ddavidv PowerDork
May 22, 2013 6:57 a.m.

Not quite a "What car?" thread, more of a automotive philosophical decision.

My current stable consists of the BMW E30 race car, the '65 F100 tow vehicle, and a steel car trailer. The Bimmer is a great car, pretty well sorted and I race with a fantastic bunch of guys. Downsides of racing are eternal expenses (mostly tires, which are Toyos, and we're constantly complaining about them), and the high risk of it being written off in an instant likely through no fault of my own. I'd never give up tracking something, so even if I would quit W2W I'd still time trial it or something.

The F100 I've owned for something like 9 years. I like it. It's a great conversation piece in any paddock, does the job when it's infrequently called upon, cost me pocket lint to buy and maintain and looks good from 5 feet away. The original intent was to refurb it to a really nice driver but other projects always seem to get in the way. It's got some rust issues that should be dealt with that involve painting, so there's no inexpensive way to go about fixing it. As-is, and living in the garage, it can probably continue without really doing much for the forseeable future. I just have guilt about not fixing it up.

The recent sale of my Mini has generated some disposable car cash. I could do any number of things, but my current choices are the following:

Classic car: aside from the truck, there's always been a collector car in the garage. After playing with little sporty cars for years, I'm wanting to scratch the itch of an American classic, leaning heavily towards a Ford Falcon. I've never had a V8 in a car, so would want to go that route. What I don't want is a project car, or anything that requires paint, rust repair, or an engine swap. BTDT and paid my dues, frankly. Also, the truck taunts me. I realize these cars are more fun-to-be-seen-in than they are fun-to-drive. Resale, if I choose well, is probably good.

S197 Mustang: I've lusted after a Mustang for an eternity, and this is one of those Life Rewards I think I've earned. But, I don't need a daily driver. They are heavy. It will depreciate. They are not unique. They'll be around a long time. Still want one.

Exocet: I've always wanted to build a car vs restore one. I'd probably have done a Lotus 7 replica by now if CMC hadn't gone belly up years ago. The Birkins and Caterhams are too expensive. I'm also not in love with the 7 looks. Having seen the Exocet last week, however, that kit car lust has resurfaced. Priced right, easy to build while still calling on some creativity. Horribly impractical when completed, and if I'd ever want to sell it...who knows if I even could? Looks like a grin-inducing piece of fun if there ever was one. Possibly would make the BMW redundant.

The Least Sexy Option: spend it on fixing up the truck. Wouldn't take all the cash, but would probably halve it at least. And/or replace the heavy steel trailer with an aluminum one. Practical choices aren't sexy though.

As age 50 appears on the horizon, I'm realizing the available time left in my lifespan means I have to limit some of the dreams and choices floating around in my head. Though I don't necessarily make decisions based on internet strangers, what might help is opinions that bring to light things I had not considered. So, do your worst (and don't just say to any one thing "Do it!". That's not helpful).

fasted58 PowerDork
May 22, 2013 7:09 a.m.

50 plus here w/ same realization of dreams and choices/ lifespan. Debating my next vehicle(s) as well. Been practical way too long.

No real advice for you yet but good luck w/ your choice(s). Following thread w/ interest.

dculberson UltraDork
May 22, 2013 7:11 a.m.

So I can't offer a ton of input but my first thought is, don't bother fixing the truck. You've got it functional and it's relatively stabilized given that it's garaged and infrequently driven. Spending a few thousand dollars making it prettier would just make you sad when you drop a tool on the bed side (etc). Plus like you said, project times are limited and spending a bunch of it to end up with what you already have not being any more usable would seem like a waste.

But definitely keep the truck up, that's an awesome truck. I just don't see a lot of point in restoring it if it's a working vehicle.

JoeyM MegaDork
May 22, 2013 7:12 a.m.

build. When you're not banging your head against the wall wondering how to make X work with Y, you'll be really happy about it.

Apexcarver PowerDork
May 22, 2013 8:21 a.m.

Scratch multiple itches at once.

V8 Exocet

Low budget option, Carbed Ford 302.

Higher budget, LS-whatever.

mad_machine MegaDork
May 22, 2013 8:29 a.m.

fix up the truck. It deserves it and you know everything about it, so no hidden surprises

May 22, 2013 8:42 a.m.

I honestly think the mustang will be a disappointment after the "new to me" smell wears off but I know when I itch for something and don't scratch it... I can die from the "what ifs". I've ended up with more than one disappointment this way and I'm probably not done yet. If that is where you are on the S197, buy the one best suited for resale with the intent of flipping it before the depreciation curve takes a huge toll. If it turns out you love it... just keep it.

Projecting my "before I turn 50" vision on your case... I would be sorely tempted to do the Exocet because, well, just because. I would also swap the E30 for a vintage eligible race car. You can be in a classic LBC, Ford or 2002 for specE30 money and a lot of elbow grease. You can race it pretty safely and afford-ably until you die. I'm lying to both of us that it will be more affordable than SE30 but... it will look more appropriate behind the F100 :)

tuna55 PowerDork
May 22, 2013 8:57 a.m.

I've been "fixing up the truck" for... let's just say a while now (http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/build-thread-for-the-72-gmc-finally-thanks-john/59103/page1/) and I honestly can't recommend it. Rust repair is the most ugly, annoying and thankless job I've ever done. If it's a driver, and it drives, and you don't fall out of the floor when you sit down - leave it be.

Sounds like you want something fun to drive, but you have the utility and the race itch scratched. I'd get classics and leave them as-is. I made that plural on purpose. If I were you, I would buy something in great condition in my range and drive it, enjoy it, learn it, and move on if you find its compromises to be too annoying, or get bored. My parents have a '67 Corvette that's amazing. Yeah, it's not the easiest thing to drive every day with no PS or AC or... anything, but it's a blast. It also appreciates, not depreciates, so it's easy if they ever want to sell it.

So, if it were me, I would enjoy some classics. You didn't mention a specific budget, but I can assume, so go for that Falcon. if you hate it, sell it and buy a Barracuda. If you hate that, sell it and buy a Corvette, repeat.

You're in a great position here. Most of us are "I need to seat seven children, all in car seats, tow a boat, enter the BABE rally, daily drive to work, some HPDE, and it has to cost less than 5k". You can just enjoy it and not try to make a huge project out of it. That Falcon needs brakes, or could use some driveability improvements? Gosh, there's only like 45 aftermarket companies catering exclusively to those needs. Small incremental improvements you make will make it a much better car for you, and a much easier car to sell should it become necessary.

Good luck!

mad_machine MegaDork
May 22, 2013 9:32 a.m.

if you want a mustang and have a vintage car itch.. why not a vintage Mustang? I am not talking a 64 1/2, but maybe a Mach1?

foxtrapper PowerDork
May 22, 2013 5:19 p.m.

Well, you've the money for a big boy motorcycle now...

The trailer works, the truck works. Spending fun money on appliances/tools just for pretty doesn't make good sense to me. The closest I would come is looking at how cheap early 90's f150s are. But, yours is paid for, and works.

You grin and giggle and gush when talking about your bummer and racing it. So keep doing it. If the car gets squashed, deal with it then. Add hill climbs and auto crossing if you want more racing.

You didn't mention a daily driver. If that's a factor, get a good one. Your old enough that buicks do start looking good. Reliability so you can play with toys is valuable.

You also didn't mention your motorcycle. Go for a ride. I'm going somewhere Saturday. If you want to make it a ride, I'll come up and we can go exploring. You have a bike for a reason. And if this isn't the bike you want, get another.

ddavidv PowerDork
May 22, 2013 5:27 p.m.

I knew people on this board would "get it".

Okay, the truck...the only rust on it is the radiator support ('new' one painted and awaiting installation, but that's a huge pain in the pecker job), the hood (horrifically rusty to the point it may soon be a safety issue), and the roof perimeter (blister here, pinhole there). The windows rattle because all the fuzzies are gone and the door weatherstrip is so shrunken I can see daylight. These last two things I'll probably buy and do just because it will make living with it more pleasant. Nothing much wrong mechanically with it but it's starting some blowby (100k miles, never apart really) but the way I use it we're talking a few years at least before that's a problem. And I haven't found the 390 to replace the 352 with yet.

If I needed a daily driver, the Mustang would be in the driveway. As it stands, I really have no use for it since I use my company vehicle for personal use. That one won't happen, but I still look at every single one I see. I still lust for Shania Twain, too.

I said I didn't want a project. What that means to me is I don't want a restoration project. Nothing involving paint, body repair, rust repair or upholstery other than carpet. Mechanical stuff I have no fear of, current debacle with the E30 rear suspension notwithstanding. The Exocet takes about 100 hours to put together, they say. That seems reasonable, since most of it is just parts transferal. Frame arrives powder coated, fiberglass (soon to be plastic) arrives in color as well. I think I may at least hold on this until I can A) drive one and B) know that the company won't go the way of CMC within the next year. I just have to resist buying one of those $1500 donor Miatas.

The Mini got kicked to the curb because it needed a paint job and the endless bodywork that lurked beneath. I do like old stuff. I've been looking for a 'weird' Falcon (3rd gen) for personal reasons, but the resale on those is 'meh' and I have a little fear I may not have an easy time selling it if it doesn't have staying power. I may try a 1st gen instead. I'd love an early Mustang (67-68 in particular) but everyone and his brother has one, and even I don't pay much attention to them at shows. Plus, the nice ones are just a few thousand above what I have to play with. I like Falcons just as much, and can probably get more for my money there. Heck, if it's good enough for Jay...

ddavidv PowerDork
May 22, 2013 5:33 p.m.
foxtrapper wrote: You also didn't mention your motorcycle. Go for a ride. I'm going somewhere Saturday. If you want to make it a ride, I'll come up and we can go exploring. You have a bike for a reason. And if this isn't the bike you want, get another.

Ha, you were writing at the same time. You want an Exocet too...don't lie!

The motorcycle is my "get away for a day" device. One is enough. Mostly. I do want a Bonneville, but they are too pricey yet. I'll get one when I get the S197.

Yes, the Bimmer does make me grin. I had planned on working on the miserable POS (that's what I'm calling it this week) Saturday, but I'll keep you in mind in case something prevents me from going over to the yonder Wrightsville garage to work on it. You should PM me your phone number.

Carlisle Ford show is June 8. Might be fun to browse with money for a change.

icaneat50eggs Reader
May 22, 2013 5:43 p.m.

I'd say Exocet, here's why.

Since you said your near 50, I'm going to assume you are at the peak of the amount of time you can spend playing race car. Kids are probably gone, lots if free weekends. Of the options you listed this is the oh one that needs to happen now, not in 15 years.

My dad is very healthy at 62, but hip issues are making getting in and out if his s2000 a challenge. You can enjoy an old falcon in 15 years with a bad hip/knee/back, tracking an Exocet? Not necessarily

Ranger50 PowerDork
May 22, 2013 5:45 p.m.

Good luck finding a Falcon unless you want to deal with a faded paint and interior SW car, but it will be rust free (mostly). My dad is currently trying this route with his 67 Ranchero abortion.

foxtrapper PowerDork
May 22, 2013 6:09 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: Ha, you were writing at the same time. You want an Exocet too...don't lie!

You bet I liked it. I'm a little gun shy, having been humbled by the evil locust that's knocked at least three of us to our knees so far.

Im not really sure what I'd do with the Exocet after the first glorious week. I suspect it would be a lot like a teriffic call girl; What a night, but come morning I'll want band-aids and a nap.

Pmed you my number.

ddavidv PowerDork
July 8, 2013 4:08 p.m.

Nice build, and probably worth close to what he's asking, but that's about 2x my budget.

As I've shopped for these I've come to realize they have become as expensive (if not more so) than a comparable Mustang.

The unloved 3rd gen Falcons are stuck in $5-6k purgatory, which is nice if you can find one that hasn't been either restored and the owner thinks it's worth a bunch or has been pulled from a barn and needs a total resto. I've seen a few decent examples go for around $5k but they have all been too far away. The missus has paled in her desire for a "same year" car too so I'm not as rabid a shopper as I once was.

The continuing, absurd lust for a SN197 Mustang may be satisfied sooner rather than later as I'm finally seeing some higher mileage ones drop beneath the $10k barrier. I may just need to scratch that itch and whatever it is, it is. Either I'll be in automotive love for a long time, or it will go away in a couple years. At least I can check that box.

JoeyM MegaDork
July 8, 2013 7:41 p.m.
foxtrapper wrote:
ddavidv wrote: Ha, you were writing at the same time. You want an Exocet too...don't lie!

You bet I liked it. I'm a little gun shy, having been humbled by the evil locust that's knocked at least three of us to our knees so far.

Who has it now? If it gets finished, that needs an article in the magazine.

To the OP: exocet.

building is a different thing......I'm speaking for myself, but I LOVE the creativity of figuring out how to implement 'X'. That's what really scratches my itch

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