Hoping you guys can help me weigh pros and cons with your superior experience.
I'm looking at two prospects (with two more on the back burner).
One is local to me--an '81 Imp that is largely rust free top and bottom. FI replaced with Edelbrock 4 bll and intake. Could use some hood paint (peeling) and a couple touch up spots. Daystar Blue. He wants $5.2 k
The other is a '76 Aspen wagon. Saddle tan. 318/727. It is far away in Nevada but has the benefit of being California/NV all its life. Clean up, down. Zero rust on subframe or body. Owner says "everything" has been gone through, and it needs nothing. $6k and I reckon it wouldlikely be 1,500 for shipping.
Now, from my original post, you'll recall this irresponsible slob wants to subject a nice FMJ to daily driver use. Though I'm semi-retired now. Still, I mean to underspray the piss out of it and keep going in the winter. My driveway/garage simply won't allow a beater and an FMJ. So this is it. The way I reckon, we're in the last decade or so for ICE vehicles anyway, and I'm going to have my fun. Other prospects include a 5A, a Gran Fury and a Dip--all rust free and within 500 miles for under $4k. Comments?
Speaking honestly, you're nuts. These cars are old as dirt now. Daily driving duty should mean easy access to parts and service garages that know what they're doing. Parts dried up and most garages can't diagnose anything unless they know where to hook up the blinky light machine to tell them.
....but if you must subject a nice vintage car to Michigan winters, get a sedan. Lots more of those around than the wagons or coupes.
Candid, Duke, and I appreciate it. Throughout this process, I've considered all kind of Ma Mopar offerings, from Cs, to As to even (gasp) Ks and their derivatives. I could go for a Dodge 600 or even a same era LeBaron, not to mention Spirit R/Ts and Shelbys. Are parts any better for them? I do have a terrific mechanic who really did fine work with my Studebaker Lark and A body Dart when I had them
The Spirit R/T is only 15 minutes from me, per owner--has no rust top or bottom and a plethora of refreshing done. It's a 5 speed manual (did they use the Getrags?), which would be fun. i know it's not FMJ, but I'm itching to drive anything that's not Plastic Electronic Trash/Motor Vehicle appliances of the 21st century. I'm going to check on Spirit parts supply. Surely any mechanic can deal with obd 1?
Does it have to be Mopar? 90's to the last of the production run Crown Victoria. No Chrysler RWD offering of that era, or you could even go to the LX platform and get a Charger. Newer doesn't have to mean shitbox.
I’d also support and recommend a 90s Crown Vic or a Caprice; or my favorite, a Mercury Marauder, just for the surplus of parts still available for them. I daily my 5th Ave year round but, it’s a lifelong MidWest car that already had enough rust and paint damage to not feel guilty; and was well under $2k. If I was looking at one of these in nice shape for $4k +, it definitely wouldn’t be my daily.
Even a 90s Cougar or thunderbird would be pretty sweet. RWD, V8 and independent rear suspension.
Get a crown Vic or town car. They drive nice, there's a fair bit you can do to them and tons of parts availability. Altho around here they're starting to dry up in junk yards. I'm also happy with my charger.
I have a disagreement with what others said, above. Then again, I don't mind working on these cars. To me, it is fun - but that is me.
I would like to see several pictures of both/either cars before purchasing - for I can point out the good/bad/ugly for you. The Imperial would make a wonderful car - but is maybe the car with the fewest part availability of any Mopar (except for maybe the Turbine or TC (by Maserati)) - but if you have a nice complete car then most of the hard part is already done.
I really like my wagon and had to look hard to get one without the wood grain (never have cared for the wood grain). The big thing with '76's is the factory installed rust option. If you have one with zero rust (like this one might be) then it might be a winner - but I still want to see pictures of it first, as well as several under body pictures. I paid about the same for my wagon (and transport) five years ago.
Both of my cars get driven almost everyday - but not as much sense working from home (don't have to go anywhere). Being sent home from the office was like a pay raise (not spending but a fraction of what I did in fuel).
Found an '83 Imperial that has a Magnum swapped in....
Don't like its oversized wheels or tires, but that's small potatoes. Would the modern powerplant make it any more daily driveable?
Swapped with a magnum 5.2 with obd2 built 4 speed auto transmission with mustang 8.8 rear end thats also built upgraded braking system with hydroboost settup and runs well needs some love and for someone to properly enjoy it 67xxx km on car with motor that has 20,000 on it runs amazing just no time to use it
It’s not really the engine or trans that would be an issue, it’s being able to get replacement parts for nearly everything else on the car. There’s just not near the aftermarket support for these as Brand X cars.
Drive whatever makes you happy. Don’t put too much thought into what any of us say.
Your money, time and car. Do what makes you happy/feels best to you.
True, it's his money and time, but he did come here for advice.
Am I correct that this is going to be your only car and this needs to perform year-round, daily driver duty? If yes to both those questions, you need to stop looking at old iron, especially old customized iron. You need some built in the last twenty years that is bone stock. Trust me on this.
True he did.
I see guys daily their exotics in Chicago year round, even in winter (ever see a Lamborghini with a Christmas tree on its roof? I have) . I’d advise against, but people can do what they want.
I can’t tell someone not to daily a 30 year old car. Aside from my coil burning out prematurely (because I mounted it horizontal on the intake) I haven’t had much issue...but I have spent a lot of weekends hustling to get repairs done so the car was drivable come Monday. Duke has a valid point about if this will be your only car. If you can handle repairs yourself or have to drop cash at a shop, it all adds up. Even a “nice” 30 year old car will need a bunch replaced to be a solid daily.