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rconlon
rconlon None
5/7/08 1:16 p.m.

Fuel costs are now an issue but I and many others are addicted to driving a cool older (call it a klassic) car. I have started to think about which ones fit this and are also thrifty.

The Fiat X1/9 Fiat 850 Spider

But some small sedans would also draw positive attention and make for decent commuter cars.

Early Honda Civic. Fiat 124 sedan and the 128.

Cheers Ron

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
5/7/08 1:46 p.m.

Mini, of course. I think the Minor also got pretty good gas mileage.

Any number of micro-cars.

I've been thinking resto-mod myself. Take something that's old and has the advantages of being moderately sized and lightweight, then put a modern, more effiicient powerplant in it. The way I see it, you wouldn't need a firebreathing motor to turn the classic into something both quicker AND more economical. Something as common as a Kia 1.8 mounted to a Miata transmission and put in that Minor mentioned above would be plenty quick, and should get an easy 30 mpg.

racerdave600
racerdave600
5/7/08 2:49 p.m.

Funny you mention the 128. They are really pretty cool little cars and get great mpg, but finding one these days is really difficult. They were considered disposable back in the day, and hardly any survive. They made great race cars though, not many people remember that.

rconlon
rconlon None
5/7/08 4:47 p.m.

My brother had a Morris Minor Convertible that we used to death. These with the later 1000 cc would be a good commuter with enough power for freeway blasts. There are a couple of British brothers that plant Fiat twin cam motors into the Minors but something more modern would be ... more modern. I would think that front wheel drive (or mid/rear engine) is the way to go for best economy. Many micro cars ie. those under 1000cc's are just too little (Isetta) but the 850 Fiats and Midgets could sustain 65 mph. The or My 93 Maita is not particularly easy on fuel in the 20-30 mpg range. My 2003 Honda Civic drivetrain is 30-40 mpg. Cheers Ron

Dwight Varnes
Dwight Varnes None
5/8/08 5:08 a.m.

Had my Mini out last night, cruising 70 mph on the highway with my powerful 848. :grin: Mileage at those revs probably isn't too great; may only be in the upper 20s. The problem with a lot of these little cars is the gearing isn't really great for highway use. While they will go that fast, the revs are way up there, and that burns fuel.

Older cars certainly win in the weight department, though. Even decent sized cars like a vintage Mustang will do mid 20s simply because the engine doesn't work all that hard. Other than fuel injection, there really hasn't been breathtaking advances in mpg figures since the 1960s. It just appears that way because the 1970s were so awful with the emissions-laden behemoths we had when the first gas crisis hit.

Bret
Bret None
5/8/08 8:18 a.m.

Of all the vehicles I own the 78' MGB gets by far the best MPGs. Getting on a good day about 30+ around town & even more on the highway. And that was before I pulled the old carb and went with EFI.

My 78' 928 with its 4.5L V8 gets the worst gas milage of them all. Heck it's even worse than my 01' full sized crewcab 4x4! The truck gets about 15-17 on the highway but I once drove it like an old maid - & even with the huge 5.4L V8 got about 21 mpgs.

The Porsche 928 I'd get better milage taking the same money paid for fuel at the pump and tossing it in a blender.

But still the MG beats them all. Its just impractical to use as my daily driver because of all the miles I clock each week.

Still thinking about paying off the truck and putting it into semi retirment & picking up a slightly used Mustang GT. Even with the V8 I should still get about 20plus on the highway.

Coupefan
Coupefan None
5/8/08 9:30 a.m.

How about a Fiat 500 (the original). Talk about a gas sipper. My uncle's held about the total capacity of a case of wine and practically went the whole summer on it, as I remember it.

racerdave600
racerdave600
5/8/08 9:40 a.m.

Bret, your 928 reminds me of the '67 big block Cougar I had in college back in the early '80's. It got about 8 mpg uphill, downhill, on the highway and sitting still; 8 mpg like clockwork. I sold it for an MG Midget, but I did miss the wheel spin shifting into 4th gear!

wetpossum
wetpossum
5/8/08 9:59 a.m.

We took the Elan +2 from El Paso to Tucson for their British Car Show, and travelling at about 70 mph in 4th gear @ 4200 rpm, we averaged somewhere between 35-38 mpg. Coming back we had a tailwind :nice:.

rconlon
rconlon None
5/8/08 12:00 p.m.

I want:

Economy/cool around $3500.

Mileage to brag about 35-40 mpg. This is the redeeming feature.

It must take its parking lot lumps in stride.

Early Corolla, Rabbit or even a Chevette. So anything that is popular and cool like the Mini or a Lotus or even a 124 Spider gets up in costs.

Maybe a domestic straight or slant 6 with a modern induction tuned for economy. Early Mustang or Nova, the wimpy ones. Remember the Iron Duke 4's in Comets.

Cheers Ron

Dwight Varnes
Dwight Varnes None
5/9/08 6:34 a.m.

Iron Duke is a GM engine, Ron. :grin: 2.5 Liter, lived up into the Jeep XJ Cherokee and by then wasn't particularly thrifty as it had to work pretty hard. GM at least tried 4 cylinders in the early Chevy II Novas, but I hear they were pretty slow.

The domestics relied on six cylinders for economy: Falcon, Valiant, Corvair, Rambler all had some type of six. A compact car then would probably be a mid size today.

I would not want a Fiat 500 for anything other than inner-city use. Those things are as slow as a golf cart!

Rev.Bubba
Rev.Bubba None
5/9/08 7:10 a.m.

You are absolutely right, Dwight. My 500 is as slow as a golf cart and has only been worthy of inner city use.

For any of you out there that might consider one, spend the extra money on a fiat 126 motor or rebuild it to Giannini or Abarth spec.

I hope to be the first to build a 500 with the use of the Megasquirt setup.

rconlon
rconlon None
5/9/08 9:45 a.m.

I forgot to mention the performance would need to be able to sustain at least 65mph cruising and short passes in the 75-80 range.

My long worn out 1975 Honda Civic -CVCC 5 speed fits the role well. Yes, it was pale blue and a hatchback.
The GM Iron Duke was a lump, for sure. That Comet (my friend's) I recall may have had a dinky straight 6 but it was a convertible.

Cheers Ron

Cheers

Snakedriver
Snakedriver None
5/9/08 9:51 p.m.

Sounds like you want a 1st gen Honda CRX.

Leo

KaptKaos
KaptKaos None
5/9/08 10:11 p.m.

Hmmm.... a fairly thrifty yet fun to drive 4 cylinder that can cruise at reasonable highway speeds. Hmmmm.... I wonder....

/ponder

Shinsen774
Shinsen774 None
5/10/08 8:14 p.m.

There's an MGC-GT with OverDrive in Baltimore on e-bay right now. That would fit the bill for me!

RSS
RSS
5/11/08 9:20 a.m.

My '73 MGB gets about 32 mpg in combined highway/rush-hour driving, while my Vue (okay, not a classic :grin: ) gets about 24 mpg. Problem is, the MG needs premium gas to match the higher compression after the rebuild. Still cheaper to drive than the Saturn, though.

steved033
steved033 None
5/11/08 1:12 p.m.

mid 70's honda CVCC civics got something like 42. perfectly restored ones are pretty cool.

sjd

DneprDave
DneprDave None
5/11/08 2:50 p.m.

People restore '70s Honda Civics!?

Dave

Bret
Bret None
5/11/08 3:28 p.m.

Sure they do. Haven't ya ever seen those big arse fart cans haning out from under the back ends? ;)

rconlon
rconlon None
5/12/08 9:01 a.m.

You are correct that no-one will restore or even refresh an old Civic but it can't be worse than puting a ton of dollars into a Fiat that is worth less than half that on the market. So why not? We have all certainly done sillier things and it would be disposable. 5 years ago, I brought my 93 automatic Miata back from the dead by treating like it was a classic. The parts were not expensive but I did not re-paint (buff and polish). It has been a fun driver for my wife for under $2000. There are 2 others near me that I watch. A Civic station wagon and 66 Toyota Corolla. There is no rust in OK to kill these. Yes a CRX is a candidate, especially the low power one. cheers Ron

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
5/12/08 9:17 a.m.

Personally, I have no doubt the time will come (and probably isn't far off) when people will restore early Civics. I know I would jump on an early Corolla or Corona if I found a good one.

steved033
steved033 None
5/12/08 6:19 p.m.

corolla, huh? You see atlanta's CL lately? there's a couple of them from the 70's.

The MGB gets upper 20's, even with two carbs.

sjd

rconlon
rconlon None
5/13/08 8:57 a.m.

Tim: I owned a '78 Corona and it was very much an inexpensive Volvo with 5 speed and good interior space. I developed the $2.50 tune up with this car. It had the habit of clogging the fuel filter and losing its idle. A new filter every few months fixed it. It was not common by 1984 when I had it and one day there was another, a wagon, stalled by a traffic light. I stopped and took a filter out of my trunk. With pinch clamps, the swap did not even need a tool and 5 minutes later, the owner thought I was a genius.

Cheers Ron

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
5/13/08 9:53 a.m.

I spotted a late-60s Corona coupe a while back... really a pretty good-looking car. Much cleaner than most Japanese designs of the era.

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