By on March 19, 2019

Image: 1975 GMC SIERRA CLASSIC 1500 GENTLEMAN JIM

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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121 Comments on “QOTD: Would You Daily a Classic?...”


  • avatar
    jatz

    Absolutely not. Not even ’70s-’80s Volvos.

    Brakes and collision protection.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Yeah well who cares about old (yawn) Volvos? What’s at issue is classics that are fun to drive, maybe even a rush or exhilarating..

      Manual trans, manual steer, and especially manual ABS. Think 1st gen MR2, ’87 5.0 Mustang notch, or even Lotus Esprit. The mind boggles…

      Yeah the trade off would be ultimate safety, survival, etc, blah, blah, blah, no one lives forever.

      So it has to be worth it, no? A Volvo?

      no

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        I had SO hoped you’d agree with me.

        Where are the damn tissues when you really need one?!

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “Manual trans, manual steer, and especially manual ABS. Think 1st gen MR2, ’87 5.0 Mustang notch, or even Lotus Esprit. The mind boggles…”

        Careful, this could go either way…you just described my 1992 Saturn SL Which come to think of it, I would daily.

        • 0 avatar
          ScarecrowRepair

          Drove a 1986 MR2 for 29 years. Only the last 5 or so were a headache of overheating repairs. I’d do it again, if I could get a new one.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          My ’99 SL was the same way.

          • 0 avatar

            For a moment I thought you had a secret dalliance with an R129 SL.

            I was like whaaaat.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Nahh, Corey, you know better. It was a Saturn, and boy did Saturn know how to build a base model back then. I loved it for its simplicity. All it needed was the steel wheels painted silver with a center cap instead of the luxurious plastic wheel covers.

          • 0 avatar

            My sister had a 95 SL, and that thing was really something. It ran fine, but there was simply -no- refinement.

            I recall pressing the defrost button on the center stack, and the whole thing flexing left and right.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yep. I had a lady who carpooled with me while I had it, and I remember apologizing for the interior rattles lol.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            I drove a selection of Saturn SLs and find no need to apologize. It was during my 100 miles per day commute days. O

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            Has a bunch of SLs that I liked a lot. Too new to be classic but became high mileage in short order. Not nearly as happy with the vue after Saturn became undercover Opels.

            I drove my 57 Chevy for 2-3 years starting about 2005. Enjoyed it but the gas mileage reeked. 283s and powerglides are not mileage champs.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Add me to the list of old-Saturn respecters. If GM had kept up with it, they would still have a viable small car with a good reputation IMO. These little buggers can rack up some serious miles, as long as the oil is kept topped off. The earliest cars had the best styling hands down, I like the wagons especially.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yes, at the time I had the ’99, my commute was 87 miles each way. That was right around the time that gas got outrageously high for a while. By 165k, I could tell it was going to need some work to continue to be reliable, and since I no longer had that long commute, I elected to sell the Saturn.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Even the well-liked 90’s models have questionable safety, ever seen what a Yaris or Renault can do to a 940?

      Still, I daily drove a few of them til the cars and parts became scarce. Even the turbos werent exactly fun tbh.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Safety? I drove a ’65 Imperial Crown daily for two years. I’d pity the poor shlub who hit it, might even attend his (closed casket) funeral.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    No reason to compromise and do it.

    Even in the summer there’s plenty of rainy days where I’d feel less than confident driving a 4000+ lb classic with no safety equipment on skinny tires with drum brakes. Also for me personally, putting 100+ miles a day on an old car getting low teens MPG or worse would be unnecessary stress on machine and wallet.

    Despite the generally pessimistic mood around here about the state of the auto industry, there’s plenty of newer cars that can provide a thrill as well, while saving the classic for sunny days and cruising.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    No, and that’s the problem with owning a classic. I don’t have the time, money, or space to keep a delicate car around that I’m not going to use daily.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    My classic isn’t quite so classic.

    Like most 80s cars, my GTI has a lot of electronics.

    I enjoy driving it, and have considered making it my daily driver. Of course, that means the original paint would have to deal with the weather a lot more.

    It’s “small” 14″ wheels are a little overmatched by many horribly rough and potholed roads.

    There is no A/C. I’d miss that in the summer.

    But it’s well-maintained, everything works and it only has 105k, lots of life left.

    My last few cars have required relatively little maintenance or repairs. The GTI might do as well, but likely not…it’s 30 years old, and much, most of it, is original.

    For now, I’ll keep it garaged, just a Sunday driver. However, when I retire, I might make it my daily driver. I won’t drive for work, will drive fewer miles, and I’ll enjoy them more.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “many horribly rough and potholed roads”

      That’s one of the huge differences in the conditions prevailing today versus the era in which classics were manufactured.

      We need input from someone familiar with vehicles from rougher lands that have always endured roads like those to which we’ve descended.

      Calling Gtem…

      Calling Gtem…

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I’d argue a lot of the older cars are actually a BETTER fit for our current potholed roads than a lot of newer cars, sedans with thin sidewall tires and overly stiff suspensions, etc. Give me an old mid 80s GM B-body and I’ll gladly bomb down our crappy urban roads in it. The best thing is, suspension parts for these things are still readily available and dirt cheap. Apples and oranges talking about a GTI I realize, but even that GTI on ’14s would have more sidewall to cushion against bad roads than a lot of sporty sedans/hatchbacks today.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          Yeah, but I was expecting Russian brands or Toyotas we don’t get here :-(

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            The thing with Russian cars is that they ride immensely well (a Volga rides notably softer than a Panther platform Ford), but need the front end rebuilt every spring. That is equal parts very poor quality of replacement parts and truly horrendous road conditions. Most Westerners that have been in parts of the equatorial third world still wouldn’t have seen anything approaching how bad roads are in rural Russia. The Golden Age Toyotas hold up vastly better, but don’t ride quite as nice (handle infinitely better), and are pricier to buy parts for. Although its all relative, Toyota parts are absolutely everywhere from good quality to used (constant supply from Japan), to aftermarket Russian-made bushings, etc and very cheap by our standards, but Lada parts are cheaper still.

            There is actually a Russian company trying to break out into the international and US market for aftermarket replacement bushings with their polyurethane line of products:
            https://siberianbushing.com/

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          This. The lack of sidewall is one of the few knocks on my Fiesta. It has the same size rims (17) as my F150. If I keep it at the end of the lease my first mod is going to be a set of 16 inch Contour SVT rims. I’d go smaller, but the profile of the car really needs a sizable rim. 16s seem to be a decent trade.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Simple answer -NO.

    I have the “luxury” of being able to step back into time with various years – 2016, 2014, 2002, 1995, 1992, 1972. Once at 1995 and back, the differences in braking and structural integrity become readily apparent, and on the oldest, scarily so.

    But on the flip side there is something pretty cool driving a 25 year old car that looks like it is two years old….

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      I agree, it IS cool driving a 30-yr old car that looks 5 years old!

      At 2200 lbs, I admit I’m at a disadvantage in a collision. But I have more protection than a motorcycle. And unlike a 65 Mustang six-cylinder with manual brakes, my car is easy to drive in today’s traffic. I’d say most properly cars that were ‘good cars’ do fine in modern traffic, and any car after the mid-80s (but many of them were slow..that 2.5 liter Celebrity or 240D will require patience…)

      You do give up crashworthiness and you lose your airbags (but you’ll never have to worry about an unintended air bag deployment)

  • avatar

    About 20 years ago I thought that, yes, I would DD a “classic” – at time meaning something from the late 60s to 70s (think 68 Mustang, 69 Charger, et al) – especially if it was totally restored and in pristine condition. I figured, at the time, I could keep it running, take good care of it and drive it til it drops. I was of the mindset that it’s my money, my car and just because it would be considered a “classic” by some I wouldn’t own it if I couldn’t drive it on a daily basis. Nowadays, not so much. I’m of an age and financial standing that I could not afford to do what I would have 20 years back. (To which many breathe a sigh of relief.)

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I did but under duress.

    Back in September 2018 I was the cause of a fender bender for my wife’s vehicle. I didn’t have rental car reimbursement (do now) and so Momma got the Highlander for her use (and our kids) while I decided to daily my 1967 Mustang while the repairs were being completed (late October.)

    There’s a huge difference between driving to the golf course a few time a month and daily driving 60 miles.

    I came away with a list of items to address as soon as the weather warms up.

  • avatar
    mikey

    My rust free 05 Mustang GT convertible M.T could hardly be considered a classic. However unmolested 5th generation Mustangs with low KLM’s are quite rare in these parts.

    Early November till April the car is covered and parked in my garage. Come April I will drive the GT on a regular basis, but not as a D.D.. Most of my daily driving, is stop and go, in and out of parking lots, running errands etc. For those purposes I drive my 15 EB. The stick in 05 can be a PITA in the city. The 15 has picked up some nasty door dings. Last fall somebody backed into the rear 1/4 …big fix.

    When I really feel like a nice quiet country drive the 05 comes out ..When I’m done it goes back into the garage.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I would daily drive anything with electric fuel injection (save for things with known FI problems like the 318 Imperial). Carburetors are strictly for the Dairy Queen car.

    I’ve thought about getting back into “old” cars once I’m done with my Kia, but the pull of sub 5.5-second 0-60 times is very strong.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      True. Anything with a carburetor means seeking out rare and expensive ethanol-free gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Some places it just doesn’t exist…

        Says this carbureted vehicle owner. I’ve switched to an electronic ignition but TBI is very high on my list.

        Had the carb rebuilt in 2013, I’ve already got fuel leaks that would make the Exxon Valdez blush in shame.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        E0 is plentiful for me so carbs don’t bother me.

        I daily drove a 1969 Dodge Coronet convertible for a long time. Traded that off for a 427 Cobra replica. If the Cobra had A/C or a top for when it rains I could DD that here. Not in the winter though. It is a royal pain in the snow. Especially fresh snow.

        I don’t live in a big city and when I get to town from the country roads I don’t have far to go and traffic is light. The only time I am around much traffic is 3 miles on the four lane.

        There are lots I would DD here, but I would draw the line at a 4 pot Mustang II or something on the high end of the price scale and not replaceable like a C Type. A genuine 289FIA or 427S/C Cobra, sure if insurance would let me. Repro parts are available for them.

        I am also comfortable riding the motorcycle to work.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      TBI upgrade kit. some of them are even “self-tuning” now.

    • 0 avatar

      This. Carbs and R12 refrigerant aren’t worth the hassle to me. I’d have a nice ’87 Fifth Avenue otherwise.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    yes. If I win the powerball, the first thing I would do is go to Mecum or Barret-Jackson and buy one of those completely original (or numbers-matching) million dollar Hemi ‘Cudas or Boss 429s, then- assuming they have fluids in them- watch those Boomers go catatonic as I drive the thing away.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I wouldn’t drive a classic daily but I do think that contributes to the appeal of the new Dodge Challenger. You have a car that looks classic with modern amenities. It’s about as close to a restomod as you can get from the factory. But I am sure I would be afflicted with the same concern with a Challenger as I would about a classic (worrying about door dings, where to park it, driving in bad weather, etc).

    I just need to pull the trigger and get a Challenger.

  • avatar

    If I were SUPER rich, yes.

    I owned a 1969 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 for 8 years as a weekender and put about 14,000 miles on it. If I were really rich, I would have one as a regular driver, or its 2 seater version the 365 GTC. It came standard with A/C, PS, PB, 4 discs, PW, P mirrors, AM-FM w/P antenna, tilt/telescope wheel, electric rear defroster, 3 point belts at all 4 seats, and self leveling rear suspension. Mine was totally drivable and good for trips with a 12.5 cu. ft. trunk. It was good for 0-60 under 8 seconds and about 150 mph top. It felt the same at 100-120 that it did at 70-80. Aerodynamics were amazing in that you could open 1 or both side windows at 80 mph with no buffeting. When new the famous writer/author Karl Ludvigsen called it “The Magnificent GT”.

    The downsides were 11-14 mpg and expensive service for the things I didn’t want to do myself.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      “The downsides were 11-14 mpg and expensive service for the things I didn’t want to do myself.”

      Heck man that describes my 93 Land Cruiser which would also be a classic but nowhere near as cool.

      • 0 avatar

        And realistically, I would park it during Michigan winters.

        Mine stood out at some Ferrari and other various shows being in the original color – Giallo Fly. I originally thought the almost-electric yellow would be out of place on that big 2+2 (196″ long), but it was fine. Red worked very badly on that model and the best ones were silver blues or silver greys more in keeping with the status as an executive GT. In an F show in Toronto, I met a VERY rich guy who lived in Monaco, owned part of a bank there, and left his 365 GT 2+2 in Toronto as his daily driver on visits.

        Earlier Land Cruisers are great classics.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Now I hate you! :)

      Actually one of 3 F cars I would like to own, especially a Spyder. The others being the original pontoon Testarossa and the F-40.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    YES. Well, maybe… These days almost everything can be restored to “like new” condition. You don’t even need to go to the junk yard anymore. Everything can be ordered new. I read somewhere that you could now order every single part new and build yourself a 68 Mustang from the ground up. If I had a classic that could be restored without massive amounts of fabrication then yes. If I had a rare classic that is not covered in a Year One type of catalog then no.

  • avatar
    lastwgn

    I have and I would. Summers of 2011, 12 and 13 I daily drove a 1983 Mazda RX-7 in the Twin Cities. Downtown to work every day. Bought it from its original owner in 2010 with 54,000 miles. It had 74,000 miles on it in October 2013 when I, regrettably, needed to sell it. No A/C, no cupholders, AM/FM radio with cassette. Loved every single mile.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    My favorite subject till the end…no rest-mods…crap.

    I have been giving strong consideration to finding an unmolested last of the square body K5’s to drive as a DD once my Suburban is done. These came with all the modern amenities sans airbags; AC, disc brakes and the like.

    Side note…this is where the resto mod shines. You can address all of the things that have been mentioned above..cup holders, disk brakes, AC, good seat belts, fuel injection, bucket seats so on and so forth. I dropped off my 57′ Saturday to have the LS swap done and am super excited for the results. I drove it down to the shop 61 miles and was thinking the whole time this is my last carburetor and I am done with the ‘stink’ that comes from a stubborn Edelbrock…

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My wife would love to rock a “square” Suburban 4×4 restored to as new and selectively resto-modded.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’ve honed in on this late 80s-mid 90s era as the optimum mix of driving enjoyment/aesthetics/affordability/driveability for me. Give me a clean Chevy GMT400 Z71 with a floor-shifted t-case and I’ll be happy to drive it for the next several decades, the parts support is there to make it happen. Same applies to my ’96 4Runner Limited. I love the looks, it’s commendably reliable, I think nothing of hopping in it and driving a straight shot for 15 hours down to the Outer Banks to wheel around on the beaches there. The key is preserving these vehicles from rust.

      • 0 avatar
        d4rksabre

        I agree with this 100%. GMT400s are a great choice. In fact, I think trucks in general are the best option if you want to daily a classic. You can still get parts for pretty much any truck going back many decades.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Forget the purist, some “mods” just have to be done. The “Mod” stands for Modern, btw. I’m hoarding a couple “Donor” trucks (around ’05s) for future (drivetrain) resto-mod projects into ’60s classics.

      One’s a 6.0 Chevy 2500 and the other a 4.6 V8 F-150. Base trucks, around 150K miles. Besides Fuel Injection, I’m considering using their complete emissions too.

      TPI might be debatable, but changing the rear-end gearing should not. ’70s through ’90s Muscle cars came with lame grandma ratios. Some came without Limited Slip also.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        As a Ford guy, the problem with the 4.6 in a classic body is that it is as wide as a 460…it just won’t fit in anything and frankly, the power levels make the expense of getting it to fit (cutting out the shock towers on pretty much any old Ford and converting to a Mustang II type frontend) not even close to worth it. Now the new 5.0, thats a maybe. For me, I want a 3.5 Ecoboost in a Fox Body Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. It is wide, and tall and I have no clue if it would fit (I assume getting creative with the Turbos would be a minimum), but I’d do it.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I wouldn’t bother going with a Modular for a resto-mod. Coyote, maybe, if it’s one of the bigger BoF Torino-based cars (no shock towers.)

          I occasionally kick around the idea of finding a decent ’72 Montego and dropping in a Windsor with Edelbrock PFI.

          (yes, a Montego. the ’72 bears strong resemblance to the ’71-’73 Cougars I like, is not nearly as desirable to collectors, and is from the year before the advent of gigantic bumpers so it doesn’t look like total a$$.)

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            If I were to do an engine swap on my 67 I’d be more than happy with a 302 FI Windsor at mid/late 80s Fox body specs. I’m not looking to win races, Daddy just wants to cruise.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            The 7.3L Godzilla is going to be a godsend for Ford guys’ engine swaps

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Correct, but I’ve got a ’69 Cougar XR7 barn find, original 2 barrel 351W needs rebuilding, and it’ll take a big block, except I’ve got a fuel injected 460 donor F-350 also.

            I need to hoard a 4.6 V8 anyway as I might need it for my current DD pickup with high miles, love that truck. Great engines, about bulletproof, although not huge power. I’ve got 2 spares now that you can get those trucks, beat or high miles, for almost nothing since they made millions in the era, not counting non-pickup 4.6 V8s.

            The Holy Grail is the 4.6 DOHC supercharged, all forged internals, pulley and tuned for an easy 500hp/500tq, mated to the 6-speed Tremec.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Denvermike…the guy in the springs doing my LS swap has a 55 Pontiac 2 dr post with a junkyard 6.0. The car itself is patina’d, but he did power bucket seats, AC, cruise control, & a roll cage because….he put a single turbo on the 6.0 along with some head work etc but turns 900 HP…it’s one of his DD’s.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    An FJ40 or Jeep CJ sure. There is a Jeep mechanic on the road between home and work just in case.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Daily drove 2 CJ7’s and a Scrambler in the 90’s during high school/college. They weren’t super old at the time but they make great everyday rigs. I care little about comfort/convenience as opposed to fun. Would I daily one today? ABSOLUTELY. Arguably it’s easier these days since parts availability was sketchy in pre-internet West TN. Jeeps were never popular there and the boneyards were bare. Now, I can overnight whatever I need with a click and I can walk to work if needed.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Would I “daily”? The English language is on life support.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Given that the out was given to not have to drive the classic through slush and salt and such, absolutely. Several years back, I spent a summer commuting on a 30-year old motorcycle as often as possible – considering my current commute is 10km one way, the downsides of an older car wouldn’t be a big deal.

    That said, I’d want to keep my current, modern car as backup, and without a second parking spot, a second car is infeasible (to say nothing of an over-active condo management company who wouldn’t tolerate a vehicle being tinkered on).

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Classic is seen for the most part as 25 years or older (until you hit “antique” which is more pre-war). I don’t think you give up much with respect to drivability with that era. I actually looked for a 91-94 SE-R to daily but couldn’t find one that wasn’t beat to hades. I leased the Fiesta to give myself 2 more years. Add to that the SC 3/400, 300Z, and a host of others from that era that are on my radar. Additionally I am considering an outrageously built third gen Camaro with T Tops, but that car would be LS swapped and have some sort of cage so I don’t count it but anything from about 88ish on that has port fuel injection (or GM TBI…It was so simple) I’d have no issue dailying.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      With respect to antiques, I would absolutely Daily a Duesenberg SJ or a Cord 810 though. I have a big enough parking lot for the Duesenberg at work.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        My wife likes the Auburn 851 Speedster. Actually looked at the Glen Prey (sp?) versions before kids came along.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I’d daily that too along with pretty much any ACD product. I am not generally a pre war car guy, but those cars are probably the most special vehicles this country ever built. Sadly they are all likely to remain well out of my price range.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            They had some style back then, for sure.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Art – I like you pre-war choices, and I would add most Packard 8s to your list, as I’m told they drive pretty nicely and reliably. On the foreign front, a BMW 327/28 would work and actually get pretty ok mpg as well.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      If that’s the case, I already daily a classic, or close to it (the model year was 24 years ago, but it was built/sold in the previous calendar year).

  • avatar
    gtem

    My single hangup about a “classic” is I wouldn’t drive it year round to keep it out of the salt. Otherwise, absolutely, would love to. The only other constraint would be child-ferrying. If I had to take kids to daycare or school, I would prefer to be in our Town and Country. Occasional rides? No problem.

    I commuted in two different ’93-’97 Rangers over the last two summers which in terms of handling, comfort, and safety are basically in the same vein as a “classic” car. The highway bit could get a bit tiresome I’ll admit, but for the most part I genuinely enjoyed it. They were jarring but very sturdy over the worst roads as well. I thought nothing of popping a wheel over the curb one time when I underestimated the turning radius on a U-turn once.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      93 = over 25 years = Classic. A 93 Ranger was my first new vehicle. 2.3 with a stick. Strangely I don’t really miss it but I miss the 88 it replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        It’s hard to accept that haha, there are now cars that are newer than me that I remember being new as a child that are considered classics. Makes me feel old!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Point taken on the salt though. Even the 90’s metal I gravitate towards I wouldnt want to subject to salt, let alone the older stuff that rusted without much help.

  • avatar
    DougD

    I occasionally DD my 63 VW to work, no way I’d do it every day. With only 40hp on tap and drum brakes I have to be extremely attentive on the highway, so I tend to take the back route and enjoy more of the drive. Afternoon heat with no AC really sucks, as do the entitled ladies in large white SUVs making gestures of impatience at the slow old car that can’t get out of their way fast enough.
    Old Beetles have great parts availability, but there’s always a day or two wait to get the parts. That alone is a good reason to not DD a classic.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    From 2000 to about 2010 my 1966 Chrysler 2-door hardtop was my summer DD. I drove it everywhere, rain or shine. I did swap the points for electronic ignition conversion (so simple there’s little excuse not to) and I swapped the front drum brakes for a disc setup from a 1973 Chrysler.

    I did always have another vehicle (van or pickup) as a backup, and to haul stuff that was too bulky or grimy to put in my Chrysler.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    No. I think that ownership of a truly classic car comes with a kind of responsibility – you’re taking care of something special and irreplaceable. Think about it – what if you were driving a numbers-matching ’69 Boss Mustang to work, and some weed-vaping uninsured moron in a clapped-out Kia took it out? Assuming you survive – and given that classic cars aren’t exactly crashworthy, that’s a real consideration here – that almost becomes a tragedy.

    Nope. I’d take it out on weekends, and maybe occasionally during the week, but if I had the money for a true classic, I could swing a Mercedes S-class AMG for a daily driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Agreed. My car’s purpose is to help live my life, and while I take care of it, it does get beat up sometimes. If I can’t throw a muddy bike in it, I’m not interested. And I don’t want to worry about some moron door-dinging me in the parking lot.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    YES, in a heartbeat with some conditions applied. I mentioned above that a Jeep CJ was and still would be a great candidate. Id want something with the right blend of desirable but common enough to have good parts availability and not be irreplaceable: CJ5/7, Plymouth Duster, Chevy Nova, GM G-body, Dodge W/D series, Ramcharger, erc…yes. No ‘68-‘70 Chargers, nothing show quality, nothing that’s too over the top.

    This is also where it makes sense to have a $3-5K old lady bought cammarollaccord stashed down the street as a backup..

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    It all comes down to “Theory vs. Reality” and which classic you would like to apply that theory to…
    In my mind, the theory of DD’ing an mid-60s Rivera, Electra 225 or a late 60s/early 70s fuselage Chrysler is very appealing.
    However, reality quickly comes crashing in. Maintenance, reliability, and storage of a reliable modern car while you DD your classic are all things your theory/dream don’t want to take into account.
    You would really need some disposable income to drag that theory/dream into reality. And at that point does your classic need to be a DD?

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      It helps if you’re mechanically inclined, as opposed to being at the mercy of a mechanic. I bought my ’66 Chrysler for $1800 when I was less than a year out of school. It needed the brake booster replaced, lower balljoints replaced and the cylinder heads freshened-up. I did the first two jobs with help from my dad. We also pulled the heads, sent them off to the machine shop, then reinstalled them ourselves. It also needed a carb, but my dad had a good used replacement sitting on the shelf. My “reliable modern car” at that time was a 13 year old GMC van, which I also did all the wrenching on.

  • avatar
    Buckwheat

    One of the locals drove his ’57 Chevy 210 two door sedan to work nearly every day for 40+ years, even through MN winters. Steel wheels with snow tires in winter, Cragars and fat tires in the summer. It rusted repeatedly, and he repaired it repeatedly. No big deal apparently.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It depends on the classic, and it depends on parts availability. I’d have to have a newer car too in case if the old car goes down.

    My idea would be to take one of the many cheap mundane sedans (Falcon, Valiant, Corvair), re enforce the middle a little bit to make it safer, better brakes and what not to to make it vaguely safe, and some minor hp upgrades. It’d have to be within a 12 second 0-60 too, so no diesel Benz.

    I would never drive, and probably never own anything that requires super obscure parts. I dont mind working on cars occasionally but after digging up a one year only fuel line for a Volvo (btw thanks for using cheap plastic lines instead of rubber and clamps), I dont have much patience for part hunting.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yeah, I learned that lesson with my 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D and 1986 (one-year-only powertrain) Isuzu Trooper. At least not as a daily driver. I better have a backup (and at the time, I did, a 1991 Tempo which saved the day numerous times when one of those vehicles had to sit for weeks waiting on a part from Mars or something).

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        But 300Ds are one of the bestest most reliable luxurious cars in the world! They drive them in Africa all the time! How could you have a problem with it!?

        /s, seriously I dont get those cars other than they look nice. They might work in the city if your budgets high enough.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Yeah, I learned that they were not all they were cracked up to be. Mine was just like any other old used car, except the fuel it used and the parts to keep it going were more expensive.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I have in the past (drove a 1978 Mercury for over a year in the mid 00s), and some would say I do now, so I dont see an issue with it in principle.

    But, there is a big difference between a 1978 Mercury and a 1948 Dodge. If it’s that old, and MUST be 100% stock (no electronic ignition even), then probably not unless I was commuting less than, say, 20 miles a day.

    Safety, reliability, and comfort/convenience is less important to me as I am single with no kids. If I had a couple of kids and a “partner” who wasnt as familiar with vehicles as I am, yeah, I’d like to have something fairly new comparatively.

    As an example, I wouldn’t send my car-inept husband and two kids off in a 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook and hope for the best, that’s for sure. We may all ride in it on a Sunday afternoon to go get ice cream, but to work/school during the week? Probably not.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think some people are confusing “classic” with “nice old car.”

    A ’69 Boss Mustang, ’63 Corvette split window coupe or mint ’57 Chevy is a classic. A ’70s Jeep CJ or well-preserved mid-’70s Impala is a nice old car.

    Put differently: if you’re driving to the office and the weather forecast says “expect hail this afternoon,” would you rather drive your ’63 ‘Vette split window coupe, or the ’75 Impala?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I believe the terms are interchangeable. A 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook is still a classic, even if it’s not as special as a Hemi ‘Cuda.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Perhaps, but I think that’s mainly due to its’ age. Anything that old that’s still running needs to be preserved.

        To me, a classic needs to be:
        1) Rare
        2) A vehicle that was unique in some way and influenced the design of other vehicles.
        3) Something that’s inordinately valuable because of the first two factors.

        Therefore…a ’63 Corvette is a classic. A ’63 Nova (or was it the Chevy II?) isn’t, unless it’s some kind of rare performance model.

        A ’71 Hemi Cuda is a classic. A ’71 Satellite isn’t.

        And so on.

        Might be an interesting QOTD – what makes a classic?

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          I like (some) new cars; I like (some) old cars. I like buying them, I (sometimes) like selling them, I like maintaining them, I like driving them, I like repairing them, I like reading about them. I’ve played around with welding and bodywork and 2K paint and paintless dent repair.

          Having said all that, my wallet shivered a little when I read FreedMike’s definition of a ‘classic’. I’ve had some old cars in my time, but I’m ok if I never have that kind of ‘classic.’

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Just re-read Matthew’s stipulation of “pure, unadulterated classic” – Yeah I’m out, as I can never resist changing things.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        I learned to drive a stick shift on my Dad’s 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Very nice. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Cranbrook. I passed up the opportunity to buy one several years back and regretted it ever since.

          Sure, they look dated next to the same year Ford or Chevy, but I just like them. They still had that 1940s Art Deco vibe to them, just not the same hunchback body style.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      FreedMike, I don’t think anyone is confused in their replies. If you re-read the third paragraph of the original post, plus the fact that the title picture is a GMC pickup truck, I would conclude the intended definition of “classic” in this case is closer to your idea of “nice old car”.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Actually Mike, the 63 Vette would handle light hail much better than a 75 Impala. Fiberglass is very resilient to that sort of thing, while the thin sheet metal on the Impala would be easily dented.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        True, but around here, we can get hail the size of golf balls, and even baseballs. That’ll destroy any car. The folks in Colorado Springs had one last year that actually killed animals at the zoo.

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          “True, but around here, we can get hail the size of golf balls, and even baseballs. That’ll destroy any car. The folks in Colorado Springs had one last year that actually killed animals at the zoo.”

          True that, animals killed and 4 folks in the hospital and over 100 totaled cars. The county had to send buses to get people out, there were no operable cars after the storm.

  • avatar
    Dan

    My right brain would absolutely love one. A big just about anything from 1970-1973.

    My left brain admits that I don’t have the mechanical aptitude to keep one up myself, the time or interest to learn, or the mental capability to live in the moment and not stress all the little niggling maintenance issues that I would have to go find someone else to fix.

    But in a perfect world where the credit card paid itself….

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I have done it twice. I DD a BMW 2002 from 1988 to 1997 and would do it again – great car and not expensive to operate. I 3-season DD a 1965 Corvette from 1997 to 2008, and I would also do that again although the fuel economy was more painful than the 2002. Parts availability for both cars is still easy, and they were remarkably easy to keep running. I lost my winter storage for the Corvette one snowy winter, and found in driving it to another garage that it was remarkably good on snow and ice – 51% of the weight on the rear wheels, a limited slip diff, and enough torque to start off in 3rd gear are excellent winter companions

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    When my daughter was in school, I let her have my pickup to drive for one semester. So from late summer until the end of the year, I daily drove my 69 Mach I Mustang to work. The commute wasn’t very long, but in lots of city traffic. The 428 with Holley carb is somewhat finicky when cold. Otherwise no problems. I still drive the car weekly. Made a grocery run in it last night.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      That’s awesome. See, that’s why I want a variety of cars in my collection. I would absolutely drive a mint clean 1981 Honda Accord sedan to go get groceries, or the ’52 Cranbrook, or a ’65 Oldsmobile. The cars I will have arent going to be very many people’s idea of highly desirable, unlike your Mustang, but I still love them for different reasons.

      The same goes for the 1995 Taurus I daily drive now. I do get compliments on it from time to time from strangers, but I know most people probably think I drive it because I can’t afford a newer car (not true, as I do own, and have owned, newer vehicles while I’ve had it). Good thing I dont revolve my life around what other people might think, haha.

  • avatar
    Boff

    In the early 90’s my brother and I dailied a ’69 Firebird my dad had bought as a midlife crisis car. I even took it on several road trips. We flogged that thing mercilessly, and my brother nearly lost his life when he crashed it. There is no way in my now more-enlightened state that I would daily such a car. The single digit gas mileage from the mild V-8 was the least of the problems. It had black vinyl upholstery and no A/C. It came with an AM radio with 8-track and we only had “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. The shoulder belts were a separate deal from the lap belts and were not retractable so you’d be fixed in place like a race driver if you used then. That’s why we kept the shoulder belt clipped to the headliner and also why the steering wheel rearranged my brother’s face upon impact. When we got the car it was on ancient bias-ply tires and the car was frankly a sub-roadworthy hazard. We swapped them out for Radial T/A’s which helped, but still every braking event or on/off ramp was a hair-raising adventure. I had a TJ Wrangler that outclassed the ‘Bird dynamically in every conceivable way. On the plus side I never got tired of embarrassing my artsy-fartsy friends with burnouts. Also both mufflers rusted out and the car sounded the business. But then my dad ruined that by replacing the exhaust just after I crinkled a fender (no passenger-side mirror — I sideswiped a guy changing lanes) and just before my brother fell asleep at the wheel and drove it off the highway into an embankment.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    No. My commute involves dirt roads and parking adjacent to bodies of salt water. If my circumstances were more friendly to vintage metal, then yes.

  • avatar
    George B

    It depends on the definition of “classic” and the daily drive. I would drive a 25 to 30 year old car or truck with no tuneup required electronic multiport fuel injection, an overdrive ratio in the transmission, and 4 wheel disc brakes around a small town on a daily basis. I wouldn’t drive a 50 or 60 year old car on a daily basis even in areas with light traffic. The protection in a crash was poor 50 years ago and I don’t have much patience for carburetors.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Yep ;

    I would and do , my new car is 35 years old and has almost 1/2 million miles on it and it’s babied one bit , one look at the original paint & upholstry will confirm that .

    ‘ll be driving it to Death Valley in two weeks because I like the AC, nice and cold, R134 isn’t any hassle, it’s just as cold *if* you know how to make it work .

    Most R12 systems will be fine with it at slightly _less_ operating pressure .

    The only real problem is rust, I don’t live in the rust belt anymore yet I still have rust problems .

    Until I broke it far from home in another state I did the same to my unrestored 1959 VW Beetle too and will do so again as soon as I get the rebuilt 36HP engine installed .

    VW Beetles have _ZERO_ problems keeping up with daily traffic until you want to go over 70 MPH .

    Yes, driving an old car/truck is a deathtrap but so is riding a Motocycle so why the hell anyone would own any vehicle they didn’t want to drive daily flummoxes me .

    I’m currently having a ball riding my 1970 Honda CT90k2 50 miles a day, I’ve checked it in a radar trap @ 48 MPH, mostly it goes flat out 38 ~ 43 MPH and will do so all day long with no problems .

    If you love the -idea- of oldies, go restomod or something, no shame in that .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I most definitely will buy a classic.
    But it has to be one of these two vehicles, a pickup and/or a convertible.
    Ther pick up because my wife and Iwillseldon use it as a daily used vehicle, so not really worried about mpg or long term expense.
    No, just want a good old single cab truck to haul stuff to the dump or plants and yard material.

    as far as the convertible, it again will never be an everyday go to, just for drives in evenings and to n from tennis matches.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    The mediocre fuel economy is a legitimate gripe .

    I rarely get over 25 MPG’s in the old Benzes, (I have three), Diesel fuel isn’t cheap , some tell me that zizzing along @ 85 MPH isn’t helping fuel economy but I have slow rigs to drive when I want to dwaddle .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I could see a DD BMW e30 someday post kids, but who knows what a decent 325 will go for by then. I’d need front disc brakes and decent A/C. Anything else is negotiable.

    Using my YJ Wrangler as a daily is punishing, but that was true when it was new for reasons that have nothing to do with age (mine or the Jeep’s, though it’s only got 10 years on me).

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I could see a DD BMW e30 someday post kids, but who knows what a decent 325 will go for by then. I’d need front disc brakes and decent A/C. Anything else is negotiable

    Using my YJ Wrangler as a daily is punishing, but that was true when it was new for reasons that have nothing to do with age (mine or the Jeep’s, though it’s only got 10 years on me).

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    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!

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