Lately I've been finding myself browsing the forums of the AACA.
|Their new logo is much snazzier and appealing than their old one.|
That's the Antique Automobile Club of America.
|Their old logo; lots of Duryeas cruising the streets.|
Would anyone under 85 have any interest with that logo?
In their general forum section a question was posed, "How can a young broke guy get started in the old car hobby?" The guys on the forum were full of helpful suggestions.
The kid didn't have a garage or even covered parking, and no real place to work on his car.
In this situation it doesn't pay to get in over your head.
In reality that's liable to cost you dearly.
So it makes sense to get involved with a car and situation that is likely to have a favorable outcome.
Car Craft had a memorable issue that proclaimed on the cover: Freeway Flyers; Build 'Em!"
The article highlighted performance bargains in older model lines that were outstanding in their day, and still offered opportunities to enjoy and augment their performance. At attainable prices. We are talking Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, even Corvette!
They weren't addressing late '60's and early '70's muscle car classics, they were talking about the late '80's and '90's descendants of these cars. some direct descendants like the Pony cars, some familial, like the GM A body intermediates which no longer offered performance variants.
But they are all V8 front engine, rear wheel drive designs. The classic lay out. With...
Attainable prices.! That's the whole thing.
The authors were also not advocating buying some clapped out, rusted, wrecked car with a beat motor. Instead they recommended good running cars in good overall condition. With good bodywork, paint, interiors, and good running modern mechanicals. Something that you could do a little wrenching on to improve, but still be driving immediately.
Did you notice how many times I used the word "good"?
That made a lot of sense.
If the choice is between dream or do, I choose to do.
This is along the advice that I would offer this kid. There would have to be some adjustments since in this case he wants a vintage car, not a performance car. A '90's car doesn't really fill that vintage vibe.
But he has to find an affordable vintage car in running and hopefully presentable condition. Something that will not commit him to an extensive rebuilding project - at least not right away!
No sense in getting involved with a project car that needs a lot of work, no matter how cheap, or even free!
The best of intentions cannot compensate for a lack of resources. You can consider this sentence the most concise and important advice that you will ever read.
Every experienced hobbyist knows that in their heart, but we've all violated that old truism. Sometimes over and over again.
Is it realistic for a young person with few resources available to get started in the vintage car game?
The idea that a young person might be living with an old unreliable car that needs constant repair and attention isn't too far from what many, if not most, of us experienced in our youth. I know that I drove old cars that were well along into their service lives and weren't long for this world.
Yet even then there were guys that bought a specific car that they wanted, and they held onto it for many, many, years. I've mentioned that this turned out to be a winning strategy for some.
This was back in the early 1970's. The cars that I was fooling with were late 1950's and early to mid 1960's models.
Cars that were not really that old, some less than twenty years old. Flash forward to Today, and that would be cars from the new Millennia, post 2000! Where did all those years go?
Are cars of this age, vintage cars? Yes and no. While they are quickly approaching the 25 year old standard of collectibility, I don't think that is what that young guy was looking for.
|Here you go, a straight complete mid 50's more door Pontiac.|
I would recommend late 1950's or an early 60's car, something simple. A full sized base model Chevy or Ford, with a straight six and maybe a manual transmission. Or a compact, like a Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant, or Chevy Nova. A low option car with a lot less to go wrong. There were lots of simple, basic, Dodges, Plymouths, Impalas, Galaxies, and Buicks. You are probably going to have to settle for a more door. Pick up trucks are another great choice. Parts would have to be readily available and affordable.
|Vintage pick ups are simple, and they retain their utility and value.|
I was surprised to find that the CCCA forums had several low buck build threads that were posted by young guys. They featured situations like freeing up and starting an engine that hadn't been fired in 10-20 years. With lot's of low buck, greasy hand tactics to get the engine running. The cars were '50's sedans that had been sitting under some type of shelter, or weather protection, so they weren't rusty wrecks. These threads would not have seemed out of place on the HAMB!
I won't say that everything is impossible, it just takes a lot of commitment and the willingness to do the hard work. It also takes finding the right car. Which is a sizable hurdle in itself. Perhaps the greatest hurdle.
I registered on the forum so that I could contribute comments, and even sent in my money to join the club. What has surprised me has been a pretty open and welcoming attitude by posters on the forums. I kind of expected a bunch of snooty old farts that wouldn't give the time of day to someone with a '60s or '70s car, but I've been pleasantly surprised. What is really interesting is that the forum is set up with a lot of feedback for the commentors. You receive notifications on comments that were included in later responses. They also give you points and awards for participation!
I admit that I find that kind of feedback useful and fun. I shared that I had my own blog and that I was used to talking a lot. That I did not like leaving simple one sentence responses, or a thumbs up emoji. In reality I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts. I am happy to start a discussion and find that others enjoy my contributions. That's the only pay off that I receive for the work of producing this blog.
I hope that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and I'm very thankful for the people that take a few minutes out of their day to read my ramblings.