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Bryan
Bryan
12/17/07 9:08 a.m.

I've always wanted a classic sports/GT. If my wife would allow me to become a macochist and get a third car these are what I would look into: '60's Porsche 912 MGB or C-GT 240/260/280Z 280ZX What are the pros and cons of owning these cars from our experts out there? Thanks

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/17/07 9:18 a.m.

For a first classic, out of those three? I'd go with the MG. Amazing support network/community, amazing parts availablity, and bone-simple to work on. Cheap to buy and cheap to run. A nearly perfect first classic.

The Z is a great car, but it's hard to find a good one. The Porsche loses out because of cost.

All three of those can rust aggressively. That'll be the big thing to worry about with all of them.

Bryan
Bryan
12/17/07 9:34 a.m.

Thanks Tim. Everyone please keep the great info coming. Besides my wife's Pathfinder, I have a Maxima and a Miata. Love all three and could not bring myself to part with them. But you have gotta to love those classsics!!!

KaptKaos
KaptKaos None
12/17/07 11:52 a.m.

Bryan,

Be sure to check the local laws where you live. Some states have emissions checks for classic cars, others don't. Some vary based on the year of the car. While this should not be your major deciding factor, you want to consider it as it may impact the cost of your car.

Are you looking for a project car, a driver, a show car, a racer or something in the middle? You need to figure out what you want first, then start looking.

Do you plan to do you own work? ALL old cars require work. If you don't do it yourself, then you should expect to pay a lot to have it done. Once you figure out which car you want, join a club or forum that is marque specific and read about the common issues with the cars. See if they can point out good mechanics in your area.

Pre Purchase Inspection (PPI) is a must too. Pay an expert to look at your car for you. Get a compression test, a leakdown test and get lots of detailed pictures along with that expert opinion.

I don't know what your budget is, but the cars you mentioned can cost from $500 to $25k+ (912 Soft Window Targa comes to mind on the high end), so make sure you know how much you want to spend, and then add 10-20% for stuff you find out that's wrong with it once you start to live with it.

I hope that I didn't come off as pedantic, but I have seen a lot of folks get swept up into the romance of a classic car, only to realize how much work they can be.

I love MGB-GTs. I hope to have one some day. However, I am really looking towards a 912 more and more too.

Good luck!

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/17/07 11:56 a.m.

Also, drive 'em. Drive any classic you can get your hands on. You may find you just flat don't like the way they drive. Also, since you have a Miata, you may not really want a classic two-seater. Something like an old Volvo 122 or BMW 2002 may make more sense to you.

Bryan
Bryan
12/17/07 1:19 p.m.

More great info, this is why I posted this question here. I live in west Texas, not a hot bed of classic car culture. The people who know about them are few and far between. Thankfully they are all very nice and helpful. Cost is a very big factor. Parts and getting work done will have to factored in. Having a ragtop already that is why I was thinking about a coupe/GT. But with a tintop the heat can become unbearable in the summer.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/17/07 1:29 p.m.

West texas may change things... you might be able to find a rust-free example of any of them, and you'd probably be able to get AC on the Datsun fairly easily (even if you had to get it from a later ZX). AC for MGBs is out there, but kinda hard to track down. Plus it really bogs down the little B motor.

Again, you might want to think about a 2002. AC parts for them is also fairly available, I think.

Bryan
Bryan
12/17/07 2:32 p.m.

I should have said from the get-go I would look for a driver. Take it to work once in awhile, local/regional auto-x, road rallyes when the weather would permit.

Bryan
Bryan
12/17/07 3:38 p.m.

All this info as brought up some questions. Have the prices for 2002's skyrocketed like some other collectiables? On rubber bumper MGB GTs does the fix to lower the car work on them like r.b. B's? Thought I read where the later r.b. MG were nicer inside and more comfortable/user friendly. Is that correct? Does the GT get really HOT inside? I was at a PCA auto x (with the Miata) and was talking with a 912 owner. He said they can get very hot inside. How hard was it to find parts and get work done on the CMS project 240Z? That is a wonderful looking ride by the way. Thanks

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/17/07 3:45 p.m.

In my market, at least, 2002 prices seem pretty stable. I think you can still get 'em fairly cheap.

B prices are definitely on the rise, but GT's are cheaper.

Yes, you can lower a BGT just like a roadster, although Rubber Bumper GTs are very uncommon, as they were only imported half a year.

Personally, I find the 77-on interior most comfortable, and the early metal dash most aesthetically pleasing. Bs are pretty easy to update/backdate though, for the most part.

I had a BGT in Arizona, Louisiana and Miississippi and survived, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't have liked AC. There WERE Bs with AC, but the parts are kinda hard to track down. There's also places that specialize in putting air in these old cars. With a B, the problem is lugging the motor down, although I've heard using a small, modern compressor helps. You could also get nutty and do an engine swap, of course.

ddavidv
ddavidv None
12/18/07 5:54 a.m.

Unless you really have a lust for a 912, I'd cross that one off the list. Not nearly as quick as a 911, yet costs just as much to buy and repair. The supposed cost savings over just getting a nice 911 simply didn't prove itself to me when I researched these.

The early Z cars are vastly different than anything with a ZX designation. Z's were sports cars, where the ZX became a soft, overweight tourer.

racerdave600
racerdave600
12/18/07 12:12 p.m.

I'd say 240Z for sure if you can find a decent one. Look to the Phoneix area if you can go that far, they seem to have a nice selection of relively rust free examples for not all that much money. As stated above, they'll run an AC system relatively easily, and can be bought for about $900 for a complete system and retrofitted if needed.

2002's don't seem to have gone up in price like other sports sedans of the era, not sure why, but this might be a good time to pick up one of those. But like the Datsun, rust is by far their biggest enemy, and like the Datsun, I haven't seen a rust free one is a very long time.

At least around here B-GT's are getting quite pricey for decent examples, and they require more maintenance than the other two, plus they really can't use an AC system to any great degree, if you indeed want something like that.

Bryan
Bryan
12/18/07 1:33 p.m.

From what people have said and what I've read I quess the 912 will have to be crossed off the "wish list". Shame. At that PCA auto-x I mentioned there was that 912 in dark green and when it went around the course from certain angles it looked just like a 356 coupe. And we all know what happened to the prices of those! Love the Datsun Z'eds but quilty addmission. Always wanted a 280 ZX 2+2, two tone! I can think of more uncomfortable rides in a vintage (if they're old enough) tour or rallye. Will a vintage sportscar ride/be uncomfortabe that much more than a Miata?

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/18/07 1:57 p.m.

Personally, I find the MGBs ride to be at least equal to a Miata, maybe superior. Has more room, too (although it is quite a bit narrower). 2002 and Z can both be expected to ride no worse, and maybe better than a Miata.

racerdave600
racerdave600
12/18/07 6:25 p.m.

They certainly have a lot more room and better seats!

mattmacklind
mattmacklind
12/19/07 8:29 p.m.

Well, I like the 912 but for the prices some people ask you might as well buy an early 70's 911. The Z cars are cool but all these cars drive so differently you should really check them out and see what you like. I think the Z cars are frankly too big. The MG is the least expensive to own and drive and possibly the easiast to find. AC is a lot to ask from an MG, even an aftermaket system will drain the motor too much and once you are used to driving a hot GT it doesn't matter so much. If it gets so hot in a GT that you can't stand it the car probably can't stand it either and will overheat anyway.

Bryan
Bryan
12/20/07 12:26 a.m.

The belt for the cooling fan on Porsches isn't known for giving owners problems/flying off is it? I've been told/read/heard stories about the fan belts on Corvairs but not Porsches. On a well maintained MG or Datsun they don't have a tendency to boil over do they? Out here you can have some long, hard runs at up to 80mph legally.

ddavidv
ddavidv None
12/20/07 5:48 a.m.

The Corvair fan belt issue, in talking with owners, isn't really a factor any more with the better belts we have now and proper tension. The arrangement on the Porsche is much different. I've never heard overheating being an issue with the Z cars. British cars simply need to have a good, clean cooling system. Even the joke of a radiator in my Mini gets the job done, and they are not known for an effective system. A crudded up radiator will keep any car from staying cool.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/20/07 9:00 a.m.

A B in good shape will not overheat. I ran the snot out of mine in Phoenix and Louisiana with no problems. I even drove across Texas on 1-10 in July with only one working electric fan on my 77! Figured if I went fast enough, it'd shove enough air through the radiator, so I went faster.

That said, if you overheat a B, you WILL crack the head, and that sucks.

Bryan
Bryan
12/20/07 9:22 a.m.

Except for a couple months in spring, a tintop coupe in Phoenix must have been murder. And then the humidity in Louisiana, ugh!. That I even worry about this stuff now really shows how old I'm getting. Thanks to everyone for their advice. Like whats been posted before if you go looking for a certain car you'll never find it. Relax and keep your eyes and ears open and it may drop into your lap. Thats what happened with my Miata. I will not mention names but prices in other classic car mags are they on the 1 condition/ high side?

racerdave600
racerdave600
12/20/07 10:02 a.m.

Z's are not as big as they appear, parked next to my '91 Miata, it's about the same size overall, only a little longer, weight is about the same.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
12/20/07 10:03 a.m.

Actually, I never owned a car in Phoenix (or Louisiana) with working air conditioning, except for a brief stint with a Honda Accord.

The BGT wasn't too bad, but my GT6 was a hot little bugger.

mattmacklind
mattmacklind
12/21/07 5:06 p.m.

I wasn't suggesting that a BGT will overheat in the hot south, only that if it were so hot the driver couldn't bear to drive in the heat it would probably be so hot that the BGT would overheat, because a BGT isn't too bad in the summer time. The rear vent windows do a lot to move air in and out, too.

Bryan
Bryan
12/21/07 6:43 p.m.

No problem. And you brought up a good point about it being too hot that for the driver. I love my Miata but even with its great little AC it sometimes gets to hot in the car. Thats when I appreciate the Maxima. I'd love to replace the slightly faded carpets and before laying the new one in put that insulation from DEI on the floor of the Miata. Got a buying guide for MGB/MGBGT on order. Got a handful of books on early 356/911/912s and a restoration guide and history of Z cars. Start reading and studying them if something shows up. Again this is great info and advice.

cherokee
cherokee
12/22/07 9:01 p.m.

From what you have said and your car picks I think that you would be most happy with a Z-car with AC. You also said you want to do rally's and such. Does your wife want to go with you? If your wife/kids want to go and you want to enjoy the car with the family, creature conforts can win over a family member that is on the fence. (in most cases) Using a classic car is fun, that is why we want them, and it is more fun if your family can/wants to come with you. If you have kids you might think of a 4 seat car, you did not talk about them you might look as some classic Alfas. If you are looking at drivers drive the car to dinner, to look at christmas lights with the kids. That is what is is all about. Having fun with the classic. We take ours to sonic for shakes all the time. Its fun.

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