Going Old?

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I’ve begun noticing a lot more older cars on the road. And they are not headed to an antique car show, either. Almost every day, on my way into town, I pass a guy driving a mid-70’s era Pontiac Sunbird. Then there’s the other guy with the orange and brown Pinto. I see him at least once a week. And lately, I’m encountering Old Beetles seemingly all the time. There was a bright yellow one pulling into Starbucks just this past Sunday; a silver one (a Super Beetle) was at the gym today.

I take it as a sign. A good sign.

People are beginning to revolt. No, wait. Revolt is not the right word. People are opting out.

Own an old car – and by “old” I mean something that doesn’t have a computer, which means built before about 1981, the first year computer controls became common – and you do an end-run around Big Brother. Or at least, you run between his legs and make good your escape before he can grab you.

Generally, you won’t have to deal with emissions tests (and the fees that come with emissions tests). In most states, vehicles over a certain age – or built before a certain model year – are exempted from emissions testing. The usual standard is 21 years or older – or built before 1967, the first year for the first very primitive emissions controls. Even if you do have to submit to emissions testing, the “pass” standard is much lower because it’s based on the standards in effect at the time of the car’s manufacture, which were orders of magnitude less stringent than now. It’s usually just a matter of adjusting the carburetor or ignition timing – or putting in a new set of spark plugs. 

Minor maintenance may be necessary more often with an older car, but it’ll usually be fairly simple and inexpensive. Stuff an average person can deal with on his (or her) own, with basic hand tools, a manual and a little gumption. Contrast that with the feeling of impotence that envelops you when a modern car just… stops.  Or that “check engine” light comes on. Sure, you can have the computer “scanned for codes” – but what do the codes mean? Stuff begins to get complicated – and beyond the skills (and tool set) of the average person.  Hello, Mr. Dealer – and $70 per hour shop rates.

When you drive an older, non-computer-controlled car, you can wave good-bye instead.

Other things you can say good-bye to include annual registration fees (in states that have “antique vehicle” tags, which unlike standard car tags are often permanent and don’t ever have to renewed), high insurance premiums (buy a cheap, liability-only policy) and personal property taxes (in states that have them). But most of all, you can wave good-bye to a monthly car payment – and cut your transportation costs to the bone.

$10,000 or so can buy you an excellent condition old car from the ’70s, provided you’re not shopping for a car that’s (currently) collectible, such as a Camaro or Mustang. $5,000 or so will usually get a nice driver – mechanically sound and looks good, too.

That Pontiac Sunbird I mentioned in the beginning of this article was for sale locally. Asking price? $4,100. Old Beetles in solid mechanical and cosmetic shape are available for about the same coin, at least in my area. Good places to cruise for inexpensive old cars that would make for great daily drivers include Craigs List and your local Auto Trader publications. About three years ago I almost bought (and regret not having bought) a mint condition, one-owner 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance. Chocolate Brown metallic, 500 cubic inch V-8 under the hood and more room inside than a new Mercedes S-Class. For $3,500. The brown shark may not have had air bags, but it did have mass. And sure, it drank gas – but so does a new S-Class. And the gas guzzler tax alone on the S-Class is about as much as the cost of the old Caddy itself.

These old cars – if they’re factory stock – are also immune from EMPs (electromagnetic pulses, which fry modern transistorized electronics) which is an issue not just for SHTF-type scenarios. There are devices now in service with “law enforcement” that generate a mini-EMP in order to disable individual cars. A pursuing cop pushes a button, sends out the EMP device and your car is toast. Of course, no one in this free country  should ever have any legitimate reason to want to flee from a cop… .

But, the bottom line isn’t that people are going loco – they’re just opting out of all the rigmarole. Since they can’t buy a new (or recent vintage) car that doesn’t have a computer nanny under the hood (and Big Brother riding shotgun, too), air bags and all the rest of it, they’re doing the only thing they can do, which is buy something old that hasn’t got all that stuff.

It’s a way out – and it can be a lot of fun, too.

Which is why it likely won’t be long before the government puts an end to it somehow. Probably by announcing that cars built before a certain year, that don’t have computer controls, are “not safe” and so no longer legal to operate on public roads. When I was a kid, I used to listen to the rock band, Rush – and their song, Red Barchetta. 

Dystopian fantasy then.

Tomorrow, it could very easily become our reality.

So: Go old while you still can.

Throw it in the Woods?

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129 COMMENTS

  1. Here in Australia, there are quite a few older cars still around and in use (when I got here a bit over twenty years ago, Rover 3500s were still fairly common, and a year or two ago I still often saw one parked in a nearby side street; Morris Mini Minors were still around twenty years ago, too). This appears to be for two main reasons:-

    – Australia’s climate is very kind to structures and machinery, as in most places it doesn’t cycle through repeated freezing and thawing, and away from the coasts there is little salt in the air (granted, most people live near the coasts, but a lot don’t).

    – A lot of people in the country had, maybe still have, very variable incomes, with occasional boom years when world commodity prices were high and local production was up, and lean years when it was the other way around. They made their major purchases in the good times and then had to make them last.

    • I once thought about emigrating to Australia or NZ; I liked what I heard/read about the people and the places themselves are beautiful. But then came gun confiscation and PC and all the rest of the same scheisse we’ve got here. No point to it anymore.

  2. Great article! I don’t usually read comments. I read them all (I think). Didn’t see any discussion of old cars burning modern (excuse for) gasoline. I would like to find another ’72 Super Beetle. First car I ever bought new ($2200 if I remember right) Drove it coast-to-coast 3 times ($3.00 to fill the tank) and did all the maintenance myself. When it swallowed a valve and trashed the engine at 110k (I got lax on doing the adjustments) a friend and I swapped it out in a few hours.

    • Hey Rod,

      The main issue with cars of that vintage (pre 1980s) in re modern fuels is the ethanol/alcohol content, which might degrade factory original hoses, such as fuel lines, leading to leaks, and carburetor floats and internal rubber parts like accelerator pump cups (if original) which were not designed to withstand alcohol-laced fuels. The engines themselves will run fine, but I would replace all fuel lines with current stuff, and check the float in the carb, just to be safe. Rebuild kits usually have brass floats now and replacement plastic parts designed to handle modern fuels. It may also be necessary to fine-tune the carb by adjusting the mixture and possibly swapping in richer jets, to get the best performance out of 10 percent ethanol regular unleaded.

      And of course, you should keep a fire extinguisher in (or within easy reach) of any old car.

      • I have a 51 Pontiac that I have been running on ethanol (I live in Illinois, we sell a whole lot of corn to ADM) since 1979. I have never had a problem with fuel hoses breaking down. I do purchase modern rubber hoses from volume stores, not NOS off the internet. I have never had a problem with clogged parts, or any of the other problems people have been blaming on ethanol fuel. I buy the cheapest fuel available, meaning I get ethanol fuel. I have run in parades, I have run on the freeway, I have run in mountain regions. I run at 55-60, which is what the car was designed to do, and have never had any fuel problems at all. I like to replace rubber like hoses at about 5 years, this includes brake hoses. Face it, 30 year old rubber sitting on the shelf is likely to be bad.

        • I’ve neither had a problem with hoses, either – but I have had problems with OEM ’60s and ’70s carburetor floats that did not react well to alcohol-laced fuels. Others I know have reported problems with accelerator pump piston cups and so on. The good news is most cars currently running, even if they’re from the ’60s or ’70s (and older) have had their hoses and rubber/plastic gaskets and so on replaced at some point during the past 25 years and if so, the replacements were probably made to deal with the modern fuels.

          The one problem with ethanol we can’t escape is noticeably poorer fuel economy. My experience has been on the order of a 5 percent reduction in MPGs, “real” unleaded vs. unleaded with 10 percent ethanol.

  3. I originally planned just to plug my article “MY NEW GM CAR”, posted on the website pontiacregistry.com, under misc. articles, June 20, 2009. It is a couple pages in. I wrote it after GM declared bankrupcy and the US Government took it over. I did research at AutoZone, a discount auto parts store, on Craig’s list, and with a couple local tradesmen, and determined that I could pretty much make a new car out of a ’70 Chevy for $6,500, including an interior and paint.
    Then I got a load of some of Clover’s comments. Clover, since you seem to know absolutely nothing about anything, maybe you should keep your piehole shut.
    Even cheap horses are not cheap. To start with, they eat every day, whether you use them or not. They also pollute–about 25 lbs of raw sewage every day, again, whether you use them or not. Yes, you cold put it on your garden, but you had better let it rot for a year or so, first, or it might make you sick. They also need to see the vet, who charges just like any other doctor does.
    You know nothing about deer, either. They tend to jump out of the bushes, and frequently run into the side of your car; I have had them jump up and run across the hood, which does mess that up. In Illinois, we harvest more deer with motor vehicles than by intentional hunting. I hit a deer doing under 25–instead of being knocked out of the way, or run over, had it’s feet knocked out from under it, slid up my aerodynamicly slooped hood, and broke out my windsheld.
    You are also a jerk, since you seem to think that just because someone drives a car that is not still under the burden of car payments, they don’t care if you open your door against it and ding it up. Back in the day, they used to place side moldings on the car just to reduce the damage jerks like you caused by slamming a door into the side of my car.

    • Good stuff, John – but forget about trying to reach Clover. He’s one of those people who not only thinks his way is the only right way (which I have no problem with, as such) but also that he has the right to force everyone else to do things his way (which I have a huge problem with).

      His need to feel “safer”or his belief that people “need” air bags, or that they ought to wear their seat belts – and a million other such things – must be enforced at gunpoint.

      Of course, like most bullies, Clover is a chickenshit who would never do the actual wet work himself, on equal terms with his victim.

      He gets the government to do his dirty work for him.

      He’s not worth pissing on to put out a fire.

  4. just out of curiosity, since here in canada we continues to live in a real estate bubble and prices of everything are still high, did the real estate crash in florida also collapsed prices for used cars in general?
    I guess what I’m asking is if the reduction in car prices (due to desperate sellers) would justified a trip to florida to get a car that is not rusted out by salt and harsh canadian winters.

  5. A word on EMP and car computers:

    I saw a show a while back–forget which one–that simulated an EMP by hitting the car with a synthetic lightning discharge.

    It died immediately–but turn off the key, restart, whammo! No problem.

    The ECU and other computers are extensively shielded.

    If anyone’s contemplating a pre-computer car for an EMP SHTF scenario, spare yourself the hassle. That said, there are plenty of other reasons to have a simpler (and simpler to fix) car; just not the supposed EMP safety.

  6. I recently started a part-time job picking cars for transport at the local auto auction for a little extra pocket money. Only been doing it for about a month and I’ve already driven practically everything under the sun.

    The other day I had an interesting lesson in the evils of technology. I had to go out and find a 2006 BMW 7-Series. I drive a ’92 Ford Ranger so it was quite a shock to me getting in this thing. It took me about 5 minutes of monkeying around pushing buttons and turning knobs just to get it to move. If I won the lottery tomorrow I wouldn’t buy this thing because it’s just too complicated for me.

    The very next car after this in the lineup was a 1964 Ford Country Squire wagon. The battery was dead so I had to jump it, but the damned thing started on the first try and ran better than 80% of the cars on that lot. It’s probably more likely that someone will get another 50 years out of that car than it is we’ll see that Bimmer in 2056.

    Looking for more of a family car because the Ranger doesn’t suit the new lifestyle; was thinking about a boring old minivan but I’ve been trending in the old school direction and Eric’s articles on this subject keep pushing me further. There’s a ’79 Malibu wagon on Craigslist calling my name…

    • You can’t go wrong on a Malibu. Parts are damn cheap. It’s pretty much the exact same car I have. Mine is an 1982 Malibu Classic (El Camino). What power train does it have?

      • 350/350, looks like the current owner’s already gone through it and replaced a lot of parts. I’d probably take Eric’s advice and throw in the overdrive trans to save gas because I do a lot of highway driving.

          • My enthusiasm for cars far outstrips my ability, most difficult thing I’ve ever accomplished on this front is change the water pump in my Ranger and it took me half the day.

            So I’m a little “ignit” when it comes to a lot of this stuff. Seems like the motor has some go-fast stuff in it, Edelbrock RPM intake, aluminum heads, the more I look into this the less I’m hearing “daily driver.”

            Would you still think 25-30 mpg given all those things? Or should I look for something a little more mild to suit my purposes?

            Thanks for your input Dom, I appreciate it a great deal.

            • One of the nice things about these cars is they’re pretty basic and so great to learn on as you go. If you can change out a water pump on your Ranger, you can do pretty much all the basic maintenance this car would need – and then some. All you really need is a good shop manual, a decent set of basic tools – and patience.

              As far as mileage: With a properly tuned spread bore carburetor (small primary side, big secondaries) like the Quadrajet or a stand-alone TBI unit and overdrive gearing (or “highway” gears in the rear) this car should be able to give you solid low-mid 20s and maybe even 30 on the highway. The current Corvette – with 500 hp – can do that, mainly because it has a really really deep overdrive that cuts engine RPM to a fast idle (1,800 RPM) at 70 MPH.

              And I get 18-20 out of my ’76 Trans-Am, which has a huge (7.4 liter) 455 V-8 and pretty aggressive 3.90 gears out back… because it also has an overdrive transmission (with lock-up converter) that cuts the revs way down in top gear/during steady-state cruising

          • Pass it by. It has hot rod parts. You’ll be burning gas for no reason.

            Wait.. Show me the ad. If the price is right it could still be a decent deal. You can sell off the H.O. motor. If you don’t want to post it you can email me: dsruggiero@gmail.com

          • I vote for inquiring more on the ’83. Looks pretty good other than all the crazy tint. You could put some air adjustable shocks in the rear and be able to carry anything you wanted with no problems. Another cool fact I learned just today is that the 200c tranny and the 2004r tranny can use my same cross member on my G-Body (like these cars you are looking at). Trans mount location is six inches off between the two. There are extra holes along the frame rails so I can just slide the cross member over 6″ and it’s good to go. I love G-body cars! So cheap, so simple, so much fun.

            My buddy’s ’69 Nova and my ’82 Malibu.

            Rides

            • What happened to the Nova??

              And: These cars also share most drivetrain and suspension components with second generation (1970-1981) Camaros and most of the hot rod parts that work on the Camaro work just as well on the Nova. Only a Nova costs a lot less than a Camaro!

          • Good advice thanks Dom.

            I’ve loved these cars for years as well, wanted a coupe for a long time but never pulled the trigger on it and it seems my coupe days are over for the near future at least.

            I like the front clip of the earlier models a little better…I still struggle with that needs vs. wants thing when it comes to my cars.

            Of course if you’re going to go through the trouble of swapping out the trans, swapping the front clip probably isn’t that big of an undertaking…

          • Yeah I’m partial to the single-light clip.

            It just blows my mind that you can get that kind of mileage out of these cars. I learned to drive in a ’67 Skylark and I’ve always missed that car. Sold it to a friend and he crashed it into a city bus. Sad day.

            Anyways I’ve always wanted to go back to old-school but thought it was no longer cost-effective. You guys have inspired me.

            Thanks again!

          • I am pretty sure the single one front end is just a matter of swapping out the headlight bezels and mess with some wiring. Not a big ordeal at all.

  7. KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid! With government controls that is probably no longer possible. So well engineered old cars are a good purchase if you are a half way good mechanic from the old school.
    For the rest of us, we are at the mercy of the car engineers.
    I suggest a good simple vehicle, with a well engineered four cylinder engine or a straight six, under 10,000 would out class and out sell anything on the market today.
    The problem is government controls. Doubt if it can be done with all the fingers in the pie.

  8. The reason I am looking to go old (’70 VW Bug) is the OnStar video where the stolen car is “stopped” remotely by GM OnStar.

    If I wanted to lock down a city, I would “stop” every OnStar equipped vehicle that came within 100 yards of an interstate interchange or within 100 feet of the middle of a bridge. After two days the OnStar vehicles will have formed effective (and deep) road blocks of “stalled” cars. After the roadblocks are established, then use OnStar to disable the ignition of every OnStar vehicle.

    Going old at least offers the *option* to drive (or make money as a taxi) under such conditions.

    All that is required to make Operation OnStar Road Block work is:
    1) GPS coordinates of the center of interchanges and bridges.
    2) Current GPS coordinates of OnStar vehicles
    3) The ability to remotely disable the vehicle ignition.
    4) The willingness or pretext to combine 1, 2, and 3 into a computer program.

    I think it is safe to say 1, 2, and 3 are in place. All that is missing 4; the wiliness or pretext to “discover” this can be done.

    I am not particularly bright, but I can’t believe someone at DARPA has not written up the above as a contingency report. There are people whose 9-5 job is to create contingency reports. This is well summed up by the quoted from the movie Broken Arrow:

    Giles Prentice: I don’t know what’s scarier, losing nuclear weapons, or that it happens so often there’s actually a term for it.

    • Yeah – the “remote control stop” creeps me out, too.

      I have a story for you:

      A few years back I was test driving a new Cadillac. We have a road here I often drive called Bent Mountain road. It takes you up from the valley floor at maybe a few hundred feet above sea level to 3,200 ft. above sea level in less than three miles of S turns.
      Anyhow, I was hustling up the mountain at let’s just say a good clip. As I got to the final turn, all of a sudden a woman’s voice is loudly asking, “Do I need EMS?” Apparently, my speed and rapid elevation change alarmed the OnStar onboard Fuhrer, who placed a call to the OnStar OKW, which then piped the Frau Oberst’s voice into the car. It startled the hell out of me – and after that, really creeped me out to realize I had Big Brother riding shotgun… true story.

    • Steam power (such as in the Stanley Steamer) has been applied to automobiles, that much is true. Mike Brown in Springfield, Mo. builds 20 HP vee-twin steam engines that (possibly stacked together to make a V-6 or V-8) might get you enough power to keep you from getting squashed by a semi on the interstate. The problem with using steam as a heat transfer medium is lower efficiency. You burn fuel to transfer thermal energy to water then extract the heat back out of the steam at the engine with more loss than in an “internal explosion engine” (that’s the description of an IC engine for some fear mongering by Stanley in one of their ads when gasoline engines became competitive with them in the early 20th century).

      There is also an issue of bringing the boiler up to temperature before it will run; you won’t just jump in a steam car, hit the key and go. Water chemistry is also very important to keep the boiler from failing prematurely. You have to carry enough water to get to your destination (and maybe back). Think back to the old Westerns where the steam locomotive had to pull up to the water tower and refill it’s feedwater tank before it could proceed; no water = no steam = no go. Or the system becomes much more complex with the addition of a steam condenser, boiler feed pump, check valves, etc. All of that extra hardware along with EPA emission controls would put a modern steam car in the same price range as the Tesla, at a minimum.

      If you’re really interested there’s the Steam Automobile Club of America over at http://www.steamautomobile.com/lcc/index.htm.
      The Stanley Steamer did set the world’s speed record in 1906. With modern technology and the amazing wealth of human knowledge we’ve accumulated since 1906, anything is possible in this regard. But if it was commercially viable (like many other alternative energy pipe dreams) someone would probably already be doing it for a profit.

      • Thanks for the comments and the web-site recommendation. I thought about this steam-power based on an article entitled “Jay Leno and His Doble Steam Cars.” Seems logical to me that steam technology could have advanced at least as much in a century as internal combustion technology has (if allowed by GOV.) “Flash pan” boiler technology comes to mind regarding start-up as well as keeping a boiler plate plugged in to an electrical source to “keep it hot or get it hot quickly.” Thanks again, and I’ll check out the site. SpencerG

  9. Great article, Eric you are right about the older cars. No amount of High tech can replace the satisfaction of driving a paid for classic you don’t have to go to a dealer so they can plug it in to find the latest sensor or other government mandated ornament.

  10. From my recent experience, actively looking for such an older car, in Ontario – it’s mission impossible. predominantly due to rusted body; and the frame as well. the restored, collector’s cars, are fine but not fit for daily driving on salted roads in the winter – which is what I am looking for – daily use. And it’s not economical for canadians to import cars from the ‘sun belt’ area (x-border duties, taxes, conversion and compliance w/ canadian road regulations, etc.). I’m giving up.

  11. Is there something to be said for cars with earlier computers? In other words when computers first used in cars they simply monitored the operation of the engine and that was it (as opposed to the modern car computer which can be easily hacked)?

    • It depends. Simpler can be better; but obsolete systems can be harder to find service replacement parts for and are often balkier or more trouble-prone than newer systems. I would not recommend, for example, a 1981 Camaro with one of GM’s first (very basic) computers. The electronically controlled carburetor is a PITAS relative to the 1980 (and earlier) models without the electronically controlled carburetor.

      Of course, you could just gut all the crap and drive on.

      • the computer controlled quadrajet is easier to deal with than the older versions. I’ve rebuilt one. Bought a book to show me how to do it. Lots of steps are just removed from the process and very little is added back.

  12. Got the rally rims I ordered in the mail today. Complete with trim rings and bow tie center caps. They are sweet. Right now I have 205/70/15s on the front and 225/70/15s on the rear. I’m considering whether I should go the same size all the way around. Then I am also thinking maybe to put the same size on the rear with a larger aspect ratio, like a 75 to get a bit better gas mileage. What say ya’ll?

  13. Well, if mass is an asset, and bad fuel economy is a given, I’ll stick with a full sized model. Since I’m a Mopar guy at heart, I’d find an early 1970s Chrysler or Dodge with a Hemi. If a station wagon could be found, so much the better.

    Neither then or now, or under any imaginable circumstances would I ever be caught in a Pinto.

  14. Ok so what cars meet these requirements 1. parts are can be in your hands quickly and be around forever. 2. Is cheap to operate gas and repair wise and you can build from the ground up and I mean literately build from the ground up if all you have is a frame or nothing at all

    • Several come to mind:

      VW Beetles (old Beetles; the air-cooled, rear-engined ones).

      Almost any GM compact/intermediate, such as a Nova/Ventura/Malibu (mechanical parts are common and easily obtainable).

      Old F-trucks, Jeeps (popular, large aftermarket support).

      Ford Mavericks (running gear is Mustang), Fairmonts.

      There are lots of possibilities. You just have to jump on the opportunity when it presents itself. For example, the Pontiac Sunbird I mentioned in the article. I saw this car for sale locally; it just appeared in the parking lot outside of a storage place. Very original, nice condition example. Sold in about a week and I regret I was not the buyer.

      • Eric, looking to buy….can you give more specifics (such as good years, engine types) on the “Old F-trucks, Jeeps”.
        I want my teen boys to have a “safe” vehicle they can learn to self-maintain.
        LRC reader, Sara, (salt free) Texas

        • Hi Sara,

          A lot of this comes down to personal likes. I personally really like old Ford F-trucks, especially late ’60s models with the indestructible 390 V-8 and “three on the tree.” But almost anything like that (including the GM equivalents) is a good choice, too.

          Another option: Same-era El Caminos and Rancheros. Body-on-frame construction; sturdy V-8s, simple construction. And you get the advantages of car comfort/handling with the utility of a truck-like bed.

          In a not-truck, some good choices include the Chevy Nova (and Pontiac Ventura), Dodge Dart (this one’s legendary, especially the Slant six engine). All simple, easy to fix cars that are also a lot of fun!

          I’m sure others here have their recommendations, too –

    • Being that my experience is with Fords I would pick a fox car from the ’70s or ’80s. Fairmont, 2nd generation granadas, some tbirds, the Fox LTDs, etc. All sorts of mustang stuff works on them or can easily be made to work. Cheap and widely available parts. (I’d make it a mutant, with a mustang front clip for giggles)

      Mavericks and Granadas (Comets and Monarchs) are more basic cars. They are essentially early mustang underneath. All granadas and later mavericks will be better choices due to front disk brakes and more power options. Earlier mavs will be four wheel drum brakes. Manual. No power. I’d advise most people against driving that in today’s traffic. It’s just WAY behind the technology curve. However, it’s all mustang compatible and of course the later car’s stuff fits the earlier ones. So the earlier ones can be appropiately upgraded. These later cars also serve as the parts supply to upgrade the early mustangs.

  15. I drive a 1972 Ford F100 pickup truck as a daily driver. Tune up every 3 months cost bout $100 if I do it myself(mostly no big deal except for installing the points and condenser-which aren’t that big a deal). About 16 miles to the gallon but I don’t have a truck payment which more then evens things out. My (grown up) kids constantly ask why I don’t buy myself a “nice” truck instead of a no power steering, no power brakes, heater that you turn on under the hood dino. DUH!!! Insurance less then $200 bucks a year-NO MONTHLY PAYMENT TO GMAC or its counterpart from another company. And if some idiot in a Lexus plows into me-I’m out a couple grand maybe-they made vehicles out of metal those days-might just get a bent fender and total out the Lexus. And until the state goverment changed its rules last year and once again stuck its nose in my business-no requirment to wear seatbelts.

    • I’m with you James!

      Hell, a minor fender bender in most modern cars can easily sail into thousands of dollars. Just the headlight “assembly” can be $300 for the part vs.what, $20 for a sealed beam headlight…

  16. I read recently that the American “fleet” (I hate that collectivist we’re-all-in-this-together term) is now ten years old. Apparently, that’s a record. I can testify that the big old rides hold up better in accidents. A woman once lost control of her vehicle on ice and careened into my traffic lane striking my 83 Buick Electra in the left front fender at approximately 45 MPH. She ended up in the hospital with a serious back injury while I felt only a minor jolt. Unfortunately, my Electra was totaled because of repair costs, my liability only insurance coverage, and the fact that she had no insurance. Although I was out two years worth of restoration work I didn’t receive a single scratch or bruise from the incident.

    • “I read recently that the American “fleet” (I hate that collectivist we’re-all-in-this-together term) is now ten years old.”

      I’d read more than ten years old!

      Several factors here: Late model vehicles are very durable and with decent care will usually run reliably for 10-plus years at least. But, they’re also expensive to buy – which put financial pressure on people to extend the interval between purchases. Then, there are all the disincentives in place to discourage people who might otherwise buy a new car, including property taxes and insurance costs.

      One of the saddest aspects of all this is what you touched on: That big, inherently safe cars are increasingly out of reach for the average American. Instead of the natural advantage of size/mass, he is made to pay for multiple “safety” Band Aids to compensate for the lack of inherent crashworthiness in the typical downsized modern car.

  17. Eric,

    Having cut my youthful mechanic’s teeth on flathead Fords and OHV Chevys, your article indeed strikes a chord.

    My first at age 16 was a ’49 Ford pickup. Flathead six, three on the floor, and…….r/h.

    Pop Quiz!…..who remembers what r/h meant in the auto classifieds?

    Perhaps the biggest point of pride was self-reliance. What could go wrong that I could not fix? Points, plugs, carb rebuild, exhaust, electrical? Even changing tubes and vibrator in the am radio fell under the DIY category. Tire spoons anyone?

    Today my finest therapy is maintenance and tune-up of my ’69 Chevy p/u. No ridiculous “check engine” lamps, hoses/tubes under the hood having nothing to do with making it go, or annoying buzzers. I take great joy leaving the key in the ignition 24/7.

    I fear that teenage rite of passage may be lost these days; it is darn difficult to teach a kid to change a battery when you cannot find the battery.

    Regards,

    Tom Hallett

    • I also grew up that way and think that the experience helped build that sense of self-reliance you mention. Today’s stuff, in contrast, breeds learned helplessness. The light comes on (or it just stops running) and what do you do? You call the dealer – or call a truck.

      Every time I drive my ’76 Pontiac (or one of my old bikes)… or work on them… I get those happy feelings, too.

      Much as new cars are brilliant appliances, much has been lost along the way, too.

  18. I’d like to take a hybrid step in this direction Eric–by building a kit car.

    Yup, I’ll spring for fuel injection with a computer; but I’ll use an off-the-shelf variety that’s easy and cheap to replace, and doesn’t have any nanny-state reporting functions.

    It might be the only way in the future to know your car isn’t tattling on you via GPS and cell phone.

  19. This article got me thinking about upgrading my tranny on the El Camino to an overdrive. I’ve started to look at the 200-4R. Eric, isn’t that the same one you have?

    • It is!

      Check out Phoenix Transmissions. See here: http://www.phoenixtrans.com/

      It’s where I got mine. They specialize in these units and will custom build one for your application, including torque converter.

      Several appealing things about this unit:

      No computer; just one 12V hot lead to the lock-up converter.

      No adapter plates; direct bolt in.

      Same overall size as a TH350 or TH400, so no need for a custom driveshaft; just need the right slip yoke.

      Steep overdrive gearing. I think it’s .67 or something like that. In my Trans-Am, which has a 3.90 rear axle, the engine is running a fast idle (barely 2,000 RPM) at 70 MPH.

        • If my car had the tires to do it safely, I’d love to find out what its top end is. I’m guessing close to 150 MPH, maybe more. For a ’76 TA, that’s all right!

            • It is (both counts) and stronger than stock, too: 280 degree cam; Performer intake, RA III cast exhaust headers, tuned carb and ignition. It probably makes an honest 330 hp at the wheels.

              Now, a stock ’73 SD-455 (strongest stock 455 Pontiac ever built) was rated 290-310 hp and achieved a measured top speed of 134 MPH (mechanically limited). My car’s a bit stronger – and has the advantage of better gearing – so I would expect it to be able to hit 140 at least and probably 150-160.

              But it’d be certain death on the 15-inch BFG Radial T/As that are on it… and I want to live….

        • Figuring with a calculator isn’t quite the same as doing it on the road. lol
          Know your road, know your car, and know where the law hangs out. Got pulled over one night back in 1974 for 155 in a 60. Damn, that cost a fortune.

          • No doubt. My engine would never pull to 200mph. I was just messing around. Just put an over drive in my hog, now I love messing around with rpm calculators!

          • And you stopped!

            My rule is, once I’m above 90 – well into statutory reckless driving in Virginia – and I’ve got the drop on the cop – I’m gone. You don’t have much to lose by trying. It’s no longer just a speeding ticket. They will arrest you, impound your vehicle and charge you with the aforesaid “reckless” charge. If convicted, it’s a huge fine, six points, probable loss of your license for some time plus doubled insurance (if they don’t cancel it outright and force you into the SR-22 category). In Va, 155 would be a guns-drawn, face-in-the-pavement, Taser-your-ass scene. Then you’d probably go to jail for 6-12 months.

            Now, running is serious business and not to be done lightly. Only do this if you have the drop on the cop (he’ll need to turn around, or build speed and you’re confident you can get out of his range of sight within seconds) know the area and can disappear almost immediately. Never do this in an area you’re not familiar with, or where you don’t have a very good chance at disappearing within seconds of contact. And it goes without saying – or should – that you only ought to be doing the sort of speed that puts you in this position in a depopulated area. That kind of speed – and fleeing – in a traffic-heavy area is reckless as well as suicidal!

  20. Eric – Neat article. I have been thinking about getting an older car myself for fun. I would like to get a car with points. Electronic ignition is awesome, but could go out with an EMP. Best to buy cars made before 1975. 1975 was the first year for all electronic ignitions.

    • Thanks!

      Points didn’t go away overnight. There’s a lot of overlap in the mid-late 1970s. It was in 1975 (I think) that GM first went to HEI (transistorized) ignitions, but same-era VWs still had points.

      One thing to consider with cars of this era is that you can use the more reliable, less maintenance-intensive electronic distributors (like HEI) but if need be, you can just drop in an older points-type unit.

      Most are direct bolt-ins.

      Same with bikes from that era. For example, my ’76 Kz900 has (well, had) points. I swapped in an transistorized unit but I could swap the points plate back in five minutes.

  21. This is really only a viable practice in warmer parts of the country. Since the early 90s I’ve seen people press older cars into being daily drivers. Watching examples in good to excellent condition rapidly deteriorate over a few short years is cringe worthy. Not only the rust but the collision damage, the dings, etc.

    Even in their day these cars had a very limited life expectancy in harsh environments of places like Chicago. Now when they are 30+ years old what little they had in protective systems are no longer up to the task at all. Undercoatings, paint (more so in the hidden areas), etc is all compromised from age.

    The only way to even think about putting an old car of pre 80’s vintage into these kind of conditions is to tear the car down completely and rebuild it protecting it with only the best in modern paints inside and out.

    Monday morning’s commute sighting was a late 60s or early 70s Lincoln. In great shape… in the cold, snow, and salt. Hopefully it was not being used for DD duty, but needed to be moved or the primary car was broken or something like that. For the sake of that car I hope not to see it again, the ones I see semi regular just keep decaying.

    BTW, any one notice north Korea’s official government hearse? Looks like it’s a ’73 Lincoln.

  22. The next truck I buy will be an early to mid 70’s Ford or Chevy 4X4. I still have my dwell/tach, feeler gauges and timing light. There isn’t much on those vehicles that you can’t replace or jury rig in the middle of a peanut field or on the side of a logging road. Sure they get rotten mileage, but so does my 90 Dodge 1/2 ton with fuel injection. If you can live with 13 MPG you can live with 10 or 11. I still know how to file a set of points and rebuild a carburetor. There’s a reason those old trucks bring a premium now.

    • There are no 70s vehicle I would ever own that is around here unless it was garaged for years and never driven in the winter. The 70s cars were rust buckets in the snow belt.

      • Well, Clover, that’s true; cars from that period were more prone to rust damage.

        However, the other side of that coin is they’re vastly cheaper to buy/repair. For example, the old Beetle (I’ve owned a couple so I’m telling you this from personal experience). Yes, the floorpans and other parts were made of thin metal that rusted fairly rapidly. But new pans are inexpensive and can be tack welded (or even bolted) in place when necessary and then you’re good to go for another 5-7 years, even in “rust belt” areas. You can repeat this process many times before the unibody itself becomes structurally unsound.

        It all depends on what you want: A car that’s inexpensive to buy and operate that can be repaired almost indefinitely and largely by the owner… or one that’s expensive to buy and operate and which not only can’t be repaired by most people, will inevitably reach a point after which it is uneconomic to even try to repair it.

      • Clover for once (don’t faint) I tend to agree with you. If I lived up in snow country I’d probably avoid buying a 70’s through 90’s vehicle for the same reason. I might consider a ground up restoration that was done correctly. My 90 Dodge was an Illinois truck and I had to tear it down to the frame to treat the rust. Plus I replaced the doors and the bed, so I know what you’re talking about.

        Even around here (Kansas City area), there is some road salt used, so you have to be careful what you buy. On the other hand, my neighbor bought a local 78 F250 4X4 last year with a 300 I6 and 4 spd. manual. It was a local truck, it runs great, looks great and he loves it. Heck I might even by willing to take a trip out to New Mexico or Arizona to pick one up that’s pristine, then do a tear down and frame up restore with modern coatings.

        • One more thing that you forget is that most of those cars unless they were true collector items are not worth spending a few hundred dollars on repairs or a hundred hours of fixing up. Yes a truck that might cost you 30 to 40 grand new may be worth fixing up. We hear about all the easy repairs that are possible on the old vehicles like ignition systems etc but the the vast majority of the new cars you do not have any repairs ever needed on such items. A tune up? New plugs every 80 to 100 thousand miles. The air filters also last almost forever because they suck less air than the old gas hogs needed. Oil changes? Pretty much triple the interval of the old rust buckets. Radio? Mine is dozens of times better. Gas mileage? At least double the old cars. Safety? At least double that of the old cars. Air conditioners? If the old cars even had them you had to add refrigerant every year or two. The new cars also have some cool options such as rear cameras. I am sure there are some here that say they do not need them but I have driven one and the next car I get will have one. At night you can see backing up better than with the naked eye and you never have to worry about backing too far because it is usually impossible to judge distance behind you closer than a foot or two. With all these facts why would anyone want an old car unless it is a collectors item? Even if you add the cost of the new car it is far cheaper to run unless you only drive 3 or 4 thousand miles a year or so.

          • I see your point. But first of all the cost of a newer vehicle rules out paying cash for most of us. Stereos, back up cameras and even air conditioning can be added on. They had a nice littel back up camera in Autozone the other day for under a hundred bucks. In my case, I’m looking for a farm truck I can work on myself. My 90 Dodge has an ECU, EFI, air conditioning, ABS, etc. It still get’s rotten gas mileage because it’s a 4×4 with a V8. I won’t lose much in fuel efficiency going with something older. As you pointed out, $30K to $40K for a new truck is out of the question.

            I still intend to keep my Miata with the nice stereo (with a USB port from Crutchfield for a lot less than what the factory charges), EFI, ECU, A/C, etc. It’s not too bad to work on either. But when a modern vehicle does break, you’re either going to take it to a shop or buy diagnostic equipment if you want to work on it yourself. If you hit a bird or even a dog and bust up some plastic (especially a head lamp assembly), just the parts will run you several hundred dollars. Do that with an old F250 and like Eric said, 20 bucks for a sealed beam headlight. Add a heavy steel brush bumper and you can put a deer down with little or no damage to the truck.

            If I had money to burn, didn’t have my own shop and tools and lived the suburban lifestyle, I’d probably be more like you. But there’s a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be had in repairing your own vehicles. That’s something you can’t buy.

          • Clover, an ICE is an airpump they pull in the same amount of air as an engine of the same size did ages ago. What is different air filter wise is filter surface area. modern filters are much bigger in surface area so it takes longer to block them. Then there are different materials and so on.

            On winter clover has close to the same point I made earlier. Rust is a real PITA on cars of these vintages. You’ll spend your winters keeping the car clean and your summers repairing the damage.

            Even the expensive rust fighting paints have limited effectiveness in daily driver situation because of the difficulty to prep things correctly on your back under a car you’re not going to disassemble because you have to drive it to work on monday.

          • “…most of those cars unless they were true collector items are not worth spending a few hundred dollars on repairs or a hundred hours of fixing up”

            Clovers, that’s a subjective value judgment – nothing more.

            It is easy to make the opposite case, as I have already done. But you can’t comprehend – let alone tolerate – anyone having a view that doesn’t comport with your view. That’s the theme running through every post you make: Clover feels or believes this way and so it must be the right way – indeed, it’s the only acceptable way. And more, you’re not merely content to leave others alone to do as they decide best for themselves. You want laws to force them to do things the way you’ve decided is best.

            You’re a good socialist-fascist (same things, really) tovarich Clover. Only the collective matters – and the collective is what you decide it is.

          • Eric I will go over the figures any day with you on an old car that sucks gas and takes a lot more maintenance and a newer car 15 years old or less. I believe in buying a new or almost new car and keeping it 10 to 15 years. My car is 4 years old with 65,000 miles and the only thing I have spent on it so far is tires and less than 10 oil changes and I flushed the antifreeze. The old cars in the 70s in the rust belt barely made it that long. Go ahead and buy an old car if you like working on antiques for a hobby. If you drive 15,000 miles a year it pays to have a newer car financially unless your time is free and parts are also. I have better things to do with my life than working on carbs. I have worked on newer cars and they can sometimes be easier than the old ones. The computer can tell you where to find the problem much of the time with the error codes and you can see exactly what is happening with the engine with all of the stats that are available.

            • Clovers, I have personally bought several older, pre-computer cars that were in mechanically sound, everyday driver shape for less than $4,000. That money will buy you a worn-out modern car. And here’s the key difference:

              As Dom explained to you, with an older, pre-computer car, you can replace the entire drivetrain (and electrical system, if necessary) for about $2,000 – assuming you’re a competent mechanic and can do the work yourself (which I can). You can do this several times, if need be. The car itself is almost endlessly rebuildable and economically feasible to keep almost forever.

              Late model computer-controlled cars do run reliably for longer – initially. But after about 12-15 years, once the major system components ad their peripheral systems begin to reach the end of their useful service lives, the cost to keep the car running begins to increase, and will increase beyond the point of economic viability rather soon thereafter. Small parts like sensors can get very expensive and systems such as the emissions control system (notably the catalytic converters and 02 sensors) can get extremely expensive. In addition, most people who can’t do more than basic service on these cars, so they have to pay a technician.

              You also forget, Clovers, that late-model emissions controlled cars must pass smog check in most places; older, pre-computer cars either don’t have to pass smog or only have to comply with a much lower standard. To get through smog with an older car, it’s usually just a matter of a tune-up or minor (and easy to do yourself) adjustment to the carburetor.

              When your “check engine” light comes on, it’s usually time for a fat bill.

              Then, there’s the problem of accidents. Have a minor fender-bender in a late-model car with a plastic front end, plastic “headlight assemblies” and air bags and the damage can amount to many thousands of dollars, rendering the car economically not worth fixing.

              Have the same accident in an older car with a metal bumper, standard plug-in sealed beam headlights and no air bags and the damage will be much less and far cheaper to repair.

              Personal (and recent) example: I’ve mentioned I have two Nissan Frontiers, a 1998 and a 2002. The 1998 has a metal bumper and plug-in, sealed beam headlights like most cars used to have before the 1980s. The ’02 has a plastic front “fascia” and fancy plastic headlight “assemblies.” Last year, my wife hit a deer in the ’98. It pushed the bumper in and cracked one of the headlights. I was able to pull the bumper out myself using a come-along tied to a tree and the new headlight cost me about $25 at AutoZone.

              A few months later, I hit a deer in the ’02. It ripped the plastic front “fascia” and broke one of the plastic headlamp “assemblies.” The entire front cover had to be replaced – which of course included bodywork/paint since the cover is painted. Then I had to buy a new headlamp “assembly” – almost $200 for just the part. Total repair cost? Almost $2,000. Had the air bags gone off, the truck would have been a total loss.

              A late-model car is fine for Clovers who don’t know how to fix things, love debt – and just want to get in and passively “drive.”

          • @Clover

            Dood, as usual I completely disagree. An older car in good shape can be found in decent shape for less than 5k. If that isn’t good enough and say.. umm.. something breaks. You can replace the ENTIRE power train, brakes, suspension, you name, fill in the blank here too, and even more for FAR less than a new car. Even a decently powerful V-8 pushing an over drive transmission can get good gas mileage and is cheap to maintain.

          • Clover you missed the primary point of doing this – Libertarians want to drop out of the computerised car system. I believe Eric already pointed out that a down-to-earth computerised car would be lower maintenance overall but the latest cars can be hacked as well as be used to track your movement and so forth.

            • Correction: Libertarians want to be able to choose. And they want you to be able to choose, too. If you want a car with ABS, air bags, GPS and all the rest, you should be free to buy such a car. And by the same token, others should be free to not buy those items, if that is their preference.

              The problem is government has interposed itself between consumers and carmakers, dictating to the former what sort of car (and equipment) they will buy (if they wish to buy a new car) and dictating to the latter that they must build it, irrespective of the wishes of the former.

          • Eric you forget that us good drivers do not have accidents. Why would you worry about replacement costs of parts from an accident because you said you are incapable of having an accident. Libertarians are incapable of accidents. The only good thing having an old car like you are talking about is that you could care less if the bumper and fender gets smashed in. You just drive on. That is the benefit of an old car. There are no worries about door dings and people smashing in the side of your car when they leave a parking lot.
            Libertarians want to go back to the good old days? Why the heck do they not go back to horses? They are far cheaper to own if you have some of your own land to grow some feed.
            To answer the question about a good older used car you can buy is under 5 grand. You can buy a very good new car for well under 20 grand and if you spread that cost over 15 years the depreciation is less than your older car. The gas bill gets cut in half and your maintenance for the first 10 years is almost zero compared to an old car. I have said before if you think your time is worthless and you want to spend it replacing drive trains and fiberglassing out the rust holes or spending hundreds of hours with sheet metal replacement that is your option.

            • Clovers, a deer running in front of a car is an accident – a real accident. It’s got nothing to do with one’s driving. And in most case, this sort of thing involves some “fender bender” type damage. No big deal. And, no one else involved – the only thing relevant as regards our discussion about insurance. I dealt with my deer hit myself, paying for what I needed out of pocket.

              On old cars:

              You forget to include the much higher cost of taxes and insurance (thanks to Clovers) on the new car. Then there is the fact that as the car ages, and systems begin to fail, the cost of upkeep begins to uptick and often becomes prohibitive.

              With the old car, you pay much less up front and far less down the road.

              But I know math is not Clovers’ strong suit.

          • Eric it’s possible to fix the modern car yourself if you’re willing to live with about the same level of cosmetic damage as before and not use OEM new parts.
            The bumper covers can be repaired with stuff 3M makes, plastics can be fixed with epoxies and/or bridging them with metal. Chinese knock off headlamps are available for most cars at a reasonable price. (half of what the dealer charges for one gets you a pair)

            Will it be perfect? no. passable, yes. It’s different and yes the costs of the 3M stuff and a spray can or bottle of touch up or buffing materials will make it more expensive. But once you have the stuff on hand there will be left overs for the next time.

            • Yeah – but it’s still a lot easier to pull out a bumper and, free!

              Ditto the headlight.

              I’ve done the epoxying of rubber fascias; PITAS and it looks like scheisse.

          • Again Eric, I will debate your costs of a newer car any day. 90% of deer accidents can be prevented just by slowing down 10 mph which decreases you stopping distance a lot. I know, you would rather hit the deer. Cost of insurance difference? Very little unless you are a teenager. In which case you would buy a car a few years old, one where the full coverage is less or you are able to get by with liability. Again you keep bringing up the cost of insurance. Create your own insurance company with your friends and register it with the state and see how much you will save. Again I say it is irresponsible for you not having insurance. I would be pretty mad if a guy hit me and did not have insurance and could not cover his responsibilities and I am sure you would also. Yes if you look out for the other guy then you can avoid a few of the accidents but a vast majority of them you can not.

            You bring up your case of having older trucks that cost you very little. If you keep them in the garage most of the time yes am older car can save you money on depreciation and costs but for the average person that drives over 10,000 miles a year and drives them every day then that is not true.

            • Yes, Clovers – and you’d only reveal (yet again) your unfathomable ignorance.

              Specific example of an inexpensive old car that can be comfortably driven every day ( I know because I did it):

              1973 VW Beetle. Purchased early ’90s for $2,200. Required nothing to be driven immediately. I drove this car every day, in Washington DC traffic, for six years. Winter and summer.

              Taxes – nil. (Because based on the retail value.)

              Insurance – almost nil (because primarily based on the car’s value as well as my personal risk profile, which was – and is – very low.)

              Maintenance: – almost nil. (An Old Beetle takes about three quarts of oil and there’s no filter to replace. So less than $10 to change the oil. Four spark plugs (about $8) a set of points ($15) and one fan belt $8). Maybe some new generator brushes once a year.That’s about all this car ever needs. Oh, tires. About $50 each. So, total outlay: Less than $100 – in perpetuity; by which I mean that this is what keeping up an VW would cost you, for years.)

              I sold this car for $1,800. Virtually free transportation.

              Now, it did not have a great stereo or heated seats and I had to roll the windows down by hand and have the skill to apply the brakes in plenty of time and not too hard, in order to avoid locking them up. But I was able to drive it in heavy DC traffic, every day – and it cost me almost nothing to drive.

              One could do the same with an early ’70s Nova, or something similar, and never outlay anywhere near as much in up-front costs, taxes/insurance and down-the-road repair as you would with a late-model/new car.

              Poor ol’ Clover.

              PS: Please tell us where the statistic, “90% of deer accidents can be prevented just by slowing down 10 mph” came from. Oh. Yeah. I forgot. You just pulled it out of your ass.

            • PS: I note that you won’t (because you can’t) respond to my earlier observation that you are a thug, albeit a cowardly one.

              What is it about you that makes it impossible for you to just leave other people alone unless they’ve actually done something to cause you harm? Not might or could – but actually caused you harm?

              Do you not see that might and could is open-ended and can just easily be turned on you? That there is no justice in depriving all people of liberty because some people abuse their liberty? That it’s only just to deprive specific people of liberty based on their specific acts of wrongdoing that have caused a demonstrable harm?

              I know I’m just wasting my time, of course.

          • Clover(s), I was at a hotel when someone in a “brand new” (circa 1990) silver Trans Am backed into my prized ’88 Toyota 4X4 pick up. I wasn’t driving or even in the truck at the time, so “accidents” (or in this case “hit and run”) due to inattentive driving or carelessness do happen; our good driving notwithstanding.

            The funny part was hotel security saw it happen and got the miscreant’s plate number. We inspected my truck and found a smear of silver paint on the rear tube bumper I’d installed. On the ground we found a lot of silver plastic and tail light shards. The security guard asked if I wanted the police there and I declined, telling him I could clean the paint off the bumper; and besides, they’d done a couple of hundred bucks damage to their car and no harm to mine. He said, no, it looked more like about $1500 in damages.

            So, by your way of reasoning I wasted my precious time installing Smittybilt bumpers front and rear. I’d have been better off with full coverage insurance. I simply could have taken it in to a shop to have the stock tin-foil bumper replaced and some body work done at Natiowide’s expense rather than get my hands dirty, right? The way I see it those bumpers turned out to be pretty good insurance themselves and added a nice custom look to the truck (along with an aluminum grill and driving lights that I also had the satisfaction of installing).

            I think you confuse “Libertarian” and individualist. When I identify with the libertarian camp it is politically, as in the government doing as little of the people’s business with as little of the people’s money as possible (which leaves damned little for the government to do). I was an individualist long before I ever heard the term “classical liberal” or “libertarian”. I was an individualist when I would have been identified as a paleo-conservative years ago.

            To me what’s important is being able to fend for myself and provide for my family without being a burden on my fellow countrymen. That’s individualism. It doesn’t matter whether it’s catching a fish, skinning a buck, shooting m.o.a. groups with a rifle, starting a fire without matches, building a greenhouse or fixing vehicles. What I admire in individuals is being proficient and well rounded in all of the “manly” skills and only entering into voluntary, mutually beneficial arrangements. Statists, welfare dependents, career gov’t parasites and any other coercive “collectivists” have only my contempt.

            Anyone can live in a cookie cutter house in the “burbs”, drive a newer car (with ABS, traction control and heated seats), watch cable TV, get fat and end up on prescription meds. Go for it if that’s what you want. I don’t care as long as you don’t expect the rest of us to pay for it (and apparently you do).

            I, on the other hand, choose to live in the country with animals (did I mention I’m a PETA member? People Eating Tasty Animals), drive a Jeep Wrangler that I just installed a Borla SS exhaust and new injectors on. Yesterday afternoon I put a roof on the new greenhouse and we’ll building fence for sheep this weekend. When I get done, I’ll have something to show for it along with the experience and satisfaction of having done it.

            If you are missing out on that in favor of fighting dandelions in your manicured lawn, bitching about your neighbor’s new privacy fence at the homeowners’ association and “chilling” in front of your home theater, so be it. I won’t try to stop you from living like that. All I ask from you (and your gov’t minions) is don’t interfere with me and my lifestyle.

          • Clover, deer collisions are not avoided by slowing down 10mph because they typically go like this: You’re 3 feet away from the deer and they dart out in front of you. Then there are the deer that run into the side of people’s vehicles. I generally do not see deer hanging out in the middle of the road because there’s nothing there for them.

            On bumper covers, most of the repairs for holes or other cracked plastic parts I’ve done have been small or in hidden areas. The one on my mazda… damaged by the PO and when an insane driver purposely ran me off the roadway (next to each other) didn’t come out too bad. The paint doesn’t quite match but it’s not noticeable unless I point it out. Filled, sanded, painted, no tears. No more glaring than what’s left by bending metal back into place or fixing a small rust spot.

          • BrentP, I do not need a class in deer. I average seeing them in front of me on or along the road 2 or 3 times a month. Yes you can eliminate more than 90% of the collisions by slowing down. There has probably been 40 times in my lifetime where I was able to stop only a few feet from hitting them. You learn not to drive fast when it gets toward dark or at night. A couple of weeks ago I was at my mom’s and I followed her into town a few seconds behind her. There was a deer way off the side of the road in the field on a full run and there was not much I could do but watch it run in front of my mom. If she was driving fast she would have hit it. There are states that have slower speed limits at night just because of the thousands of accidents running into animals. Deer often stop when crossing the road when they see you coming. Since at night you have limited vision ahead you can not see them until you are 3 or 4 seconds from hitting them. With higher speeds you would never be able to stop in time. There are few accidents where the deer run into the side of your car. If it does happen there would be only minor damage compared with hitting them 30 to 50 mph head on.

            • Clovers, let’s start with a very simple question:

              How about substantiating your claim that “Yes you can eliminate more than 90% of the collisions by slowing down” with, you know, an actual fact or some evidence as opposed to your subjective, non-factual assertion?

              I don’t expect an answer because of course there is no answer – or rather, no factual answer.

              You merely feel that “Yes you can eliminate more than 90% of the collisions by slowing down” and this is sufficient.

              Well, sufficient, for you.

              Here, meanwhile are some facts about deer strikes:

              They are random and unpredictable.

              One often gets no warning before a deer suddenly jumps into the road from the woods. You can’t see him coming. He’s just suddenly there. Sometimes, they run into the side of your vehicle, too – which is about as avoidable as getting T-boned by another car running a stop sign.

              You can hit a deer going 25 MPH – or going 45. It’s true that if you hit one going 45 there will probably be more damage to your vehicle, but it doesn’t mean you won’t hit the deer if you’re going 25.

              Clover logic says, “slow down”! Well, how slow should we slow down? Is it 5 MPH slower than the posted limit? Or 10? What’s the objective criteria?

              Answer: There is none!

              Now, of course, we could all just walk – which would eliminate all deer strikes at a stroke. But most of us have places to be and want to get there in good time. Slowing to a crawl – or to some subjective, pulled-it-out-of-his-ass Cloverite standard of “slow enough” is hardly scientific or even reasonable.

              We could eliminate the problem of trees falling on cars, too, by cutting down every tree within a mile of the nearest car.

              And we could prevent flood damage to cars by moving all roads and all parking lots at least three miles away from the nearest river or ocean.

              Is this reasonable or rational?

              Nope. But it’s certainly Cloverish.

              Clovers believe “safety” is the bestest and most importantest thing ever. And no step is a step too far to ensure we’re all “safe.”

          • Eric you do not know what liberty even is. From what I have heard you say, liberty is to do whatever you feel like as long as you do not hurt others.
            Putting others in danger is hurting others. There is no difference and is like going into DC or your other local city and shooting off a semi automatic with your eyes shut. It is fine as long as no one gets hit. Your actions are the same no matter if someone gets hit or not but you say it is only a bad action if someone gets hit. You say it is fine to drive in a dangerous manner but is not punishable unless you hurt someone which happens far too often.

            • Well, let’s see now:

              “From what I have heard you say, liberty is to do whatever you feel like as long as you do not hurt others.”

              Followed by: “Putting others in danger is hurting others”

              This is what’s called mutually contradictory statements, Clovers.

              If I am not harming others, then by definition I am not putting others in danger.

              And if I am not hurting (that is, causing harm) to others, then why should I not be free to do whatever I feel like doing; that is, live my life as I see fit?

              What you really mean to say is that any action or personal choice of mine that you personally don’t like or disagree with and which you can claim might lead to some generalized, theoretical “harm” is sufficient excuse for you to go running like a teenage girl to your muscle-bound Daddy (the government) to get him to come threaten me with violence on your behalf in order to make you feel “safe” of to satisfy your lust to force others to conform to your way of thinking and acting.

              It’s as simple as this, Clovers. It’s the difference between someone who understands what liberty means and someone who despises the concept and loves its opposite.

              You are a thug and a coward; a pathetic little creature who gets off whining to the government to get it to threaten others who merely wish to be left alone and to live their lives as they see fit – and who have caused you no harm – with violence in order to enforce conformity with your notions of what’s “safe,” your notions of how to live – all of it based on your own subjective Cloverite standard. Which is based on your own limitations. You can’t stand that others may be capable of handling life without your direction, or even driving faster than you feel comfortable driving.

              It’s sad, really.

          • One last comment Eric. You better not ever cause an accident because there is so much evidence against you that you never follow any safety recommendations and laws that you would be thrown in jail for a long time if you hurt someone and sued for everything you got.

            • Well, Clovers, so far so good. I’ve gone 25 years without causing anyone any problems and am if anything more experienced and skilled now than I was then.

              Must really annoy you, sweet Clovers.

              I think that’s really the nut of it. It just enrages you when someone like me passes you. It’s not that I’m driving fast. It’s that I’m driving faster than you feel comfortable driving – and that’s what makes you nuts. And then up boils the sadistic desire to see me punished for doing what you don’t like.

              Never mind that I’m handling my car with skill and competence. Never mind that I haven’t caused you any harm.

              The mere fact that you feel I am driving “too fast” is sufficient.

              I enjoy these vivisection, incidentally. You provide a living example of the cancer that’s eating away at this country.

          • Trollver-

            From Dictionary.com….

            lib-er-ty

            noun

            1. freedom from despotic government or control

            2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence

            3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice

            4. freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint

            5. permission granted to a sailor, especially in the navy, to go ashore

            We’ll focus on 1-4 here; I don’t agree with every libertarian sentiment posted on this website but the opinions expressed in the articles and supportive comments are consistently in line with the definitions listed here, whereas with you and the rest of the Clover Legion it’s always and forevermore restrictions, force, and control placed upon the people around you in pursuit of the illusion of safety. This is the antithesis of liberty.

            I routinely text message while driving. I don’t do it in heavy traffic or while merging on or off the freeway. I’m a licensed pilot and you can’t earn that privilege unless you can demonstrate the ability to do multiple things in the cockpit at one time. So it’s my opinion that if I can properly control an aircraft while simultaneously manipulating an E6-B flight computer and communicating intentions to air traffic control, I can drive a car and use a cell phone.

            Now, “the gubmit” says I’m dangerous. But I’ve personally narrowly avoided being tagged on the road or run over in the crosswalk by I don’t know how many inattentive idiots messing with the radio, eating a bowl of cereal, shaving, you name it, while driving, yet there is no federal push to disable radios while your car is under way. What’s the difference? Phones are devices that promote freedom of communication, which the government wants to restrict. It gives them an excuse.

            Like I said, I’m not one of the pure-as-the-driven-snow libertarians but I can definitely sympathize with people who are fed up being higher-than-average IQ people trying to navigate a world who’s collective IQ seems to be falling like a stone.

            How can you live in a country where your president has just authorized open-ended detainment without cause for any citizen yet you’re concerned that we’re not driving the speed limit? What’s wrong with you man?

            • Thank you, sir – post of the day!

              I especially liked your point about selective bugaboos. You mentioned the current jihad against texting/use of cell phones while fiddling with the radio or some other equally “dangerous” action is generally ignored. Cloveroni is fixated on “drunk driving” (by which he means impaired driving) but rarely mentions other forms of impaired driving, such as elderly people with degraded reflexes and vision, etc.

              Of course, the broader point here is the relentless dumbing-down, the reflexive passing of laws that criminalize everyone as a result of the irresponsible or inept actions of a few (or even just one).

              I’ve come to the conclusion (no malice intended) that Clover and his type are just dumb. They seem unable to follow a logical chain of thought, to grasp a principle and its application generally; to reason.

              They feel and believe – and that’s enough.

              They are the reason why the political discourse of this country has devolved to the level of a not-so-bright 12-year-old girl.

          • Clover, I don’t want to explain this to you again, but I will. We are not concerned with why someone drives badly only that they drive badly.

            In your system every time someone has hit one of my cars or hit me (walking/biking) it’s been perfectly acceptable, a mere “accident”, because they weren’t drunk or otherwise impaired by a cause that’s been officially recognized as dangerous. I reject this premise. It’s a collision caused by their ignorance, carelessness, and/or malice.

            I don’t care if someone is drunk or on the cell phone if they drive well. Because if they drive well it has no effect on me. If they drive poorly the reason they were driving poorly isn’t going to change the negative consequences for me. To steal the theme of the buzzed driving PSA, ‘bad driving is bad driving’.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6VxesU5zzY

            Nobody is ‘just fine’ and cars unbent because someone was just careless or not paying attention or just plain stupid rather than drunk or on the cell phone. Bad driving is bad driving. It is simply nonsensical to single out a couple specific causes of bad driving for very harsh penalties but leave the others with a slap on the wrist. Even worse is teaching people to always look out for the other guy while not keeping themselves focused on the task of driving. It teaches that responsibility is transferred except when drunk, texting, or whatever else gets added to the list where it’s not the other guy’s duty to avoid.

          • Clover you still miss the point. What is a traffic ticket and what is a felony is arbitrary. Because it’s arbitrary it changes over time. crashing into someone while drunk was just an accident 40 years ago. Back then that could ‘happen to anyone’… but now it’s considered deliberate evil doing.

            A sober driver can deliberately kill a bicyclist, say the magic words and might not even get a traffic ticket. A sober driver who exercised bad judgment getting behind the wheel in his current physical condition would get a traffic ticket and maybe lose his driver’s license. But if a driver kills a bicyclist because he exercised bad judgment and got behind the wheel while drunk then there are harsh penalties. It’s absurd. It’s based on emotions, on feelings… that being drunk is some how more horrible than murder (covered with lies) or bad judgment not involving alcohol.

          • Clover, the emotional BS worked on you, it doesn’t work on me. But maybe if I make my point emotionally and personal it will sink in.

            Tell me clover, if this is about risk, why aren’t drivers who brush pass bicyclists charged in a similar fashion?

            Come on clover. These are sober people who on purpose decide that they should give a bicyclist a margin of 6 inches or less. Then when they screw up or the bicyclist doesn’t think someone is going to cut it that close and moves 8 inches to avoid a pothole it’s just an “accident”. Someone is just as dead as if he were hit by someone driving with 0.086 BAC. But in this case it’s just a traffic ticket… maybe. Usually the driver says ‘he swerved right in front of me’ and nothing happens to him for this DECISION.

            So why aren’t brush passing drivers treated the same way as drivers with a higher than arbitrary BAC? They decided to put the bicyclist at risk. Why aren’t they charged for that when they do it? I’ve been brush passed by cops. They chose to put me at risk. I was nearly hit by a police van running a red signal too. But it’s ok to make that choice, anyone could make that mistake… but make a mistake on BAC level… now that’s penalty time for the risk alone.

            Sure there usually isn’t a collision when someone brush passes. Hit from behind is rather rare, but so is being hit by a drunk if one looks at things proportionally. There usually isn’t a collision for drunks too. Especially between 0.05 and 0.10. The actual real collision risk is north of 0.10. 0.08 rarely results in anything.

            As to effect… let’s go to a track. I’ll drink until I am 0.05 and you can be sober. We’ll see who drives better. I’m not even a great driver (not even good on the chart I rate myself on), but I’ll probably out drive you and if not you countless other drivers with 0 BAC. Let’s make it worse for you. I get one of my mustangs with excellent brakes and suspension, you get whatever appliance you drive.

            I want to know clover, why it’s perfectly acceptable to put my life and property at risk so long as the one creating the risk is sober and not texting or whatever the evil of the day is. I’ve been hit by these drivers and I don’t appreciate it. I have a left shoulder which bothers me at times and I feel the idiot in the Bronco that hit me with his side mirror in that shoulder years ago was a contributing factor even though I didn’t feel hurt at the time. Why isn’t that a crime of risk, clover?

            BTW: Germany doesn’t tout itself as a free country and they too are becoming less and less free so your attempt is a failure.

          • I want to respond to eric’s question about the validity of slowing down decreasing the deer accidents by 90%. No that was not a pure scientific analysis but it is a fact that a very high percentage can and often is reduced by slower speeds. If it does not eliminate the accident it can reduce the damage done a lot. The facts that I have is that deer do stop and look at the headlights coming when on the road. The second fact is you have very limited distance of vision at night and it is really reduced when you can not have your brights on. Fact three is that if you are driving fast it would be impossible to stop even with bright headlights on . Here is one of sever charts online that show stopping distance and illumination of headlights. http://www.ou.edu/oupd/nightdr.htm

            Personally I know that I would have hit several deer if I was going as little as 5 mph faster.

            • “No that was not a pure scientific analysis…”

              No, Clovers, it wasn’t “scientific” at all. You just pulled that out of your ass.

              Just like:

              “it is a fact that a very high percentage can and often is reduced by slower speeds.”

              More “facts” pulled out of Clovers’ ass!

              The fact, Clovers, is that reduced night-time visibility (or, in your case, vision) is irrelevant when a deer leaps out of deep woods or on top of you from above.

              This is the reality in the country, Clover. In such cases, it can be broad daylight and you’d never see the deer until it landed on your hood.

              Poor ol’ Clovers….

              You’re like the inbreds on Jerry Springer who are too dumb to realize it would have been better to remain quiet and let people suppose they are morons rather than open their mouths and confirm it.

          • Gosh, Clover,

            You must live in a wonderful world. You seem to be able to afford to buy new cars and do not have to suffer the consequences of not mantaining them. You seem to trade in cars after a few years. Your lack of maintainence does damage your car. But not during the time you own it. I pity the person who buys any car you have driven.

            Unlike yourself, many here cannot afford to buy a new car. They buy used ones, hopefully not owned by someone like you.

            We are able to fix the older more uncomplicated cars, and are able to drive and maintain then for a decade or so. Sure the cars burn more gas. On the other hand, not having five years worth of car payments, high insurance premiums, and mechanic bills will buy enough gas for several years.

            I am curious about you Clover. Please tell us about your charmed life. What do you do for a living? Where do you live? Do you have lots of friends? Which car are you in the process of neglecting at this time. Inquiring minds here might want to know!

            • Clover’s one of the following:

              * Really dumb.
              * Deliberately disruptive (a “troll”).
              * One of those people the government reportedly pays to try to wear down people at liberty-oriented web sites by posting over and over again the same simple talking points, rather than address replies directly, so that eventually people get sick of it and stop posting themselves.

              No matter which category he (they?) falls into I’ve pretty much had my fill. I’ll let one through once in awhile. But otherwise, there’s no point in engaging him on an intellectual level because there’s no intellect to engage.

          • Clover, the two deer that HIT ME, hit behind my headlights (as in t-boned me). One of them was in broad daylight and I’d stopped to let him go twice and blown the horn repeatedly. I was barely doing 5 MPH in my buddy’s “new” used truck he just bought, when this really pretty 8 point buck that was headed back into the woods (so we thought) turned and charged right into the door. The deer collapsed into a heap in the ditch and my buddy jumped out with a framing hammer screaming “I’m gonna’ kill that sonuvabitch!” The deer scrambled and ran back in the woods. Deer 1, Nissan truck door 0 (5 nice dings). Deer are completely unpredicitable and even creeping along won’t stop them from hitting you. So, as usual clover(s) you’re full of B.S.

          • Eric either you have almost no deer in your state or you just like to ignore facts. I have seen hundreds of deer along and on the highway in my lifetime. I know how they act. Yes there is a small percentage that just jump out in front of you but it is very rare. At night they do not commonly jump out and are running. During the daytime they do run more when they have an open field. If you are traveling 70 mph or more at night then I can see where they jump out at you because you have less than a second before you hit them. I was able to stop on the interstate once with a deer in front of me. There is no way I could have done that traveling 75 mph. If you want to ignore facts then go ahead but you do not need to call me stupid or ignorant because you decide to ignore facts.

            • You mean “facts” such as:

              “Yes you can eliminate more than 90% of the collisions by slowing down”.

              Right, Clovers.

              When the deer hit me (note the careful word choice) it literally jumped out of the woods, which run right up to the side of the road in this part of the world – and struck the passenger side front fender/front clip.

              Your premise makes sense if the deer is standing in the road, or by the side of the road – because then it’s true (as a matter of physics) that you’d have more time, if you were moving at a lower speed, to avoid the deer. But how, pray, does one avoid a deer randomly jumping into the road by driving slower? And how slow is slow enough?

              Please, let’s have some facts from Clovers!

              Every single time someone here calls you on your bullshit, instead of of admitting you’re wrong, you just bray on and on like the jackass you are.

          • Ok Eric, you got me. Slowing down does not stop the 1 in a million deer accidents where they hit you from the side. More than 99% of the roads in this country do not have woods right up next to the roadway. If you want to call me as being incorrect because you are bringing out the one in a million cases then good for you.

            • “More than 99% of the roads in this country do not have woods right up next to the roadway”

              Ah!

              More “scientific facts” from Clovers….

              Good to know Clovers has such intimate knowledge of this as well as so many other things.

          • clover, what is it about speed kills types such as you that makes them incapable of understanding the timing of random events?

            No matter what speed you pick there is a timing by which you still end up colliding with the thing that crosses your path. You hit it if you both enter the same point at the same time.

            Speed matters for severity and for when the object stops in your path. When it’s just passing through it’s just timing and only timing if you hit it or not.

            I was going about 18mph on a residential street. I went to change the radio station when an oncoming driver just decides to turn left suddenly right in front of me. Just yanked the wheel, in a gotta turn here move. Had about 5 feet to react to it. Just enough time to move the right foot to the brake. That’s it.

            If I had been going 30mph I would have been past the oncoming driver before he turned. If I had been going 10mph he would have completed the turn before I got there. It’s just timing, pure and simple. You can speed up or slow down and change the timing and either end up in a collision or not.

          • I guess I should not have said anything. Drive whatever you feel like. If you are in an area with higher deer population and want a new car then keep driving fast. I have seen a car that the driver estimated he was driving 50 mph when he hit the deer because he hit it coming over a hill. The bumper was crashed in, the hood was all bent up, the fender was all smashed in, the door was bent up, the windshield was smashed and the airbags were deployed. Needless to say the car since it was not a new one was totaled.

          • brentP, I completely agree with you. If an accident happens and you hit a non stationary object then if you were driving faster you could have avoided that object. Very bright. The only problem with such a decision is that if you drive faster to eliminate that object out of the equation it is very possible there is another object in its place that when you hit it will cause a lot more damage because of your increased spead.

          • First, avoid how? It’s just a question of timing. You can change the timing by changing speed. That’s how you avoid it. You can speed up, you can slow down. The object is moving perpendicular to your path so to avoid what we are looking at is the delta, the difference, the starting value is irrelevant. Changing direction is problematic at any speed. Can only aim BEHIND the crossing object/animal. There isn’t likely any road there.

            As to what ifs, how do you get out of bed in the morning?

          • BrentP, I have no idea what you just said. The only thing I understood was how do I get out of bed. I do it one foot at a time usually. Sometimes both feet.

            • Of course not. Because Clover does not comprehend such things as random events – which is what a deer strike often is. Rate of travel (that is, speed) is not the key consideration. Being in the same place at the same time as the deer is. That can happen just as easily at 25 MPH as at 40 MPH. Certainly, the resultant damage will probably be greater if the speed at impact is higher. But it has no bearing as far as whether the strike is avoidable.

              I suspect, like most Clovers, you live in suburbia.

              Here in the country, most roads are lined by thick woods, often steeply banked (or dropping off) to either side. It is impossible to predict when a deer will suddenly leap into one’s path, or smash into the side of one’s vehicle – or on its roof or hood (a common occurrence here).

              You’ve got this obsession with “speed” – which amounts to, “faster than Clover thinks is appropriate” – a wholly subjective and often irrelevant number plucked right out of Clover’s ass.

              Jut like his “facts” about “90 percent” of all deer strikes being avoidable.

          • Clover(s) if you can’t understand BrentP’s previous post, then you aren’t capable of understanding simple geometry or physics. I have a tremendous amount of experience with deer and I can assure you that they are totally unpredictable. In addition to hunting deer, I shot a lot of deer on state issued kill permits in Virginia for crop damage control. They don’t behave anything like what you’d think when you shine a bright light in their eyes at night. There are many factors at play you seem completely unaware of.

            During the rut deer become practically oblivious to their surroundings (this is when the biggest, oldest and smartest bucks are taken). During hunting season in Tidewater Virginia the deer are run with dogs. A deer being pursued by dogs will not stop for traffic or anything else. In fact during hunting season, deer are under a tremendous amount of pressure even without dogs running them so they behave erratically. The other problem is people with the cloverite mentality have stigmatized deer hunting to the point that there are too many deer in a lot places now. High deer populations increase the incidence of collisions (duhhh). It got so bad around the Appomattox river basin in Colonial Heights, Virginia that the city council was considering hiring professional hunters to cull the herd (God forbid that they open it up to bow hunting).

            One behavior I have seen at night is that deer will frequently attempt to cross the road behind the approaching vehicle’s headlights. Right behind them in fact. The speed of the vehicle has nothing to do with it. I watched a deer collide with the rear step bumper of a truck ahead of me on my way home from work one night. There was a line of cars and we were all running under 50. The deer was standing in the edge of the woods and lept out just as the truck passed. It killed the deer instantly and the guys in the truck drove on. Before I could get turned around to recover the carcass, two rednecks I worked with had already stopped and were loading it in their trunk. Yes Clover(s) I have eaten road kill. Why waste good meat?

            The deer that t-boned my buddy’s truck stopped and turned back each time we stopped. Finally, as the deer was clearly headed back into the sapling pines, we proceeded. The deer turned and charged the door. Explain that, oh great animal psychologist. I have a theory: It was November, the buck was in the rut, saw his own reflection in the door and charged it. If we had been running 90 instead of 45, we would have been at least 5 seconds ahead of that deer coming out of the woods and the “accident” wouldn’t have happened. Instead, my buddy whom had just bought the truck wanted me to drive it to see what I thought about it. He freaked out when the deer stepped out of the woods and told me to stop. So I stopped. Not just slowed down, but stopped, honked and did every thing short of shooting the beast to get it out of our way. That went well, huh?

            Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, the damned deer is going to hit you. Period. That’s all Brent was trying to get through your thick skull.

          • Clover, you are so filled with “what if’s” it’s amazing you can get out bed in the morning. Do you realize the number of things that can kill you every day? The bed itself might not even be safe!

            • The bed isn’t safe! It’s a fact that there are tiny organisms in most beds that can cause everything from asthma attacks to more serious maladies. Why, “we” need to have mattress checks! Or failing that, “we” need a law that mandates every mattress be covered at all times by a hypo-allergenic, washable cover. It is a matter of public health and safety! The children! What about the children…. ?

    • Depends on the car!

      Some, yes. For example, the old Beetle. It’s easy (and usually, cheap) to get parts for them.
      And most American cars of the ’60s and ’70s shared common drivetrain and other functional parts, so it’s usually easy to get things like tune-up items and other necessary maintenance parts.

      If you’re thinking about a particular model of car, let us know. I and others here are pretty knowledgeable about older stuff and can give you some pros and cons, if you like.

      • For example, the old Beetle. It’s easy (and usually, cheap) to get parts for them.

        That’s not what my wife reports. She owned Beetles in El Paso for many years, but eventually (I’m not sure just when) her mechanic warned her that the junk yards were picked pretty clean and she should change cars unless she could live with paying for premium car parts. She switched.

        • True, junkyards have been picked clean. The newest old Beetles (in the U.S.) are now over 30 years old. However, there is a lot of aftermarket support for old Beetles and routine parts such as tune-up items, etc. are still readily available at the auto parts stores in my area.

          Google around and you’ll see that finding parts for old Beetles is pretty easy.

          And once you have a sound one, it shouldn’t need much other than small items like spark plugs, a fan belt, points, etc.

      • I wish I could get any. This is the kinda thing I would do/want to do later in life, after all this college bs. (If America hasn’t fallen by then)
        I appreciate the feedback though 🙂

      • Going Old? You betcha! We are building a comfortable “wagon” using a very old flatbed from age unknown Ford with many other car/truck parts in order to travel around county behind our two mules! (First trip planned for WalMart with local media notified). We plan to have plenty of cash on hand in order to post bail when the police staters decide to take us down, oh well….should be a blast. Keep up the good work Eric!

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