However, we know that in the US, Canada, the EU, etc., labor is extremely expensive (compared to India). In addition, it can even be expensive to find a good workshop that knows their way around classic cars. Ouch!
BHPian Impala59 recently shared this with fellow enthusiasts.
I will be moving to Toronto, Canada soon and plan to stay there for a few more years. One of the things that got me excited is the fact that I’ll have access to a lot more fun cars at affordable prices than what I currently have. While my definition of fun cars definitely includes modern sports cars, I’ve always had a penchant for vintage cars (I mean, you can easily find that out from my username and profile picture).
I’ve always hated that owning classic cars in India was extremely difficult and expensive, and to own some really droolable machines your pockets had to be filled to the brim or even overflowing. Unfortunately, I am currently too young to be able to afford even a beginner’s classic car and my parents are not exactly enthusiastic either. So this new prospect of relatively easier access to classic cars in Canada got me very excited. Until I thought about it carefully.
1. Classic cars are not exactly reliable and need constant maintenance
It’s no secret that classic and classic cars need constant maintenance and care to make sure they run properly. What this means is a savvy and skilled person with enough mechanical knowledge to cope with it, usually the role of the owner. However …
2. I am an absolute newbie to mechanics
I own a beautiful Yezdi B250 – the first classic motorcycle and vehicle I ever owned – and I’m slowly learning about the mechanics and maintenance, but that barely scratches the surface. 70% of the time if it won’t start or has other issues I have to call my trusted mechanic to have it checked. I’ve had the bike with me for a little over 2 years now, but my busy schedule and the pandemic in between meant I couldn’t spend any time on it. I also drive other newer vehicles, but modern technology has made the vehicles so reliable that I can’t even remember the last time I broke down. The service center takes care of other things when it comes to service. Long story short, I don’t have a lot of experience repairing cars. This becomes a problem because …
3. Labor is expensive in the western world
Caring for my Yezdi wasn’t cheap, but at the same time it didn’t empty my wallet. I accept my mechanic charged me great dollars, but the work was worth every penny spent. However, we know that in the US, Canada, the EU, etc., labor is extremely expensive (compared to India). In addition, it can even be expensive to find a good workshop that knows their way around classic cars. Ouch!
After much thought, my happy mind was no longer as ecstatic as it was before. I was stuck. I can’t buy a car for $ 20-30,000 and regularly spend thousands of dollars more to keep it running, especially when I also have another daily driver in the garage. That would be absurd and simply not affordable for someone who is still at the very beginning of his career. The only option left is to be as mechanically trained as possible to work on my own car as much as possible. But how? How do I get the experience?
I need help from other T-BHPians on what steps to take and how to proceed? Owning a beautiful old American classic (and many others) has been a long dream of mine. I would really like to see it fulfilled without having to sell my house, destroy myself financially, and just be frustrated.
Here is something GTO had to say:
As you rightly said, because labor costs are so high overseas, the only way to own a classic in North America is if you know a wrench or have a lot of money. Old cars require frequent attention and based on your contribution, I think spending $$$ all the time is going to be beyond your budget. My advice would be:
– Rent a classic on Turo whenever you want (example link).
– Get a modern muscle car like the Challenger that will give you a bit of retro vibe & feel with modern ease of use and reliability.
– Get a modern sporty car. USA / Canada have fantastic driver cars in every budget range.
– Learn how to work on your own car when you absolutely have to own a classic car. But even then, time is money. Spending all weekend fixing a 50-year-old car isn’t my idea of fun. I would love to be out all weekend.
Here is something BHPian Landcruiser 123 had to say:
I see three roadblocks:
- You have a busy schedule
- You are emigrating to a new country – you have to adapt to the culture, way of life, etc.
- You are still learning the mechanical aspects
I’m 26 and I live in the USA, I can tell you that I don’t have time for classic cars or motorcycles. I sometimes do minor repairs in my own car.
Here are some tips:
1. Get a used bicycle, motorcycle, or gas-powered lawn mower / leaf blower to study. Try DIY maintenance. (If you master them easily, think of a car).
2. Start by looking for a house with enough garage space. If you don’t have a proper garage, you’ll need to rent a space for the winter. Otherwise the car will rust and become worthless in no time.
3. Once you have some time and space, start purchasing equipment such as jacks, jacks, socket sets, torque wrenches, etc.
4. Find a classic car that is NOT rusted. Critical in Canada as they salt the streets in winter. Make sure the car has easy parts availability. The most popular Fords & Chevys are easy to come by – visit Autozone (or similar) website for parts.
5. Buy the Haynes Handbook. I know a few people who swear by it.
6. Get frustrated; Scratch your head; Fix things; Have fun; It’s all part of the process.
My dream car is a 1970 Mercury Cougar (a ‘Lexus’ version of the Ford Mustang). I hope to find a version with a three-on-one-tree. I fell in love after seeing the sexy headlights in person.
You should be able to find classic car forums for popular models online. And if you want, try an old Datsun.
For more insights and information, see the BHPian comments.