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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/5/10 5:54 a.m.

I think I'd have trouble restraining myself and would end up with a V8 and Sebring arches if I bought a 'B.

I'm a little surprised that nobody's mentioned 240Zs yet, any special reason for that?

rconlon
rconlon Reader
1/5/10 12:37 p.m.

Be cautious here. Maintenance of a classic at shop prices will kill you and down time might be annoying. I used my Fiat as a short-distance commuter for 6 years but wrenched on weekends and could not find a good local mechanic if I wanted one. The advantage is initial cost of a 124 Spider or Coupe is low and $20K would buy one with maintenace for life. I have about $7k in mine now over 11 years and 50,000 miles. It would be double that for shop work. The car is worth about $7k (3 times the purchase price). So it owes me nothing and is easy to replace if destroyed. It is now a weekend car. For daily use, look to the 1980's for low cost and rising value and ease of finding maintenance. I would think Mustang (Fox body), Mercedes SL series or European sports sedan/convertible but nothing too far off the beaten track or too high end. I would consider the concept and not particuar model.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/5/10 1:38 p.m.

I do have a healthy distrust for most shops so I'll be doing at least some of the maintenance myself (at least I know who screwed up then), but I tend to go to "good" mechanics for large jobs. But I don't need to bother them for regular maintenance jobs like brakes etc.

I guess 70s/80s is really the decade to look at for the reasons you mention. Early 90s probably, too - electronics don't scare me to a certain extent but I don't want more computers in the car than I have in the house.

Mowog
Mowog New Reader
1/5/10 6:19 p.m.

An old anything will cost you more than a newer - MINI - Celica - Corvette - WRX - etc. Don't kid yourself, unless you figure in your time and labor you are better off to get a sensible newer car as a daily driver. Now, when that makes sense, imagine having effective A/C, a quiet cabin, an intact spine, accurate gauges and general reliability and you might just think that keeping your hobby car as that and not using it up might make just sense.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/23/10 11:40 a.m.

The trouble with the "old anything will cost you more" maths is that it usually only compares shop bills. Once you factor in deprecation that you won't get with a classic car unless you drive it into some immovable object or don't take care of it, you find that it pretty much evens out or you might even be ahead a little if you make a smart purchase.

One thing I've learned the hard way is to go look for the best car I can find of a particular model, even if that means paying way above the average. Buying a cheaper one and then trying to improve is bound to cost more. But then again I'm known for taking perfectly decent classic motorbikes, take them apart and redo them properly.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
1/23/10 2:44 p.m.

Tim is right. Start with a good example and it is very possible to use a car for a few years and honestly make some money or at worst essentially own it for free. I do this a lot.

Wachuko
Wachuko New Reader
1/28/10 5:04 p.m.

Maybe I have been around 911 for too long... great cars that you can drive around on a daily basis and pretty much bullet proof. And I can take the children with me in the small back seats.

I am also looking for something, but different than a 911. Alfa Romeo Duetto, Lancia Fulvia Zagato sure sounds like a different, beautiful alternative.

KaptKaos
KaptKaos Reader
1/29/10 10:21 a.m.
Mowog wrote: An old anything will cost you more than a newer - MINI - Celica - Corvette - WRX - etc. Don't kid yourself, unless you figure in your time and labor you are better off to get a sensible newer car as a daily driver. Now, when that makes sense, imagine having effective A/C, a quiet cabin, an intact spine, accurate gauges and general reliability and you might just think that keeping your hobby car as that and not using it up might make just sense.

Who are you and what are you doing on this forum!! Guards!! Seize him!!

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
1/29/10 3:02 p.m.

The XKE would be a driver and a coupe or 2+2. You can get a #3 condition driver coupe for $25000 or so and the 2+2 for less. Duetto's are nice and pretty as well. My wife was sad when we sold ours. The kamm tail spiders are also nice and the later ones had a/c as an option.

The other fun car to consider is a Fiat 124/2000 spider. i really like these cars and they are a terrific value. I know of a very early car, a 1969, for sale out here that is all original and in like #3 condition at the worst. You could literally drive it home it is so good.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/30/10 10:59 a.m.

Just to check - #3 condition is something along the lines of "nice driver, possibly older resto, might need a little work but is road legal" or somesuch? Unfortunately every country's classic car people seem to have a different rating system and over here in the UK, #3 condition is some that gets your car's picture into "ran when parked", with the "parked" event having happened quite a while ago.

$25k for a decent driver XKE is very tempting. I didn't realise they were that cheap these days. Of course, my experience with running an older Jaguar is almost as bad as running an old Alfa.

I do like Fiat 124s, might be worth considering. Something to keep in mind.

wa6rxm
wa6rxm
1/30/10 7:52 p.m.

If you are the fearless type, I would suggest a Lotus Turbo Esprit, circa 1988-1991 (i.e. a Stevens Esprit SE). More civilized than the earlier carburated ones, great gas milage 'cause of fuel injection, comfortable to drive (once you are in them). I routinely get 34 + MPG in my 1991 SE, and of course the HANDLING of these cars, as well as the SPEED available (if you use the turbo and are willing to sacrifice some gas milage) is without question one of the best available in the $20,000 range.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/31/10 6:47 a.m.

Hmm, I'm deranged (aren't we all, a little) but I'm not sure that I'm fearless enough to run an Esprit - even a late model one - as a daily driver. No offense .

Actually, my top choice for an early 90s mid-engine car that was usable as a daily driver would be an Acura NSX. But the ones that I would want are still outside my budget. Looks like I would have to find about $25k-$30k for one.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
1/31/10 1:13 p.m.

The Jag XKE can be a goo deal but they can bankrupt you if you get a bad one. A friend used to all mine a steel sculpture because it moved under its own power so infrequently. Check the message board for some more Alfa woes.

The Fiat is cheap to run and fun. Again there is a 1st generation 1968 car I am going to see this week for cheap that I may buy myself. If I do not I can pass it on if you are interested.

I know a guy here in the Chicago area that drives his 1989 Esrpit year round. The Stevens cars are likely the most inexpensive exotic on earth to run and very well sorted. Combine that with amazing fuel mileage, over 30 MPG highway, and zero rust worries all for around $15,000-$22,000 and the Esprit looks like a deal to me. I also fit in them nicely which is amazing.

I have been on the fence about one for about a year. A staffer who will remain nameless talked me out of it last year.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/31/10 3:53 p.m.

Yeah, I know about the XKE's fearsome reputation. I've heard them described as the "cat with one paw in your wallet".

Maybe I should try an Esprit again but I was trying to get off Lotus as I've got to sell my Elise before I move.

Thanks for the offer regarding the Fiat, I might be interested but I won't be in the US again until late April and the seller might want to get rid of it before then.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
2/1/10 12:32 p.m.

He has it stored now. I am seeing it this week. If it is as nice as it looks it could end up replacing the Ducati in my garage. With the Bristol(hopefully) and the Volvo 1800 coming(for sure) I am running out of space.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
2/1/10 9:32 p.m.

Andy, is it a red one in the northern burbs? I might have seen it.

My vote for this, although they aren't really a classic yet, are the MB 500E or the 190E with the Cosworth. I have to believe that those will soon start to appreciate, if they haven't already.

plance1
plance1 HalfDork
2/3/10 12:22 a.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: My wife already has a Jeep Cherokee. If we end up in Northern Nevada then I could certainly see myself in a classic Jeep and probably a Miata for regular DD duty. If it is Chicago, then I'll just get something for winter and a nice-ish sports car for Summer. Good point regarding the parts availability, that's one of the reasons why I'm still considering a Corvette. There isn't much that you need to keep it running that you can't get at AutoZone or NAPA, as series6 rightly points out.

What gen vette are you considering? Just wondering: Would a C4 vette ever be a classic? I just can't see their prices getting any lower, you can pick up one for next to nothing.

plance1
plance1 HalfDork
2/3/10 12:29 a.m.

Boxhead, just reread your post and saw you are indeed considering a C4. I would recommend the 96 model year.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
2/3/10 11:57 a.m.

I don't know if C4 prices will appreciate at some point. I guess they will for ZR-1s, but given that a lot of parts for those seem to be NLA already, I wouldn't want to use one on a daily basis.

As much as I'd love a C2, they're out of my budget. I might consider something like a '78 Pace car but I'm a little scared of frame rust on C2s & C3s. The corvette forum I occasionally visit has enough scary pics of C3 frames to keep me away for the time being.

mtn
mtn SuperDork
2/3/10 12:06 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: I don't know if C4 prices will appreciate at some point. I guess they will for ZR-1s, but given that a lot of parts for those seem to be NLA already, I wouldn't want to use one on a daily basis. As much as I'd love a C2, they're out of my budget. I might consider something like a '78 Pace car but I'm a little scared of frame rust on C2s & C3s. The corvette forum I occasionally visit has enough scary pics of C3 frames to keep me away for the time being.

There's a guy with a C2 who daily drives it that lives a couple blocks away from me. 300,XXX miles on it, and on its third frame.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
2/9/10 12:59 p.m.

If you are in a rust prone place with salt on the roads and such, I would go for a galvanized 911 like a SC or a Carrera. Do realize that driving in that junk will eventually rust any car. Other cars that will work well are a galvanized frame Lotus Esprit I mentioned earlier, the Stevens cars are the most reliable. They are as reliable as an modern 1990's car and you can now even get a Esprit V8 for under $35,000 with S4's selling in the $22,000-$30,000 range.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
2/10/10 1:20 a.m.

Yes, I know what salt can do to a 911 - saw plenty of that when I was shopping for mine over here. One of the reasons mine is more of a garage queen, because salt gets chucked on the roads here as soon as there is a threat of snow several hundred miles away.

Unfortunately the Esprit is out of my price range for the time being, although that might change in a few years' time.

I think I'll make the car selection dependent on where we end up. If we manage to stay in the Southwest, rust isn't going to be that big a problem (but finding a decent paying job might be for me unless we move to California); if we end up in Chicago, the budget would shrink anyway as it'd have get a winter car - wouldn't want to drive a nice classic car during the winter up there.

ditchdigger
ditchdigger Reader
2/10/10 12:58 p.m.

If I were looking for a new daily classic I would settle for nothing less than a Fiat 124 coupecoupe

The 124 ragtops have never moved me but slap a greenhouse on top and I am in love.

kreb
kreb Dork
2/10/10 1:29 p.m.

There's a lot of good thoughts out there. I think that P1800s are undervalued - and as has been noted, a certain contributor here would be happy to build you a comfortably streetable 200HP motor for it, which will keep you in the hunt with modern sports cars as well as oldsters.

I'd recommend waiting till you get to Nevada to buy. You don't have to move the thing, and there are tons of retirees spending their sunset years building up cool cars. It's a good market.

If you've got some skills, you could drop a nice, reliable LS1 in this as well:

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/1593228804.html

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
2/11/10 1:13 a.m.

At the moment I'm ignoring that link above, although I'd put some sort of straight six in, not a V8[1].

At the moment I'm mainly trying to collect ideas where and what to look for. And to help me forget that I have to sell the majority of my collection over here . So I'm not doing any sort of remote purchase but given that I like to do my research first, it'll give me time to read up on the various cars.

[1] Like a Nissan RB26 - twin cam, six cylinder ... oh, and a couple of turbos...

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