What late 1930’s to early 1950’s car or truck is easiest to maintain and still get repairs (parts) done on?
Well, you could probably build an entire Model A (early '30s, though) or '57 Chevy Bel Air from replica parts. What is your intention, a weekend toy, a daily driver, or something in between. A show car with all original-type parts? Also realize that whatever you choose, it will require more frequent maintenance than a modern vehicle unless a modern powertrain has been transplanted into it.
Well, I don’t want to sound negative, but by merely asking this question you have proven to me that a car like this is not for you. One does not buy a 70 year old vehicle because of reliability or availability of parts, but because of a fascination with a particular design, style or history. Also, given the age of these vehicles most of the differences in reliability and build quality will have been erased by the passage of time. Additionally, most have been restored and improved in many cases.
In general though, it always makes your life easiest to choose an older car by popularity thereby guaranteeing a stream of available replacement parts in most cases.
Well, I had a 52 Chevy and found it very easy to work on.
Lots of limitations: frequent changes of oil and other lubes, points to adjust, don’t drive over 55…
But still a good car, and I got 22 mpg!
I just sold my 65 GMC pick-up. I kept that truck thinking I was going to restore/update it (owned it 30yrs)It provided transportation and was a good work truck. The pipe dream of a restored classic pick-up never happened.Tons of parts and support for the vehicle. People that restore/upgrade these vehicles must have the time,money ,place to work and a immense motivation
Here are my memories of cars from this time period. Chevrolets through 1954 had an enclosed driveshaft. This means that you have to drop the rear axle to remove the transmission if you have to replace the clutch. Otherwise, the Chevrolets were easy to keep running. I think the same was true of the Fords through the 1948 model. I owned a 1948 Dodge from 1977 through 1989. I didn’t have trouble obtaining most parts and it was easy to work on. The NAPA store told me that this engine was used in industrial machinery and even air raid sirens, so parts were obtainable. In the early 1960’s, I owned a 1947 Pontiac with the 6 cylinder engine. It was quite simple to work on. I also owned a 1950 Chevrolet pick-up truck. It did have the closed driveshaft, but the engine could almost always be repaired using kitchen utensiles. For real simplicity, it’s hard to beat a 1957-58 Studebaker Scotsman and I’ve been told that there are Studebaker clubs that are helpful in getting parts.
A pre-1972 or especially a pre-1965 VW Beetle has very much the feel of a pre-war car, and technology from about that era, but can be still be found in decent shape and are very easy to maintain and have a parts supply chain that is better and cheaper than most 10-year old cars.
Thanks for the helpful tips. Contrary to the apparent presumption of some, I’ve navigated a little into this territory before over the last 3+ decades. I’ve had a '57 Chevy pickup for quite a while (along with a buddy with a '58 and one with a '57 GMC panel truck), a very early VW bug and a micro-bus for some years (done that), 2 early 60’s model Jaguars (XJ 6 & XJ 12) and 2 early 60’s model Fiat Spiders. A while back I regretably passed up on some type of mid '40s era Studebaker 2 seater roadster and a late 40’s Special Deluxe (ex-military staff car) with that gearless automatic Dyna-Flow transmission, I believe, as well as some wonderfully strange designs of 40’s-50’s era delivery trucks and vans. I’ve owned several other early 60’s cars and trucks, as well.
Having stepped out of the older car realm for several years now, I was just wondering how the parts market may have held up or changed and if there are any models of perferably late 30’s to late 40’s vehicles that are still relatively easy to keep up without resorting to a lot of retrofitting with newer stuff. I have looked at a number of already running models of cars and trucks from this era which is likely where I will start, no interest in rebuilding from the ground up or anything any more. I don’t want anything that’s set up for showing or anything like that, just something I can (mostly) reliably drive 2-3 days a week (along the old relentlessly puttering workhorse variety); cosmetic condition does not have to be any better than 50% with rust OK. (All the better if it’s a pick-up – for character.) I did pretty well with the '57 pickup I had and the straight six (so simple to work on). I just would like something that’s quite a bit older than that this time around.
Thanks again for all of the tips.