent maintenance like a modern car, and do not expect that everything will always work perfectly. ALL OLD CARS LEAK, even the expensive ones, so stop asking. Sooner or later, you WILL have problems with any collector car you buy. This is true for all cars, those in our inventory as well as those in every other dealer’s inventory. Some dealers may lie to your face and tell you that their cars do not have issues—that is simply not possible. ALL CARS HAVE ISSUES, regardless of the price--perfection is not on the table with old cars. If you are not man enough to deal with it when the time comes, don’t buy an old car. If you are a whiner, a complainer, a crybaby, or someone who expects that buying from a dealer is a safety net for your bad decisions or a guarantee of perfection, we’d rather you not buy a car from us. If you’re someone who does dumb things and then uses lawyers to get what he wants anyway, we don’t want your business. If you imagine that owning a 70-year-old used car is the same as owning a new Lexus, you are going to be badly disappointed and we don't want it to be our problem. If any of that sounds like you, save us all a bunch of headaches and go buy a new Mustang instead. Thanks.

 

 

That in itself is all true, However will probably chase away some sales.

It makes it sound like you don't care about what you are selling. Might even be dumping.

The old 'as-where is' says it all. And should require a signature.

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57 minutes ago, JACK M said:

The old 'as-where is' says it all. And should require a signature.

 

Our purchase agreement not only has a signature at the end, but also a paragraph they must initial that says they have used their own judgement to decide to buy the car and that they had the opportunity to personally inspect it or send someone to inspect it on their behalf and that they accept 100% responsibility for the very grown-up activity called "buying a used car."

 

A$$holes still sue me because their heater isn't hot enough or the cigarette lighter doesn't charge their cell phone or the tires they buy for the car vibrate (even though the old tires didn't). I'm tired of being the safety net for grown men who don't want to take responsibility for their own decisions. I'm done being nice.

 

All old cars are crap. Pretending otherwise is what makes people unreasonable.

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6 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I've been working on this for a few weeks because we've had a rash of people being unreasonable about old cars and what they can be, with expectations that are all out of whack. So this is the new disclaimer that will be on every single car on every single page of our website starting next week:

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are at all curious about the condition of any car in our inventory, please come look at it personally or pay someone smart to do it for you. Inspections are ALWAYS welcome at Harwood Motors and if you don't do it, you have nobody to blame but yourself if the car isn't what you expect later. You should know up front that old cars are messy, unreliable, prone to breaking down, and probably have decades of unknown repairs by unknown people with unknown skills. A vast majority of old cars, including muscle cars, hot rods, Full Classics, trophy cars, and other vintage vehicles are junk. Like 99.4% of them. Do not expect perfection, do not expect us to re-restore a car before selling it to you, do not expect that it will run forever with indifferent maintenance like a modern car, and do not expect that everything will always work perfectly. ALL OLD CARS LEAK, even the expensive ones, so stop asking. Sooner or later, you WILL have problems with any collector car you buy. This is true for all cars, those in our inventory as well as those in every other dealer’s inventory. Some dealers may lie to your face and tell you that their cars do not have issues—that is simply not possible. ALL CARS HAVE ISSUES, regardless of the price--perfection is not on the table with old cars. If you are not man enough to deal with it when the time comes, don’t buy an old car. If you are a whiner, a complainer, a crybaby, or someone who expects that buying from a dealer is a safety net for your bad decisions or a guarantee of perfection, we’d rather you not buy a car from us. If you’re someone who does dumb things and then uses lawyers to get what he wants anyway, we don’t want your business. If you imagine that owning a 70-year-old used car is the same as owning a new Lexus, you are going to be badly disappointed and we don't want it to be our problem. If any of that sounds like you, save us all a bunch of headaches and go buy a new Mustang instead. Thanks.

 

Well put Matt! I hope you don't mind if I copy for my own purposes? The leaking part especially. My spouse freaks about that. I had a beautiful 1957 Olds 98 Starfire coupe that stopped people in their tracks to gawk at it. Was a high dollar resto, but it leaked oil. Then my Jaguar was even worse. Both of them are gone. She mentioned this summer about liking a 73 Triumph TR6. When I told her of the British penchant for leaving their mark that ended it.

 I buy and sell old cars. Fewer every year due to the reasons spelled out in this disclaimer, and also my old age crustiness sends many a tire kicker out the door.

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YES! It was a 1957 Chevy stepside, shortbed pickup. WHAT a piece of garbage I bought. It was worked over pretty hard by the time I got it. Drove GREAT around the mall parking lot. Did the deal and tried to take the freeway on the way home. BIG mistake. That thing wouldn't get out of it's own way. EVERYTHING I touched on that wreck fought me. I was so glad to peddle it. Of course, that was after the rebuild and lots of cash for other stuff it needed....

57 Chevy truck.JPG

57 Chevy truck 2.JPG

57 Chevy truck 3.JPG

57 Chevy truck 4.JPG

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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Triumph fixed that - the put a sponge under the sump, rinsed out when you change to oil or it all leaks out.

 

Never had a car that fought me, were some that would slice members, others that took chunks out, and a couple that did not want the repair done with the engine in the car but usually succeed in the end. Of course the end may be a year or so later but... Only took a month to get the thermostat changed in the CTS.

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On 11/8/2019 at 11:32 AM, Matt Harwood said:

I've been working on this for a few weeks because we've had a rash of people being unreasonable about old cars and what they can be, with expectations that are all out of whack. So this is the new disclaimer that will be on every single car on every single page of our website starting next week:

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are at all curious about the condition of any car in our inventory, please come look at it personally or pay someone smart to do it for you. Inspections are ALWAYS welcome at Harwood Motors and if you don't do it, you have nobody to blame but yourself if the car isn't what you expect later. You should know up front that old cars are messy, unreliable, prone to breaking down, and probably have decades of unknown repairs by unknown people with unknown skills. A vast majority of old cars, including muscle cars, hot rods, Full Classics, trophy cars, and other vintage vehicles are junk. Like 99.4% of them. Do not expect perfection, do not expect us to re-restore a car before selling it to you, do not expect that it will run forever with indifferent maintenance like a modern car, and do not expect that everything will always work perfectly. ALL OLD CARS LEAK, even the expensive ones, so stop asking. Sooner or later, you WILL have problems with any collector car you buy. This is true for all cars, those in our inventory as well as those in every other dealer’s inventory. Some dealers may lie to your face and tell you that their cars do not have issues—that is simply not possible. ALL CARS HAVE ISSUES, regardless of the price--perfection is not on the table with old cars. If you are not man enough to deal with it when the time comes, don’t buy an old car. If you are a whiner, a complainer, a crybaby, or someone who expects that buying from a dealer is a safety net for your bad decisions or a guarantee of perfection, we’d rather you not buy a car from us. If you’re someone who does dumb things and then uses lawyers to get what he wants anyway, we don’t want your business. If you imagine that owning a 70-year-old used car is the same as owning a new Lexus, you are going to be badly disappointed and we don't want it to be our problem. If any of that sounds like you, save us all a bunch of headaches and go buy a new Mustang instead. Thanks.

 

Mr Harwood, you have been warned before about using Logic and common sense in your posts. Stop it.

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On 11/4/2019 at 3:39 PM, Billy Kingsley said:

Yes, all Chrysler products made between 1978 and 1994. My dad was a lifelong mechanic and the ONLY car he ever gave up on was our 78 Cordoba. Nothing he did with it would work. After only a year or two it was given away. 

My brother's first car was a K-Car. 4 years old when he got it, it never worked properly. I can't remember everything that was wrong with it, but it was always acting up. I do remember it sitting in the driveway for a while after some guy in a pickup decided that stop signs didn't apply to him, and my dad eventually using a tow line to drag it to the scrapyard behind his VW Quantum. The K-Car was replaced with a Horizon, that only lasted 2 years before it was replaced.

 

In 2003 we bought a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee and it gave us all kinds of problems. Mostly, it would stop running whenever it wanted to...usually going down the road. Occasionally at stop lights. Sometimes it wouldn't start at all. Just about every mechanical part was replaced and it didn't help, the problems persisted. The only thing that never gave us a problem was the engine block itself, I think.

Although not mechanical, my brother's current car, a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, had really poor build quality but is still running strong. The paint was so weak that grocery bags scratched it. (Now fading and peeling). The Chevrolet Bowtie fell off while sitting parked one day. It got flooded in 2017 and the exhaust rusted off, and it goes through struts often, but it's still mechanically sound. It's the longest my family has ever owned a car.  

Although I was warned about buying it my 1980 Plymouth Volare has been  extremely reliable, runs well, gets good gas mileage for what it is and is really a pleasure to drive.  Low cost trip back to my younger days.

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On 11/4/2019 at 2:27 PM, old car fan said:

Gremlins are on every car,at least ours.:

Yes, they are! especially when the name of your car is Gremlin and it even has a Gremlin badge showing a little Gremlin on the front fender!  I bought a 72 Gremlin 6 in 1980 for $300.  I noticed it had the same six as a later Jeep.  It came from Oklahoma and all the smog gear had been ripped out of it.  So I couldn't register it in San Diego.  I was a poor college student, but I did have a non-running DeSoto with good plates, so I just exchanged the plates.  Easy.  I remember walking into a Toys R Us and laughing when I saw a little plastic kids pedal car called a Tiny Coupe or something like that.  It cost $330!  I wonder if that 72 Gremlin now qualifies as a classic?  On the freeway, once, the hood flew up and crashed down on my windshield!  I was blind-sided, so I had to veer off to the right and stop.  The car had been in an accident, and had front end damage when I bought it.  I had some rope so I tied it down.  While I was student teaching at a high school, and some wiseguy teenagers untied the rope on my hood and rearranged my spark plug wires!  When I got in the car that afternoon and turned the key, BANG!  Then, nothing, but the starter turning the engine over.  The hood was still tied up, so I untied it and checked out the motor.  I saw right away that the plug wires were not in the right order, so I put them back to 1-5-3-6-2-4.  That car gave me about three years of hard daily driving, until one day. it threw a rod while I was driving to a substitute teaching job.  That was the end of it.  It went to a junkyard after I retrieved my DeSoto plates.  That's why I was stunned one day when I saw that Jay Leno was featuring the Gremlin on his car show!  Never thought I'd see that!  Talk about not being a chick magnet, this car oozed virginity all over.  Even Jay Leno said, as he was getting in one to drive it, "Boy you really have to be confident with your manhood to be seen in one of these!"  

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AMC had a habit of creating new models by sectioning old ones. Take a Hornet, chop that tail off: instant Gremlin. Or chop about two feet out of the middle of a Javelin: instant AMX. Just look at the hoods.

 

Dunno but have always liked my cars. Some prove to be a learning experience but they get me where I am going. Have had issues with 10 bolt rear ends (was once passes by rear tire and axle on an exit ramp). May be because I have usually had spares so could take my time about repairs and "do it right" but went for a year with only my Reatta coupe when it was 20 and just had to replace some wheel bearings.

 

ps have almost always had at least one that cost less than a grand. Sometimes it is my favourite.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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