21
$\begingroup$

I'm writing a story set in the mid-2000s USA where a small police agency, for some reason, uses police vehicles from the early 1970s to the early '80s. They have the mechanics, the money, and the parts supply to keep them in tip-top shape, but I was curious if this could be feasible in terms of capability.

Now, I know you can't outrun Mr. Motorola, but could such vehicles perform their intended law enforcement function in a modern world adequately? I'm talking Dodge Monacos and Polaras, the Pontiac LeMans, Plymouth Furies and Belvederes. Maybe even an ex-CHP Ford Mustang or two.

A few things I would be doing in the story is upgrading the vehicle's police electronics--all would have modern two-way radios, Panasonic Toughbooks for the officers, and GPS location tracking.

So, how would a 1970s land yacht perform in traffic and patrol duties today? Could it work, or are Mopar squads just too old?

$\endgroup$
17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think that the biggest problem is the cost to keep these cars running. You'd have to replace the engines to deal with unleaded gasoline, plus the parts aren't being made anymore for these clunkers. I like classic muscle cars, but they didn't age well. $\endgroup$ – NomadMaker Sep 20 '20 at 15:08
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @NomadMaker: Unleaded gasoline was introduced in the 1970s. Most if not all engines of that era will run perfectly well on unleaded. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Sep 20 '20 at 16:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In related real world news, the CHP retired its last two Crown Vics a few weeks ago. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Sep 20 '20 at 23:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ would be more interesting, and usable, if they electrified them Back to the Future style, though as an officer I would want MASSIVE hazard pay for working in a 70s death trap car $\endgroup$ – Richie Frame Sep 21 '20 at 7:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is "mid-2000's" around 2005, 2050 or 2500? - And which of those is somewhat related to "today" in your opinion? $\endgroup$ – I'm with Monica Sep 21 '20 at 8:04

10 Answers 10

14
$\begingroup$

That's really not a problem

Keep in mind, for lack of full-size sedans, many police agencies are already going to full-size, truck-chassis SUVs, which are heavier than 1970s sedans. And handle worse since they are built on a truck chassis. (assuming both vehicles have received modern performance suspension tuning: the factory has bumped the truck suspension as far as it can, and the police force is fitting the best modern, performance aftermarket suspensions available.

Modernizing the engines is also not a problem. Modern engines are very high-performance, and can be retrofitted into older cars.

Keeping the engines up is really not a problem. A few modern engines will bolt right up to older chassis.

Let's take your Pontiac Lemans, e.g. the fourth generation (1973-77). That is a GM A-platform, meaning it had commonality with Chevelle, Malibu, etc. Rest assured we could do the same exercise on the B-platform or the C-platform.

Keeping up with the powertrains

The Lemans was already on a shared platform with cars from every other GM make - Chevy, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, even the GMC Sprint (an El Camino rebadging). And they put Chevy engines in some of those, so matching up the engine mounts is really not a problem.

Some of them took a Chevy small-block (302, 327, 350, 400). Those have always had their engine mounts the same shape and in the same places. That line was morphed into the LT-1 and LS-1 series, and I can tell you positively that the engine mounts did not move. I haven't bolted up an LS-3 or LS-7 but I have no reason to think they moved them. So an LS-7 engine will bolt right up to a Chevy Malibu or Impala police cruiser, as well as others of the A- B- C- platforms with an easy engine mount swap. All this stuff is readily available on the aftermarket, in better materials, no less.

Some of the truck engines could go over too, but since you said "CHP" I assume we have to pass smog. Needless to say the LS-7 package will pass 1979 smog numbers. The swap is allowed so long as it's complete and keeps the donor engine's emission system intact; and is equal or newer model year and class (car > light truck). It'll need a one-time inspection by CARB to affirm it was done correctly.

I don't know whether the same applies to the Mustang (whether a modern 4.6 will bolt into a '73 Mustang) but these are not hard problems for a customizer.

We'll have to keep the whole powertrain intact, actually.

The engine-transmission package is going to be pulled from the donor car fully dressed complete with engine computer, all sensors, even the fuel pump and parts of the dash. The engine will NOT be separated from the transmission!

The engine-transmission package will have no idea it's not in a 2015 Camaro.

The reason is that in a 2020 era car, the entire powertrain package works as a team. The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) tells the transmission when to shift, and the PCM manages the fuel injection through the "power transient" during that shift. That's done to hit the extremely agressive NZLEV smog numbers. (ironically Detroit's big V-8s were the first engines to meet the optional NZLEV standards, who would've expected that??) Even the throttle is "drive-by-wire" on some cars; again so the PCM has advance notice of the "power transient". Never over-injecting fuel is good for engine wear. That's why modern engines last longer.

Performance.

One problem when comparing 1970s horsepower numbers to 1990s+ is that in the 1970s, the horsepower was based on the engine dynamometer figures - bare engine in a load cell, not even a tranny attached. However in the modern age, horsepower is full chassis "at the wheels" power turned in on a chassis dyno. That means a modern 300hp engine is actually quite a bit more powerful than a "classic" 300hp engine.

Speaking of that... for what it's worth, the 1973-77 LeMans was notable in that it shared its front suspension with the F-body Camaro/Firebird. There are plenty of aftermarket suspension upgrades for that!

Contrast with...

The problem is that police cruisers need a lot of physical room. They can't be crammed into a Prius. As full-size sedans (Caprice, Crown Vic) have left the market, police have been forced into full sized SUVs like the Yukon. Well, the Yukon is built on the same chassis as the C1500 pickup truck, which itself has been "change-resistant" because pickup truck buyers do not like change. So it's a truck. It's gonna be doing like doing a police chase in a pickup truck. Granted it has all the performance tuning the modern age can give it, but still a truck. Not significantly better than what the modern age can give a 70s LeMans with a tuned Camaro front end.

However the LeMans has a much lower center of gravity and lower weight overall. (plus quite good forward-back balance with the lighter LS series engines in it).

Now, I know you can't outrun Mr. Motorola, but could such vehicles perform their intended law enforcement function in a modern world adequately? I'm talking Dodge Monacos and Polaras, the Pontiac LeMans, Plymouth Furies and Belvederes. Maybe even an ex-CHP Ford Mustang or two.

I feel confident that they could, yes.

A few things I would be doing in the story is upgrading the vehicle's police electronics--all would have modern two-way radios, Panasonic Toughbooks for the officers, and GPS location tracking.

Since you must bring over the PCM (Powertrain Control Module), you have the option to bring over the BCM (Body Control Module) also. That brings you as many of the modern creature comforts as you please to install, from OnStar to Siri to maps-in-the-dash. If it came in the donor car, you can bring it over.

So, how would a 1970's land yacht perform in traffic and patrol duties today? Could it work, or are Mopar squads just too old?

implying a Yukon isn't a land yacht

What else are they going to drive??? The best thing on the market is the last of the 2010s Crown Vics. Other than that, what most forces are going for is truck-derived SUVs because they need the space.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ You know, this works really well actually...the head mechanic at the department has kind of a reputation as a 'vehicular mad scientist' with a penchant for sometimes wild modifications. This would be TOTALLY in character for her to do! $\endgroup$ – Jazzyamx Sep 22 '20 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it's worth saying why they need such big cars in the first place. Police here routinely uses C-segment cars (Peugeot 308 and Renault Mégane) so I can't imagine why a Prius wouldn't do the job. $\endgroup$ – AmiralPatate Sep 22 '20 at 11:39
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @AmiralPatate Probably because patrolmen often operate in pairs, use the back seats in a holding cell, and bring stackloads of gear: first aid kit/CPR breather/defib, huge fire extinguisher, blankets and other "first fireman on the scene" kit, evidence bags, space for evidence, an array of traffic control devices from cones to beacons on a charging rack, radar gun and case, breathalyzer, diesel fuel tester (for untaxed dyed diesel), towing straps, immobilization boot, spike strips... it's like Hermoine's purse in there. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 22 '20 at 15:58
56
$\begingroup$

Yes. But...

Beware the anti knock additive in petrol.
Leaded gasoline was removed from most of the world between the 1970s and today. (It caused horrible health, developmental, and possibly even behavioural problems).

Running a 1970s car on normal modern fuel will damage the engine. Additives will need to be added to the fuel, which are available at most car shops.

Beware stronger airbags
1970s airbags in several countries were made under the assumption that passengers weren't wearing seatbelts, and the airbag needed to apply a much larger force to stop a head hitting the windscreen. When seltbelt laws came into effect, these airbags were too powerful, and overpowered airbag deployment is responsible for over a hundred deaths.

Beware losing a high speed chase to a soccer mum in a Toyota Camry
Modern economy cars can outperform old muscle cars.

A 1970 Chevrolet 454 Corvette can do 0-100kmph in 7.0 seconds.
A 1970 Mustang can do it in 6.2.
A 2020 Toyota Camry can do it in 5.8 seconds.

$\endgroup$
6
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Sep 21 '20 at 17:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So essentially, "no" for the 3rd point. $\endgroup$ – Ian Kemp Sep 21 '20 at 20:19
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Some police departments have policies against high speed chases. The lower performance wouldn't necessarily be a negative in those cases. $\endgroup$ – Michael Richardson Sep 21 '20 at 20:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The acceleration, while important, isn’t necessarily a deciding factor. What are the top speeds? If the muscle car can go faster than the modern car (eventually), it can catch up. $\endgroup$ – Tim Sep 22 '20 at 8:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Tim on the highway maybe. What about in town where the Camry's faster acceleration and handling matter? I guess it probably doesn't matter though, you can't outrun the radio. $\endgroup$ – Jared Smith Sep 22 '20 at 13:22
21
$\begingroup$

Maybe, depending on crime

The fixation with muscle cars seems to indicate an American setting. Depending on where in the USA they are to be used, the vehicles may or may not be appropriate for fighting crime.

If they are chasing perps in Centralia, Pennsylvania (population: 5), or otherwise any place where the worst threats they have to deal with are domestic violence and truancy, then yeah, those cars can do the job.

If they are participating in the first thing that comes to mind when you mention American police and cars, though, they are in trouble. While muscle cars can pack a considerable amount of horsepower for their weight, the lack of modern features such as anti-lock braking systems and (for many models) hydraulic or electric steering makes them much less agile compared to modern cars.

You mentioned Pontiac LeMans. It was a seminal design, which eventually spawned the GTO series. About the first generation GTO, Wikipedia says:

Most contemporary road tests by the automotive press such as Car Life criticized the slow steering, particularly without power steering, and inadequate drum brakes, which were identical to those of the normal Tempest.

Finally, sometimes a small, modern compact car can do things that high-performance cars can't. This is completely idiotic but here is a Top Gear video of a Corvette failing to keep up with a Ford Fiesta inside a shopping mall. The Fiesta seems more agile in tight spots. The same program also jokingly mentioned potential military capabilities for the Fiesta; I don't think a GTO would handle being dropped in the ocean. I think among old cars, only amphibious ones and the VW Beetle would be able to reach the shore like that.


That said, those cars would be very environment unfriendly. Where I come from we say that regular cars have a mileage, but the kind of car you want to use have a "gallonage" (as in, "how many gallons does it take to drive a mile with this one?") (also we use metric measures instead).


If you are willing to get the best value for your money, may I suggest an old Toyota Hilux instead? Since with such old cars your only possible maneuver against perps would be ramming them anyway, you will save lots of taxpayer money in maintenance as the old Hilux is almost as indestructible as an old Nokia phone:

The Toyota was purchased from a farmyard by Clarkson, who began to try and kill it (to be classed as dead, you had to not be able to start the engine or drive it).
(...)
Jeremy's final attempts were hitting it with a wrecking ball and setting fire to it. Astonishingly, it survived.
(...)
Following Clarkson's failure to kill it, James May stepped in. He decided to place it on top of a 23-storey tower block about to be demolished. While the exterior and chassis were damaged to the point where the bodywork was holding the chassis and the vehicle was barely recognisable, the mechanic (again, using no spare parts and only simple tools) "reconnected the battery, put a bit of diesel in it, brum. Off it went."

$\endgroup$
7
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What a great answer! Hilariously written, and topping it off by suggesting a Toyota to an American. I had to smile all the way through. :-) $\endgroup$ – Anderas Sep 20 '20 at 7:17
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ The primary function of the police in Centralia (like every other third-world police force) is not chasing perps. It is raising funds by imposing fines for trivial offences where the alleged offenders are not going to cause any trouble and just pay up. So they might as well have nice comfortable mobile armchairs to drive around in, rather than something resembling a modern car. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Sep 20 '20 at 14:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @alephzero I doubt that Centralia has its own police force. It simply wouldn't be cost effective. Most of its properties were seized by the state back in the 90s and there are only like 5 residents still live there. I would venture to guess it's policed by default by Pennsylvania's state troopers. $\endgroup$ – PC Luddite Sep 20 '20 at 15:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You are wrong about the lack of power steering, anti-lock braking, and so on making cars less agile. These are artifcial aids for the assistance of less competent drivers. The size, weight, and generally poor suspension design of American cars of that era would be factors, though. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Sep 20 '20 at 16:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Michael Hampton: The Toyota Stout pickup, which I think was a pretty close equivalent, was sold in the US. I owned one - a 1968 model - which I resurrected from a farmer's junkyard after it had been rolled. Drove it for years before trading it. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Sep 21 '20 at 1:53
16
$\begingroup$

Getting there

You know, in 90% of the cases the police uses the car to get to a place where it is needed. You can do that by horse, bicycle or hire an Uber. A 70s car would do the job, certainly.

Patrol

Then there are patrol service cars. They add an element of uncertainty to criminals: as the gang doesn't know the exact position of every police car, they never know how much time they have for their robbery. Once the alarm is raised, the police makes a u-turn where they are and go where the robbery was. You can do that with 70s cars, horses and bicycles; though not with an Uber.

Move to the side and stop

Patrol cars are sometimes used to stop another car, lighting the siren and the lights very shortly and then both stop at the side of the highway. Boring standard work again. You can't do that with a horse, a bicycle or an Uber. You need a car here. Any car. You can use a Smart, also a 70s vehicle would be acceptable.

Shoot out support

Go to cover behind the door. Get out the weaponry. Fire Back. Well, some cars have armored doors for this situation, and a machine pistol hidden in the door lining. (At least here, don't know the US) You need a car for that, putting some protection into the lining and hiding a weapon there is not possible on bicycles or horses. Or Uber. Your 70s car would even be good here, they really used millimetre thick steel in the seventies! A disadvantage anywhere and everywhere else, it is an advantage if someone shoots at you.

Chase

Very, very very rarely, the police car is used to chase somebody. In that case also a helicopter is asked for support. You can't get a modern car with a 70s car. Any modern car is stronger, faster, safer and more agile than a 70s muscle car. Most comes due to the modern software for curves, acceleration and braking, which you simply can't retrofit into a 70s car except if you completely rip it apart and rebuild it with electronics, in which case it wouldn't be a 70s car anymore. But it's not necessary if the helicopter does the job.

So if you are ok with the 70s car not doing the only cool part of the job... it would certainly work.

$\endgroup$
4
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Pointing out that helicopters are for chases is a good one I think most people would miss. While cops like fast cars to be able to pursue fleeing vehicles, it generally isn't a good idea and many places around the world are discouraging it as the rate of injuries to civilians isn't justified by the marginal increase in arrests over just having a helicopter. $\endgroup$ – Turksarama Sep 21 '20 at 3:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Turksarama: Indeed. A couple of years ago, I read an article about accident statistics for emergency vehicles. I forgot the exact numbers, but it was something like emergency vehicles are ten times more likely than any other to get into an accident with injuries to at least one person, and conversely, in all accidents with injuries to at least one person, the percentage of emergency vehicles involved is ten times higher than the percentage of miles driven in emergency vehicles. This article was about Germany, and they pointed out that only one out of 16 states has a full-motion car simulator. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Sep 21 '20 at 5:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You still need a car on the ground when you follow someone with the helicopter - at some point you want to cuff them, so there you need people on the ground. But the helicopter has the effect that those people lose their hope of escaping, and that's sufficient in most cases. $\endgroup$ – Anderas Sep 21 '20 at 6:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ US cops if they have anything heavier than a sidearm, would normally be a shotgun and/or rifle in the trunk. The latter is probably an m4/m16/ar-15 capable of burst/full auto fire (although full auto on a rifle isn't really good for much, the recoil makes keeping on target nearly impossible). $\endgroup$ – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Sep 21 '20 at 13:23
12
$\begingroup$

I drive a 1973 car (in the real world) and its now 47 years old. Yes its driveable, but not as a daily commuter car.

Downsides:

  • Starting from cold - she's a bit slow to get moving in the mornings or from cold. Modern cars have engine management systems that juggle things around and the only observable result is higher fuel usage in the first few minutes. Storing the vehicle in a warm garage helps a lot.
  • Fuel usage. I average around 14 MPG, ranging from 10 to 17. That's a lot higher operating cost than a modern car. For vehicles that move a lot like taxis, delivery vans, or long-haul trucks, that adds up. For police cars, depends how much they're rolling vs stopped doing active policing.
  • Aerodynamics - mainly contributing to lower top speeds, and increased fuel usage. Sure fins looked sleek, but they weren't particularly aero.
  • Leaks - modern cars basically don't leak anything. Vintage cars leak all their fluids over time. How can you tell when your vintage English car is out of oil? The leaks stop So the garaging floor and carpark will likely be oily all the time.
  • Leaks, inwards - My car has both air and water leaks. Driving in the rain can be like taking a shower. And driving in snow/cold gives many cold draughts.
  • Safety - No cars had airbags, and even seatbelts were optional (legal requirements vary around the world) So getting in/out was quicker, and the car was simpler. Period advertising about my car makes note of the "new padded dashboard, to increase safety!" There are no collapsing steering columns either, and while safety glass was common, it was still relatively new at this time.
    So a crash could cause the driver to be impaled on the steering column, whiplashed because no headrests, passengers could be flung though windows, but they would not lacerated by shards of sharp glass.
  • Brakes - Drum brakes were common, and while disks existed, they were high-end. Drum brakes have much more heat fade, and take longer to cool off. You can also end up with non-functional brakes after they get wet internally. I've personally almost ran a stop sign 10 minutes after a river ford, because I hadn't dried the brakes.
  • Handling and Manoeverability - Older cars generally don't handle as well as newer ones. There are no anti-screwup controls like ABS, and while a skilled driver doesn't depend on them, a heavily-distracted officer might.
  • Top speed and acceleration - low, and gentle.

Neutrals:

  • Chassis - modern monocoque construction wasn't a thing. Mine's based on a ladder chassis with the engine bolted to that, and a bodywork bolted on top. This leads to relatively simple customisation without compromising the strength of the skeleton. But it also reduces crumple zones to nothing.
    This means the front bumper is an ideal location for a bullbar/nudge bar and it won't collapse back into the engine bay.
  • Electrical Power - a modern police car needs to run a lot of electrical items. So uprated batteries, aux battery, and beefier alternators will be required. Check out military Radio trucks - a 200 Amp alternator is not unheard of in the 60s. Or two, for reduncancy.
  • Air Conditioning - may be an optional extra - adding weight too.
  • Alternative fuels - Mine's been equipped to run on original Petrol (gasoline) as well as LPG. This essentially doubles the range. Older engines were more accepting of a variety of fuels. Two storage tanks eats into the internal space though.
  • Gearbox - Mine's a manual with 20 forward and 4 reverse gears, and a clutch. That's a lot to deal with. Automatics existed in the 70s, but they were even more power-sapping than modern ones, and might be 3 speed plus overdrive (and reverse) It takes some getting used-to when changing car.

Positives:

  • Space - Older cars, especially American land yachts based on 60's designs, will have larger spaces all over. The engine bay is cavernous, the boot/trunk can store several corpses, and the passenger area can seat about 20 (according to the song)
  • Comfort - wallowly soft suspension that smooths out most anything the road can throw up. Mine's got leaf springs, but coil springs were not rare either. This may compromise handling (steers like a boat)
  • Visibility - Older cars have a substantial amount more glass than modern cars. Driving a Ford Cortina is like sitting in a glasshouse, with phenomenal views in all directions. Part of this comes down to thinner pillars on older cars, because there's less wiring, and no airbags in the roof supports.
    Vehicles with heavily curved glass can cause visual issues though, due to lensing effects.
  • Insurance - my car is listed as "Historic" and I pay a premium which is a tenth of what a modern car would cost to insure. There is an annual mileage limitation though. This may not apply to a working police car.
  • Manufacturer support - There may be interest from the car's maker, in seeing these vehicles keep working and advertising the brand. This is likely to come as money, but there may also be access to design/technical specs and "old stock parts" or pattern tooling should replacement parts be required.
  • Knowledge - there's a lot of older and retired mechanics who may have started their careers on MOPAR and big block engines. They may choose to make this knowledge accessible by participating in high school courses, or vocational skills programmes for rehabilitating former convicts. The British Territorial Army was reputed to strip and rebuild a landrover for each intake of new recruits.

enter image description here
Approximately 1976 Ford Falcon in New Zealand MOT livery. Not quite a Land Yacht - the fuel crisis had bitten, and hefty vehicles were out of vogue.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Transmissions with large numbers of gears were uncommon. 20 speeds would be reasonable for a diesel truck, but most vehicles with manual transmissions had between 3 and 5 forward gears and one reverse gear. $\endgroup$ – Mark Sep 21 '20 at 23:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thinner pillars in olders cars is also because modern cars have stricter safety regulations to avoid them crumbling the living space if they roll over. $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Sep 21 '20 at 23:34
4
$\begingroup$

The main difference between those cars and the modern ones lays not in the engine but in the control electronics: anti-blockage, skid prevention, traction control and the like were non existent in those time, or only available in a purely mechanical implementation.

E.g. just reading some performance evaluation for the Dodge Monaco you read that when given full gas it burn tires. That means that in any but ideal surface condition (wet, dirty) a modern car would be at advantage, assuming same skill level for both drivers.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Not sure about USA, but I live in a country that has some 70's and 80's vehicles still in service in the police.

The only reason they keep them is there is no enough funding to replace them everywhere. These cars are in generally bad state, but they still run and are used for less demanding tasks.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Almost certainly not. The difference in safety features between a 70s era vehicle and one made in 2005 is utterly astronomical. There is no conceivable reason whatsoever a police force would use such old cars, they are death traps. Even if money is tight you would be using used cars from the late 90s.

To put it in perspective, there are many accidents that occur today that people survive without a scratch which would have beeen fatal accidents 30 years ago.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Keep in mind the "Crown Victoria" used the "Panther" Platform developed in 1978 and gone largely unchanged in production til 2011. enter image description here

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ I own a 2008 P71. Thanks for the info. $\endgroup$ – Jazzyamx Sep 22 '20 at 7:07
0
$\begingroup$

I own a 1960's "boat", grew up in the 1970s and '80s, and so experienced all kinds of cars from the era. As a younger man, I became a grease monkey and worked on countless cars from those decades: mechanically, electrically and electronically. And I even had a full-time job installing and repairing electrical and electronic equipment in police and emergency vehicles around that period.

If you're talking about simple road races, like catching the bad guys as in the movies, then clearly the heavier vehicles would be at a disadvantage when it came to maneuverability. But such backup-less, one-on-one chases are not common. As you said, nothing's faster than radio. Even then, some old cars only had 3 forward gears which made them accelerate rapidly when already at higher speeds, and their mass could bump anything off the road, if need be.

I'd argue the older vehicles are cheaper to maintain and repair than modern vehicles, if the mechanics are skilled. Carburetors work well when properly maintained, for example, but I have seen much ignorance and neglect there. Plenty of space around the engine and less complexity overall leads to simpler, faster repairs, meaning less labor costs. Parts are common and have been around for decades, so they, too, are inexpensive (compare any website's prices for examples).

Finding body replacement parts could be near impossible though, unless you chose a car model that is collectible and has a following, like Novas, Mustangs, etc., as there are manufacturers that make almost all the reproduction parts for such vehicles.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.