May 2, 2010 1:13 p.m.

Hello all, I just love older cars, but have no experience repairing them. I've always owned newer cars and always looked for finding a mechanic who was good and didnt rip me off. But I do want to own an older car I think it might be wise to ask some experts what you consider an easy old car to own - easy to repair, find parts, etc. So that said I might not have all it takes to repair it myself but willing to try or also which older cars do you think its easy to find a mechanic for. So some of you might be thinking what does she mean by "older"....well I am thinking late 70's, 80's or even 90's and keep it for years. Any thoughts or suggestions. ps I like the small sporty cars, preferably convertible also. Thanks!

stuart in mn SuperDork
May 2, 2010 1:15 p.m.

Let me be the first to say the answer is always Miata. They're pretty simple to maintain, fun to drive and reasonably priced.

grimmelshanks
grimmelshanks Reader
May 2, 2010 1:18 p.m.

get an mg. they never leak oil

mtn SuperDork
May 2, 2010 1:18 p.m.

E30's not too bad. Can be had in a convertible too!

LikeOldCars New Reader
May 2, 2010 1:24 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn:

Any particular year to look at for Miatas?

LikeOldCars New Reader
May 2, 2010 1:33 p.m.

And I'm assuming its much better to look for low mileage older cars that need some work (ex replace convert. top, etc) vs good condition high mileage cars...and thanks for all your help

EvanB HalfDork
May 2, 2010 1:34 p.m.

Just get the nicest one you can. I like the earlier ones with the 1.6 better (90-93) but some prefer the later 1.8.

mtn SuperDork
May 2, 2010 1:35 p.m.
LikeOldCars wrote: Any particular year to look at for Miatas?

All years are good, all have their benefits.

Look here: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/mazda-miata/

mtn SuperDork
May 2, 2010 1:36 p.m.
LikeOldCars wrote: And I'm assuming its much better to look for low mileage older cars that need some work (ex replace convert. top, etc) vs good condition high mileage cars...and thanks for all your help

I'd go with good condition, high mileage. I don't care how low the miles are if somebody has beat it up. If somebody has taken care of a car... well you know its taken care of. My personal opinion there.

pres589 Reader
May 2, 2010 1:38 p.m.

Look for aftermarket support and shared parts with other models. For this reason the Fox-chassis Mustangs could be a good pick. Nothing amazing about them but tons of swaps, support, etc. Don't seem to rust too fast either (someone can prove me wrong here if they want). Comes in convertible, hatchback, and sedan formats.

I think mechanical stuff is one thing but rust is something else to deal with again, and not fun.

LikeOldCars New Reader
May 2, 2010 1:59 p.m.

great article on the Miata, thanks much to you all! I'm now more focused and appreciate the help...keep it coming

mtn SuperDork
May 2, 2010 2:08 p.m.

Others that come to mind:

Toyota MR-2
Honda CRX
C4 Corvette??

pete240z Dork
May 2, 2010 2:09 p.m.

I always thought these looked easy to work on. Chevrolet straight six.

96DXCivic Dork
May 2, 2010 2:09 p.m.

TR7, 1st gen RX-7. The Triumph Herald is bit older then what you are looking for but I have heard they are some of the easiest cars to work on.

Eldukerino New Reader
May 2, 2010 2:27 p.m.

Datsuns are really easy to work on. You can find some really good deals on resto-mod 510's and z-cars. If they are taken care of they will run forever, especially if you look after any rust issues.

benzbaron HalfDork
May 2, 2010 2:38 p.m.

You'd be surprised how cheap a mercedes 380/450/560sl can be had for. For the price you won't get much more car for your money. The expensive parts are the 107 specific ones, the rear subframe bushes are specific for the sl and cost 250$. So other than some expensive specific parts there are plenty of cars around at a good price.

May 2, 2010 2:39 p.m.

Depends on what you like. '70s Toyotas are really easy to work on, as are pretty much any RWD Corolla. One advantage to imported cars is that you only have to get metric tools, Toyotas in particular use a specific set of sizes for almost everything (99% of the bolt heads will be 10, 12, 14, or 17mm)

Are you looking just to maintain, or to modify as well?

Tommy Suddard SonDork
May 2, 2010 2:40 p.m.

A little older than the others, but Triumph Spitfires handle well and are dead simple. Heck, a 12-year-old could restore one...

As usual, I second the E30 suggestion.

JeepinMatt HalfDork
May 2, 2010 2:53 p.m.
LikeOldCars wrote: And I'm assuming its much better to look for low mileage older cars that need some work (ex replace convert. top, etc) vs good condition high mileage cars...and thanks for all your help

Not necessarily. Exceedingly low miles may mean it sat for long stretches of time. Cars don't like that, some more so than others (ex. Lotus Esprit). And look at records; it could have been driven 30k miles in a year and then sat for ten. Frequent driving keeps everything lubricated, keeps gas from going bad, etc... I'd look for something that looks like it was taken care of and driven frequently, and pay less attention to whether that means low or high mileage.

pres589 Reader
May 2, 2010 3:44 p.m.

In reply to Tommy Suddard:

Do Spitfires handle well without a lot of work? I know they see a lot of track use and all but factory I thought they had weird camber curves and some other issues to deal with.

njansenv Reader
May 2, 2010 3:48 p.m.

I've always found the E30's "the" modern classic. Easy to work on, plentiful, cheap parts. Practical. FUN to drive. (I'd argue a good running E30 is more enjoyable, if slower, to drive on a twisty road than our C4 Corvette) A good running M20 motor is a jewel.

erohslc Reader
May 2, 2010 3:50 p.m.

In reply to 96DXCivic: And a darned good thing, given the frequency that you'll be under there fixing things on a Herald. You can sit on the tire while you change the plugs, adjust the carbs, replace the Master cylinder, swap out the starter, replace the fuel pump, ..... ( I used to own one ).

Teh E36 M3 Reader
May 2, 2010 3:58 p.m.

I'd say an unmodified 64-66 mustang convertible would fit the bill nicely. Doesn't get more simple than that.

LikeOldCars New Reader
May 2, 2010 3:59 p.m.

In reply to ReverendDexter: Probably just to maintain. I was leaning towards Miata's, and I always liked Triumphs and MGs but had thought foreign cars were tougher to repair. I had a 2003 mercedes and was so disappointed in it that I never thought of going back.

LikeOldCars New Reader
May 2, 2010 4:01 p.m.

In reply to JeepinMatt: great info, I keep my own newer cars ck'd after, meticulous records - that I guess regardless of mileage I should be cking that more than anything, how well they cared for it. thanks

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