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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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43 REPLIES 43
New Driver

That should have read Knight-Stearns
New Driver

That should have read Knight-Stearns 

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.

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. 

New Driver

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.................

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.

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.

New Driver

Currently restoring a 71 Triumph Stag.

New Driver

Citroen SM

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.