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Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
1/19/11 3:42 p.m.

In another thread, the question was asked-

"You are starting in the hobby, you have 10K. What do you buy, and why?"

For me, it would depend on the potential enthusiast's tastes. For a British car lover it would probably be an MGB, but someone who was familiar with Japanese cars would probably be much happier with a 240Z or perhaps an RX-7. A Porsche fan would likely accept no substitutes, so with that budget cap I'd have to suggest a 914.

What's your answer?

Rupert New Reader
1/19/11 3:59 p.m.

Regardless of country, I'd be very careful about buying a convertible! Rust was much worse back then. I GT style or one with a bolt on hard-top seem to have faired better. Having said that, under British Car I'd also suggest any TR-6 before the big bumpers.

For rice burner lovers, a 240Z or a PL-510 is always a good choice. As are the Celicas of that era. And if you luck upon a 1600 or 2000 Datsun roadster without too much cancer, gobble it up!

My German choice would be one of the 2002s or possibly a Bavaria. Though any German choice will likely cost more for parts than a British or Japanese counterpart.

rconlon HalfDork
1/19/11 3:59 p.m.

You can't go wrong with a 70's roadster for cool factor. MGB, Midget, Fiat 124, X1/9, 914, Alfa Spider all have good suport. I would challenge him to find the best example of a roadster for the money. You can't ignore the Miata either. Cheers Ron

boeingpilot New Reader
1/19/11 4:34 p.m.

Regardless of what your particular taste is I think the golden rule to follow is buy the absolute best example you can afford. Also, don't fall in love with and buy the first one you look at (although I've been guilty of this more than once).

As far as cars go, you can't go wrong with a good TR6. Plenty of club support, parts galore and dead simple to work on.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
1/19/11 4:48 p.m.

Volvo 1800 (I'm biased, of course). They look cool. $10K will buy you a really nice one. They are amoung the most practical and useable of 'classic' cars.

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
1/19/11 5:22 p.m.


VClassics Reader
1/19/11 5:26 p.m.

+1 for the Volvo 1800 (I'm obviously biased too), but don't overlook the 122S / 123GT, assuming a sedan is not out of consideration. It's dead simple to work on (easier than the 1800), has none of the 1800's ergonomic weirdness, seats four adults comfortably, and is less expensive -- possibly the nicest one in the world recently sold for $11K, so $10K gets you 98th percentile example.

For someone new to the hobby who may not know where his or her interest may eventually lead, it's also a very versatile car that can become whatever one wants it to be -- comfortable daily driver, custom cruiser, effective race or rallye car, etc.

KaptKaos Reader
1/19/11 10:55 p.m.

You can't help someone else figure out who (or in this case, what) they should love.

Best advice would be to go to car shows, swap meets, or other events. Meet the current owners from all of the makes/models they like and then jump in.

oldtin Dork
1/20/11 12:08 a.m.

Well, my first was a TR4. Still think it's a good starter - dead simple and with the wet liner engine - not a financial wreck if you need to rebuild it. Then again, I went through a whole fleet of cars before I got around to the 2nd TR4. I have auto ADD pretty bad, so hard to tell what the next thing is that will catch my eye - something Italian I think though.

GSCReno Reader
1/20/11 12:47 a.m.

+1 to KaptKaos... And I would add that if you have a budget of 10k, buy a 5k car for a start. The little stuff can add up quickly on a forty or fifty year old car. Cheers, Scott

foxtrapper SuperDork
1/20/11 8:13 a.m.

I'd recommend the car that makes your heart go pitter-patter and to heck with the name on it.

We're into these cars because of the way they feel to us, and the way they make us feel in them. The smell, the sounds, the feel. So if someone gets all excited over burled wood dashes and leather, go that way. If they love the snarl of a hot 6 cylinder, go that way.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
1/20/11 8:23 a.m.
GSCReno wrote: +1 to KaptKaos... And I would add that if you have a budget of 10k, buy a 5k car for a start. The little stuff can add up quickly on a forty or fifty year old car. Cheers, Scott

^ ^ That sounds like good advice. Having a little slush fund for the inevitable repairs and improvements to a new project is a big plus.

Raze Dork
1/20/11 8:50 a.m.

I think boeingpilot's right on, you have to figure your taste and then buy the best example in your price range, period.

Personally, I like older roadsters more than their hard-topped brethren because I enjoy the wind and sun in my hair while rolling along in a classic. I mean if I have to give up modern accouterments, I want to make up for it in the driving experience, which for me is at least motoring w/o a top...

1/20/11 8:55 a.m.
KaptKaos wrote: You can't help someone else figure out who (or in this case, what) they should love.

This pretty much sums it up. In both instances you go home with the one you just cant live without. If it is a Porsche, you use the 10 as a down payment and go to the bank for the rest.

rconlon HalfDork
1/20/11 9:27 a.m.

Advice for another is one thing but what would I buy is something else. With $10,000 to spend on a classic sports car today and not having my spider but knowing what I do know, I would get either the best X1/9 in the area or the 124 Fiat coupe. Both these cars are real and local to me. $10 k would get both for that matter and with a bit left over.

Cheers Ron

59bugeye New Reader
1/20/11 10:53 a.m.

This one is easy for me.

Austin Healey Bugeye...

Easy and fairly cheap to maintain, it's got the classic car look, you can enjoy the top down world, and it ALWAYS, ALWAYS, gets the thumbs up!!!

But most important - - - The Chicks Love It!!!!!

Rupert New Reader
1/20/11 12:01 p.m.

A big question that hasn't been brought up & I didn't mention. Where do you live & what is driven there? Especially for a first time buy you will need lots of help, advice, & a good parts supply source. It will be tough sledding if you select a brand which isn't popular in your part of the country.

If you live on or near the coast or a huge metropolis, most foreign makes are fairly well represented. However, if you live in the "Heartland," you need to consider what if any "classic" model has enough visibility locally to help with your needs.

A old Chevy or Ford is considered classic in some places & anything "furrin" is considered counter-culture. That isn't nearly as true if you are looking at a newer vehicle but with a $10K budget for car and start-off, you need to be aware.

Remember buying a "classic" anything is a lot like buying a larger boat or an airplane. You will soon discover the initial purchase is far cheaper than the upkeep! Believe me, I know!

lasttr New Reader
1/20/11 7:28 p.m.

A Triumph Wedge. $10,000 will get you a decent TR8 roadster, or a really nice TR7 roadster, or a couple of nice TR7 coupes. Parts & club support are good. With a few mods, they're fairly quick. And, at least compared to my MGA, TR6, and Jeep, my TR8 is quite comfortable.

TR8owner New Reader
1/20/11 8:38 p.m.

10 K will get you a clean Triumph TR8 as mentioned. I wouldn't pay that much for a TR7 unless it was an exceptional example. There is the exclusiveness of a V8 engined car that only 2800 were built. I've found my TR8 to be very reliable and relatively trouble free. I was always afraid to drive some of the older British roadsters I've owned any further than I could walk home.

lasttr New Reader
1/20/11 9:08 p.m.

Yes, a $10,000 TR7 should be a really nice one, quite probably with a V8 conversion. And I agree about the reliability factor. I don't hesitate to jump in my TR8 for a 200 mile drive; I haven't done that in my TR6 or my MGA for a long time.

Rhodyspit75 New Reader
1/21/11 6:30 a.m.

I seem to have a different take on this. Maybe it's because of where I am in life. ( 90% retired). I would take $2000 and go out and buy something I could spend the other $8000 and the next two years restoring. I enjoy working on a car as much as driving. I spent hours refurbishing the brake adjusters on my Spitfire when I could have bought new ones for less then 20 bucks. However when I was done I was pleased with myself.

bravenrace SuperDork
1/21/11 6:34 a.m.

Does anyone here like anything but British cars? Like has been already stated, it depends on what the person likes, but if they did, I'd recommend something like a vintage Mustang - Plentiful, cheap, fun, easy to work on, and cheap and plentiful parts.

Gary Reader
1/21/11 7:31 a.m.

Anything but British? Yes, vintage Volvos.

I agree with Ian and Phil. But I'd also add PV544 to the list along with 1800S and 122. Good examples are available for well under $10K every day of the week.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
1/21/11 12:52 p.m.

In reply to Gary:

I've been meaning to ask you - what is the car in your avatar? It almost looks like a futuristic 1800.

It's definitely important to buy a car you like. The BMW that's spent the last 4 months on my lift in pieces is testament to that. I'm fighting to find some desire to work on it.

Gary Reader
1/21/11 4:17 p.m.

Ian, it's a 1/12 scale model I designed and built back in the 1960s for the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model car contest, which General Motors sponsored from the 1930s until 1968. I designed and built 7 model cars between 1962 and 1968 and won a few bucks with them from GM. The avatar is the one I built for the 1967 contest, and it's my personal favorite. I still have 6 of the 7 models I built. I didn't base that particular design on the 1800, even though that was a favorite car of mine back then (as it is now). But looking at it now, the front end looks a bit like a Volvo S60, to me anyway. So maybe Volvo copied my design!

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