I do have to admire the original reviewer's attention to detail. However, I can see why he would think this car was so expensive to maintain if he routinely pursued that degree of perfection.
I tend to agree more with the second comment, that these old cars can be a very financially sound choice for someone who has the patience and mechanical ability to fix things on their own. And also to know "when to say when". In other words, when you buy that $500 '73 Plymouth Scamp (or whatever), regard it as a daily driver that is cheap transportation. That means, get it running well, and so it stops in a straight line. Don't put yourself into a tizzy measuring panel mating gaps, weather stripping widths, inconsistencies in instrument panel light bulb voltage output, or whether the door panels are a different shade of color than the kick panels. That stuff is irrelevant.
I bought a '64 Dodge for $125, drove it for a year and did nothing to it except change the oil and transmission fluid, and then the engine blew after that year. No complaints, it was still a money saver.
I also bought a '67 Newport for $150. That was a beater that required me to spend $25 to have the radiator filler neck brazed on, $50 for a tune-up, $30 to rebuild the carburetor, and another $20 to change the transmission fluid and oil. So, for $275 I had a drivable car that got me to work and back for a year, at the end of which time I sold it for $200. There is no comparison that that was a far more financially astute option than making even a single car payment. It wouldn't work for everyone, though, because somebody like the original reviewer would have spent a fortune on fixing things that really had no bearing on the car's ability to be daily, dependable transportation.
I like the title to your review. Sounds just like my ex-wife! Seriously though, great review, very thorough.
I bought a 68 Valiant in 1993 with a 273 cu inch V-8 for $500. I put an intake 4bbl carb headers and duel exhaust. Replaced the battery once. the distributor the starter and painted it. All told it cost me about $1600 in parts. I used it as my daily driver till 2000. I figure in wages the car actually made me $80000 because I didn't have to make car payments.
On leaded gas (you could still get leaded gas till 95) it avg 25 mpg. After 95 I had to use supreme plus lead and octane booster or else it would diesel at shut off. And only get 17mpg.
I've had those cheap econoboxes. It's all great until one stupid sensor goes out, and then you find out it's a frigging 250 dollar part (thank you Subaru). Or your car leaves you on the side of the road because the computer took a dump. And my favorite, the bad fuel pump that cost $350 dollars and is a pain in the backside to fix, versus 20 bucks for an old carbed car and 20 minutes worth of work.
An old car can be made to run if something breaks, badly maybe, but still enough to limp home. If the reviewer really wanted to be cheap, he'd buy a 500 dollar car and just run it right into the ground and never fix anything besides maybe brake pads. I've done that many times. As soon as something dumb happens (and it will with those fuel injected piles), off to the scrap yard it goes.
I drove a 350 dollar 77 F100 for 8 years. I spent a grand total of $300 dollars in repairs. One dang sensor on a souless Japmobile is more than that. The only thing that stopped it was being t-boned by a semi truck.
The reviewer complains about the handling, no doubt the car is still on bias ply tires, which are awful when new, and only get worse with age. Put some radial tires on it, and the thing will seem like a new car.
I agree with you! I have one vehicle that is 23 years old, and another that is 16 years old. Keeping a close eye on fluids is very important in keeping your vehicle running. Also listening for unusual noises helps also. Once a month, take a look under the vehicle. Check the brakes every so often. I do a lot of my own maintenance and repairs... and it costs me about $400 each year for each vehicle.