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New Car versus Classic Car

It getting to be time to replace my 17 year old Honda Civic (I’m the original owner). What I want to buy to replace it keeps changing. I’ve been kind of stuck right now on either the new Porsche Boxster S or a BMW Z4. The new Porsche is getting towards the edge of what I want to pay, but of the two, it would be more first choice.

Recently though, I’ve been thinking that it would be much more interesting and fun to drive an old British or German classic car. I’m thinking maybe an Austin Healey (I would prefer a 100/4, but a 100/6 might be more affordable), a Triumph TR3, Jaguar E-Type or a Mecedes 190SL. My concern is, is that any of these cars would become a money pit. While I understand that a classic roadster isn’t going to be as reliable as a modern car, would any of these cars be more reliable than the others? Both my wife and I live fairly close to work, so we would be ok if the car conks out once in a while (I think I may get a scooter to have in-case of such occurrences). I just want to avoid something that is going to breakdown every other day.

That being said, is there any reasoning behind the pricing of classic cars? I’ve seen E-Types on-line selling for over $100K on the same page as others selling for $25K (the ones selling for $25K didn’t look like beat up restoration projects. They weren’t concourse condition, but they didn’t look to be rusted out hulks either)

Or would I just be better off buying a modern car?

Buy a hobby car for a hobby, not to drive every day. ESPECIALLY a British hobby car.

They’re great to look at, but a modern car is superior in just about every other way and a Boxster S is in another universe…

And until you understand EXACTLY what the difference is between that $25k and the $100K E-types, don’t even think of bidding.

Get the Boxster and dont look back-Kevin

Do not buy a classic German or British roadster unless you love to tinker and have something else to drive every day, and do not buy an E type unless you love to tinker with incredibly complex things. Any of these cars will require constant tinkering to keep them running. On the other hand, your Boxster and Z4 will more than likely start every day and be very reliable and fairly economical to operate, especially compared to any British or German classic. If reliability is important, the Boxster is the way to go, the newer the better. From what I understand, it is actually a very, very reliable car. It is also very fun to drive.

Buy one of each to cover all bases.

Classic cars are week end toys for those who can afford them and money pits for those who can’t. The labor to replace the clutch in an XK-E is well over $5,000 and few shops will take on the job. It might take weeks to find someone who is experienced in adjusting an SU carburetor and months to find someone who can rebuild one.

But don’t neglect the side benefits of owning a classic British roadster. As a one time Triumph owner I got lots of fresh air cycling and walking. Not to say I wouldn’t love to have another, if I had the spare time and money.

The nice thing about a “classic” ANYTHING is that it’s not going to be worth thousands of dollars less next year. Howerver, as others have said, any classic is probably going to cost you more to own and operate, unless you really like to work on your own cars. Do you?

Budget $500 for a good folding bicycle to keep in the trunk when your car dies on the side of the road. Sure beats walking.

Seriously, what you need is another Civic.

Don’t buy a classic car for a daily driver. Working on it or getting work done on it because it needs to get you to work the next day will get old quick.
Buy a classic car to drive on the weekend.

as everyone has said, classics don’t make good daily drivers.

I don’t have a problem with any of the vehicles listed except maybe the E-type Jaguar and 190 Benz and that would be mostly due to parts pricing. If you’re handy with tools then this is at least doable.
For what it’s worth, I’ve owned a Sunbeam and Morris Minor and they clipped right along pretty reliably. The Sunbeam actually got the wheels driven off it…

Just some food for thought, but in regards to one of the prettiest cars ever built (Jag E-type) what about finding one that has had the Chevrolet 350 convertsion? That would provide inexpensive engine/trans mechanical servicing, vastly increased power, and so on.
I think there’s a company in Fort Worth, Texas that specializes in these things.

A friend of mine who passed away last year had 2 E-types; one with a 6 cylinder Ford conversion and the other an in-process Chevy 327 version. Both of these went to auction after probate though.

Perhaps you could get something like a Miata for a daily driver and the old British Leyland ragtop as a hobby? I love the olld BL ragtops, but even when new they required a great amount of TLC. There’s no way I’d buy one as a daily driver.

“Just some food for thought, but in regards to one of the prettiest cars ever built (Jag E-type) what about finding one that has had the Chevrolet 350 convertsion? That would provide inexpensive engine/trans mechanical servicing, vastly increased power, and so on.”

But it’s all the OTHER stuff that’ll leave him stranded, the engine (while expensive to service) is actually pretty reliable.

Heck, if money were no object one could just get an Eagle E-Type

“Fun to drive” and “Fun to own” are two different things, as previous posters have pointed out. The only way you will really enjoy these cars is to have a reliable late model as your daily driver, and use the classic as a faiweather hobby car.

Top Gear has a segment where they take a fine, old classic car and compare it to a cheap new econobox. The cheap new car always wins. I’d buy the new car. If you have the $65,000 to buy a Boxter S, go for it. You might wait until later this year when the C7 Corvette comes out. It will be quicker than the Boxter S or Z4 and will handle extremely well, too. The C7 will also be about $15,000 less than the Boxter S. It might be worth the wait to compare them.

I think if you want a daily driver and weekend get-a-way car, the Porsche Boxster is the way to go. It’s powerful, gets pretty good mileage, and is rated quite reliable. You might consider a 1-3 year old Boxter to make it more affordable. The folks who own these cars tend to baby them, so they are usually in excellent shape. In fact I’ve had my eye on my neighbor’s 4 year old soft top Boxster, and offered to buy it from him if he ever wants to sell it. I made sure to tell him this while his wife was there listening. I’m guessing his wife is thinking “My hubby attracts too many cute girls w/that car.” His hold on that car may be getting weak … lol!

My brother had a British triumph roadster and I had a SAAB with a British Leyland motor. Both had good experiences…between repair jobs. If you have the money and don’t mind breaking down at the most inopportuned times for no apparent reason while putting yourself in near constant jepardy, go for it.
Otherwise, do what a friend did. He took a Jaguar Roadster and installed a Chevy 6 with a two speed power glide. It runs flawlessly with great reliability and still looks wonderful…until you start it up and hear that pick up sound. But, it is an alternative, of sorts.

If you do get the Boxster, make sure you have a service dept. you can trust and can afford. They ain’t cheap to run either. Personally, I would look at a Mustang or better yet, a Corvette and travel cross country with less trepidation.
The great cornering performance potential of a Boxster will be way under utilized.

I don’t think “once in a while” applies to those cars.