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Old 01-17-2014, 01:06 PM   #1
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Classic Cars and eatin' gas

Hey there, ladies and gents. I'll keep it short. My name is Max, I'm a 22 year old Army veteran going to college in Bradenton, Fl, and I drive old cars pretty much exclusively. Fuel economy is only really important to me as an indicator of my car's health; after all, when your mpg are sub 15 you might as well stop worrying about saving money.

As evidence to support that statement, the list of cars I have owned is as follows, in order.

1963 Chevy Impala (283 ci)
1996 Mercury Grand Marquis (4.6 Ford Modular)
1986 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham D'Elegeance (307ci Oldsmobile)
1977 Mercury Cougar (351ci M)

All are big, floaty v8s (well, technically, small block v8s, but how many of you still drive a car with one?)

If you have a question about big American land yachts, I'm probably a pretty good guy to ask.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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Welcome! That Grand Marquis probably did pretty well for you. My grandfather purchased Grand Marquis' almost exclusively from 1981 (when he traded his 76 Chrysler Newport) till his death a few years ago. With Fuel injection and overdrive, its pretty easy to get one to do upper 20's on the highway, and if you're really vigilant, get it to do over 30 on the highway. My grandfather's final Grand Marquis is still in his garage down in Florida. My family uses it when we're down there visiting, and I still love driving it. I told my uncle if he ever decided to free up room in the garage, let me know, I'll take it.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #3
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Yeah, it was a good car up until my brother totaled it. I honestly think it is the single best traditional American sedan ever made. It's a great drivers car, it has some muscle if you need it, it's amazing on gas for a v8, very comfortable, it handles (handling being what a car does AFTER your tires lose grip), and you can break that rear end loose when you want to with little fight from the car. Also excellent at offroading; when I was in the Army in Louisiana, I had to search for my squad leader and some others who were camping out in the swamp and chugging beer. . Armed with a terrain map and nothing else, I had to weave my way through swampland, mud, trees, tall grass, dirt roads, etc. This was no easy trail. At one point I actually almost flipped the car on uneven ground, but it just took it and kept on going. Got out to inspect it, no visual damage, and no evident damage even months later. I loved that thing, and I should have never given it to my brother, he treated it like crap at all times and drove like a boy racer. And that's why he wrapped it around a pole.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:31 PM   #4
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Man, 6 mpg and 10 mpg. lol Easily the worst fuel economy I've ever gotten. And I am totally ok with it.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:55 PM   #5
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That's insane! I guess economy isn't that important in a Classic, as it gets used far less often than your average everyday car. I recently sold my classic car, admittedly it had an engine about 10 times smaller (0.7 litre!) but I only clocked up 800 miles over 3 years! Poor thing had just 16,000 miles on it aged 24!
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:59 PM   #6
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Not this guy, I buy classics as daily drivers. That's also why I buy the old luxobarges, because they weren't performance oriented, so they were seldom hooned and flogged, and were built tough for rich people of decades past. Also shag carpet.


But, for example the Cadillac had 124,000 miles, Impala was at 50,000 original miles, and this cougar is over 108,000. They've been driven.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:01 AM   #7
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And I think once I make some decisions about the transmission, timing chain, exhaust and ignition timing, I'll probably see that number climb into 15, and in my dreams, up to 20. Still, you'd be surprised how liveable even my crap fuel economy is as a single veteran. I mean, it's the largest part of my budget, but I don't have **** else to worry about.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Draigflag View Post
That's insane! I guess economy isn't that important in a Classic, as it gets used far less often than your average everyday car. I recently sold my classic car, admittedly it had an engine about 10 times smaller (0.7 litre!) but I only clocked up 800 miles over 3 years! Poor thing had just 16,000 miles on it aged 24!


Just realised you're fom the UK! I thought .7 liter sounded small (especially compared to my 351cui/5.8 liter)! Man, you cats never got the barges we made, not that they would have fit. I mean, y'all got Bentleys, Rolls Royces, and a couple other larger vehicles, but those were more for the really well to do. I wish you all could experience both they joy and horror of the yank tank.

So comfortable, so much excess, and so impossible to turn and park. But you feel like you own the road... probably because you are as wide as it is.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:24 AM   #9
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Well America has a lot of things that the UK doesnt, muscle cars, wide roads, wide people, gun obsessed physcopaths, but the UK has a lot of things the US doesn't too, modesty, high fuel prices, a government that cares about it's people's health, history etc (hope you have a good sense of humour!)

My point is, most houses here were built before cars excisted, fuel prices have always been high, not to mention carbon based taxes (road tax) and lots and lots of bends, the big lazy V8 cruisers you have over there have never been popular in the UK. The shape of our country, in fact most of Europe, has influenced car design since cars were built, the same as it has in the US.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:17 PM   #10
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Well America has a lot of things that the UK doesnt, muscle cars, wide roads, wide people, gun obsessed physcopaths, but the UK has a lot of things the US doesn't too, modesty, high fuel prices, a government that cares about it's people's health, history etc (hope you have a good sense of humour!)

My point is, most houses here were built before cars excisted, fuel prices have always been high, not to mention carbon based taxes (road tax) and lots and lots of bends, the big lazy V8 cruisers you have over there have never been popular in the UK. The shape of our country, in fact most of Europe, has influenced car design since cars were built, the same as it has in the US.

Believe me, I'm trackin'. They would never work in the UK, not to mention that even over here they are ridiculous. Muscle cars and luxo barges really only work in a few places, and they are generally spread out and relatively flat. But what I meant to say, and I apologize for not clarifying, is that piloting a massive land yacht would be as exotic an experience for you as me driving a .7 liter car that, in all likelihood, might nearly have more cab room than my under-engineered boat! I like the idea of experiencing odd cultural things from other countries, such as different cars, differences in languages, dialects, approaches to national and individual situations, etc, and likewise the idea of getting someone used to small (by American standards) and efficient cars into a monstrosity of vehicle with a giant v8 that STILL only makes 150 hp but is so comfortable you almost don't care brings a smile to my face.

One thing that I think you cats do right as far as auto appreciation goes is that you are able to appreciate the quirky and often poorly engineered cars for what they are. That's not as widely seen here, or at least not in my part of Florida. A POS is a POS regardless of its story here. I sometimes feel that people don't appreciate the history of the car in the US. It is, after all, one of our biggest legacies.

Also, great post man!


(and don't worry about humor, only fools take jokes and criticism about the abstract idea of a country personally. I love my country as much as the next guy, but for ****'s sake, it's a land of 300+ million people and is governed by a republic. Things are going to be crazy and dumb, so why not have a go at it? )
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