A classic 60’s muscle car has been bequeathed to me. I plan to drive it about 1500 miles back to my home town, but it has not been started for about 2 1/2 years. It was very well kept prior and has not been exposed to the elements. What sorts of issues should i concern myself with prior to making this trip? Should i drive for a few days before departing for the full journey?
Well, I would crawl under it and see about draining the fuel and maybe adding an inline fuel filter. Fill it with fresh gas, change the oil, make sure the brakes are working, make sure that it’s topped up with fluids and the air pressure in the tires is set correctly, and you’re good to go.
EDIT: I see now that you have the option of driving it for a few days… good idea!
What kind of car is it?
Think this over carefully,I would trailer it. You don’t know “Colt Hero” do you? He was another one who kept the Forum up at nights wondering what kind of car he was talking about (it took about 70 posts but someone figured it out)
I’d worry about the old gasoline (if there is any) more than anything else.
Yes, once you have it running, you should put some local miles on it before you start on a long trip.
What does well cared for mean? Do you know if StaBil, or another fuel stabilizer was added to the gas before the car’s period of inactivity? The state of the fuel in the car now is the biggest issue. If it was stabilized, 2 1/2 years is still old gas so it may be OK and it might not.
Draining the tank and putting in fresh gas is worth the time and effort. Perhaps you can get a siphon working to drain the tank, otherwise dropping the tank is a lot of work.
If the gas is OK get the car running and drive it a bit to check for leaks and deterioration of rubber parts. Belts, hoses, brake lines, plug wires, tires, anything rubber can deteriorate over time. If it seems to run OK, get a garage to do a “safety inspection” and get the oil, coolant, and transmission fluids changed. The safety inspection should include all lights, wiring, fluids (brake, differential, power steering), brake linings for wear, wheel bearings, belts, etc.
If it all checks out enjoy your trip in the mystery muscle car.
Mostly the gas. If it was properly treated 2 years ago, it might not be too bad now. If it was not treated, it is hard to say as temperature and other factors make a difference. Best would be to drain it all out clean the tank, lines and pump. I would likely try to start it and hope for the best. If it starts and runs, you should be good, but don't consider it a reliable ride until you have cycled all that old gas out of it.
Check over the whole car including brake lines and the braking system.
The three biggies for me are; gas, brakes and tires. Remove the gas cap and sniff. Bad gas is fairly obvious, dsitinct odor like varnish. If at all suspect and you have a mechanical pump, just disconnect at the pump and it will siphon out there.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of checking the brakes thoroughly. Not getting going is an inconvenience. Not being able to stop is much more concerning
Check the tires for dry rot. A blow out can ruin a good day pretty quick.
I would also check the oil and antifreeze level and antifreeze mix for boil over protection.
1500 miles I would really need to inspect tires and hoses carefully. I think a 150 mile road trip would be essential before going on the highway. You might even consider taking the back roads for the first day and see how it does, any garage along the way can probably fix whatever is wrong or of you can do it yourself hopefully you can limp to a parts store. Road club recommended too! If you have time I would take the back roads all the way. If it was me I would tow it, having lived with those era cars there is too much at it’s age that can go wrong especially if strained at highway speeds for 3 days of driving I would guess., mostly things like rubber diaphrams in the vacuum advance and fuel pump, I used to adjust the points and check the timing every 3000 miles, a slightly bad bearing could be really bad after the first day with old grease that has less lubricating value than peanut butter. You have a great gift, but with an unknown condition of so many items you are risking blowing away your prize.
If you have several days to test it out locally, you might be OK. But as Waterboy says, problems on the road can get expensive.
A friend of mine from Houston inherited an 12 cylinder Jaguar XJS form his late father-in-law in Chicago. He bought a one way ticket to Chicago and although the car acted OK when he test drove it, it broke down on his way back to Houston, and one week and $4200 later he finally got back home.
Since you have not told us what make and year of car it is, we can only tell you that a Camaro, Mustang or similar car is easier to fix on the road than a Jaguar. However, if it’s a 60s Superbee or Roadrunner, you will be out of luck, and it’s cheaper and less risky to have it delivered by commercial car carrier. Just look in the yellow pages. Many aging New Yorkers have their cars shipped to Florida that way in the fall, and returned in the spring.
Lets see if we can guess:
Monza GT or SS
Chevelle Malibu SS
Buick Gran Sport
Pontiac Trans AM
Chevy 11 Nova SS
Ford Fairlane GT
Plymouth Road Runner
And possibly some I’ve left out?
Well it seems my computer is up and running again so I thought I would take the opportunity to thank you all for your responses, and to clear up the confusion about what type of car it is. It is a 1966 Chevelle Super Sport (396) manual hadrdtop. A real beasty beauty. My dad bought a 427 (engine) but unfortunately passed before we could get it in, so that will be the next project to complete what my father started (like Hannibal and his father before him). Anyway thanks again folks.
Thanks for the followup. So what did you do to prep it for the trip? How did it go? Sounds like a great car with the 396!
I haven’t taken the trip yet but soon. At this point I am focusing on finding folks who have significant experience and competence in examining and repairing classic cars. After that I’ll pick it up. So all that being said, I’ll keep ya posted.
There is that Foose guy (he even has a TV show) I hear he is OK. Is he the type you are looking for or is it the “will work for… crowd”
The stale gas will be the biggest issue. The carb may be badly varnished because of it… FORGET the 427. That will DESTROY the value of the car assuming it’s a factory assembled car…
Olds 442, Dodge Super Bee, Plymouth Satellite
Isn’t a 427 just a bored out 396? The 396 will smoke the tires well enough, and agreeing with caddyman, but I would have bigger worries than stale fuel, the car will suck the gas so fast, 1 treatment of sea foam should fix stale gas and varnish buildup.
You want to maintain as much originality as possible. Make every part on the car a part the car came with.