Post by Mark
I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me if owning an old car is a pain in the ass. Like how difficult is it to maintain? Is it reliable? How practical it is as a daily driver? I got my Datsun back in April and I’ve been driving it every day since, so I think I’m now qualified enough to answer some of those questions.
Classic Cars Expectations
First thing you need to do is manage your expectations with the car. You’re not buying a brand new car off the dealership lot so you need know that the car won’t be perfect. My car for example has a bunch of quirks if I can put it nicely, here are some of them:
– I need a new gearbox, right now my gears jump to neutral randomly when in 1st, 3rd or 5th gear. New gearbox with installation will cost me just KD150, but I’m not in the mood to get it done because end of the day my gearbox is working fine, it’s just a bit annoying. I’ve got a temp fix right now which is, whenever I am in one of those gears, I just keep my hand on the gear knob so it doesn’t jump out of place and it works. Simple.
– When I close my drivers door it automatically locks. So I ALWAYS make sure the keys are with me before exiting the car.
– When I fill up gas I spend the rest of the day inhaling gas fumes in the car.
– Speaking of fumes, if I have one window open, the cars internal air pressure changes and starts pulling in exhaust fumes from the rear. So I need to either have both windows rolled up or both windows down. So if a passenger rolls down their window I roll down mine, if they roll there’s up, I roll mine up. No biggie.
– When I go through a drive-thru car wash I get soaked a little while sitting inside the car. It leaks water from on top of the door and it’s not because of the rubber seals which I’ve already replaced. The car is just so old that the body has warped a bit and so the doors and rear hatch don’t properly seal.
– It’s really loud, old cars had no sound insulation and I can’t really converse with anyone inside the car. The sound of the road, wind, engine and exhaust just doesn’t make it possible.
These are just some of the “quirks” and I’ve got a bunch more. So when you get an old car expect there to be weird issues. My car is 43 years old and I’ve accepted all the issues that came with it and they don’t bother me at all.
Classic Cars Reliability
There are so many variables related to reliability so it isn’t possible to give one answer. It really depends on what kind of car, what brand, what model year and how complicated the car is. You can always google up information on your desired car and find out. In my case the car has been pretty reliable. Japanese tend to make reliable cars and because my car is over 40 years old so there isn’t that much complication to it. Simply put there isn’t much that can go wrong in the car and whatever can go wrong has already gone wrong with me. For example:
– I was driving once on the freeway and the car suddenly died on me, no power at all. I pulled over to the side of the road and popped open the hood and I noticed the car battery had fallen from its spot and was dangerously dangling over my engine with just one cable. If it had fallen off completely while driving I would have been pretty much fucked. Got that issue sorted, it was an easy fix.
– Another time my car wouldn’t start, so I went and bought a new battery and replaced it but it still wouldn’t start. Turned out the cable that takes the power to the car had melted. Got that fixed.
– My gas pedal suddenly stopped working once while driving, got that fixed.
– My gas pedal started getting jammed down, got that fixed.
– Had fan belt rip and my car overheat. Easy fix.
– Had AC hose burst loose. Fixed.
– Two days ago I noticed a strange loud vibration once the car went over 50 mph. I turned car off and popped the gear into neutral while on the highway and noticed sound was still there so isolated the problem as most likely coming from the rear differential. I was close, took the car to my mechanic yesterday and turns out good thing I did because the 4 bolts that connects my driveshaft so the differential had come loose. Would have been a mess if it had fallen.
I know it sounds like a lot of issues but they were all minor and took place in the first couple of months. If the previous owner of the car had driven it much, most of these problems would have occurred with him and he would have fixed them himself. So I consider my Datsun pretty reliable… even though I drive around now with a Haynes manual and my full toolkit in the trunk.
Classic Cars Cost
The best part about classic cars is that they’re mostly not that expensive. When I was looking for 240z’s the prices ranged from KD2,500 to KD5,500 depending on a bunch of things. I paid KD3,000 for mine which was very reasonable considering it wasn’t modified and had most of the original internal parts which is exactly what I was looking for.
So far I’ve put around KD1,250 on top of that to make the car a daily driver. KD350 was for the AC installation, around KD200 on stereo, another KD300 was on various parts and a bunch went to my amazing mechanic.
An 80s Skyline GTS (R31) can be found in the range of around KD5,000 to KD8,000 or an even older 70s Skyline (C110) anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000. 280z’s range from 2,000 to 4,000 and I found a like new condition one for 7,000. American cars are fairly affordable as well, lots of old Mustangs and Corvettes are available for under 5,000 for example.
So yeah based on my personal experience I would highly recommend getting an old classic car. I’ve lost interest in all new cars because of them hence why I haven’t been reviewing any new cars on the blog. I’m currently more excited to test drive my friends 1982 Range Rover than I am to test drive another new Porsche or BMW or whatever. Older cars are just so different and have so much more character to them. And the best part about old cars is.. they don’t get old. They’re already old and they’ll stay old so when you get bored and you want to sell it again, you shouldn’t lose any money.
Finding a clean classic car in Kuwait is tough but if you’re patient it’s not that bad. I saw a lot of 240z over 2-3 months until I found the one I wanted. The best place to find old cars is with the 4Sale App but I found mine on instagram while flipping through @q8carclassic. I just contacted the owner of the car and asked him if he wanted to sell it and turns out he did.
I don’t think I missed out on anything here but if anyone still has any questions just let me know!