HappyTrails None
1/19/14 11:52 p.m.

I am looking to get a classic car to use as a daily driver. I would use it about 20-25 miles a day commuting. I want a car that will hold up to every day use and will be safer than other classics (even though I know that most aren't very safe). I would like it to be appealing in terms of appearance...something the kids would drool over when they see it on the road, but nothing to flashy to where it would get keyed often. I especially like the styles of 1950s-1965ish cars. A LOT. Definely want to stay with cars made before 1975. Fins are cool, but not if they are too big. The car can't be too long either. Keeping in mind safety, I want something that won't kill or paralyze me if I get in a crash and that won't break down (and leaving me stranded). A car that gets a decent number of miles to the gallon would be appreciated. Price for the car...would like to stay under $20k, but might could do $25-30k if it's just awesome. I dont mind the price for parts every once in a while. Any thoughts? Thank you for your help.

racerdave600 Dork
1/20/14 5:30 p.m.

240Z, P1800, BMW2002, and American cars like the Mustang come to mind.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
1/20/14 6:52 p.m.

Given your parameters, I'd look at US cars from about 1968-1973. They're new enough that they have a lot of modern features (disk brakes and dual circuit master cylinders, some crash protection features, power steering and brakes, a lot of them have air conditioning, etc.) but old enough to not have big ugly bumpers, catalytic converters or problematic emissions controls.

1950s - 1965 cars can be driven daily, but you are giving up a lot of modern conveniences - if you're not used to driving old cars on a regular basis they may be more work than you want to deal with. Having said that, everyone has different standards...back in the early 1980s I worked with a guy who had a Model T Ford truck as a daily driver, and I think it was his only vehicle...he drove that thing year round, in Minnesota. That was pretty hard core.

ddavidv PowerDork
1/21/14 1:01 p.m.

Volvos, or American cars from the big 3. Parts are easy to come by, there's still lots of people who know how to fix them. Falcon, Fairlane, LeMans, Dart, Barracuda, Nova...no end of choices. Save on the purchase price and running costs by choosing one with a six. If I didn't live in the rust belt, I'd drive a Falcon or Fairlane every day.

rconlon HalfDork
1/21/14 1:43 p.m.

It is like asking fast, cheap or good and you get to choose two. You want classic, reliable, safe, attractive, economical, 40 years old, as a daily and on a budget. Next you will ask for good a/c and a modern radio. That is a tall order. Compromise and look at S2000 or Z3. A big 70-80's gramma car would be cool looking but drive like a big gramma.

MadScientistMatt UltraDork
1/21/14 3:40 p.m.

Volvo Amazon?

Looks a bit older than it is, reasonably safe, not too expensive. Smaller six cylinder American cars from the late '60s or early '70s aren't too bad on reliability and can see around 20 mpg.

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
1/21/14 3:50 p.m.

1) 1965-1969 Corvair, preferably either a 140 or turbo Corsa.

2) 1967 - 1968 Mustang, preferably a GT fastback

3) Alfa GTV

4) Datsun 510

5) Datsun 240Z

6) BMW 2002

SyntheticBlinkerFluid PowerDork
1/21/14 6:17 p.m.

Wow, you're asking for a lot. I think you need to pick and choose. As far as I'm concerned, no classic car is as safe to drive like newer cars. You take that risk being an owner of a classic car.

That being said, I second the 1965-1969 Corvair. If you go with a 110 or 140, you could easily get upper 20's in mileage. I didn't see you specify whether you wanted a manual or not, but the Powerglide is pretty reasonable and gets good mileage as well. '68 and '69 models have a dual master cylinder, high-back bucket seats, and shoulder strap restraint for the front seat belts.

HappyTrails New Reader
1/22/14 12:14 a.m.

Thanks to those who made suggestions willingly and kindly. Look, I appreciate the suggestions, really I do. And to those who say that this is a big expectation...I am not asking for a car that will perfectly fit all of my wants...Cars are like people, not all are perfect and can do everything, but some people can be a jack of all trades. For example, some cars are rolling deathtraps, so don't suggest those. That's what I mean when I refer to safety. When I gave a price range, I meant that you shouldn't suggest a car that is 90k. Good gas mileage would be a nice addition but it not necessary to satisfy me. Radio isn't that big of a deal. Anyways, I am getting some good ideas...will definitely continue research. If anyone comes up with something, keep posting. Much thanks to all.

Everyone wants their own dream car, just some need help finding it.

1/22/14 9:37 a.m.

Volvo p1800 Coupe or Wagon

wspohn Reader
1/22/14 12:59 p.m.

For safety, the Rover 2000.

Unfortunately, that car doesn't exactly top the pile for reliability.

rconlon HalfDork
1/22/14 2:46 p.m.

You make a good point. Look around at what is available and something will stand out as the one for you.

TeamEvil Reader
1/22/14 5:19 p.m.

For reliability, fixability, and availability or cars and parts, definitely an older Mustang/Falcon/Cougar.

bmw88rider Reader
1/23/14 6:55 a.m.

I like the cougar for what you are looking for. More often than not, they were loaded up with the luxury options. They cross over with the mustang on a good amount of parts. With a 289 or 302, you can build it to get decent gas milage or swap in an EFI from a later mustang.

The 2002's are really nice too. There is a place in Dallas that custom restores them but they get pricey too. They can make them basically about as reliable as a newer E30.

Really, it's about finding a good clean example and keeping up with maintenance. I daily drove a 1965 mustang that was 37 years old at the time for many years with little issues.

Rupert Reader
1/23/14 11:05 a.m.

In reply to bmw88rider: I owned a '67 Cougar as a daily driver for several years. No real complaints except it like the Mustang, Camaro, Monte Carlo, etc. was almost claustrophobic inside compared to the outside. I like a DD that I can see out of, no big c-pillars, no excessively long hood, certainly no slanting trunk you can't see in the mirror.

bastomatic SuperDork
1/23/14 6:02 p.m.

Volvos are exceptionally ahead of their time as far as safety and reliability goes. The 140 series and p1800 could be had with fuel injection, and came standard with 4 wheel power disc brakes, rollover protection, crumple zones, and 3 point seat belts, even back in 1967.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
1/24/14 8:08 a.m.

I'm biased (I own a '73 1800ES I hopeto rebuild into a daily driver), but a later Volvo 69-72 1800E (coupe) or 72-73 1800ES (wagon). Here you get 4 wheel power disc brakes that will rival pretty much any non-ABS car, accident impact engineering that was way ahead of its time, and a drivetrain that will run virtually forever with basic maintenance. All wrapped in a head-turning body. If they have a major downside, the rear seats are essentially useless, even for children.

The 69 model (fairly rare) has a 2L twin carb engine, the others have a 2L fuel injected engine. The 70-71 engines had the most power. All manual cars have overdrive and make for great hwy cruisers. Some minor upgrades (sway bars, shocks & springs) will provide competent handling.

Naturally, there are rust concerns, but that will be an issue with any car from that era used as a daily driver.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
1/28/14 9:51 a.m.

My call on this is a 1965-66 Ford Mustang. I love the fastback but there s nothing wrong with a notchback. They are safe, simple to work on, very reliable and offered amenities such as a/c and power steering. It is hard to go wrong with a Mustang.

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