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      02-20-2024, 01:44 PM   #1
Efthreeoh
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Old Cars - Can You Ever Go Home

Last weekend I went to Charlotte to check on what I thought was a gem of a find from my automotive youth. A car from the early 1970s and a model that I owned as a young man, even as late as 1989. This 51-year-old example was supposed to be just 37,000 miles used, bought by a older man from the original owner and put away in storage somewhere around 1996. The intent was for the old man to do some repairs and drive it. Health kept him from those plans. Anyway, the car ended up on Autotrader Classics. I found it. It was within 300 miles driving distance, so I made a weekend roadtrip of it to check the car out.

It drove like an absolute pig. Having lots of seat time in this particular model of automobile, I found it unbelievable that back in the day I found it light and dynamic to drive, and reasonably powered. The car in Charlotte drove completely unlike as I remembered.

But this is not the first time I've looked at an apparently fine, preserved example of a car from my younger days and found it drove like a pig, completely different than I remember. It's happened with a 1985 Fiero 2M4 and a 1976 BMW 2002.

So, the question to the group; has anyone else experienced this same phenomenon? Or have I just had the bad luck of finding two poor examples of old cars from my youth that actually did drive well back in the day? Is this just a function of driving mostly BMWs for the past 35 years and being calibrated to Bavaria's finest?

And God forbid, what happens if an E30 comes my way?
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Last edited by Efthreeoh; 02-20-2024 at 01:51 PM..
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      02-20-2024, 01:57 PM   #2
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I have an 84 Dodge Omni GLH, thing feels so fun to drive...until I get into my newer cars and remember how far we've come. Only vehicle I truly feel haven't gotten better was my 01 F350 that I bought at 16yrs old. I have a 2019 now and recently rode in my nephews 03, made me really miss that truck. Felt so much more planted on the road and the seats were much more comfortable.
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      02-20-2024, 02:02 PM   #3
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Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

The difference between something from the 70s and 80s and 90s and 00s is insane. They just kept making HUGE strides in build quality, chassis stiffness, etc. even something from the 00s to today is night and day.

You basically have to decide that you want that old school feel
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      02-20-2024, 02:33 PM   #4
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Older cars really do drive like shite for the most part. Reliability is also terrible. Sweet spot for me is early 2000's to maybe 2013ish, depends on the model. Cars were pretty reliable and still analog, once they introduced key fobs it all went to shit.

In saying that my 1969 Giulia Coupe drove very nicely with good tyres, but that's a bit of a niche car and a manufacturer who spent all their money on suspension and steering and forgot about everything else.
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      02-20-2024, 02:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlkGS View Post
Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

The difference between something from the 70s and 80s and 90s and 00s is insane. They just kept making HUGE strides in build quality, chassis stiffness, etc. even something from the 00s to today is night and day.

You basically have to decide that you want that old school feel
See, that's the issue, I drove old school when it was current school, and it did not feel like ass back in the day. I'm trying to figure that out. Can it be me? Have I gotten THAT old?
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      02-20-2024, 02:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Our03z4 View Post
I have an 84 Dodge Omni GLH, thing feels so fun to drive...until I get into my newer cars and remember how far we've come. Only vehicle I truly feel haven't gotten better was my 01 F350 that I bought at 16yrs old. I have a 2019 now and recently rode in my nephews 03, made me really miss that truck. Felt so much more planted on the road and the seats were much more comfortable.
We still have my wife's 1997 Z3. Owned since new. It's analog for sure and not super fast, but it still drives fantastic. And when the Z3 came in 1997, I was dailying the E30 we bought new in 1989. The E30 never drove like ass compared to the Z3. Yup the E36/7 basically was still an E30 underneath. But still.
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      02-20-2024, 03:15 PM   #7
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The short answer is; it depends.

The first time I ever drove a '67 Corvette, a car I had lusted after my entire youth, I was terribly disappointed...and my thoughts haven't changed.

However, I still lust after an '88/'89 Conquest TSi, and always will. Driving them here and there is just fantastic, not negative at all, even though I own an M2 and Exige and regularly drive exotics.

I will admit that part of the pleasure is nostalgic, but the car just fits me perfectly, and I will always love the look.

A pic of my last one.
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      02-20-2024, 03:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BlkGS View Post
Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.
Fewer words have ever been more true.
When I was in the business I worked on quite a few ETypes and I have a itch to own one even knowing the current astronomical prices refurbished E Types bring. Bottom line is that you can go to almost any dealer ship and buy a mid level sedan that will go faster, stop faster, handle better and be way more reliable for 1/4 the money you would pay for the EType but what is the value of Nostalgia?
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      02-20-2024, 04:05 PM   #9
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I'm not old enough to have driven any kind of "classic" cars in my youth and honestly my memory is so shit I'm not sure I would remember how they drove anyways.

However I recall at some point really wanting to get an older M5 like an E39 (yeah I know not half a century old or anything). I ended up finding one locally that looked to be in pretty good shape... now I'm no mechanic so who knows, but superficially it looked good. I drove it and was soooo disappointed. I thought it drove like total crap. Super floaty, not much power, didn't handle well etc.

I feel like my 2006 Z4MR is the best car I ever owned. However I'd be curious if I would still feel that way if I drove one today. I hope so.
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      02-20-2024, 04:07 PM   #10
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Interesting comment from mphatic. I bought a '67 Corvette coupe last fall. I haven't put many miles on it yet, but my experience so far is mixed. The motor (L79) is fantastic with all of the right sounds and feels and smells. The Hurst shifter and Tremec transmission are awesome. Even the ride is fairly compliant. However, the steering is vague, and the rear feels as if something is loose. Brakes are roughly adequate. So, the car is fun in a straight line, but plan way ahead for turns and stops. My base line includes my 2012 e92 335i MT and a 2001 M roadster.
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      02-20-2024, 06:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///MPhatic View Post
The short answer is; it depends.

The first time I ever drove a '67 Corvette, a car I had lusted after my entire youth, I was terribly disappointed...and my thoughts haven't changed.

However, I still lust after an '88/'89 Conquest TSi, and always will. Driving them here and there is just fantastic, not negative at all, even though I own an M2 and Exige and regularly drive exotics.

I will admit that part of the pleasure is nostalgic, but the car just fits me perfectly, and I will always love the look.

A pic of my last one.
My absolute dream car from my youth - I wanted the metallic blue one!
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      02-20-2024, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
See, that's the issue, I drove old school when it was current school, and it did not feel like ass back in the day. I'm trying to figure that out. Can it be me? Have I gotten THAT old?
You don't have to be that old even. I have nostalgia about my 2012 Corvette GS. It takes me back to a time about 10 years ago when my best buddy and I had C6s in the small town in NC we were living in. They were the baddest cars in town (note - this is nostalgia, they in fact were not, but they felt like it at the time).

Now, my X5 is faster to 60 than the Vette is. I could get a Z4 M40i and it'd be faster. But in my nostalgia, that Corvette is the car to have.

I stay on the Corvette forum and it's full of people complaining about the poor tech features, that their headlights aren't LEDs, how they think it or the interior looks old, so I get a dose of anti nostalgia, lol. But it doesn't matter, there's still only 1 car badder than it, and that's the last gen Viper.
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      02-20-2024, 07:15 PM   #13
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I have no desire to daily anything old. However, I enjoy driving then as toys.

Unless you restomod said old car. Then you have the best of both worlds. I want to restomod a 66-70 Chevelle...
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      02-20-2024, 08:45 PM   #14
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I had a couple of first gen RX-7s, a 260Z and an MR-2 in high school and college back in the 80s. I loved them. I had the opportunity to drive an 84 RX-7 that was well cared for about a year ago. I could not get over how damn small it is! Every other vehicle on the road towered over me in traffic. It was sooooo weird to be that low and right on the asphalt. It was fun to drive but I certainly missed modern brakes and tires!
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      02-20-2024, 09:04 PM   #15
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I’m as nostalgic as the next guy but evolution is hard to beat. My brother had a 69 vette 4 speed manual I only drove a few times before we sold it. Years later I drove my friends and it was great but just to heavy on the handling. I had a Buick reatta years ago and at the time i thought it was so modern and stylish now it seems antiquated. If I were to go retro it would be a late 60s or early 70s muscle car w 4 seats and a stick like a chevelle but I am very happy w my two modern fast cars .
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      02-20-2024, 10:11 PM   #16
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Its basic human nature, we remember the good and downplay the bad.
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      02-21-2024, 08:22 AM   #17
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Some of this is because American cars were very, very floaty back in the day.
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      02-21-2024, 09:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppointer View Post
Interesting comment from mphatic. I bought a '67 Corvette coupe last fall. I haven't put many miles on it yet, but my experience so far is mixed. The motor (L79) is fantastic with all of the right sounds and feels and smells. The Hurst shifter and Tremec transmission are awesome. Even the ride is fairly compliant. However, the steering is vague, and the rear feels as if something is loose. Brakes are roughly adequate. So, the car is fun in a straight line, but plan way ahead for turns and stops. My base line includes my 2012 e92 335i MT and a 2001 M roadster.
For me it was all about ergonomics. After sitting in so many modern cars where things just fall into hand and are easy to see/use, driving the old cars with huge steering wheels, bouncy seats, glare on everything, and just terrible response (not to mention slow), I just couldn't bring myself to like the experience. I was sad over it for about 3 minutes, then I remembered I had a Lotus Exige sitting at home.



Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxberryJam View Post
My absolute dream car from my youth - I wanted the metallic blue one!
T87 Fiji Blue, made just 2 years; 1988 and 1989



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbrown7403 View Post
I had a couple of first gen RX-7s, a 260Z and an MR-2 in high school and college back in the 80s. I loved them. I had the opportunity to drive an 84 RX-7 that was well cared for about a year ago. I could not get over how damn small it is! Every other vehicle on the road towered over me in traffic. It was sooooo weird to be that low and right on the asphalt. It was fun to drive but I certainly missed modern brakes and tires!
My first car was an '84 RX-7, then I had an '86 MR-2, both of which I sorely miss, but I'm tiny, so those cars fit me perfectly.
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      02-21-2024, 09:25 AM   #19
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You just can't compare the new tech in drivetrains and how things age. I have 3 cars and I go months without driving some of them. Every time I get into one I think "jesus I used to think thing thing was amazing!" Then I force myself to drive it for a few days and it comes back. I just have to settle in.

They will never feel like a newer car, but you can get back in tune with it after a few days - at least that is my experience! LOL
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      02-21-2024, 12:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unluky View Post
You just can't compare the new tech in drivetrains and how things age. I have 3 cars and I go months without driving some of them. Every time I get into one I think "jesus I used to think thing thing was amazing!" Then I force myself to drive it for a few days and it comes back. I just have to settle in.

They will never feel like a newer car, but you can get back in tune with it after a few days - at least that is my experience! LOL
Agreed. My TBSS was my daily for ~3 years before I got my X5. While they're similar in sporting pretense and size, the advancements from one to the other are HUGE. My X5 is a lot faster than the TBSS, and it absolutely feels like it. The lack of body roll in the X5 is crazy. The stiffness and interior quality and ride quality... Just way better.

That said, getting into the TBSS with the longtubes headers, the lowered suspension, the big V8, the noise and smell and feel... It's great.
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      02-21-2024, 04:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///MPhatic View Post
My first car was an '84 RX-7, then I had an '86 MR-2, both of which I sorely miss, but I'm tiny, so those cars fit me perfectly.
These cars are such GOATS
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      02-22-2024, 07:23 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM7 View Post
Its basic human nature, we remember the good and downplay the bad.
But I never thought there was a "bad" back in the day of driving the car in its time of production. Obviously, I couldn't compare a 1972-era car in 1972 with a 2006-era car, so I didn't know there was a "bad" to down play.

I think this is akin to watching old 4:3 TV shows from the 1970 on a 16:9 high def TV. The 460 resolution seems antiquated now but was crystal clear back in the day. Or has the image faded on the film/tape?
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