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Perfect Car!

What ( and when) is the last best car i can buy with - a distributor, a carburetor, non-synthetic interior materials, reasonable safety and performance - I want to fix my own cars - no computer codes - and i don’t want to be gassed…

Just start trolling the car lots and classified ads for the newest and best-maintained car that you can find with those criteria. Since you will be limiting yourself to cars that are at least 25 years old, the vehicle’s condition and its maintenance are far more important than the specific make and model.

The criterion that you need to forget about is the safety issue. Nothing that was made 25 or more years ago is truly safe by modern standards.

A dune buggy or a race car.

Federal law requires engine management computers including onboard diagnostics for various systems such as emissions. As such, you cannot buy a new car that does not have computer codes. You can’t even buy a used car that does not have computer codes (less sophisticated than modern cars but still there) unless it’s eligible for collector plates.

The closest and most modern car that you can get with your requirements (minus the computer codes, but they’re stupidly simple flash codes that do not require a reader) is probably a 1991 Honda Civic/CRX DX. It had dual point fuel injection, which means fuel was injected into the throttlebody, which in that car was basically a glorified carburetor. It had a distributor, a cloth interior, is still competitive in the handling department, and is reasonably quick, though certainly not fast by modern standards. Oh, and bonus points: You’d get better fuel economy than just about everyone else on the road, including some of the hybrids.

There are no cars that meet your requirements. Your first ones would require '72 or earlier, your safety would require 2000 or later.

Don’t all modern cars have distributors and carburetors? Even fuel injected cars have to mix Oxygen and gasoline (carburation) before the air/fuel mixture can be injected into the cylinders. Without a carburetor of some type, no car gasoline-burning could run.

Shadowfax’s recommendation is probably the closest you can get. I have seen street legal dune buggies that have air-cooled VW engines that might suit your needs.

A 1957-58 Studebaker Scotsman comes close to meeting your criteria. The only modification you will have to make is to cover the seats with fiber seat covers and add seat belts.

non-synthetic interior materials

It’ll be equipped with a hand crank starter. You have to go pretty far back to eliminate synthetic materials in the cabin. From the closed cell foam in the seat cushions to the vinyl coated foam dash pad to the vinyl material covering the inner door skins to the plastic/vinyl arm rest or the nylon carpeting outgassing formaldehyde and treated for mold resistance. How about that PVC wire insulation? Heads up, that headliner is also raining down toxins on your head. A virtual gas chamber on wheels!

I’ll grin if the OP takes that advice :wink:

“and i don’t want to be gassed…”

An 81 Chevrolet Malibu with a 305 has been seen here off and on for 25 years. I rebuilt the engine at 200,000 mi and it now has nearly 400,000 miles. It is the lady’s everyday driver and although the paint is looking sad and the upholstery has been repaired it looks quite respectable. If she wanted to drive it to Miami tomorrow it would be as likely to get her there and back as a new car. She has been offered over $2,000 for it but prefers to keep it.

I’m sorry… What?

No, modern fuel injected engines do not have carbs, and most now a days don’t have distributors.

Maybe you are mistaking the Throttle Body for the carb body?
All it does is control air, and no fuel is injected at this point.

Most engines use either a Distributor-less ignition system, that will either have one ignition coil per cylinder, or use siamesed ignition coils that cover two paired cylinders. The other type is Coil Sticks, where each spark plug has its own ignition coil, that is mounted directly on the spark plug.

The mixture of the fuel and air takes place just in front of the intake valve on most engines, outside the combustion chamber, on all multi-port and tuned port fuel injection system. DFI (Direct Fuel Injection) systems mix the fuel and air actually inside the combustion chamber, past the intake valves. Throttle body Injection and carbs mix the fuel on top of the intake manifold, and for the most part, are not used in engine applications anymore that need to meet emissions regulations, so might be found in medium and heavy commercial trucks.


Late 70’s Camaro/Firebird, Corvette, Monte Carlo/Grand Prix/Cutlass/Regal, Mustang/Capri, etc.
Nissan/Datsun Z cars. I don’t know if that era Porsche 911 had carbs, but would fill the bill for handling in comparison to the first line of cars.

I guess it really depends on what you mean by performance.
Straight line 1/4 mile, or road course track?
Handling, or Power?


“the upholstery has been repaired”

Yes, but can you certify that no synthetic materials have been used in that Malibu’s original upholstery or in the repairs to the upholstery?

For that matter, how about the carpeting? Are you absolutely sure that no synthetic materials were used in the carpeting? The OP tells us that he does not want to be “gassed”, so no synthetics of any kind are allowed.

In order to guarantee that there are no synthetic materials in any of the interior parts, I suspect that the OP will have to buy something made prior to the 1940s.

Then again, there is that pesky Bakelite that was used for control knobs and such in the 1930s.
The OP may actually need to buy something made no later than the 1920s!

One Luddite Special please!

I’d suggest a mid-80’s Chevy Caprice. Comfortable, durable, handles reasonably well for such a large car, and should get 15 MPG or better even with a V8. I’d avoid a V6 and certain years of 305 V8 engines—a 350 would be ideal.

You’d still have synthetic interior materials, and rust may be a factor since before the 90s, they just weren’t that well protected.

But why make yourself suffer? Modern cars are pretty reliable and you can still work on them with a little effort to educate yourself on how the computer controls work. And the computer helps you with at least some of the diagnostic work.

The best car with those items listed still is so far inferior to anything produced in the last 10 years as a daily driver.

Bladecutter, I understand fuel injected cars don’t have what you and the OP consider “carburetors,” but they do have something that mixes Oxygen and gasoline, don’t they? Whether the mixing of gas and air happens outside the combustion chamber or in the cylinder, some device is mixing air and gas. By definition, that device carburates the gasoline. We might call it by another name, but if it mixes air and gas, it is a carburetor.

And your air conditioner is a refrigerator, and your car is a horseless carriage. While you may be technically correct, there is a car part called a carburetor, and a fuel injection system ain’t it.

An old 60s-70s MG will fit your bill. You’ll spend PLENTY of time working on it

shadowfax, I only point this out because I think the OP has been smoking a pipe that has a carburetor!

There we agree. As others have pointed out, he’d have to go back to the horseless carriages to get a car with a non-synthetic interior :wink: