What it’s like owning a classic car

Post by Mark

240

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.

datsunwheel

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.

Conclusion
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!


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30 comments, add your own...


  1. Azz says:

    I know u use to own a jeep JK ( Wrangler?).
    I’ve always had a thing for it.
    Do you recommend owning one considering the cost of maintenance and all?

  2. mo says:

    i work 2 min away from where you fix your car “omid garage”
    it seems a lot of people has fallen in love with your car, the garage has 3 or 4 Datsun (identical to your model, colour etc.)
    turns out your car wasn’t there.
    people love you man, brother should change the garage name to “Mark’s wanabee” lool

  3. BeeJay says:

    Do you want to test drive my BMW 3 Series 328iCoupe 1996 (e36) ? :P
    You can make a review about this model :D
    if you like it.I can let you also review BMW 3 Series 325 1990 e30
    I know its not considering as classic. Its just 20 years old so almost new :D
    In Lebanon they love these two models

    • Mark says:

      hahaha my friend has an M3 E36, not a fan at all. The M3 E30 on the other hand…

      is your 325 2 or 4 door? I was actually considering a 325 coupe E30 with an MTechnic body kit, guy wanted 2500 but I thought it was too much for it. Also had my eye on a E30 with a full M3 body kit and a 540 engine in it. But guy wanted 3000 which I also thought was too much for it.

  4. Gagagarage says:

    Most old cars actually do have sound deadening materials in them, however, your Datsun does not because it makes the car lighter without it. Sports cars will be sports cars…

  5. BlarneyBob says:

    On your gear problem, shift linkages should be checked. Or have your tranny rebuilt, checked for worn synchro sleeves, etc. I’d prefer a rebuild over buying a “surplus” tranny since you know the conditions of the part.

    Gas smell is serious. Could be a broken vent hose, or have your tank checked for leaks.

    As for deadening materials, most sound system installers should be able to help you with that.

    • Mark says:

      The gear problem is a synchro issue, the problem with rebuilding is nobody wants to do it and I need to order the parts online. It’s just cheaper to replace the tranny.

      The gas smell is common with these old z’s

      I considered getting dynamat but I’m not gonna go down that path. If I’m gonna start improving stuff it’s going to be a never ending road. I’d love wilwood brakes, full coilover suspensions, new front windshield, a spare tire… lots of stuff and if I start it’s not gonna end. My car isn’t perfect but she’s mine and I like her quirks.

      • Ipsom says:

        That last paragraph is the most important thing… That the reason why I can never see myself owning a car like this

        • Mark says:

          as someone who is borderline ocd and super anal about things, i didn’t think i’d be able to accept the quirks. if a lightbulb goes off in my FJ i get pissed off and think about selling it so figured I’d go crazy with the datsun. but i don’t, i’m actually really patient with it and i understand it can’t be perfect and never will.

          it’s like taking care of an old person, they say some really weird shit, they can get on your nerves but in the end you appreciate them for their life experience and you know they say the wrong shit because they’re old. you also accept they’re not going to be around for long and i’ve accepted that with my datsun. Every time I go to get my Datsun I imagine it either burned to the ground during the night or someone stole it lol.

          so gonna give the datsun the time of her life until it’s her time to go.

  6. Michael Heilmann says:

    When you restore an old car, you have a restored old car and it is never new again. My Porsche SC burnt to the ground last week. I am not going to replace it with an old car. For starters, new cars are safer; a lot safer. You can restore a car, but you can’t restore you. I was lucky I got out before I got burnt.

  7. PinoyQ8 says:

    I have this bucket of bolts, an Arctic White Camaro Z28 1994, very much in stock form, which has been my daily drive for the past 22 years, and it still runs great. Can this be considered a classic or not yet? How do we consider a car classic?

  8. meh says:

    I’m keeping my cars till they’re classics.

  9. afnanzn says:

    that is one sexy ride u got there.

  10. Abdullah says:

    how do you renew your car papers?
    when ever i go to traffic department i see a notice board says datsun, 80’s or below mustangs and a lot of classic sport cars are not allowed to renew their papers.

  11. Graham says:

    I have been driving the same car since 1984 (a ’69 Lotus 7), and find it is one of the more reliable vehicles I’ve owned. Quirks…. yes. Personality….. loads! There are times I wished I had it here in q8, but I think the mountain sized speed bumps would do it in.

  12. Ipsom says:

    I love reading these Datsun posts, keep them up

    • Mark says:

      thanks, i’m trying to get more people to buy older cars. i’ve got my eye on this 1982 Golf GTI MK1 with just 40,000km and 1 owner. But its based in lebanon so cant figure out what to do with the car, would suck to keep it parked there when i live here.

    • Omar Shafiq says:

      Yes me too. Keep the posta coming in. I feel like I own the car with you Mark :D

  13. Kuwait says:

    Yeah its me again, reminding you once again – please take me whenever you review the 6×6 G63 AMG :)

  14. '77 Mercedes says:

    If anyone is in the market for ’77 Mercedes, I’m taking offers for this:
    http://imgur.com/8V840b4

  15. Mark, On a scale from 1-10 how easy was it to have this datsun registered and legal to drive in kuwait? Im looking to get my first car in April, I was thinking of c110 or a datsun like yours but everyone says registration is impossible and u will either always get attention from the police or not have it registered since the ministry of interor hate these types since our friends in kuwait love to use them for drifting in the streets. keep the great posts up bro

    • Mark says:

      it was really easy, no issues yet and the whole cops thing is bullshit. i get stopped with my fj ALOT more than with my datsun. I was in my Datsun on the gulf road and a cop who was parked next to me on a stop light kept beeping his sirens to get my attention. When I looked over to him he gave me a thumbs up and told me my car is “Very good very good”


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