T Nation

Classic Cars

I’m sure some of you loosers know a lot about classic cars…what do you look out for? What can you share?

I’m looking at this one here:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/3362935689.html

I know 1984 might not be ‘classic’, but would $3K for a jag be a good deal or not?

From what I’ve heard [no personal experience], that vintage Jag is very difficult and expensive to maintain. I’m the kind of guy who generally pays the money to maintain the car I want anyway though, so if I really wanted a jag like that, I’d pay the price.

I would say your best bet is to call or meet a mechanic that deals with higher profile cars (I know a shop around here that services Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Maseratis) and get their honest opinion of it.

The guys who work on ‘exotic’ cars, or even just ‘premium’ cars generally know what they’re talking about. Very few of them got their start with exotics, and they had to work their way up to that point.

Nice looking car though. If you’re just going to collect it and drive it occasionally, it’s one thing. If you want to drive it regularly, I’d look into the opinions of a mechanic on that model.

Look into the availability of parts. I have a 1956 Buick Special and finding some parts is difficult and expensive.

[quote]sen say wrote:
I’m sure some of you loosers know a lot about classic cars…what do you look out for? What can you share?

I’m looking at this one here:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/3362935689.html

I know 1984 might not be ‘classic’, but would $3K for a jag be a good deal or not?

[/quote]

If you are into fixing cars, go nuts. You’ll be fixing this one all the time. Jag’s are nice car when they run. The new ones are way better, but this generation was awful in terms of reliability. It’s pretty though.

While I love classic Mustangs and Corvettes; Grand Nationals were the first car that made a real impact on me.

[quote]imhungry wrote:
While I love classic Mustangs and Corvettes; Grand Nationals were the first car that made a real impact on me.[/quote]

That is sweet.

My dad and I have a '74 Challenger with the 318 small block Mopar. We restored it ourselves in the early 2000’s when I was in high school. that’s the only pic of it I have on my work computer. It’s all original body wise, original motor (never been rebuilt or even pulled out of the car) restored but original-style interior. Paint is '03 Corvette yellow.

My car is restored to what we’d call “driver” condition - it’s numbers matching, but it’s got the small block, which hurts value. The body is in awesome shape and all original, but it’s not painted an original color. Basically, this is the type of restoration you see on TV on shows like Desert Car Kings or some shit like that. It’s a dead-reliable driver, not a show car.

Like cwill said, consider availability of parts. One of the reasons my Chally is dirt cheap to own is the 318 was built like a tank, nothing on it breaks, EVER. 100k original miles, motors never been rebuilt, it burns a little oil, THAT’S IT.

And, when things do need replacing, they’re almost excessively easy to find. Dodge/Chrysler put the 318 v8 in just about every damn car/truck from 1967-1991. That’s a shitload of engines out there that can be picked for parts. Plus, since the engine was so popular, there’s a ton of NOS (new old stock) and OEM (original equipment manufacturers) parts, and even more reman’s (re-manufactured parts).

Another thing to consider is ease of working on the car. My Challenger is like Fisher Price my first mechanics project. Easy as can be to fix just about any thing on it. Compared to my 'Stang, the Challenger is a breeze maintenance wise.

You should also look at insurance. I’m not sure how it works in Scotland, but for me, we have our car insured as a classic. In order to get it insured as a classic, it must be 20+ years old, mostly original, you must be 25 years old, and you must have both another car (daily transportation) and a garage (with which to theoretically store your classic).

They also impose limits on how much you can drive the car per year, but you’d be surprised how many “nice day cruises” and “take the wife to dinner” nights you can get out of a 10,000 mile per year limit. Not to mention that we’ve gone over the limit before and nothing happens. It’s not like they monitor it or anything, it’s really just put in place to keep people from using their classic as a daily driver.
Now the plus side of the insurance… insurance is $150/month for my Mustang. Insurance is $285 PER YEAR for the Challenger, and that’s 100% full coverage. Can’t beat that.

Another thing to consider is the “lifestyle” of a classic car. My Challenger has heat, but no a/c. Can’t drive it during the day in the summer. I literally have to spend 5 minutes every time I take somebody for a ride in it teaching them how to get the stupid seat belts working, and even then, there’s no airbag, which freaks a lot of people out. I’ve had people flat-out refuse to get in the car.

Also, parking. I’m ANAL with my cars. I park my cars as far away from stores etc as possible. I’m that guy parked wayyyyy in the back across 2 spaces right under the security camera. It pays to be paranoid. Older cars are significantly easier to steal, but they tend to be harder to fence, making them less of a target. Still, I will NOT drive my Challenger anywhere that I would have to park it where I can’t see it. I take it out to dinner? Damn sure I’m parking right under a window and then demanding to sit by said window.

Case in point. Last summer my car was broken into. Parked right next to the Challenger in my driveway. Mustang broken into, but not the Challenger. Thieves would rather steal something that’s tough to steal but easy to get rid of (like parts etc for a new Mustang rather than an old Challenger).

All in all, I LOVE my Challenger. Now, i might be a little emotionally attached to it since its a father-son thing, but in terms of it being a “cool” or “interesting” car, it can’t be beat. Cheap to build, cheap to own, gets a TON of attention and thumbs-up every where I drive it. Can’t beat that.

Classic car to me implies that it’s going to increase in value over the course of your ownership. Which i dont see happening for that jag, or any jag that isnt an E-type (sexy as hell btw).

For $3k tho, it’s cheap, and probably a fun car when it drives, which considering it’s an old jag may not be that often.

For $3000 you can get a Opel Corsa from the same year in norway…

What is it about the Jag that you like? These cars were problematic when they were new.

Cracking dashes, an anemic 6 paired with a 3 speed auto, electrical problems, fuel issues, and expensive parts and service is what you have to look forward to.

Now, if you want a sleeper, drop a Chevy drivetrain into it: http://www.brokenkitty.com/xj/xjv8.htm

[quote]Acrophobia13 wrote:
My dad and I have a '74 Challenger with the 318 small block Mopar. We restored it ourselves in the early 2000’s when I was in high school. that’s the only pic of it I have on my work computer. It’s all original body wise, original motor (never been rebuilt or even pulled out of the car) restored but original-style interior. Paint is '03 Corvette yellow.

My car is restored to what we’d call “driver” condition - it’s numbers matching, but it’s got the small block, which hurts value. The body is in awesome shape and all original, but it’s not painted an original color. Basically, this is the type of restoration you see on TV on shows like Desert Car Kings or some shit like that. It’s a dead-reliable driver, not a show car.

Like cwill said, consider availability of parts. One of the reasons my Chally is dirt cheap to own is the 318 was built like a tank, nothing on it breaks, EVER. 100k original miles, motors never been rebuilt, it burns a little oil, THAT’S IT.

And, when things do need replacing, they’re almost excessively easy to find. Dodge/Chrysler put the 318 v8 in just about every damn car/truck from 1967-1991. That’s a shitload of engines out there that can be picked for parts. Plus, since the engine was so popular, there’s a ton of NOS (new old stock) and OEM (original equipment manufacturers) parts, and even more reman’s (re-manufactured parts).

Another thing to consider is ease of working on the car. My Challenger is like Fisher Price my first mechanics project. Easy as can be to fix just about any thing on it. Compared to my 'Stang, the Challenger is a breeze maintenance wise.

You should also look at insurance. I’m not sure how it works in Scotland, but for me, we have our car insured as a classic. In order to get it insured as a classic, it must be 20+ years old, mostly original, you must be 25 years old, and you must have both another car (daily transportation) and a garage (with which to theoretically store your classic).

They also impose limits on how much you can drive the car per year, but you’d be surprised how many “nice day cruises” and “take the wife to dinner” nights you can get out of a 10,000 mile per year limit. Not to mention that we’ve gone over the limit before and nothing happens. It’s not like they monitor it or anything, it’s really just put in place to keep people from using their classic as a daily driver.
Now the plus side of the insurance… insurance is $150/month for my Mustang. Insurance is $285 PER YEAR for the Challenger, and that’s 100% full coverage. Can’t beat that.

Another thing to consider is the “lifestyle” of a classic car. My Challenger has heat, but no a/c. Can’t drive it during the day in the summer. I literally have to spend 5 minutes every time I take somebody for a ride in it teaching them how to get the stupid seat belts working, and even then, there’s no airbag, which freaks a lot of people out. I’ve had people flat-out refuse to get in the car.

Also, parking. I’m ANAL with my cars. I park my cars as far away from stores etc as possible. I’m that guy parked wayyyyy in the back across 2 spaces right under the security camera. It pays to be paranoid. Older cars are significantly easier to steal, but they tend to be harder to fence, making them less of a target. Still, I will NOT drive my Challenger anywhere that I would have to park it where I can’t see it. I take it out to dinner? Damn sure I’m parking right under a window and then demanding to sit by said window.

Case in point. Last summer my car was broken into. Parked right next to the Challenger in my driveway. Mustang broken into, but not the Challenger. Thieves would rather steal something that’s tough to steal but easy to get rid of (like parts etc for a new Mustang rather than an old Challenger).

All in all, I LOVE my Challenger. Now, i might be a little emotionally attached to it since its a father-son thing, but in terms of it being a “cool” or “interesting” car, it can’t be beat. Cheap to build, cheap to own, gets a TON of attention and thumbs-up every where I drive it. Can’t beat that.
[/quote]

Great info. Thanks. PS - I’m really in Maryland, but don’t tell the chicks.

I’ll add something else. Generally, old, inexpensive luxury cars are a trap. Any one large repair can easily surpass the value of the car. You might, if you’re lucky, get the value of the parts back when you sell it. For example, you put a new, rebuilt tranny in for $2100, figure its about $900 for the tranny and $1200 for labor. when you go to sell it, you’ll be lucky if you get the $900 back. Also, you don’t get a break on labor and parts just because the car was cheap, so unless you can do some of the work yourself…well, think about having to spend $1,100 on front and rear brakes on a $3,000 car.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
What is it about the Jag that you like? [/quote]

Nothing besides the fact that it’s a jag and old…I got no idear about it in any other way…

I’m interested in SOME sort of classic. My current car is a 1997 Plymouth Breeze…over 110K miles on it…I know I need to replace it soon and after 20 years am now to the point where I don’t need a fucking mini-van…I don’t have a ton of cash, so I’m hoping to learn a little more about older cars and get something for under 5K…which may be impossible.

[quote]sen say wrote:
Great info. Thanks. PS - I’m really in Maryland, but don’t tell the chicks.[/quote]
I knew there was something odd about your location saying Scotland and you looking at Maryland craigslist lol

Just for reference, we paid $3500 for our Challenger (sometime early '00s, I think 2002-3) and it was running, but not 100%.
We did some engine repairing/freshening, then checked and replaced things on the drive-train as necessary, then farmed out the body work and interior work. We ended up getting our body/paint work done by a guy who was just starting his own shop, so we got a major discount in exchange for him using pics of our car as part of his ‘portfolio’ per se. Saved us quite a bit of coin. It also extended the time frame of the project to over 2 years.

All in all, it cost us roughly $15k for the Challenger. It could have been built cheaper, especially since when we did the restoration (nearly 10 years ago) there wasn’t much of an “industry” surrounding restoring old cars - the only way to really get parts was to get original parts at swap meets. For example, it took us 6 months to find a front fender. Nowadays, you could call up YearOne and have one on its way to your doorstep in 24 hrs. We combed the 'net and had to drive almost 250 miles each way to get ours. This costs time and money. This is one of the main reasons that when you see those car shows on TV, they’re always looking for a car that’s “complete” - finding parts is EASILY one of the most expensive facets of a build. Sometimes, it’s even more than fabrication/labor.

I’ve been offered $20k for the car, but it’s not for sale. Realistically, it’s worth in the $10-15k range. That’s a reasonable price range for a 70s car with the “undesirable” engine.

Craigslist and eBay are great ways to find cars (we found ours on eBay) but a word of caution.
Cars have a tendency to be the kind of thing that you buy cheap and end up incurring a buttload of expenses you weren’t expecting to. ALWAYS go view a car in person before even talking $. I won’t so much as discuss the price before seeing the car. Anybody who wants you to make an offer (or worse, a deposit) before viewing/driving the car is trying to hide something. Run away, and run fast.
If you’re not mechanically savvy, it DEFINITELY pays for you to bring along someone who is - friend, family member, etc. And I don’t mean your buddy who’s “into” cars, I mean someone who works in the automotive restoration field and really knows what to look for. If all else fails, call your regular mechanic, explain the situation, and offer to buy him lunch if he comes along to look at the car. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Also, I don’t remember if you mentioned it or not, but if you’re not a “car guy” or mechanically knowledgeable, i would NOT recommend driving a classic for a daily driver. The attitude image is cool, but if you’re not in a position to make basic repairs, you could be in hot water fast. You don’t want to miss a day’s work and have to tell your boss it’s because your 30 year old car wouldn’t start. Just more food for thought.

EDIT - I’m not trying to dissuade you from getting a classic car - quite the opposite, I think way MORE people should embrace their love of classics. Modern cars are, for the most part, fuckin’ ugly when compared to the classics. However, I do think you’ll be better off knowing what you’re getting in to. I’d hate to see you buy some nice wheels and end up massively in debt over it. You’d be surprised how often that happens.

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
I’ll add something else. Generally, old, inexpensive luxury cars are a trap. Any one large repair can easily surpass the value of the car. You might, if you’re lucky, get the value of the parts back when you sell it. For example, you put a new, rebuilt tranny in for $2100, figure its about $900 for the tranny and $1200 for labor. when you go to sell it, you’ll be lucky if you get the $900 back. Also, you don’t get a break on labor and parts just because the car was cheap, so unless you can do some of the work yourself…well, think about having to spend $1,100 on front and rear brakes on a $3,000 car.
[/quote]

Good info.

I don’t know anything about cars, but I randomly want to share my dream car.

I want a 1970 Chevelle SS.

I change my mind about the color often. I think red with like black strips down the front or something.

THat’s my first choice.

My second choice is a 1978 GTO.

[quote]imhungry wrote:
While I love classic Mustangs and Corvettes; Grand Nationals were the first car that made a real impact on me.[/quote]

Yep 100%.

When I was a freshman in high school the quarterback on the varsity football team had one.

I wanted it so bad. Still do.

[quote]sen say wrote:

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:
What is it about the Jag that you like? [/quote]

Nothing besides the fact that it’s a jag and old…I got no idear about it in any other way…[/quote]

Jag and old, better have some $$$ set aside or prepare for a classy lawn ornament.

[quote]sen say wrote:
I’m sure some of you loosers know a lot about classic cars…what do you look out for? What can you share?

I’m looking at this one here:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/3362935689.html

I know 1984 might not be ‘classic’, but would $3K for a jag be a good deal or not?

[/quote]

A lot of cars when they hit that age have had all the crap that goes wrong fixed and are rock solid – but you just have to go look and drive it.

It’s a pretty car. I like Jags and Land Rovers a lot.

[quote]sen say wrote:
I’m sure some of you loosers know a lot about classic cars…what do you look out for? What can you share?

I’m looking at this one here:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/3362935689.html

I know 1984 might not be ‘classic’, but would $3K for a jag be a good deal or not?

[/quote]

Do you know for sure the ad is legit? My experience is the ads with the license plate removed are some kind of scam.

Kinda a cool car.