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Taimar
May 10th, 2014, 07:10 PM
As some of you might remember, I used to buy a lot of cars. When I first joined the GTF in 1998, some three years after I got my drivers’ license, I was on number five – a 1985 Cadillac Eldorado. By 2005 I had gone through about forty. But after a career crisis in 2005-6, I slowed way down – only buying six cars from January of 2005 to February of 2010. I haven’t bought a single car since.

Part of that is that my life got heavily wrapped up in aviation in 2010 – both personally and professionally – and part of it is that I’m also much busier than I used to be. But suddenly late last year I realized how long I’d been “out of the game” so to speak, and now I want to change that.

I have two cars now – and neither is exactly the car I want, although they’re both nice and they do exactly what I intended them to do.

I had moved to Seattle in 2009 with a plan – sell my Saab and buy a full-sized van, use the van to move, and then sell it. But the van – a 59,000 mile, totally documented, one-owner 1997 Ram - encountered an unexpected mechanical flaw and that plan never happened, instead, I sold it for a steep discount in New York some months after I’d moved. I had also sold my BMW around that time to a fellow in Michigan who ruined it. And so I needed a car.

In 2007-2008 I had been looking for another older American car after years of older foreign cars, and had set my sights on either a ’73-’77 Pontiac LeMans or a ’78-’81, but preferably the earlier car. I looked at a half dozen of them at the time but all of them had pretty serious rust. Maybe not on the surface, but definitely where it counted. Not being able to find a decent one, I bought my E21 BMW instead.

Just a month after I moved to Seattle I found this guy on Craigslist for $1400:

542

…I’ve had it ever since.

It’s nothing special honestly – a 1979 LeMans with a 3.8 liter V6 and an automatic. But the exterior color combination is super rare – I’ve only ever seen it on one other LeMans, a ’78 wagon. This was a special-order paint job available on the Phoenix, the LeMans, the Grand Prix, the Catalina, and the Bonneville, but aside from the Grand Prix it was not really promoted and seems to have been rare even when new. The interior is green as well.

What’s rare about it is key to it’s value (because it certainly isn’t anything special to drive) – but also what’s holding me back from spending any real money on it. It’s a solid 20-footer, but closer than that and serious flaws are apparent in the paint, some of which is flaking off on the “endura” bumpers – the early plastic kind that doesn’t hold paint well. I get the impression quality control wasn't so hot on this paint when it was new, and now it's 35.

To repaint it in the original colors would be some serious dough, and the car just isn’t important enough to me or valuable enough to justify the outlay. Plus, a repaint would mean replacing the plasti-chrome strips on the bumpers, which are worn out and totally unobtainable. Similarly, green trim parts for the interior have proven extremely difficult to locate, and some of the trim is scuffed. Apparently the only interior parts harder to find than green panels are white panels.

So it’s time to say goodbye to what has become the car I’ve had longer than any other car – nearly five years. I still like the car, mind you, and I know I won’t get another one like it. But I’ve also had it a long time, and am probably not willing to spend the $$ it needs for it to be show-worthy.

My partner and I drove all over in this car when I first got it, since he doesn't like to drive, so it has many memories in it. But we're not really using it anymore. I still drive it semi-regularly, even take it to work sometimes - but it often sits for weeks at a time, and I've probably only done about 400 miles on it in the last year. There's nothing wrong with it, it just doesn't get used.

Then there’s this guy:

543

I bought this in 2010 because I needed a commuter car on which I could do all my own work if I chose to do that. Turns out, I never really had the time to do anything to it. Good commuter, always reliable and eager, but very loud inside and feeling very dated now – it’s like 1999 in there. And while that’s expected out of an old car, it isn’t so good in a modern car. The seats have grown progressively more uncomfortable and the noise steadily more annoying – but it does what I bought it for. Still, time for a change – and this car is just about to hit the big depreciation curve in the sky. A good detailing and I can get almost what I paid for it (I got a screaming deal on it) back out when I sell it – one of the few good side-effects of the great recession.

---------------

I think we found the LeMans’ replacement today, though I haven’t exactly made up my mind completely about it.

In the summer of 1997, I saw a 1970 Oldsmobile 98 two-door hardtop, in this exact color but without the vinyl top, for sale for $1300 in North Ridgeville, Ohio. I had a big car already at the time, and never did follow up on it. It sat for months looking for a buyer until one day it was gone. It’s one car I wish I hadn’t passed up. That and the $700 1972 Riviera I saw that summer. Blue with a white interior – what a car.

So this car popped up on Craigslist a few weeks ago. It’s still for sale but is no longer advertised:

544

It’s a 455 4V with what looks like a brand new TH400 attached, or at least, one with a super-clean bellhousing (it shifts silky-smooth). It came from Alaska and had been sitting for awhile before being sold. Looks pretty good doesn’t it? Well, at least from that angle.

From this angle, you can see why it’s cheap:

545

That big but gentle dent can probably be removed without paintwork – but it won’t be easy. It also extends to the missing skirt, which is in the trunk. The other skirt has some rust on it – but there’s not really any rust in the quarter panel. In fact, there’s really hardly any rust at all on this car anywhere, although there are some flaws - like that little bump on the nose - but they're fairly fixable really.

There was however, one serious water related flaw. When I drove it and hit the brakes, I could hear water sloshing around either in the driver’s door or worse, in the rocker panel. There is no visible rust, no mildew, no nothing. The trunk is dry and so is the floor, even under the carpet, so it could just be a combination of bad weatherstripping and clogged drain plugs and lots of recent rain, but that warrants further investigation for sure.

What’s wrong with it besides that? The front end needs a little tightening, the power steering pump doesn’t feel too good, and the tires are old. There’s also a big old crack – a very visible crack - in the left exhaust manifold – but a new one and a gasket set are included with the car. Everything else worked great – even the defroster. I didn’t drive it too far, but it drove fairly well for a floaty 44-year-old car (don’t expect a BMW from an Olds 98). With a little work, it could be used tomorrow. This car, oddly, appears to have come without factory A/C, and under the hood there's tons of room to work, even with that big block in there. I could probably do that manifold in short order.

Inside it’s immaculate other than one tear in the shoulder area of the front seat. It was clearly owned by an older couple who cared about it, there’s even a little note to grandpa and grandma in one of the blanked dashboard panels, behind glass. It’s clearly been there awhile.

This is in sharp contrast to the 1970 Chrysler Newport we looked at two weeks ago which, while in good external shape and running well, needed many many things before it could even be driven, let alone enjoyed.

For what I can get for the LeMans, even if selling it below what I want, I can pay for everything the 98 needs.

I’d like to hear anybody’s thoughts about this car, and any info on the Olds 455. The valve cover gaskets looked a tiny bit weepy, but no major leaks seemed evident. My guess is that this 455, like the different-but-identical-in size Buick and Pontiac 455s, is rock tough.

I’ve been looking for a big car that’s older than the big cars I’ve had before (nothing older than 1974 previously), preferably something that’s of 1968-1972 vintage. Whatever it is, I require three-point seatbelts, even if they're the old school two-buckle kind. The 1970 Riviera and 1972 Fury Gran Coupe were at the top of my list, but I can’t seem to find a decent one at a decent price (nice ones for bonkers money, crappy ones at too high prices, the occasional deal in a faraway place). The Olds does fit. Part of me wants another MGB/GT, but I never really fit too well in that car and I can't fit at all in a TR-6 or a Spitfire/GT6.

Part of me had also determined to source a Peugeot 504 Coupe or Opel Manta B - but honestly I don't have time and I definitely don't have the patience to be ordering parts from France or elsewhere again.

Taimar
May 10th, 2014, 07:11 PM
Now as for the Focus, there I’m more conflicted about what I want to do.

I want a 2011 Mustang in Sunset Gold. That color was only offered in 2010/2011, and that's right at the oldest I'm wiling to go for a newish vehicle. I’m not willing to buy a new Mustang and they don’t come in a color I really want right now anyway. It’s also a fairly rare color so I might have to go further afield for one than just metro Seattle. I considered a Synergy Green Camaro (also available 2010/2011), but I strongly dislike the Camaro’s interior and don’t think it’s as good a deal as the Mustang. The Challenger was another choice, but they’re considerably more expensive for what I want, and again, color is a factor to me. I want what I want. I can’t get a gold 1975 Firebird Esprit to drive every day – I could, but it’d get ruined if you used it as heavily as I use my daily – but I can get a sunset gold Mustang.

But as much as I want the Mustang, if I do that, we’ll be left with three large rear-drive cars, none of which is the most pragmatic choice (my partner drives a Grand Marquis which, after seven years of ownership only has 44K on the dial, isn't going anywhere). It does sometimes snow in Seattle. We do sometimes need to transport things. I also need to have room for a four-foot ladder in my car on many days, for photo work. This ruled out the Fiat 500, another car I like a lot but which doesn’t fit my lifestyle.

The Fiat 500L is a dog and I’m not interested. The Mini Clubman is a possibility, however. Other alternatives include a new Mazda3 hatch, a car I like very much, or the Kia Optima Hybrid – a car who’s styling I’ve always liked but which is rather dull to drive. I also like the Kia Soul, except that looks much nicer than it feels or drives. All these excel at gas mileage, which is a factor since I use my Focus to commute in heavy traffic every day.

But I feel like I’m not really a “sedan” kind of person, and that I want to not compromise in the name of practicality yet again. The older I get, the less willing I am to postpone the things I want.

The Mustang doesn’t do to well as far as MPG goes, unless you get the V6. And Yes, I am open to a V6 depending on the deal since the color is so hard to find. This will probably sound like blasphemy but I’ve never really cared about speed as much as style, and that’s probably obvious from my choices over the years. I do care about basic driving dynamics, but not about mile times or horsepower, really.

With the Mustang about to be replaced and used car values dropping, that also means deals abound. I know I'll never get another car where I can do all the repairs on my own, but the Mustang doesn't seem too too bad in terms of electronics overkill (in sharp contrast to the Fusion I had as a rental a couple of months ago) or byzantine complexity (both strikes against the Kia).

People may wonder why I don't want something newer or more modern, but honestly if I could keep driving the cars I've always liked, which honestly don't really include many modern cars, forever, I would. But I can't run a 40 year old car every day anymore, only a facsimile.

Anybody know the 2010+ Mustangs very well?

Rare White Ape
May 10th, 2014, 10:54 PM
That green thing from Alaska is pretty rad.

CudaMan
May 11th, 2014, 11:29 AM
Anybody know the 2010+ Mustangs very well?
I've autocrossed a few with the Coyote V8, and found them very impressive. I prefer a BOSS 302's driving experience to that of a C6 Z06, even in that twisty-turny environment, believe it or not. But this hardly seems relevant to your wants. :)

I must admit I don't "get" your taste in cars so I don't know how much help I could be. Of the cars you listed I would think the Mazda 3 would be the most useful and the most different from the cars in your fleet. Again the driving dynamics come into play for me though - this generation (http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2010-mazda3-hatchback_100189816_m.jpg) was quite poor to drive I thought. A far cry from the original (http://www.auto-broker-magic.com/images/2009-mazda-3-hatchback.jpg). I was shocked.

I also rented a MINI Clubman in January. It was okay. The chassis has potential. It was hampered by weird throttle/transmission calibration (you know 'cause everything is computer controlled now - there's less of a direct connection in a lot of cars these days, even slushbox cars are feeling worse or more distant. One has to learn the new language of the car, translate their inputs differently to get the result you want. Like a bad videogame).

speedpimp
May 11th, 2014, 12:45 PM
Lostnight aka Randy Bruns on Facebook has a Mustang that is around that vintage. He should be able to give you an idea.

samoht
May 11th, 2014, 12:47 PM
I don't know anything about the cars you're after, but it's awesome to hear from you Tai :-) thanks for the update.

Taimar
May 11th, 2014, 12:47 PM
I've autocrossed a few with the Coyote V8, and found them very impressive. I prefer a BOSS 302's driving experience to that of a C6 Z06, even in that twisty-turny environment, believe it or not. But this hardly seems relevant to your wants. :)

Ha! That's still a pretty big endorsement of the basic car, even if I'm unlikely to buy one of the faster variants.


I must admit I don't "get" your taste in cars so I don't know how much help I could be.

Don't feel too bad about it, I've always been fairly eclectic and tend to prefer the esoteric - hence having owned combinations like "Crown Victoria and Fiat 128." My tastes have always been extremely varied.


Of the cars you listed I would think the Mazda 3 would be the most useful and the most different from the cars in your fleet. Again the driving dynamics come into play for me though - this generation (http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2010-mazda3-hatchback_100189816_m.jpg) was quite poor to drive I thought. A far cry from the original (http://www.auto-broker-magic.com/images/2009-mazda-3-hatchback.jpg). I was shocked.

Yeah, the second gen car - 2010-2013 - isn't on my list. The first gen is nicer, and so is the current one - the 2014. (http://images.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/musa2/images/garage/2014/M3N/panel_1/background.jpg) It's the 2014 I'm thinking of. In a similar vein the Suzuki Kizashi would have been high on my list too had the company not bailed. I look at that car as sort of a Peugeot 405 (another old favorite) type of machine. I guess it's similar in more ways than one, actually.


I also rented a MINI Clubman in January. It was okay. The chassis has potential. It was hampered by weird throttle/transmission calibration (you know 'cause everything is computer controlled now - there's less of a direct connection in a lot of cars these days, even slushbox cars are feeling worse or more distant. One has to learn the new language of the car, translate their inputs differently to get the result you want. Like a bad videogame).

We were in a friend's Mini Countryman Automatic last week and that didn't seem very pleasant at all, shift-wise. I'm strictly interested in manual cars for my modern, even if they are harder to come by and resell. The Clubman appeals to me because it's a size I can live with, a configuration I like, and seems like a well-made car that doesn't cost the earth for what it is. Also there's a dealer within walking distance.

You are of course absolutely right about the less direct connection between driver and road in many moderns. This has been a turnoff for me for a long time, which is in part why I bought the things I bought as moderns - a Crown Victoria (really a 1970s design with a 90s update) and a Focus (really a 1990s design that hung on far too long). There's really no way for me to avoid coming to terms with this now other than continuing to only drive older cars, which isn't practical. The remote-feel experience was fun in a Citroen SM or CX - because those cars had dynamics that felt other-worldly and had the style and personality to make it worth it. Modern cars just feel heavy and leaden (though very fast) to me most of the time, and filled with stuff I don't particularly want (I'll take a good old rocker switch over a touchscreen any day).

Yw-slayer
May 11th, 2014, 06:10 PM
If you want 4WD and a hatch from 2010 onward, you know what to do. Good to see you again anyway!

CudaMan
May 11th, 2014, 07:54 PM
Ha! That's still a pretty big endorsement of the basic car, even if I'm unlikely to buy one of the faster variants.
If you can get some kind of handling pack and LSD with the V6, I think it'd be a lot of fun too. When did Ford put the new V6 into play?

The Coyote cars were surprisingly neutral and agile. If solid axles are wrong, I don't want to be right.


You are of course absolutely right about the less direct connection between driver and road in many moderns. This has been a turnoff for me for a long time, which is in part why I bought the things I bought as moderns - a Crown Victoria (really a 1970s design with a 90s update) and a Focus (really a 1990s design that hung on far too long). There's really no way for me to avoid coming to terms with this now other than continuing to only drive older cars, which isn't practical.

Insisting on a manual should definitely help you feel more connected even in a modern car. A lot of it with newer MT vehicles comes down to throttle calibration and response. It can be awful or just great. The S2000 is a good example of throttle by wire done right. You have to be extremely sensitive and clever to tell a difference between the throttle cable car and the DBW car (traction control button aside). Plenty of other cars seem to make it extra difficult to drive because it isn't a linear direct response to your right foot. Engine speed "hanging" between gears is also a bit of a pain. But not to get too far off topic... it's worth test driving whatever new stuff you're looking at, for sure.

Personally I find a happy place in mid 90s to early 2000s cars. Modern enough to be refined and reliable, old enough they still offer feel and direct feedback/response. Most of the time.

I quite enjoyed my little roadtrip across the South in the 370Z Sport a couple years ago, too, although that probably isn't remotely under consideration for you. Just mentioning it was a good drive (and I'm not just saying that).

thesameguy
May 12th, 2014, 10:28 AM
We were in a friend's Mini Countryman Automatic last week and that didn't seem very pleasant at all, shift-wise. I'm strictly interested in manual cars for my modern, even if they are harder to come by and resell. The Clubman appeals to me because it's a size I can live with, a configuration I like, and seems like a well-made car that doesn't cost the earth for what it is. Also there's a dealer within walking distance.

With the Minis, year is important. I think -09 and 10+ are different cars mechanically and the newer ones are better enough to be desirable. Also, tiny little motor and automatic transmission is pretty much never a win. I very much enjoyed test driving a Clubman S with a manual - clearly not a sports car, but an excellent commuter mobile. I did not have any love for the non-S - if wheezy motor is on the table, I'd buy a Transit Connect instead.

Still, until you go way back in time Minis carry a pretty high price premium for what they are, and unless quite small is *the* selling point, I think you can get more car for similar or less money... especially in the 3/Focus category. On that note, have you considered a Fiesta? The base model is a nice car (with a manual - notsomuch the DSG) and of course the ST is downright affordable. It is too bad the 500L is so hideous looking, as the 500 mechanicals and experience are pretty darned decent - similar concept but different in execution to the Mini (ie, they made a small, underpowered car fun, just in a different way ;) )

My sister bought a Soul with a 6-speed, and while it does indeed look nice on paper and is fine to sit in, it's a totally meh driving experience. As with all Kia/Hyundais, everything is just slightly off - brakes, handling, throttle response. They are clearly cars designed to favor features over experience, and equipped with an automatic and plopped into west coast traffic, they excel. As a driving machine, they are not what you'd call ultimate. ;)

It sounds like you're sold on pretty darned new for the commutermobile, but have you considered a slightly older, slightly higher end wagon? Audi, BMW, Volvo? Hell, Saab? You have three great Saab shops there, pimpin' a 9-3SC would be easy and they are lovely with a 6-speed and available with AWD.

As for the Olds 455, my sole knowledge of them comes from the recent RV hunt, where I learned that they are exceptionally durable but increasingly hard to fix due to parts availability issues. Unlike the other big blocks which stayed in production a while and/or found cult followings (eg the Cadillac 472/500), the Olds 455 had a short lifespan and never found an alternative niche. People keeping old RVs alive are parting out cars to make that happen, and in *any other situation* it's the opposite - people part out RVs to get understressed, underutilitized 454s for their cars. I don't think this affects you - buying a running car and keeping it together for limited usage ain't too bad (I'm keeping a Cadillac 429 alive!) - but I thought I'd mention it anyway. Obviously the TH400 is not an issue - the one in the Fleetwood is still superb, and it has a filthy old bellhousing. ;)

thesameguy
May 12th, 2014, 10:33 AM
If you want 4WD and a hatch from 2010 onward, you know what to do. Good to see you again anyway!

I think they were only FWD in the US.

http://www.thetorquereport.com/2009_mitsubishi_lancer_sportback_new3.jpg

Yw-slayer
May 12th, 2014, 06:18 PM
There's also the 9-2, which is awesomely awesome.

Kchrpm
May 14th, 2014, 04:30 PM
Buick Regal GS. Do it.

For example: http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?showcaseListingId=363087649&listingId=369583653&Log=0

KillerB
May 14th, 2014, 10:27 PM
If I was in an urban environment and wanted a new car, there'd be no question - Fiat 500 Abarth. MAYBE a Fiesta ST if I needed 4 doors... but I feel like 4 doors aren't really advantageous in a car this size unless you've got kids.

thesameguy
May 14th, 2014, 10:41 PM
There is no way in hell a Fiat is going to fit a 4' ladder. A Fiesta almost certainly would.

KillerB
May 15th, 2014, 11:25 PM
How often do you need to move a 4' ladder? Maybe I missed something in Taimar's post... but the only time I've ever had my 4' ladder in my car was when I brought it home from the store.

Regardless, it would totally fit with the front seat folded forward.

EDIT: Nevermind, just found it. As I said, it'll fit without a passenger... if you do need a passenger, you could always get a roof rack.

Random
May 16th, 2014, 09:04 AM
For the passenger or the ladder? :assclown:

thesameguy
May 16th, 2014, 09:26 AM
How often do you need to move a 4' ladder? Maybe I missed something in Taimar's post... but the only time I've ever had my 4' ladder in my car was when I brought it home from the store.

Regardless, it would totally fit with the front seat folded forward.

EDIT: Nevermind, just found it. As I said, it'll fit without a passenger... if you do need a passenger, you could always get a roof rack.

Pretty sure that's only if you don't get a sunroof. There is no place to attach a rack with the sunroof. You need get a solid top model to accommodate a rack.

Random
May 16th, 2014, 09:27 AM
I prefer drop-top models with racks.

*ahem*

thesameguy
May 16th, 2014, 09:59 AM
But then there's no support.

Teehee.

Godson
May 16th, 2014, 10:53 AM
You need a newer model year.

thesameguy
May 16th, 2014, 10:58 AM
I just don't want to overstress chassis components. A little extra care now results in a firmer ride down the road.

Godson
May 16th, 2014, 11:17 AM
I hear that can also be arranged. Nothing a little chassis bracing can't fix...

FaultyMario
May 16th, 2014, 11:19 AM
I've heard Alex is not too picky about age-induced sag, as long as his models are authentic and not tuned-up showroom queens.

Taimar
May 16th, 2014, 12:49 PM
How often do you need to move a 4' ladder? Maybe I missed something in Taimar's post... but the only time I've ever had my 4' ladder in my car was when I brought it home from the store.

I'm sure some people are wondering "What's the deal with the ladder." The deal there is that I'm often doing aircraft photography, sometimes from inside the fence, sometimes from outside the fence. Sometimes I'm doing other kinds of photography where I need a higher angle. Hence, that ladder lives in my car much of the time.

As usual, now that I'm like "hey I'm ready to do something with my cars" I found that this entire week I barely had time to focus on anything. And next week I'm away for four days.

Today I found out that the big old dent situation may be fixable with a suction cup repair. So yeah, there's that at least. Also, it'll only cost $100 extra to park the LeMans someplace else until it's sold, freeing up the carport for the 98.

Taimar
July 20th, 2014, 07:35 PM
So...I did not buy the ninety-eight.

I did, however, agree to buy it and then decide not to at the last minute, losing $200 in deposit. But that's fine.

After agreeing to buy, there was something that just didn't feel right about it, and I realized maybe I didn't want that large a car after all - or maybe no old car for awhile. It wasn't clear to me exactly why I was buying it - yeah, it looked great and it'd be great to cruise around in - bit I don't think it'd be used much and it would need some more stuff to make it really nice.

Stuff that included pulling and replacing both cylinder heads, because one of the studs on the broken exhaust manifold was broken, and there looked to be perhaps the beginnings of a crack in the head. Maybe. Pulling big block heads is too much of a job for me to do on my own. I also felt that it probably wouldn't fit in our carport, at least not completely, and that this could be a problem with the neighbors. All of that also meant that if you spend some dough (rather than time) on the 98, you won't have dough for camera gear, random airplane and helicopter adventuring, etc.

So I decided not to do anything until the LeMans is sold, and it's on CL now.

Today we tried on a 1980 MGB LE for size and SURPRISE I fit in it. I haven't sat in an MGB roadster in probably 15 years - and could not fit at all back then - and it's been 13 years since I parted with my GT. Getting into that black LE was like putting on a suit you haven't worn in a long time and finding that it fits BETTER than when you last wore it. Which was a nice feeling, even if the MGB is a slow and agricultural car. "Feeling safe" in that car is still an issue.

The focus is still here, but I'll be detailing it over the next three/four weeks and then...

samoht
July 21st, 2014, 02:52 PM
I agree with not buying a car if you don't have the right feeling about it.

Yay MG ! Wonder if the car you tried today has had any seat rail modifications or anything? Sounds cool.

Yw-slayer
July 22nd, 2014, 12:25 AM
I've never bought secondhand, but tend to agree.

Taimar
February 6th, 2015, 07:33 PM
So...

The LeMans is gone. Sold in one hour to a classic Stoner dude (complete with Jimi Hendrix & Peace pins in a beret) back in November. Sad as it was to see it ride off into the sunset, it immediately opened up ideas of what could replace it.

And sunday we're gonna go see this:


http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/cto/4876576294.html (http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/cto/4876576294.html)

A car we can agree is rather more pragmatic than an MG, and probably alot nicer to drive too. MG's are lots of fun, but it's 1950 under there. I'd still have another GT if the right one came along, and one almost did - but I was sick for much of early January and couldn't deal with the four-hour drive (each way) to Okanagan to get it.

Still, I've been looking mainly at MG, Triumph, and other cars of that ilk. I'd been holding out hope that a nice X1/9 might come along too - but there seem to be very few of them around now, at least in the northwest. I've also done that before.

The Opel seems like a good cross between it's two immediate predecessors - the 320i (which YW got to ride in long ago) and the LeMans. I'll need to source some 70's wheels to replace the moderns but altogether not a bad little all around toy. I've always liked the Manta (to be fair, I like the Manta B more, but we never got those here) but have never been able to find a nice one.

We'll see....

Random
February 6th, 2015, 07:56 PM
Coworker picked one up as his "teach the kid how to work on cars" car. So far the kid hasn't worked on it. Coworker is having a blast, though. :D

JoshInKC
February 6th, 2015, 08:33 PM
That's pretty nice looking. Out of curiosity, how's the reliability supposed to be on those opels?

...Asking for a friend, I definitely don't occasionally get tempted by inexpensive gts.

thesameguy
February 6th, 2015, 09:22 PM
I saw two sweet X1/9a on CL not long ago...

http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/cto/4878527935.html

http://images.craigslist.org/01111_hoaLSEHPhcG_600x450.jpg

and

http://bakersfield.craigslist.org/cto/4867640763.html

http://images.craigslist.org/00U0U_ks0bv4EIBiI_600x450.jpg

Just a quick flight to LA!

KillerB
February 7th, 2015, 02:34 AM
That black X1/9 is really nice.

thesameguy
February 7th, 2015, 09:08 AM
I did not realize they killed the M6 Optima. Lame, but expected

Coworker just leased a Focus for $3k down and $70/mo.

Godson
February 7th, 2015, 09:53 AM
Wait. There is a place in Cali called placentia? That's fucking disturbing.

Random
February 7th, 2015, 10:05 AM
Probably named after the city in Italy. One extra letter makes all the difference... ;)

Taimar
February 8th, 2015, 01:43 PM
Sadly the Opel will not be joining us. Not a bad car overall - but the beginnings of real rust and bad seals on things that keep out the damp, lots of leaks for a car with a freshly rebuilt engine and, in spite of that rebuild the whole driveline shakes like a dripping springer spaniel trying to dry off. They'll be others.

pl8ster
February 12th, 2015, 05:35 AM
Looking forward to seeing the next addition.

Taimar
February 28th, 2015, 08:45 AM
1045

I did finally drive one of these, last weekend.

It's not bad - but if I'm going to get one, it's going to be an automatic. The clutch is fairly heavy, and considering the amount of stop-and-go driving I'm saddled with in traffic-choked Seattle, I think I'd just prefer it (the first time I've ever thought that).

It wasn't bad to drive, but wasn't as impressive as I had hoped. I'd figured it'd be more responsive, but it felt heavy. It is, however, better to see out of than the new 2015 car - which feels alot like the 1971 Mustang from the driver's seat (big hood stretching on into forever then dropping away to invisible-land).

Today we're going to go see a 1973 MGB/GT.

M4FFU
March 2nd, 2015, 02:52 AM
Today we're going to go see a 1973 MGB/GT.

I've started looking at MGB GTs, but keep dribbling over Fiat 124 Spiders. Anything particular I should be looking out for?

thesameguy
March 2nd, 2015, 09:33 AM
It's Italian. Therefore, everything.

TheBenior
March 2nd, 2015, 04:26 PM
2 more, for parts cars.

Taimar
March 7th, 2015, 07:30 PM
We did see the '73, about ten minutes after it was sold.

But then I found this '69, which I went to see today.

1061

I'm very close to buying it. It's $4200. It runs like a top though I suspect the carbs need a little help.

It has only one major flaw - the driver's floorboard has an aluminum plate over a big fat hole. This can obviously be rectified by paying somebody to weld in metal - and there's enough there that they wouldn't have to cut out the whole pan and replace it. But it's still obviously a big flaw, and that's why the car's that cheap. The rest of it was excellent.

Opinions?

....

Now as for the spider, you'll want to make sure that the timing belt's good, and you'll want to check basically anywhere water can get in. The main drawback with the spider is rust - and electrical issues. Fiat's wiring diagrams will be no help, I like to tell the story of how I tried to do electrical work on every single fiat I've ever had: In the manual it's azul, giallo, verde, rosso, and then you look at the wiring in the car and it's four grey wires.

samoht
March 8th, 2015, 11:09 AM
If the hole in the floor of the '69 MGB is a one-off, and not representative of it being generally rusty, then it sounds like a reasonable buy. Generally I have a feeling that cars with one clear-cut fault can be a good buy. I guess the only question is, if the owner got it repaired they could probably sell it for more, is there a reason why they haven't?

If you're still thinking about modern cars, you could consider a GT86 as a more responsive / less heavy-feeling alternative to a 'Stang ?

Godson
March 8th, 2015, 11:55 AM
I finally got to sent in one this weekend. The gt86 is an amazing car. I will probably own one at some point in time.

Taimar
March 8th, 2015, 01:16 PM
If the hole in the floor of the '69 MGB is a one-off, and not representative of it being generally rusty, then it sounds like a reasonable buy. Generally I have a feeling that cars with one clear-cut fault can be a good buy. I guess the only question is, if the owner got it repaired they could probably sell it for more, is there a reason why they haven't?

Hence the holding out. Yeah, it looks straightforward, but the thing about repairing stuff like that is that you tend to find more problems as you are fixing. They pan isn't structural though, and those bits look just fine. Tomorrow I'll see what can be done about the pan. If the car sells in the meantime, so be it.


If you're still thinking about modern cars, you could consider a GT86 as a more responsive / less heavy-feeling alternative to a 'Stang ?

I'm sure it's a great car to drive, but having been in one, I hated the driving position and the seats, and crossed it off the list.

I'm actually leaning towards the Soul now, since I can go nuts with my other car but have the utility of a car like that as every day business.

thesameguy
March 8th, 2015, 01:44 PM
I'd take the car to a shop and get it on a lift. You'll be able to see most of everything important then. If the floorpan rusted through, there is rust elsewhere. It's just a matter of whether it's bad or not. A rusty floorpan is nothing to fix - if that's the only serious rust I definitely wouldn't let it hold me back. Plus, it's not like you are looking for a show car or a car to be buried in... just something fun to pass the time. If it's slowly decaying while you thrash it about, who cares? :)

Yw-slayer
March 8th, 2015, 08:17 PM
I HATE YOU TAI

No, but seriously, it's a pity that the driving position and seats really didn't agree with you.

Taimar
March 21st, 2015, 08:13 PM
1121

Today's adventure.

The '69 GT ended up getting away after I spent two days pricing out the floor - which would've only been about $900 like I thought.

Now, scoff all you like at the rubber bumpers, but I've always actually liked the rubber bumpers - and in the USA, they're super rare on a GT. Just 1300 imported before BL decided coupe buyers should be sent to the TR-7 instead. I love TR-7s too, of course.

This car was a gem. The shell of this car looks like it came out of the factory yesterday, and it started right up and ran great with one notable miss - after a long highway run, it seemed to nearly stall when it went back to idle after I coasted to the end of an exit - something that I'm told sometimes happens with the twin SUs, but not something I've ever experienced because I've only ever driven them with a single Weber 45. At the exit the oil pressure dropped to zero and the car seemed to want to stall, then suddenly came back - almost like a run-on if you turned off the car. No other issues other than the tiniest bit of coolant near the heater valve. But that body!

This was easily the nicest overall MGB I've ever driven - and that's reflected in the price - which is a good 30% over what I had budgeted for what is basically a toy. This while I'm seriously considering whether not I want to stay at my job (it's always something right?).

So now I need think seriously about whether it's worth it to do this - because it would be a rare and very nice vehicle - a weekend's work and this is a show car. But it's also kind of dear. It also lacks overdrive - making highway cruising not so much fun above 65 mph.

This was not the only car I test drove today.

Figuring I'd like to try one for day, I rented a Soul:

1122

Very comfortable - acres of room for such a small footprint, nice and quiet - hugely refreshing coming from the circa-1999 Focus. Decent handling, but slow. S L O W. Ssssslllllooooowwwww.

But I could definitely live with it. Of course it was an automatic with the base 1.6. You can't get the 2.0 with a manual, but the 2.0 would be the way to go. Partner really liked it.

Yeti
March 21st, 2015, 08:16 PM
I saw that GT in your FB post. The cleanliness of it is really mindblowing. Any MGB you see like that around here has just undergone a very thorough restoration.

Taimar
March 21st, 2015, 08:23 PM
It helps that it's spent 25 years in a semi-desert in central Washington (which looks alot like northern Nevada). It took three hours each way to get there. Seriously though, I've never seen an unrestored B/GT that was that clean.

thesameguy
March 23rd, 2015, 10:49 AM
Very comfortable - acres of room for such a small footprint, nice and quiet - hugely refreshing coming from the circa-1999 Focus. Decent handling, but slow. S L O W. Ssssslllllooooowwwww.

But I could definitely live with it. Of course it was an automatic with the base 1.6. You can't get the 2.0 with a manual, but the 2.0 would be the way to go. Partner really liked it.

Kinda shocked to hear you say that. I have rented a couple Souls (no use of one of my own - HA!) and have not found them slow. Admittedly they spend most of their time on the freeway, but usually the destination is SF and they're fine there too. The one I've spent the most time in has been my sister's - she has a 6-speed manual and it seems plenty peppy. Obviously it's no race car, but it gets around just fine. More power would just accentuate its total lack of handling. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike the Soul even a little - but it's about as close to what I think riding on a wagon would be like. Flat and square. ;)

Yw-slayer
March 24th, 2015, 03:53 AM
You have to bear in mind that Tai is comparing it to the mad lightness and relative powah of an early Focus.

thesameguy
March 24th, 2015, 08:33 AM
I don't think there is a deficit there. An early Zetec-powered ZX3 weighs somewhere between 2800 and 3000lbs and has a 130hp 2.0l and a Soul weights somewhere between 2700 and 2900lbs and has a 130hp 1.6l. Although the Soul's motor is smaller, it benefits from direct injection and a wider, stronger torque curve, and more gears regardless of transmission. Performance-wise, they should be very similar cars. They feel similar to me - with the Focus having the obvious dynamic edge. ;)

Random
March 24th, 2015, 07:46 PM
I think the ZX3s are closer to 2700.

thesameguy
March 24th, 2015, 11:31 PM
A base model could very well be. My friend's all-options came in at 2850. He was angry our mutual friend's lighter, shorter geared ZX2 was faster and went searching for reasons. ;)

speedpimp
March 25th, 2015, 04:51 AM
At least I'm not the only person who likes the rubber baby bumper MGs.

thesameguy
March 25th, 2015, 09:35 AM
MG rubber bumpers are trending, yo.

Taimar
March 26th, 2015, 09:07 PM
Are they?

Honestly compared to the solutions many other companies cooked up for the same problem, the rubber bumper cars look amazingly modern. Nobody ever seems to criticize the big blunt bumpers of the Alfa spider - The MG's bumpers are more integrated than those were.

I still haven't made up my mind about the GT, been too busy at work. Also, indecision is my middle name.

I can see that the rubber MG's will get more valuable in the next decade - they're the last affordable classic MGs. Which means sooner or later some enthusiast mag will ruin it.

As for the Soul, it was just fine between 0 and 50. But on the highway, it didn't want to naturally cruise above 65, seemed to hunt a bit for the right gear, and over the moutains it continually seemed to struggle where the Focus does not. Of course, the only automatic i'm used to now is the Grand Marquis, which does rather better over the mountains. Technically, I've driven big V8 ford panther cars for a decade now although the GrandMa is his, not mine.

Still all told it wasn't bad.

I have to plan ahead for increasingly awful traffic with the modern car. The population here is just growing too fast for the roads to handle it - and unlike, say, Shanghai, the government can't be arsed to do anything to provide better infrastructure because people might have to pay for that with this thing called Taxes. I've had the same commute since late 2010. Back then, it was a 20 minute drive, max. Now it's a 45 minute drive, minimum. And you can tell that it's just more people by the sheer number of out of state plates no the road. It is not normal to see eight or ten cars with NY license plates 2800 miles from New York in one day.

And there's really no alternative to driving beyond a certain radius (not even a big radius) around the city center - there's no real rail system and the bus is very limited. The whole city's built around the car. I need a comfy and quiet daily.

Taimar
April 19th, 2015, 10:07 AM
Offer made on rubber bumper GT, hopefully it'll be mine next weekend.

Leon
April 19th, 2015, 12:15 PM
Good luck! :)

speedpimp
April 19th, 2015, 01:26 PM
Congrats.

Taimar
April 25th, 2015, 08:32 PM
I bought it, it's here. We even ran around in it a bit today. Before any real distance running though, it's going to need a little going through - mostly just renewing the fluids and checking seals - the car's only done 1600 miles since about 2006. But the thing is super solid, and the only obvious things it needs are interior pieces, and even then, it's not falling apart - just a little worn.

I trailered it back from Yakima mainly because it's been used so sparingly - and that was a good idea, because it snowed through most of the mountains. We unpacked it a few miles from the house and drove the rest of the way. It honestly drives just fine despite the sitting, perhaps the PO drove it just enough? I like to make sure a car gets used at least once a month for a few miles, even if it's just a little ways. The PO was more of a "do 100 miles at a clip at least once or twice a year" type.

The snow and road dirt dirtied it up, so pics'll have to wait until I wash it again. But so clean.

Why so clean? Bare metal respray in 1992 into 1969 Chevrolet Hugger Orange. Between that and the rubber bumpers, I definitely won't see myself coming and going.

A few little things will be done in the next couple of weeks - dry rotted axle straps, a few other rubber bits, then start on some interior pieces, after sorting out the fluids.

A bit of the circle of life:

On September 8, 2001, I trailered my Flame red MGB/GT out to Long Island and swapped it (three way exchange) for an Orange Fiat 128 - my first Fiat.

Today we drove out to Yakima in a rented Red Fiat 500 (virtually the same color as my old MG) and after returning that car picked up an Orange MGB/GT.

samoht
April 26th, 2015, 03:18 AM
Awesome, I had a good feeling about that car based on how you described it, a good condition body is worth having.

I'm happy imagining you driving it :D Make sure you do take it for a photo shoot soon !

speedpimp
April 26th, 2015, 04:27 AM
Very nice. Always loved the rubber buggy bumper cars.

Yeti
April 27th, 2015, 08:18 PM
I knew you'd pick it up :)