I have owned and worked on over 14 stock collector cars from the 30’s through the 60’s. What has made a difference for me in not purchasing a lemon, is that I have been able to find low mileage, rust free vehicles that have had only one or two owners. By having the vehicle’s paper work it’s history, you may enhance the joys of owning your classic dream, no matter the make or model. As an example, upon graduation from college, my first new car purchase was a 64 Corvair Spyder. It was a great vehicle through six Minnesota winters. Forty-two years later, I acquired a one owner 64 Spyder convertible with 56000 actual miles from an estate sale. What a pleasure this vehicle has been to work on and drive the past eleven years.
My first car, it was a 1973 Mercury Cougar XR7 coupe. It had a 351 Cleveland mated to an automatic. This car would go from 0-60 in 7.56 seconds and that was while running on 7 cylinders, with little compression in any of them. The fuel economy varied between 11 to 30 mpg and I could never figure out the reason, but I was more concerned that it got about 75 miles to a quart of oil. The stories about this car I could tell you…
This piece of crap did cause me to learn a lot about cars. I guess there was some good.
I have owned several Nova’s and Camaro’s over the years. Every one of them leaked water into the trunk when it rained. Very disappointed in Chevrolet quality over the years.
It has to be a 1975 Chevy Impala 4 door. Driving home from the new car lot, the door handle fell off and it proceeded to completely fall apart over the next 40K miles. I had a weekly visit to a customer where I took 4 guys out to lunch. It broke down and had to be towed so many times, they would no longer ride with me, they use one of their cars as a follow car so they could get back to work when my Chevy broke down. Almost every accessory fell off or stopped working almost daily. The transmission started going out at 35K and when took in to trade in at 40K, it could not pull up the driveway and had to be abandoned at the edge of the street. The next car was a 1977 Ford LTD that never went back to the shop for anything. It left me pleasantly stunned.
I made the mistake of buying a Volkswagen Scirocco in 1975. I also paid up for the 50,000 mile extended warranty from Volkswagen. At about 2500 miles, a bolt fell out of the transaxle . As I was backing out of a parking slot at the local college, i noticed a fluid trail, so I investigated and discovered gear oil was dripping from the transaxle. THe VW dealer was only a couple of miles away, so I took the car in. It took over 5 weeks to get the transaxle rebuilt.
At about 17,500 miles, the engine spun #3 rod bearing in a sweeping left hand bend, which was covered by the warranty. All services were performed as specified by the owner’s manual. At about 47, 000 miles, #3 rod bearing spun again in the same left hand bend. As before, the oil level was at the full mark on the dipstick when this occurred. The dealer, and Volkswagen, refused to repair it under the warranty unless I paid $2,000 up front to have the engine dismantled and inspected by them and at that point they would determine whether or not they would
repair it. I did a bunch of research, and discovered that the early Scirocco oil pans were not properly baffled, and oil would climb the end of the pan under the G forces that were easily attainable in the stock car with the original tires. Volkswagen still refused to touch the car until I paid up front. I purchased an engine out of a wreck and had it installed for $700. I will NEVER buy another VW product , and whenever someone asks my opinion regarding a car purchase, I relate my experience and advise against VW because they don’t honor their warranties.
" Screw me once, shame on you - screw me twice, shame on me."
Worst purchase for me was a 1972 Mustang Fastback with a 351 Cleveland. This was my 1st American car project. I found that no matter how many parts and how much money and time I spent trying to restore this car that it was just not worth restoring. Build quality was poor from day 1 and the engine machine work was very poor. Engine appeared to have been made with a chisel and hammer. I unloaded this car at a great financial loss but with a lesson learned.
They are a cars that someone can take done to the frame and refurbished by anyone willing to learn and put the
Time in to do it.In the end much better than buying a finished car
Mine was a '72 240Z. I owned a little Datsun 1200 that I’d hopped up and loved dearly, but a buddy needed $2200 and my boss was willing to lend it to me, so I sold the 1200 and bought the 240Z. I hated it from the start - probably faster on the highway than my little 1200, but not as quick stoplight to stoplight. I never was successful getting the twin Hitachis to balance, and went through two heads in short order. Oh year, horribly front heavy, and I swapped ends going around corners more times than I could count.
I sold it for what I bought it for, but that of course didn’t include the $1K or so I spent during my year of ownership,
Understand. But that can be said for most other cars of the same era. And once finished with a proper restoration of those others, you have a decently engineered car with performance that’s not still leaking oil and coolant on the garage floor.
Ford Pinto, it sucked!
an Oldsmobile diesel station wagon…I carried a complete set of injectors with me so I could replace the cylinder injector that was misfiring…or not firing at all…stacked 2 air filters on top of each other…added rocker cover vents so the the crankcase pressure would not blow out the pan oil seals…it leaked oil like the Exxon Valdez constantly…no performance…lousy fuel mileage…it was the zenith of GM crappy ideas…
As many British cars as I’ve restored, by far the most frustrating and disappointing one was a 1973 Triumph Stag. I loved the way the car looked and drove, but it puked a new fluid nearly daily. My wooden boat leaked less than this thing did…
I purchased a 1985 Mercury Topaz new with a 5 speed manual transmission. I drove it for 10 year’s with little to no problems. 200,000 miles later I gave it to my son who drove it off to university for another 4 years. We loved that thing. Like anything else if it’s maintained properly it can serve you well. 300,000 miles and it never let us down. We sold it for $ 500 and it may still be out there somewhere.
I didn’t have any problems either! It just wasn’t comfortable, it wasn’t economical, it wasn’t sporty, and it was not fun to drive. It disappointed me. That’s the topic of the question.
A1963 Buick Riviera. Purchased from Masterpiece Vintage Cars. They totally misrepresented (lied) about the condition of the car. They said the car was 100% and that everything worked as it should.
The heater core leaked, the A/c did not work, the seats had no more foam padding and I was sitting on the springs. They put the wrong shocks in the car …they were for a truck. Radio worked when it felt like, it needed a steering box and I can go on and on and on. I now have this car for a year and a half and I’m still repairing it. I have invested over $8,000 and still have a long way to go.
This is a dealer in Indiana to avoid at all costs!!!
1987 Corvette by far, these corvettes were all power optioned and just about everything went wrong as soon as I bought it (the old owners seemed straight up and they simply sold the car right in the nick of time!) I drove 5 miles down the road after purchasing it and the left side window regulator and motor went out! I ended up spending over $3000.00 on repairs on that Vette, only good thing was that I (at least) broke about even when I sold it. Careful when buying a C4 generation Vette!
Avoid all dealers of vintage cars period! Avoid car dealers of any type, most will gat ya!
Thanks for your email.
I also had to replace the A/C compressor, Receiver / Dryer, new dual exhaust, vacuum actuators, Speedometer cable is still NG. This dealer SUCKS !
Avoid them like the plague and tell all your friends about them.
I was very specific with the dealer . I asked them are you sure that the car is 100%? I explained to them that I am a disabled veteran and physically not able to do any repairs. They swore the car was perfect. I LEARNED A BIG LESSON! They are just lucky that I live far from their dealership. They would have gotten a visit from the 5th Special Forces Group.
Your advise is well taken and believe me…I will never buy another car from a dealer.
However, I did find one dealer who I would recommend. He is Jabaay Motor Sports. I once bought a car from him and he was easy to deal with and an honest guy. His car was exactly as he described it.
So I guess there are some good ones still around.
I also had a 1986 Jaguar XJS with the 12 cylinder motor in it. Beautiful, eye catching car but man that car was nothing but trouble, you name it, it went wrong. What is it with 80’s cars? No matter whether their American, British, German or whatever make. 1980’s cars seem to need nothing but new parts!
1977 Mustang II,4 cylinder
Bought new by my wife (not me).
- they tried to save money by not drilling oil lubrication holes in the cam - engine job #1
- the piston rings melted (wrong metal used) - engine job #2
- went through two clutches. We were accused of riding the clutch but the real problem was that the the clutch was too weak and even if they could supply a better clutch, you could stall the engine - no power
- car slowly rusted out including both A-pillars
- you had to pack a lunch in order to pass