nate

Been looking for a fun, cheap project car

182 posts in this topic

one of my great regrets in life is not learning how to fix cars. wish i had the skill set and desire to restore something like a '68 camaro.

 

It's never too late.  Youtube has made it easier than ever to learn. 

 

There are professional mechanics who make their entire living nowadays making videos on how to fix cars.  Youtube shares the ad revenue with them.

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Hey Nate, I just thought of another consideration given your location. 

 

Rust to the doors and side panels is probably the least of your problems...Bondo to the rescue.  It's the decades of rust on key suspension, engine, and transmission fasteners that will turn your project car into a nightmare car without the proper tools.

 

And by proper tools, I'm talking large air compressors and air tools (impact wrench, air hammer, air chisel, etc) AND/OR an oxy-acetylene torch.  Sometimes, an induction heater will work.  I guess the point I'm getting at is that professional shops with all the best tooling spend hours and hours fighting rusted components, and these guys have decades of experience in many cases.  That doesn't mean you will fail, just be prepared to shell out cash for tooling and have the patience to work slowly. Good tools may be available on Craigslist, and, as always, Youtube is your friend for strategy if you know what I mean.

 

I think your biggest (costliest) problems could end up being rusted fasteners in the block or transmission.  Last thing you want to do is twist one of those babies off in a place they can't be extracted without raising the engine or putting the car on a lift.

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Nate, if you like the 240z then you should also check out some of the other Japanese sports cars of that era. 70s Toyota Celica and Corollas, Nissan 510, Mazda RX2,3,4,7, Cosmos and more that I'm forgetting.

I would love to one day restore/mod a 70s Celica.

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Once computer chips were installed in cars a garage mechanics life was over. I have an SLK350 and really like it but in a few years it will be someone else's simply because of how impossible it would be for me to take over anything but oil changes and a sparkplug swap. Everything is buttoned into place requiring a special tool or computer diagnostics. As is I need to take it in for an instrument problem where it doesn't calculate average mpg. That is a dealer only fix.

My Spitfire can be dissasembled to the frame almost entirely with American Standard wrenches, sockets and flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers. Once reassembled it is no SLK350 but at least I can diagnose much from the three basics, spark, fuel, air in the tires.

It has been out of operation for quite a while but I hope to have it running and looking right in the next five months with some (lots) of help from a local British car mechanic.

Not sure how Nate is going to find many Saab guys but he would definitely be the only guy at the local car show with it.

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Spitfires are awesome.  One of my best friends had one is his garage growing up, his dad brought it over from England when he immigrated.  Only drove it like once a month.

 

Anyway, the boss (wife) didn't like the Saab and this whole thing will go better if she is happy with my choice.  Been looking at some old Merc and VWs.  If I can find a bus within 250 miles that isn't completely roached out I might spring for it.

Edited by nate

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Rust is going to be your nemesis on anything you buy back there.

I am amazed recently, at least since I have moved up here into the California back-country, how many people come to California to look for older vehicles..because we don't have the rust issues.

Buddy of mine has a 68 Chevy Pickup that I borrow frequently, and I get stopped all the time by people wanting to buy it.

People drive by on the road, see it, and come up the driveway to ask about it.

To me it's just an old pickup, to people from the midwest it is a sought after prize.

It is worth way more than a 10 year old pickup, and his insurance rate backs up that fact.  

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Nate, if you find something you like PM me and go over it.  Old bodyman that restored cars.  Plenty of 57 Chevy Bel Air's I restored and sold, would go to the midwest and trailer them back.  My favorite and cheapest and best running was a 66 Impala SS.  Ran like a champ and got it cheap.  I personally don't recommend the Saab but hit me up if you see something you are interested in.  

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One of my high school teachers had an awesome 21 window VW bus deluxe. Show car worthy.  It was stolen out of his garage one night.  He reported the next morning and gave the police the lojack info and they tracked it to a shipping container.  The shipping container had diplomatic immunity seal on it from some diplomat from Saudi Arabia.  They couldn't stop them from shipping his car away.  He was a wreck for weeks after that. 

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I am pretty confident once my Spitfire is back on the road it won't be stolen. It has little real value even if nut and bolt restored. That and it's a spitfire, it probably won't start for the novice thief that doesn't know how temperamental a manual choke car can be.

Edited by notti

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Eric, I had a 76 MGB that I painted then had to put a quart of oil in every 20 miles.  I wish it were stolen but in those days it probably wasn't insured either. I think I let my brother use it and he ran out of gas and left it to get impounded. 

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Well duh, it was an MG. None of the post smog control British cars were worth a shit. Most pre smog weren't either but at least they weren't as slow or bastardized with big rubber bumpers.

Ha, ya this had the big rubber bumpers.  I actually took them off and sprayed with undercoating.  It wasn't that effective but hid any blemishes. 

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That's insane!

 

Yeah.

 

Even a roached out roller would bring in $30k and a running bucket of rust would bring in $50k.  You can find them in good running condition for around 75-100.  It is crazy.

 

Even a 14 window commands good money now.  About 45k restored.  $5k for a roached out roller sitting in a junk yard.

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Ha, ya this had the big rubber bumpers. I actually took them off and sprayed with undercoating. It wasn't that effective but hid any blemishes.

A lot of people now yank the old rubber bumpers off and install the pre over rider chrome from '69. You see a lot of bumper less Fiat 124 Spyders rolling around. There is even a shop in Chicago that will take late model 70's - 80's and customize them with the old chrome bumper front ends.

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My friend's Spitfire looked just like the one below.  Color and everything.  I always wanted to ride in it, never got to.  It is still in a garage in Fillmore being driven once a month.

 

Love the British Racing Green color.

 

mayaraab.jpg

Edited by nate

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Early MKI, love the grill on those. There is a British car event in fillmore every year, hoping to make it there in the Spit one day.

Odd, the owner of that spit put the late MKIII Highback seats in it.

Edited by notti

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