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Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: Cars with equal parts Pleasure and Pain?

No I'm not talking about a Mustang or a Chevy Truck that was particularly difficult to restore.  This post is for everyone who's owned a car made of unobtainum technology, for cars of limited production and/or limited appeal (i.e. they are all crushed by now, probably for good reason) and for cars that are extremely difficult to diagnose/repair. 

 

Here's mine: 1989 Lincoln Continental Signature Series.  The last owner actually paid my local mechanic to rebuild the awful transmission, replace the head gaskets + deck the block/heads, convert the air suspension to coils...so I paid $900 for it and "invested" over 10 times more to make it where it is today. I love the stupid Taurus-Continental, can't stop driving it. 

 

At least it wins awards for being the nuttiest thing in a car show. 😂

 

There's no need to be as insane as me, but tell us what car you'd own if you had the love, the motivation, and most importantly the 💰💰💰to keep it running. 

 

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45 REPLIES 45
Pepperalls
Detailer

A Citroen DS. So bizarre and amazing from a North American car perspective.

 

A 70s/80s Peugot with the bubbled-over headlights. Not as wild as the Citroen but still super rare where I live.

 

A Tatra.

 

I can appreciate full classics, modern exotics and so on but the above short list seems like it would be more fun (if one had the money and patience) for me.

Sajeev
Community Manager

French cars in America are probably the epitome of what we are going for here.  Thanks for this! 

HASCpres2019
Intermediate Driver

I owned several Renaults (I'm a slow learner). My favorite was a 1971 16TS. It was as quirky as they came, with a 4 cylinder hemi, 4 on the tree,and different wheelbases left and right.

It had headlights that could be adjusted up or down with a big knob under the dash, in case you were carrying an engine block in the generous cargo area.

The biggest issue was rust.It had no inner fenders and after only two years, it rusted out right where the main wiring junction box was located, causing endless shorts.

It was a great highway cruiser,with comfortable naugahyde seats and good performance. Just don't get it wet !1971 Renault 16TS.jpg

02-orignal-ownr
Detailer

I too have owned Renaults--13 4CVs (over the years) to be exact...but having bought out the local dealer of related parts when they ceased operations in 1974, I don't lack for parts...except for my '56 convertible.  Less than 6000 convertibles were built out of 1.1 million 4CVs produced, and in 1956, 12 or 13 were imported to the US--as US-specific models, thus different from the French Metropolitan cars in several aspects--and mechanically different from the 1955 and earlier convertibles.  And mine was in a tornado, further adding to its restoration challenges.  

 

My other "challenge" is a 1949 Fiat Topolino woody station wagon--real structural wood, not trim.  From the cowl back, the body is unique to the wagon--and they made about 400 that year.  I know of one other in the US.  

BillDelaune
New Driver

To make the French parts sourcing a little more challenging, try an Argentine variant of the 2CV, the IES Super America.  While it shares most of the body work, the suspension and brakes are different making sourcing basic maintenance items (e.g. brake pads) a nightmare.  As an added frustration, the cars are very common in Argentina and parts are available but getting those parts to the US is problematic.

 

Without the language barrier, I've encountered similar problems with parts for my Panther Lima Series II turbo.  A lot of the components were sourced from a 70s Vauxhall Magnum and are relatively easy to obtain in England but very difficult to source on this side of the pond.  The joys of ownership never cease.

dgj
New Driver

I would choose a fully sorted Citroen SM with fuel injection...and a nearby specialist to keep it that way...and enough cubic dollars to support him.  I have had some of these cars and I love the way they hit their stride beyond 80 mph and make pot-holes and speed bumps some else's problem.

 

dj

Sajeev
Community Manager

I would love that too. Cubic dollars is right, but it'd be worth it! 

Will
Intermediate Driver

I'm with you on the Tatra. One of the last ones, like the red one that Lane Motor Museum has.
Kyle
Moderator

I think just about anything vintage is a balance of pleasure and pain. However, in my limited ownership of a motorcycle built in Italy, I would say those owners have to be damn near masochists to truly enjoy their machines.

SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

Dear Kyle:

If you ever dare to own an old British motorcycle, it might cause you to better appreciate Italians.  I have owned a number of Triumphs and BSAs over the years.  I never fully realized how awful BSAs were until I rebuilt an A65 vertical twin.  Now that I've seen the insides of one, I know why you can't keep them running.

SteveNL
Intermediate Driver

I owned a 1996 Porsche 911 (993) that was both wonderful and terrible.  It was a stunningly beautiful car.  It melted my heart to look at it in my driveway.  The interior was also beautiful, with rich black leather.  It was scary fast and could do 60 mph in first gear with 5 more gears to go.  It handled much better than earlier 911s.

Here's the bad part........first it was that the car was very mechanic unfriendly.  It was difficult to perform the most simple tasks that should be easy.  It seemed to be designed to be difficult to service, unlike most German cars from the 1980's. The 993 Porsche had a strange mix of crude technology.  It had two distributors that were synchronized with a little rubber belt.  You had to remove part of the exhaust system to change the spark plugs.

 

Then there was the Porsche security system.  It was inflexible and required your subservience.  You followed the rules or paid the price.  Every time that you turned the car off and removed the key, you had to lock and unlock the car before restarting.  The car had to be locked after you shut it off.  In your drive way, in your garage, everywhere.  If you failed to follow the sequence, lights might flash and the horn might blow.  

 

I kept the car for less than a year. 

goldwolfnhn
New Driver

here's a couple American cars

 

1987 Pontiac Safari(not to be ever confused with the GMC Safari)

1987 Pontiac Safari1987 Pontiac Safari1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate wagon1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate wagon

1994 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon

 

I own both cars.

 

the Pontiac has pretty good interior except for a patch on the passenger front seat cushion, the back of the drivers headrest, and the seat for the rear facing third row. But you want a matching fabric? good luck, no one reproduces a similar fabric in the same color. The car also originally had the woodgrain vinyl on the side, but someone removed it and all the trim, good luck finding that trim now, the quarter windows?, the rear window in the tailgate? heck I can't even find a replacement grill for this one.

 

The 94 Buick isn't much better, even though it has a LT1 engine, the A.I.R. pipes that go into the exhaust manifold have been discontinued for years, one broke had to have the metal check valve welded to the pipe. The height sensor for the rear self leveling suspension is another discontinued part, then there the air compressor for the system, it was only used for this one year, and for glass, again the rear window is long discontinued, along with both quarter windows with vents, it makes it a bit worse for this one then the Pontiac as here the rear window is a lift gate, while the Pontiacs rolls down into the door

 

but they are both pleasures to drive in their own ways, the Pontiac is a cruiser, not much for getting going but once she is it's good.

 

the Buick is better, the car floats on the road, and with the LT1 350 V8 it gets moving easily and quickly and the car actually handles very good for such a big boat.

spoom
Technician

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 understood 😉

PaulB
New Driver

A 1974 Jaguar XKE in British Racing Green with a Saddle Interior.

FerrariCabrio
Pit Crew

5649982C-3A6F-4BA0-B683-FDE76155D4CC.jpeg

 My 1980 Ferrari 400i twin turbo charged Columbo V-12 Straman cabriolet. Given the over $200,000 worth of receipts to restore, modify and maintain my unique, “Family Car,” it truly is a labor of love.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Twin turbos in a 400!!! Wow!  What type of fuel injection setup do you run to keep that beast running? 

FerrariCabrio
Pit Crew

015BC51C-47F8-451E-A90B-1B0CDA379182.jpeg

 Norwood built it for me, and it has an extreme rush of torque that comes quite suddenly.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Norwood really was the master back then, that's very cool.  Odds are he used a MoTec setup, that was the best you could get back then. 
 

FerrariCabrio
Pit Crew

18443C67-F871-4142-9E53-50DE6296FD32.jpeg

 I gave it to my daughter as her first car. We showed it at The Quail in Carmel, last year, 2019, and we have another Ferrari slated for this year, but The Quail has been postponed until August 2021 due to COVID-19.

Parkerph
New Driver

I am midway through a restoration on a Mazda GTX.  Mazda, in their infinite wisdom, made most of the suspension components totally specific to this model, of which only 1243 were ever imported.  Needless to say my Japanese is getting better. 

 

I removed the engine by systematically dismantling it while still in the car, much like one would unpack a bag of groceries. The most useful tools for that process were all of my oddball stubby wrenches and expletives I didn't know that I knew.  If there's ever a next time I'll gladly spend all of my money on a 20ft tall garage, hydraulic table and a lift, because this drivetrain is not designed to go out the top.

 

At this point I've determined that whoever designed the brake rotors and wheel hubs was doing so under duress or masochistic automotive sadism towards the fools who actually like these cars. The rotor sits behind the spindle/hub which is pressed into the knuckle. In order to remove the rotor you need  Mazda SST (special tool) 49 B026 102 to remove the pressed in roller bearings, which then have to be shimmed and the rolling resistance has to be within a certain spec (1.18nm) of resistance. The last time this special tool was publicly available to purchase was 1995.

 

However after a year and a half of working on this car, after much rumination and reflection, I've determined that the worst part of working on this oddball Japanese machine is the fact that I come from the BMW world, which does things very much differently. The fact that I know that the grass really IS greener on the other side is the most challenging part.    

 

-Philip

 

 

Will
Intermediate Driver

I have a long wish list, but the few on the list made of unobtanium are the Aston Martin Lagonda, Citroen SM and a Tatra T700. https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/classic-cars/a9984649/the-bittersweet-joy-of-driving-the-la... a1_1.jpegSM.pngT700.jpg 

Lokiufgator
New Driver

Anything with a Lucas electrical system....

allandillon
New Driver

Porsche 904/906.  

silverstar
Mach5rider
New Driver

I'd own a Lancia Fulvia and Alfa Romeo Montreal. Both beautiful examples of a daily driver for the pain seeker.

Sajeev
Community Manager

YES!  I would love to see pics of those two together! 

KenRhodes
New Driver

My Unobtanium car would be a BMW M6.

 

I had a 635CSi. It was terrific, but it was  a couple of miles short of the real thing.

DAW
New Driver

I had the same experience. The 635 was in aesthetically fine condition when I purchased it but that poor machine required the maintenance mindset that the painters of the Golden Gate Bridge must have. By the time you believe you've proactively addressed everything that could possibly have worn or become dried out, the first piece fails. The best thing that eventually happened was being broadsided, walking away from a near fatal accident and giving the car back to my mechanic for parts.

Peter_Boniface
Pit Crew

If I had the expertise which I don’t I would like to restore a 1919 Knight-Stevens touring car with the sliding sleeve motor. 

Peter_Boniface
Pit Crew

That should have read Knight-Stearns
Peter_Boniface
Pit Crew

That should have read Knight-Stearns 

SteelyDan
Pit Crew

DeTomaso Pantera.

Probably the best powerplant the Blue Oval made in the 70s for power and weight, in a killler knife edge Italian body. But since they tend toward rusting tube frames, flaky utilities and workmanship, the 'care and feeding' is daunting.................

FrankenStag
New Driver

Currently restoring a 71 Triumph Stag.

Glacier
Pit Crew

Citroen SM

not-a-gto
New Driver

1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4, twin turbos, all wheel drive, all wheel steering, electronic controlled suspension, active exhaust, active aero - lots of do-dads for it's time.  When it's running right, it's a blast to drive! But lots of things to go wrong. When you need parts, they are frequently either no longer made or very expensive. I've got way more money wrapped up in mine than it will ever be worth, so I'll probably have it forever.

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's awesome!  I know that feeling, but your car is WAAAAY cooler than mine!  

DmSea
Pit Crew

I know what you mean. I’ve owned a Dodge Stealth, which is very similar, and I start having problem getting parts for it, before Mitsubishi arrived in Canada. I was hoping sourcing parts from them. I did loved that car; it had pop up headlights, had a removable roof that stored in the trunk. And it was very fast, even if it wasn’t an awd turbo.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Stealths definitely fit the bill.  I bet exterior parts are harder to find than the Mitsubishi, just because there are less Dodges on the globe than there are 3000 GTs/GTOs. 

bpar73
Intermediate Driver

An Austin-Healey 3000, with all the quirks that come with a 60s British car.

Bozi
New Driver

I was just looking at an auction for some Mitjets. Seems like they would be fun track day toys but ball joints from a mid 90s Renault might be a bit hard to source anywhere around here if one was to break. 

 
 

mitjet.jpeg

TG
Advanced Driver

My 91 Allante

I love the car, but it is loaded with 20 year old electronic gadgets and Allante-only parts

 

Want list: Jensen Interceptor iii

DmSea
Pit Crew

I always admired the Venturi Atlantic
DmSea
Pit Crew

...or Atlantique, since it was a French car originally.
spoom
Technician

I swear Sajeev is pitching underhand to get me in trouble. 50/50 balance of Pleasure and Pain? My '67 Country Sedan 289 cu wagon at a drive-in movie. But only if it was a really good movie.

Sajeev
Community Manager

I'd like to think that Hagerty hired me for my ability to get people into such types of trouble.  

Guitar74
Gearhead

My '68 Cougar. It is fund to drive but there are a few things that will drive you nuts with the 1st gen sister of the Mustang. First is when the sequential tail lights start going bad. Although, they will let you know with how many "wheezes" you get when they are on. After disassembling everything, cleaning contacts, etc., I did manage to get them working, only to have them give me the tell tale "two wheezes" one day at a stop light. I eventually just converted to digital signal sequencers. I thought I would never miss the wheezing old analog units, but for over a year I would pull out of the garage and check to make sure they were actually working. The "wheeze, wheeze, wheeze" told you you had all three sequences. The vacuum operated headlights are another source of anguish as finding the seals and boots is a bit hard (although WCCC finally contracted a repro set that sold out almost immediately). Why? because when the seals go bad you can get a car that winks, or open but not close, or in some cases open and then randomly close while going down the road. What else? The convoluted four hose power steering system. At this moment she is going down the road with a manual conversion. 

 

The pleasure? With the suspension upgrades it handles like a slot car. The 289 runs like a scalded dog with the combo that I am running. The manual four piston disc setup hauls it down quickly and actually doesn't kill your leg in the process. And the other thing is I can go to a car show and will most likely be the only 1st generation Cougar owner at the show. I wouldn't trade that car for anything. Once I get the Borgeson p/s conversion, that will be about the last source of pain with it. Although, if I were to be honest, the "pains" are the type of pains that I wouldn't trade on another ride. I always wanted a 1st generation Cougar, and am fortunate to have one.