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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 1:47 p.m.

I have a classic Mini and a fuel injected Honda CRX that were made one year apart, but the Mini is basically 25 years older in terms of design and technology. And it requires far more work and attention to keep it running. Fuel, great. As long as the carb hasn't gummed up again and I haven't screwed up the choke setting and the diaphragm in the mechanical pump is okay. Spark, let's hope the points are good and the plugs don't foul as it tries to start. Air, that's easy. The CRX has far more miles on it and the only thing I need to do is make sure the battery has electrons in it. The Jeep WJ that's 15 years newer than both of them is the same, you can neglect it for as long as you want.

I agree 100% that we want the cars we wanted in high school. If you'd asked me what new car I wanted for my 16th birthday, I would have pointed to that CRX.

Classic cars are just modern cars viewed from the future. We'll be pining after the 2020s in 15-20 years because they're so much more...something...than the new stuff.

Error404
Error404 Reader
5/25/21 1:50 p.m.

Older cars have what I want in a car. Newer cars have an bunch of extra things that do not add value but do add cost. I don't want or need a giant touchscreen but if I bought new I couldn't really avoid it. If I don't like the radio in an old square body I go to Crutchfield and get a new one. If I don't like the radio in a new car I just have to suck it up because that sucker is tied into everything. 2 of my coworkers put in new head units, one lost all radio and the other lost his backup camera. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
5/25/21 1:50 p.m.
AaronT said:

Lots and lots of words that fail to address the biggest point: 

We lust after the cars that were quick when we were kids or young drivers. Boomers like pre-oil-embargo muscle, gen x and elder millennials like import tuners and rally inspired cars. 
 

If this were not true we would all be driving 32 Fords or some car that makes most 'classic' cars look modern and feature-laden.

So keeping with my contrary nature: I'm 58, I lust after prewar single seaters (Bugatti, Alfa and Dirt Cars). I loathe muscle cars; I started on motorcycles first so I find muscle cars to be slow and ill handling.

I like to drive cars that you must 4 wheel drift everywhere to be fast.  

I do like 80s Formula cars, and I currently race one but that's because I got it cheap not strictly because I wanted one in my youth.

The other aspect I like about older cars is there was the ease of mix and match; you could bolt on junkyard parts to make them go faster. My Datsun 1200 has 280ZX front suspension and brakes, 240Z rear brakes, a 510 rear axle with a roadster diff, a 210 engine and trans etc.  All of that stuff bolted in and anything that didn't directly bolt up just needed a hole redrilled. 

Junkers
Junkers New Reader
5/25/21 2:02 p.m.

"If someone were to ask me for a short cut to sensuality, I would suggest he go shopping for a used 427 Shelby-Cobra. But it is only fair to warn you that of the 300 guys who switched to them in 1966, only two went back to women."

 - A quote from commedian Mort Sahl

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
5/25/21 2:08 p.m.

It's potential, not kinetic.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
5/25/21 2:27 p.m.

I wanted a GTi when I was in high school.  I was lucky and able to buy one when I graduated college.  Even though high school for me was the mid to late '80's, most of the cars that I like and want span from the mid '90's to mid '00's.  They still have old school feel but enough computers for them to run properly. 

Hence the 996 Turbo and incoming '93 Corrado VR6.  Turn the key and go, AC works but they have a soul still.  I've driven my friends 997 turbo and it's definitely a better car than my 996.  Faster, nicer interior, better looking but it feels much more clinical than mine. 

Yourself
Yourself New Reader
5/25/21 2:47 p.m.

I am lucky - I have had a Lotus Elan for the last 30+ years. I call it the Ratty Elan, because it is.

What else it is, is just an absolute blast to drive. Webers burbling, exhaust rasping, tires singing, no power assist dulling the response on anything. Just you, the car, and the road. It just doesn’t get any better than that. 1550 lbs and around 130 HP.  Not necessarily fast, but it is quick.

I also have had an FD RX7 for the last 10 years. Absolutely wonderful car! Fast, composed, beautiful, and only 2600 lbs. Fantastic fun to drive! Except - compared to the Ratty Elan it feels bloated, sluggish, and you are not as directly connected to the road and the environment around you. The Ratty Elan is fun at 30 mph, the FD is fun when breaking the speed limit.

I drive the Elan whenever the weather allows. Oh, and I think I just lost an apex seal on the FD, but haven't had time to check it out yet. Not looking forward to fixing that. But I am looking forward to putting a clutch in the Elan because it is so much easier to work on.

So, why old cars? Driver engagement, simpler to troubleshoot, easier to work on, and you end up more emotionally attached to them because they are imperfect and you need to understand and work around their flaws. I have never needed to do anything on my 2017 Colorado except gas and oil. And it is a good appliance, but I won't think twice if I have to get rid of it.

BA5
BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/25/21 2:57 p.m.

I think it's because good cars always remain good cars, even if something better comes along afterwards.  

Sure, a modern Accord is faster, more reliable, more comfortable, more everything than my 99 Prelude.  But that doesn't mean the Prelude is a bad car.  It retains all the features and traits that I like about it, and it'll never really lose them.  So it'll always be a good car to drive.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
5/25/21 3:00 p.m.

Novelty and nostalgia seem to be two recurring themes for most people.

And while I agree with both, with few exceptions though I do not find myself particularly drawn to owning the objects of my desire from my teens. Those few exception are because they represented what I still truly desire. A modern interpretation of a considerably older experience. Blending classic ideas with largely hidden modernity to create something that combines the attributes of the past that we romanticize in a way that lacks the unattractive realities that were lurking behind the romanticization.

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/25/21 5:26 p.m.

New cars are great as appliances to me. They're all pretty fuel efficient for how much power they have, they're quiet inside and ride smoothly but the thing that bothers me even about my 2017 JCW Mini is the fact that it still feels a bit disconnected. I blame that on electric power steering. I also don't like modern automated systems, although my Mini doesn't have them are things I've experienced in other modern cars) or modern driving aids (traction control that can't be turned off). I view driving as a pure experience which is why I'm tempted to switch to motorcycles if I get rid of the Mini.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 5:53 p.m.
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

I don't agree with the argument that old cars were simpler so they lasted longer.  That's been comprehensively disproved many times over the years.  We've more than doubled the age of cars on the road over the last few decades, heck even since 1995 the average age has risen from 8.4 to 11.8 years.  I seem to recall back in the 70's the average age of cars was only around 5 or 6 years.  

Financial experts and leading economists have predicted 18 of the last 5 great economic downturns. The worst thing

Those facts are all true. I'm not convinced they prove your point.

Yes, cars on the road have doubled in age.  That's not necessarily because they last longer. It could also be because cars are so expensive now that now one can afford to replace them. 

Agreed.

My point was not "how many miles can you squeak out of an old car," my point was what it takes to KEEP a car running.

If I go out in the morning and the 67 LeMans cranks but doesn't start, I can pull the air cleaner off and check for fuel with an accelerator pump squirt.  In the process of checking that I can verify that a mouse hasn't built a nest.  I can pull a plug wire and kinda wedge it under the brake M/C bail and crank to watch for spark.  In all honesty, though, it has never failed to fire, and 9 times out of 10 an older car will give you about three months warning about something going bad; timing chain, cap/rotor/plugs/wires, fuel pump, whatever.  I can replace the entire ignition system in that car in under 20 minutes for less than $80.  I can do a fuel pump for $35, and I recently put an alternator on a buddy's 73 Camaro for $28 with nothing more than two wrenches and 10 minutes.

If I go out in the morning and the 06 F250 cranks but doesn't start, I can't check fuel without either getting bathed in it or using a gauge.  I can't check air supply without removing four 6mm screws, two flathead clamps, and two torx bolts being removed first.  I can't check spark without a step ladder and losing skin from 4 knuckles, and even then it won't tell me anything because C-O-P ignition really requires an osciliscope to diagnose.  I can't check for codes because none have set.  I could check all the sensors with about 4 hours and a factory shop manual.  I can check all the fuses to verify that the 30 or so different sensors for a few systems are all in good shape.  I can kinda stare at the 6 miles of wiring and see if anything has been chewed or melted.

Newer cars are great until they break down, then they can be a nightmare.  Anyone looking forward to their new 8-speed, electronically-controlled automatic transmission needing a rebuild?  I can have a pro do a TH400 in 4 hours with parts already on the shelf for $600.

Old cars may fail more frequently, but you can usually drive them just as long and fix them with a flathead and a 1/2" spanner in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot.  Newer cars just make you wait.  Then, surprise!  $8000 transmission, $1900 A/C compressor job, or $700 water pump.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 6:11 p.m.

Ah, the "sure it breaks all the time but it's easy to fix" solution :)

The fact that you can actually talk to the modern car makes things much easier. You want to check air supply by taking things apart, but you can just plug a real time scanner into the port and look at the MAF reading. Checking fuel pressure with a gauge on the end of the fuel rail is no more difficult than pulling off an air filter, and you can do it without the risk of dropping a wing nut into the carb. If something has been struggling (those three months of warning) there will be stored codes. And it takes a fairly fundamental failure to prevent a start, and something that fundamental will usually throw a code right away.

For old cars that use the massive GM common parts bin from 1960 to 1990, there's no question that replacement parts are cheap. Gotta pick the right old car, though.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 6:15 p.m.

I have trained my wife as to what to expect on old cars. We took the Mini out to dinner to celebrate the fact that it was self-propelled once again, and when I went to start it the thing just went THUNK. 

Went into the trunk and the positive cable had come off the battery while it sat. There's no clamp, it just kinda smooshes on there. And there was nothing in the trunk. I'm guessing somehow the surge of power demanded by the starter summoned Thor and he pulled the cable off. Whatever. Smooshed it back into place and the car fired right up happily.

Meanwhile, Janel sat calmly in the passenger seat. Old cars have trained her that failures you fix in the parking lot are completely normal. Modern cars don't do that :)

parker
parker Reader
5/25/21 6:33 p.m.

Old cars are fun like horses.  It's a throwback to an earlier time.   The smell of gas (and exhaust), the different feel, the uncertainty of whether you'll make it to your destination.  It's an adventure!

My experience with old cars is that sure they're simpler and generally easier to fix, but you have to fix them all the time!  My newer cars have been trouble free.  I drove two 1998 Neons (not generally thought of as a paragon of reliability) to 450,000 and 350,000 miles.  Only stranded once when a timing belt idler roller bearing seized.  My 2009 Cobalt SS turbo was sold with 250,000 miles on it.  Never had a single problem.  2015 FR-S with 102,000 miles and not one single failure.  Not even the throwout bearing.  1998 4Runner with 397,000 miles and it just runs.

Old cars just don't do that.  They may be fun, they may be involving, but don't try to tell me that they last longer or are cheaper to run.  My air cooled Beetles seemed to need something every other week.  My MG Midgets made going to the grocery store a thrilling adventure.  

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 6:50 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Ah, the "sure it breaks all the time but it's easy to fix" solution :)

The fact that you can actually talk to the modern car makes things much easier. You want to check air supply by taking things apart, but you can just plug a real time scanner into the port and look at the MAF reading.

If the car has anything to say, and if you have the equipment to read it.  I can usually find a $0-250 car and get it running for less than $500 all in.  That's less than some real time scanners cost.

It's like your grandpa telling you all about how his back hurts vs. trying to figure out what's wrong with a Gen Z emo kid.  The former will tell you what's wrong and make it obvious.  The second one sometimes prefers a certain aroma and yoga position before they can write a poem that may or may not be about anything related to back pain, so it's up to you to decipher it.

Not picking on old guys or Gen Z kids.  During the course of any given week I'm teaching both of them (sometimes in the same class), just a metaphor.  In the cars, they both have benefits and drawbacks.  I just prefer the straight-forward answer. 

It's neat to be able to logic through why a partially clogged catalyst and a hidden corroded connector set an EGR code before it threw a catalyst code.  It's also neat to not have an EGR, extra connectors to corrode, or a Catalyst sometimes.  

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/21 7:18 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to SVreX (Forum Supporter) :

Agree to disagree.  It wasn't that long ago that 100k miles was considered a good long life for a car.  These days a car that doesn't easily last 100k miles is considered a POS.  Cars just need less maintinance these days are are absolutly more reliable and easier to keep running.  

That's true. 
 

I have a 70 year old car that still runs fine.  I also have one that is nearly 100 years old and is completely original, and still operates exactly as it was designed to.

I don't expect many 2000 vintage automobiles to still be functioning as they were designed to in 2100.  I don't even expect them to last 50 years.  
 

I just don't think the link specifically between when a car was made and what it's longevity is likely to be is completely black and white.  There is a whole lot of gray in there. 
 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 7:27 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:

Ah, the "sure it breaks all the time but it's easy to fix" solution :)

The fact that you can actually talk to the modern car makes things much easier. You want to check air supply by taking things apart, but you can just plug a real time scanner into the port and look at the MAF reading.

If the car has anything to say, and if you have the equipment to read it.  I can usually find a $0-250 car and get it running for less than $500 all in.  That's less than some real time scanners cost.

It's like your grandpa telling you all about how his back hurts vs. trying to figure out what's wrong with a Gen Z emo kid.  The former will tell you what's wrong and make it obvious.  The second one sometimes prefers a certain aroma and yoga position before they can write a poem that may or may not be about anything related to back pain, so it's up to you to decipher it.

Not picking on old guys or Gen Z kids.  During the course of any given week I'm teaching both of them (sometimes in the same class), just a metaphor.  In the cars, they both have benefits and drawbacks.  I just prefer the straight-forward answer. 

It's neat to be able to logic through why a partially clogged catalyst and a hidden corroded connector set an EGR code before it threw a catalyst code.  It's also neat to not have an EGR, extra connectors to corrode, or a Catalyst sometimes.  

To help with the math, my real time scanner is a $15 dongle and an app :) Came in handy when I was trying to fire up the new engine on my Vanagon and the coolant gauge wasn't telling me anything useful. I just plugged in and read the temp right off the ECU. The old school way would have been...well, I would have had to determine if it was the sender or the gauge or the wiring, and that sender is inaccessible so it would have been a real challenge when all I needed to know was the coolant temp.

It's not that one is harder than the other. It's where your skill set lives. I can read a data log but I'm crap at reading plugs, so I find it far easier to get a modern car working properly than an old mute one.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 7:27 p.m.
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to SVreX (Forum Supporter) :

Agree to disagree.  It wasn't that long ago that 100k miles was considered a good long life for a car.  These days a car that doesn't easily last 100k miles is considered a POS.  Cars just need less maintinance these days are are absolutly more reliable and easier to keep running.  

That's true. 
 

I have a 70 year old car that still runs fine.  I also have one that is nearly 100 years old and is completely original, and still operates exactly as it was designed to.

I don't expect many 2000 vintage automobiles to still be functioning as they were designed to in 2100.  I don't even expect them to last 50 years.  
 

I just don't think the link specifically between when a car was made and what it's longevity is likely to be is completely black and white.  There is a whole lot of gray in there. 
 

 

How many miles on that 100 year old all original car? 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/21 7:32 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

That's not relevant to the question of purely if newer cars last more years. That's in the gray area. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/21 7:33 p.m.

A 300,000 mile car that has not been maintained is a turd no matter how new or old it is. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/25/21 8:04 p.m.
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:

A 300,000 mile car that has not been maintained is a turd no matter how new or old it is. 

Agreed, but it's more likely to be mileage (ie, actual use) that takes a car out than simple time. Unless it's stored poorly. So asking how many miles are on the old car is reasonable. Would a newer car survive just as long with the same level of care and use? We'll have to wait to find out :) I do have an original 38 year old car here, I'll get back to you...

Its kind of pointless, really. We don't gravitate towards older cars just because they're cheap to fix or we understand carburetors better than engine management. We gravitate towards them because they interest us in some way, and more often than not it's because of something that grabbed us when we were young. 

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/25/21 8:11 p.m.

It could be just distinctive styling...

Interesting that in most the big auctions "resto-mods" and "pro-touring" cars are now out-pricing regular hot rods.

Folks want modern engines, drivetrains, brakes, etc. in old styled cars.   e.g.  LS engines are rapidily replacing old carbed engines in so many hot rods.

YMMV

a picture to make my point....

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
5/25/21 8:11 p.m.

Hmmm I seem to recall a certain old Volvo having the highest recorded mileage ever. 

The drivetrain in my Datsun will go just as far as any new car. Of course the only thing left will be the drivetrain becuase the shell will have rusted away to nothing if you drive it anywhere other than the Mojave Desert.

I don't race old cars becuase of the whole analog thing; in my case it's purely a case of 4 wheel drifting them everywhere is fast. I like to slide cars around, in a new car this is slower and wears out the tires. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/25/21 8:27 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:

A 300,000 mile car that has not been maintained is a turd no matter how new or old it is. 

Agreed, but it's more likely to be mileage (ie, actual use) that takes a car out than simple time. Unless it's stored poorly. So asking how many miles are on the old car is reasonable. Would a newer car survive just as long with the same level of care and use? We'll have to wait to find out :) I do have an original 38 year old car here, I'll get back to you...

Its kind of pointless, really. We don't gravitate towards older cars just because they're cheap to fix or we understand carburetors better than engine management. We gravitate towards them because they interest us in some way, and more often than not it's because of something that grabbed us when we were young. 

Agreed. 
 

Which takes me directly back to my initial comment- that I didn't necessarily agree that newer cars last longer. There is more to it. It's NOT just about age. 

Wicked93gs
Wicked93gs Reader
5/25/21 8:36 p.m.
AaronT said:

Lots and lots of words that fail to address the biggest point: 

We lust after the cars that were quick when we were kids or young drivers. Boomers like pre-oil-embargo muscle, gen x and elder millennials like import tuners and rally inspired cars. 
 

If this were not true we would all be driving 32 Fords or some car that makes most 'classic' cars look modern and feature-laden.

I don't think this is true. I have never once particularly cared about 90s cars(which would have been my teenage years), This isn't to say I didnt build a 90s car or two...but I am constantly drawn to older and older cars. After I finish the '66 mustang I think I am going to look at 30s-50s Ford truck as my next project. Old cars have personality, new ones do not(90s cars included as "new"). The only new cars that are intriguing to me are the oddballs...things like a Subaru SVX, etc that look like they were designed by a person instead of a committee

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