Dear Car Talk:
I’m not a car freak; therefore, I don’t know much about the innards of a car. However, I would love to own a classic 1960s muscle car, like a Mustang Fastback. Is there anything I should be aware of before getting started?
What would you warn me about before I start buying a classic car?
I warn you that you are not buying a car, Kunal, you are buying a hobby. Maybe a career. And possibly a divorce.
From a mechanic’s point of view, 50 or 60 years ago cars were pretty ugly compared to cars today. They were less reliable, less durable, they behaved badly, stopped badly and crashed less surely. But they looked great, right?
So you’re going to need a few things before you jump into this project that’s draining your bank account and your spare time, Kunal.
First, you will need a modern car so you can make the classic your second car. You don’t want to rely on a 60-year-old car as your daily driver. So don’t sell your Corolla.
Then you will need some savings. Old cars always come in your pocket, so accept that. It’s not just the purchase price, it’s the ongoing care and feeding.
After that you will need a subscription to Hemmings Motors News. This will be your bathroom read for the next 20 or 30 years.
Finally, you will need a support group. Luckily, most areas have old car clubs, where crazies and would-be crazies like you get together and have fun.
These will be your new people, Kunal. They’ll recommend mechanics, give you tips on finding parts that are no longer made, and share their knowledge. They’ll also provide emotional support, giving you a shoulder to cry on when you spend two weekend months replacing the transmission in your ’66 Mustang, and on the first test drive, it won’t get out of second gear.
In fact, joining a club like this ahead of time will help you get tips on what year, make and model to look for and, more importantly, which cars to avoid.
And if all that doesn’t deter you, Kunal, you’ll have a wonderful time with your classic car and make lots of new friends. Especially tow truck drivers and mechanics. Enjoy!
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(c) 2022 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
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