11th Jul 2019, 11:47

Depends on what you use your vehicle for. I’ve owned impeccable cars, only used as nice weekend cars. Minimal maintenance as with many others that own their fine classics. It’s not just a dollar or cents thing. You can own a fine classic that you bought as a nice investment quality vehicle. Like a mint 55 Chevrolet convertible. Broad appeal that you can own and sell often for more. Many of us drive anywhere from 500-1000 miles annually. Changing oil annually for the most part is no real expense as the car was extremely well maintained throughout its lifetime. That’s about all I do. Then you drive a new everyday car exposed to the elements and sun that fades the interior and paint. And you do more maintenance as it’s your daily driver.

The time comes it’s not especially collectible and depreciates the moment it’s off the lot. No love lost, you just buy another and drive all over. People don’t buy a 40s or 50s car today as daily transportation. It’s over nostalgia for a car you dreamed of or always wanted. Not to sit in hot summer bumper to bumper commuter weekday traffic. I like our daily drivers, but no loss emotionally when they go and are replaced.

I have a car that gets 8 MPG and I could care less. I checked the MPG for fun. Maybe 1-2 tanks of gas for weekend shows. Few care when it’s not that much use. My cars all run synthetic oil so it’s an annual oil change. Run Stabil and Startron to keep the fuel fresh. And only buy 93 octane. A can of Techtrol in the spring. All cars on battery maintainers. Insurance is Hagerty collector insurance; a fraction of new car cost. Tags are free as the cars are antiqued called exempt and no vehicle inspection for life under a sane owner. Keeping the filters changed and greasing the fittings is cake. I can go out anytime and drive 100 miles in any of them. And have air conditioning. Open a cruising news car event schedule and go. But it’s not everyday driving. You drive everyday, it's best to buy a newer car to malls and work etc. I have cars in my garage; the old ones go up, the new ones go down in value. The new ones' depreciation can be softened if you sell the older ones that have collector appeal. One of my new cars was paid for that way last year. Again it’s more than just money, but reading the last post it seems they are about saving as much as possible on car ownership costs. It’s a good feeling though selling one for 2-4 times what you paid and buying a brand new car after not used. No car payments is nice. Hope the new vs old ownership comparison is more realistic. Why not own both and have a really nice newer car that’s more comfortable and fun to drive? I started out buying cheap cars back in my 20s, and now buy higher end well restored classics. Collectors will buy and pay shipping on a well documented vehicle. It’s been as much fun driving the really nice original ones with minimal annual maintenance. It’s just not everyday.

11th Jul 2019, 17:13

Very well said. I agree for the most part. Cars have definitely got better - safety, MPG, performance, etc. But reliability and longevity are separate issues. Newer does not always mean better, just like older does not always mean worse - as you pointed out, the late 70s and early 80s were terrible times for a lot of cars. But by the late 80s when fuel injection became the norm and then into the 1990s when safety also improved in my opinion was the sweet spot. Myself I had great cars from the 90s that easily outlasted anything from circa 2005 - 2010 cars that have all fallen apart on me, all from various manufacturers, both expensive, and budget brands.

In regards to cars made after the year 2000 which I would call modern, it's a mixed bag - the problem electronics are the biggest headache, as someone mentioned I think this is a legitimate complaint about modern cars. The next 10 years or so will be interesting to see where we are at. Maybe Tesla will have got more popular and the only thing we will have to worry about is battery life and tyres.

12th Jul 2019, 15:14

I actually drove my '55 Mercury every day to work for 3 years. I stopped because I had a few close calls. Going down the freeway, someone would either pull out in front of me or something and I'd have to slam on the brakes. Seeing as how these are all drum, and no ABS, the car locks up easily and then skids. I can't count how many times this would happen and I'd almost either slide off the road or nail the car in front of me. That and I would have to fill the gas tank every 2-3 days... you could almost watch the needle move as it guzzled gas. Now the car is relegated to weekend, around town cruising and that's it.

As far as vehicle reliability the inclusion of EFI and the use of an ECU (computer) to manage the engine was the biggest leap in reliability. A friend of ours had a early to mid 80's Honda Civic. It was one of the last of an era for cars with carburetors. There must have been 20 little vacuum lines coming in and out of it too, and since it was older there were tons of leaks in the system. It was a nightmare to work on. That versus fuel injection where the number of components used is minimal and the action is simple: squirting fuel directly into the cylinders. That and with ECUs the engines don't just run willy-nilly: Everything is optimized all the time and that means the engine runs optimally all the time.

I'm only 42 years old and can recall the times when if a car made it to 100-150,000 miles, it was amazing, and usually by then the car was on the verge of wearing out. But these days that's barely breaking the engine in. There's been recent reports about how new car sales have been slowing and part of the "blame" is that cars are running longer and with fewer and fewer problems. Most of the "problems" people go on about these days has more to do with complaints over the user interface of the infotainment systems and silly stuff along those lines, than more serious problems such as failing head gaskets and detonating transmissions...

12th Jul 2019, 18:36

Hate to tell ya, but our full-size GM and Ford vehicles from the late 70s-early 80s were "breaking in" at 100-150 thousand miles. Things like a cassette player or a power antenna motor were the only problems I can remember. Hardly qualifies for poor reliability.

12th Jul 2019, 22:48

Exactly, drive a late model vehicle for daily driving. Decide what you really want an older vehicle or classic for. Then weigh out the cost. It’s usually cheaper to buy a car already done. One of my friends is a stickler for originality. And high quality restoration with correct period parts. It adds up going stock. Having 3 55 Chevrolet’s, the convertible just sold at $65,000. Or if you only want a driver quality car, you can still drive as is the way it was built and focus on safety. New brake lines, tires that aren’t dry rotted, and areas to improve that won’t leave you stranded on the road. Go to 12 volt. Any car I buy I focus on safety before anything. I like restification. Do a disc brake conversion, late model steering, suspension upgrades, modern day tires and wheels etc. Drives tight and stops great. You can reverse these upgrades and go back to original. Like going to safer halogens, but keep the correct Factory T-3 triangle headlight bulbs. You can go to a modern engine with fuel injection if the car's finished value warrants it. Or if it’s a car you inherited and cost is no object. I like the original look, but with upgrades you can unbolt and go back to original. Or the next guy can convert back.

It seems you want a driver quality car that isn’t going to see upgrades. But in turn you can definitely have an old car and have the benefits of any late model. I have modern discs, complete new tighter suspension, updated air conditioning, and a stainless exhaust system recently. And other upgrades over time. All new GM, not a Chinese wiring harness replacement. It has increased the car's value. Good for another 49 years. I could increase MPG by going with a Tremec, going to fuel injection and changing the rear. But it’s not daily driven.

Lastly you can buy reproduction cars that look correct but are completely modern. Not a tribute or clones, but a brand new car. Literally new cars you buy the frame body etc. and drive every day if you wish.