1950s roadsters

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by bflynn, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Thinking about some new cars and looking for recommendations

    Car #1 - 1950s sports car. I don't need super fast, more about the style. Think a Porsche 356 or Alpha Romeo Super Sport style with a VW price. 2 seater, convertible preferred. Should be in reasonably good shape, no major work needed. Not looking for a project, 25k max. Potential cars, Austin-Healey sprite, Karmann Ghia.

    Car #2 - american metal. A mustang, skylark. impala. Not necessarily a muscle car, but in good running order, solidly built for a new teen driver. The kind of car that would crush car #1 in an accident while protecting the driver. Carbonated engine, no electronics. Would like under 10k.

    ** Edit - car #2 could be a modern car for better safety, but a qualification is to be 100% "wrenchable" and inexpensive to maintain.

    Am I dreaming?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  2. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you actually want to protect the driver, modern cars are infinitely better in every way.
     
  3. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Will update the original post, thanks for pointing out the oversight.
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    A sobering video:



    And, the Malibu in this test is a decade old, safety has improved from then. Teen driver? Late model mid-sized sedan. Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, etc. Waaaay safer than old iron.
     
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  5. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    The last collision there is a pretty good ad for air bags! If it were my son or daughter, a modern air bag would be necessary for the car.

    -Skip
     
  6. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Yeah but that Aston Healy 3000 was way cool.
     
  7. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The nice thing about current production cars is that they are getting pretty good at self diagnostics and can tell you what is wrong. Some things have been "improved" to the point that they are just remove and replace and you aren't able to really fix them - for example the wheel bearing cartridges - but who needs to be pressing bearings in and out...
     
  8. kshaw

    kshaw Pre-Flight

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    Didn't see an old Jag XKE on your list. That, or an Aston-Healey, Jensen-Healey, or a Triumph Stag would be my picks. I had a Triumph TR-6 and that was the most fun you could have with your pants on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  9. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    I don't think you're going to find an inexpensive 50s roadster in any sort of driveable condition. The production numbers were too low and their tendencies towards entropy are too high.
     
  10. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Even for you.

    A friend was recently in a semi-t-bone (the other driver didn't see her, sped up making a left turn, and collided with friend's care). She was driving an '06 Civic, the other driver was in a '20 BMW 8-series. The Civic had front and side airbags that deployed - even though the car spun around, witnesses said it went airborne a bit, and landed on the concrete median my friend had only a few bruises and no other injuries. Impressive for such a small car - if you weren't a believer in crush zones, side impact resistance and curtain airbags, you would be after this one. Car was totaled.
     
  11. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Corrected that for you.

    Austin Healey != Aston Martin
     
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  12. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Carbonated.??
     
  13. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    They don't make 'em like they used to. Thankfully.
     
  14. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    Yah, not fool ingested.
     
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  15. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    TY.
     
  16. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    that is how Siri spells carbureted.
     
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  17. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    Meet the Fokkers
    Grew up with a 59 Chevy. One of my all time favorites.

    Although we used to drag our feet on the road in the back seat :eek:
     
  18. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Cleared for Takeoff

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    Better up your budget to $30k, at least! Nothing but junk @ 10k that’ll need a lot of work and $$$ put into it. An Impala was just a $250 rust bucket not that many years ago, as most of the non-muscle cars were. My first car, a ‘65 Plymouth is now going for ridiculous amounts. I sold mine in good running condition for $250. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
    BTW- Buy the best car you can afford. You’ll save money, time and hassle.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  19. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    On the roadster style, if you don’t care about originality, just decent paint and running, you could look for a bastardized older custom job. Or even a kit-car. MG?
     
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hard to imagine that as a kid it was acceptable for kids to stand on the seat between mom and dad so they could see out the windows. On long trips I would lay down on the sill under the rear window and sleep.

    My dad had a '55 or '56 Ford station wagon. I remember sitting on the rear tailgate danging my legs while my dad was driving down the highway.

    And riding in the back of a pickup was normal for kids except in winter, and sometimes even then.
     
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  21. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pattern Altitude

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    1955 MG TF1500.

    'nuf said.

    fly to the scene of the incident, or be recovered at the scene of the tragedy
     
  22. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had a 1976 MG Midget years ago. Get that for your teenager and they'll never have time to get in trouble, they'll always be fixing something on the car.

    Or, get them a Jeep Wrangler. My 1999 has been in two accidents and I haven't gotten a scratch. Fasten your seatbelt and you're set. That thing is built like a tank. Full roll bar and a solid frame. Our daughter got a 1995 Wrangler for a college graduation gift and got rear ended on the freeway. She drove away, the pickup truck (full size) needed a tow truck to put it back on its wheels. Jeep 1, pick-up truck 0. Yes, the pick-up truck driver's insurance had some significant repair bills to pay for her Jeep, but it was still operational and street legal after getting hit.

    Now if we're talking about cars, no doubt the newer ones are much better. But I'd still be tempted to put money on my old 1954 Buick Special. That, like the Jeeps, was a tank. Just the bumpers were solid steel of sufficient thickness that I wouldn't want to be the one they hit.
     
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  23. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, feverish dreams.
    I’m a fan of LBCs but not at less than 25K without a lot of sweat equity. Move up a few years and might could find a presentable Porsche 914 at that price point.
    There are also some re-VINed Minis (not, mind you, MINIs) about, but then not drop tops.

    You also mention “for a new teen driver”.....now there’s a bad idea: these old cars are death traps without crash protection and with marginal brakes best enjoyed on the occasional weekend tootle about by someone who doesn’t mind being broken down on the side of the road on a regular basis. Get your teen something reliable and safe to use. If you want to use an old roadster as a bonding/learning experience with your teen while working on it or restoring, then more power to you....but sounds like you’re not of that mind.
     
  24. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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  25. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Cleared for Takeoff

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    Long rant-

    I don't neccessarily consider old cars "death traps". I survived a VW Bug, Plymouth and Camaro (all pre-1970's) without an incident. Drive responsibly and the odds are waaay in your favor. I also ride motorcycles every time I get the chance. See what I mean? How you drive/ride has a bigger effect than WHAT you drive.
    I've had the pleasure of riding in back of pickup trucks, the rear facing seat in the back of a '65 Ford station wagon across the country, 50's trucks without seat belts etc... It's a wonder there's anyone alive today over 60 as that's what we all did back in those days. Heck, I even rode a motorcycle without a helmet in the '70s!
    If that ain't dangerous enough we all fly GA aircraft (I've lost a lot more friends and aquaintances in light planes than I have in car or motorcycle accidents) so you're sticking your neck way out already. Ask anyone that has been involved in GA a long time and you'll most likely get the same answer.
    So, I wouldn't focus too much on the safety aspect of older cars as a new car driven foolishly can get you killed just the same. New cars are safer, but then so is riding the bus everywhere or staying home on the couch living vicariously through YouTube. At what point does the concern with dying get in the way of enjoying life vs. living life to it's fullest? Go ahead, so you die a little...
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  26. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Triumph TR-6's and MGB's are great cars. Slow, but mechanically simple and there is no reason you can't A) Have a reliable ride and B) Do all the work on them yourself. However, they are yesterday's cars which require you to pay attention and listen to what the car is telling you. If you see an oil drip, figure it out and solve it. If it starts running poorly, figure out why and correct it. If you start losing hydraulic fluid, correct the problem before the brakes or clutch go out.

    On the other hand, a 10 year old Miata will cost less, drive better, be more reliabile, and have a gazillion more safety features. Better, the support will be there when you do need a replacement part or service.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  27. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I ride motorcycles all the time as well, but I’m also a seasoned adult rider with many miles under my belt. For a new driver I think it’s important for them to have a safe newer car to help them out if something bad happens while they gain experience.
     
  28. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    Driving old cars is fun, but if I were to be in an accident, I'd choose a 2020 over a 195x anyday.
     
  29. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    While some of the more desirable LBCs and other European sports cars definitely have a stiff price tag, I think some of the less desirable ones are the hidden gems of the automotive market. You can buy decent Spitfires, Sprites, Midgets, MGBs, etc. all day long for less than $10k and many for less than $5k. Nothing else can get you as much enjoyment for your money, from what I've seen.

    But, an LBC or the like is not a car for a new driver. Aside from being needy in the maintenance department when compared to new cars, they are low and not easily seen in traffic. If people think drivers are out to kill people on motorcycles they haven't experienced driving something that has an overall height lower than an average adult's waist. I feel safer on a bike than I do in my Spitfire.

    wrbix, as an aside, we apparently share a lot of common interests. Guzzis, LBCs, and light airplanes. Probably some others.
     
  30. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    best car I've ever owned, 1950 ford 2 door coup, I brought it in 1956, and sold it 1973, I wish I still had it.
    nicest one, is my new jeep.
     
  31. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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  32. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    ....but for a teen new driver?..uh uh.
     
  33. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Agreed. My son (now 9) will be getting my 10 year old (by then) Honda Accord when the time comes. All the safety features plus a manual transmission, which (I think) builds engagement with the driving process. Hopefully, it'll last him through the door dings and abuse of high school and college. It has all of today's safety features and should still be a reliable ride at 300k miles.
     
  34. FormerHangie

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  35. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    I guess I did. But as much as I don't want a sprite, I really don't want a bug eyed sprite. More about style.
     
  36. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    You don't want a Bugeye? I'd love to have one. But what I'd do with a tiny car with zero utility and no business being on the interstate is something to consider... The 6V electrical system is another issue...
     
  37. Brad W

    Brad W Line Up and Wait

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    timely thread for me. My teen son is taking driver's ed now.
    My pickup is old an tired and I've been on the fence about it's replacement. I've been flipping now and then to the idea of getting some little car for me to drive to work for a couple years then hand down to him....or maybe I should just replace my truck and figure out his car when the time comes....
    back and forth, something older and fun like a little spitfire or something...manual tranny or auto...or newer and safer..or maybe an old classic bronco
    I like the idea of a wrench turner for learning... I remember fixing my old cars as a teen on the shoulder of the road a few times. great experience...but on the other hand I would kinda want reliable for my kids...
     
  38. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pattern Altitude

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    Many of today's teens and cars:



    fly to the scene of the incident, or be recovered at the scene of the tragedy
     
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  39. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you have a older British car you will drive yourself nuts looking to fix that oil leak. Those are self-lubricating engines. Like radial engines, they only stop leaking when they're out of oil. And running poorly? Isn't that their normal mode? :p
     
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  40. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    A TR-6 was my daily driver for 4 years and an occasional driver for another 8 or so. Once I rebuilt the engine, it didn't leak oil, and it never ever ran poorly. Some of the electricals were poorly executed (the omission of a headlight relay was a cheap mistake by Triumph) and the taillight connections always sucked. Otherwise, a fun, simple car.