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mattmacklind SuperDork
9/12/08 6:49 p.m.

Just wondering, is there any classic car you would turn down if someone were to offer it to you for free? I'm talking about any car widely considered to be a classic, in generally rust free, running, "3 or 3+" condition?

I don't know why I thought of this, but I did, and it took me a while to come up with one. You have to consider that, even if you don't like it and planned to sell it, its not worth the time and effort to find a buyer or even a taker.

The only one I could think of is a Maserati Biturbo. I mean, I would take just about anything, car, truck, jeep, american, euro, asian, soviet you name it, but that would be the only classic car I would turn down if someone said "here's the keys and the title". Now, don't go telling me its not a classic. Its 2008 and it is a classic, if not then at least a relic. Here's why I would say no.

I am a bad mechanic. I make no pretense to being handy with the steel. I can destroy things with my bare hands that were forged in the flames of Hades just by thinking about working on them. Think Magneto from the X-Men with a really bad hangover and you get the idea. This confines me to cars that are ether very reliable or very basic, so I have an MG and a Benz 300D. No exotics for me, thanks, so thats one strike, as you know the Maserati is going to need lots of lovin.

So why not just hoon the crap out of the Maser' and junk it? That would be an option I suppose, but I don't like to destroy things by driving them, only by trying to repair them, and I actually like the Biturbo and respect it in a strange and dysfunctional way.

Why not take it and sell it? Really, no one really wants these cars. I suppose there are some serious devotees out there. I haven't googled "Biturbo BBS" or anything, I just figure they must exist. For what I would get for it and for my time and trouble, I'm better off just going to work. Its like robbing a 7-11 for $35. Its just not worth the risks and the time, you know?

Then, for the toppers, you have issues of storage and insurance and so on before it was crushed, given to charity, coaxed into starting and driven around the 'hood "that one time", or just sitting around to be looked at. Nah.

So, what are your nominees for the classic you wouldn't take if given to you?

wlkelley3 Reader
9/12/08 7:15 p.m.

Well, it would would depend on the condition of the car. If not worth the hassle then yes I would turn it down. If it was even too bad to part out then I'd turn it down. I would probably turn down a car that would cost too much to fix also, a car that parts are too expensive for.

I did once turn down an Opel Manta w/bad AT because at the time I didn't have a way to get it from the restaurant parking lot it was sitting in and down 2 hiways to my place. And turned down buying a TR6 once because we were looking for and could only afford a car for the daughter and she is not mechanically inclined. I could just see me spending more time fixing it than her driving it.

bikesnrovers New Reader
9/12/08 8:20 p.m.

I am going to sound like a snob but I think I would pass on most American classics. I like to look at them, but i think I could pass up a free one.

Edit: There are a few that would be hard to turn down but the driving fun just isn't as high as most British and Euro cars. I have no interest in owning a muscle car, but a late '40's early '50's pickup would make a great farm truck!

ddavidv SuperDork
9/14/08 7:06 a.m.

Any French car. Ugly, hard to work on, hard to sell, hard to get parts for. The only one I might not bar entry to the garage would be a Renault 17 Gordini. Well, ok, an Alpine too, but who's going to give me one of those?

I would probably refuse and Alfetta sedan. No resale value. The Biturbo is a good refusal too, though I may risk it just to tinker with until it explodes in a burst of blown head gaskets and fuel fires. A Lancia Beta sedan I'd avoid also, and I may even refuse the coupes as well, having sworn I'd never work under the hood of one.

British cars...Triumph Heralds are just too ugly. Old Jag XJ sedans are risky unless you've got a John's Cars swap in a box. A rubber bumper Midget I wouldn't bother with either.

Not many German cars I'd turn down, I must admit.

Not many true 'classic' American cars I'd refuse either. You have to get into the 1970s before I'd ban entry to the garage. What they lack in character they make up in ease of maintenance and the general public simply prefers domestic cars when it's time to sell and move on.

I wouldn't bother with very many Japanese cars simply because the pool to choose from is pretty small, the parts are difficult to get and there is ALWAYS rust. Other than Z cars, 510s and the odd Honda product there isn't much to get me excited.

Not really a big list, when you think about it.

aeronca65t Reader
9/14/08 7:40 a.m.
mattmacklind wrote: Any CLassic Car You Would refuse if Given to You?


If it was a true classic?


Travis_K Reader
9/14/08 10:48 a.m.

Alot depends on if the car was something easily resold, and if the point was to keep it or re sell it right away. If I had the choice of keeping or selling if I wanted, the only cars id turn down in running condition would be things like a Biturbo thats really not worth much and not really well made to begin with and likely been poorly maintained, or any 76+ car that has too much of the emissions equipment missing.

For something id have to keep and never sell -MGB (I sat in one, and although I like them when other people have them, its not a car I will ever own) -Porsche 911 (there is no way I could afford the maintaince, and im not really a good enough driver to be comfortable driving one) -Fiat X1/9 (im 6'4 and I just dont fit) -lancia scorpion (or any lancia for that matter) for the same reason as the fiat -although it was not part of the original question, any car with huge amounts of rust, just becasue I cant think of any car I like enough to rebuild large parts of it by welding together little peices of metal.

Id take a free alfetta if it ran and the glass wasnt broken, but there is no such thing as a mostly rust free alfetta. lol

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
9/14/08 8:41 p.m.

Travis, everyone should own an MGB in their life. I'm quite convinced of it.

And I'd take a Herald convertible in a heartbeat. Then I'd stuff a GT6 engine in it.

Travis_K Reader
9/14/08 8:57 p.m.

Well, an MGB gt sure, Id drive one. The convertable type, the top of the windshield frame is right where I would need to be able to look while I was driving. Thats the only reason I wouldnt want one, I really dont like cars that are uncomfortable to sit in.

Luke Dork
9/14/08 9:51 p.m.

You can send the free Alfetta sedans my way

Unless storage was an issue, I can't think of any classic car I would refuse if given to me. Of course, there are cars I wouldn't be overly enthusiastic about receiving. An automatic E21 series BMW doesn't do anything for me, for example.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
9/15/08 6:54 a.m.

At 6' 4", you'd definitely be happier in a GT. The windshield frame on the roadster is definitely annoying for taller drivers.

Luke, if anyone ever offers you an auto-box E21 BMW, insist that they drive it over. It'll be years before you see it -- it's that slow. (And I LIKE E21s)

spitfirebill HalfDork
9/15/08 8:43 a.m.

I probably would not accept anything with very much rust, which pretty much rules out a lot. A TR3 maybe, an AC Cobra for sure.

rconlon Reader
9/15/08 9:47 a.m.

I have refused Fiat Spiders wanting a lot of assembly after a failed restoration but did find it a new home. If it ran ok I would take it and flip it for a few dollars. I was offered an operating 93 Miata with low mileage for $500 and still own it but my wife liked it and it is now her toy. It would be tempting to start a fleet but then they would sit and rot and with one I can use it regularly until it falls apart.

Cheers Ron

wspohn New Reader
9/15/08 2:19 p.m.

I'd refuse MOST old cars unless I could turn around and immediately unload them.

Been there, done that and have no desire to go on endlessly stuffing money into rusted hulks worht half as much when you finish them as you have into them.

Good case in point - Fiat 124 - mostly rusty. Most Jaguars - expensive to restore, and in the case of the sedans a waste of money

I couldn't convince a friend with an XJ12 to leave the keys in it and walk away when his engine gave up. He ended up with about twice what he could have bought a good used one for into the car and it is probably worth 1/4 of that if he sold it after a couple of years sitting..

m4ff3w Dork
9/15/08 5:25 p.m.

Not a single one.

Free is free and I'd take it.

Nick Reader
9/15/08 10:35 p.m.

I would take any free classic...unless I happen to not have anyplace to keep it. If I didn't want it I'd either flip it for a few pesos or have some fun taking it apart.

PS: sorry to drop this in here but I can't find anyplace to ask this short of a dedicated thread and I doubt it's worth doing that...I saw this on my way to work, getting off the PA Turnpike at Willow Grove heading north on Rt. 611. Anybody know what it is?

foxtrapper SuperDork
9/16/08 5:26 a.m.

It's not so much individual cars that I would not take, but the overwhelming of my resources so I can't enjoy them that would stop me. Btdt before, where I've had so many cars I couldn't maintain them all. It was no longer fun.

While I'm sure there are various ones that would not particularly interest me (say a 70's AMC Concord), most I'd be game to try, for at least a little while.

aeronca65t Reader
9/16/08 7:34 a.m.


It's hard to tell about your car on the trailer, since so many cas of that era were semi-custom (no two alike), plus all the modern replicas.....

But it looks a fair amount like an


Nick Reader
9/16/08 9:39 a.m.

Thanks aero.

Whatever it was...I would take it

But I'm quite certain it was not an Alfa 8C. I had a partial quick look at it from the side and it was something else...damit, I shoulda followed and got more details since now this is bugging me. But whatever it was, I would take that one.

racerdave600 Reader
9/16/08 10:03 a.m.

I doubt you'd seen an Alfa 8C on an open trailer, unless someone were running along side of it with automatic weapons! Although the color is pretty much correct.

To the original question, not sure what classics I'd turn down, but I'd definitely not take any newer VW anything, and I'd stay away from most of the classic high end stuff like big Mercs, BMWs, and especially the it seems unloved Biturbo. I don't have the time to give one that needs work, and most can be very expensive to keep running. That's not to say I don't like them, just that they are not what I want in a classic these days.

Coupefan New Reader
9/16/08 12:53 p.m.

Interesting little story about the Biturbo...

Back in the early 90's, my uncle did a Buick V6 turbo conversion on one of those for a customer of his. Not sure what they did for a transmission. The owner lived somewhere in Newport Beach, CA at the time. I rather liked the interior, just enough luxury, but power window electrics had issues. I remember my uncle, with a heavy accent, muttering 'farking window modors.'

bmw327 New Reader
9/16/08 7:32 p.m.

Dwight -

I bet you wouldn't turn down an Alpine A110. I saw one in Munich in 1982 in light metallic blue and vowed then and there to own one someday. Those are just too cool in my humble opine...

Before I consider the question of turning down a free classic, I need to get the free classic in my garage restored.

KaptKaos Reader
9/16/08 9:06 p.m.

Perfect timing. This just landed at BaT today!


Ian F
Ian F Reader
9/17/08 12:32 p.m.

"It's not so much individual cars that I would not take, but the overwhelming of my resources so I can't enjoy them that would stop me. Btdt before, where I've had so many cars I couldn't maintain them all. It was no longer fun. "

Like the commercial says: I am sooo there...

I feel like all I do is work on our cars. I'm trying to get back into biking but when I go for a ride, I practically feel guilty when I walk into the garage and see my Spit6 or my Volvo up on jack stands... and then remember somethign I need to do with the g/f's cars... something's gotta give... and bikes are a lot cheaper... and take up less space...

bikesnrovers New Reader
9/17/08 3:50 p.m.

Ian, I don't know about being cheaper! This year I have had to put new rubber on two of my bikes - my full suspension and my everyday road bike. The MTB was over $110 to convert to tubeless (and that was with a discount), and with the road bike I went with the new Maxxis road tires and that was close to $130. (Really nice tires, tho'!!)

Then, of course, I think I need a new bike and my dream machine now retails at just under $6500. No price yet with the new Campy 11 speed.

Yeah, they are cheaper (somewhat), take up less room (unless you have seven or eight), and it is better for your overall health. If I were you I would give up the g/f! That stuff just leads to marriage and even less time!

Ian F
Ian F Reader
9/17/08 9:56 p.m.

Oh trust me... I know that... I used to race downhill... I had more money in my race bike than I paid for the Spit6... and like you I've paid more for tires for my bike than for my car at times... and felt the pain of going to a race weekend and watching the rear tire disintegrate in ONE RUN down the mtn...

And I'm probably looking at at least $3000 for a new XC bike...

They definitely take up less space. I have 8 bikes in my basement... I can work on bikes in my living room... bikes don't need car insurance... A bike sitting in a basement for a few years can be pulled out, dusted off, tires inflated, and ridden with little consequence... all the while costing you nothing... the same treatment to a car will not work out so well...

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