QOTD: Would You Daily a Classic?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd would you daily a classic

It’s a car-related desire most gearheads have had at some point in their driving years: holding the keys to a classic car. Whether that takes the form of a ’58 Impala, a flathead Ford, or the Gentleman Jim shown above, a good many of us have harbored a desire to own a vintage automobile.

Taking the thing out for a weekend cruise is a lot different than living with it on a daily basis, though. Here is today’s question: would you daily a classic?

For this exercise, we won’t place an exact year on the term “classic”; much like art, most of us simply know a classic when we see it. Additionally, let’s assume you’ll be dailying this thing either in a year-round sunny climate or during the warm months if you habitate in the snow belt.

Classic vehicles have their good and bad points. An example on the negative side of the ledger are, in fact, points. Most drivers today would have no idea how to set the points on an old ignition system, let alone operate a manual choke or properly work the throttle on a carbureted engine while trying to start the thing. On the other hand, while maintenance is a heckuva lot more frequent, most actual repairs can be handled with a BFH and good set of pliers.

You’ll be giving up creature comforts, too. Be sure to charge up your smartphone before leaving the house, as standard USB ports in a classic car are as rare as a drama-free Brexit. Cupholders will likely be AWOL, the glovebox made out of cardboard, and there’s a good chance of horsehair in the seats. The flip side of this is a refreshing simplicity; freed from the incessant beeps and bloops of nannies on a modern car, one can get back to the purity of simply driving.

Restomods don’t count, so don’t even think about it. A pure, unadulterated classic – would it ever be your daily?

[Image: seller]

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  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on Mar 20, 2019

    Back in the early aughts, my wife daily drove a '81 Malibu station wagon. It was actually reliable once I replaced the 305 with...another 305 ;) And fixed the burning transmission fluid problem - a bad vacuum sensor seal. Only thing I ever had to replace was the starter, which was like a 20 minute job and a $75 part. And for a while I daily drove my '86 Monte Carlo SS but the 355 was too much engine for the car. Rain was especially dangerous; making it feel like the rear end wanted to always swap locations with the front. Gas mileage was actually better than the stock 305, where the previous owner pulled the computer connection from the carb, making it go full rich all the time - derp!

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Oct 20, 2020

    I've had my 1989 Mustang GT convertible for 2 years now and I could probably daily it if I had to (once I get the top and windows to seal correctly first). But I wouldn't really want to. Having taken large part of it apart and/or seeing how it's put together, the protection in todays cars is obviously magnitudes better. With all the distracted driving today thanks to mobile phone use, even driving defensively is no safe bet. Plus, being spoiled with some solid newer cars (17 Golf for one) the wet noodle flex of the chassis (worsened by being a convertible) is not endearing for long stretches of time, neither is the lack of suspension tuning beyond "stiff springs, big (for the time) tires". Time and progress march on, a 40 year old design is just that, no matter how recently it was built. I enjoy my Mustang as an occasional throwback to my youth, riding around in cars (lots of Fords) from the 80's and early 90's. But everyday use would become tedious.

  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004
  • Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro processors...in today's vehicles?
  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.