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daily driver questions (midwest)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by zimm, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Nelsen Motorsports
    Joined: Nov 14, 2009
    Posts: 63

    Nelsen Motorsports

    I drive a 59 Chevy with open rear everyday. No snow here but did a nice burnout last week in the rain with a 235 six! I also drive my Stude on sunny days no matter how cold, it has no windows.
  2. zimm
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 802

    from iowa

    i'm east of dm 80 is crazy at times but is it as bad as 4+ lanes of stop and go?
  3. zimm
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 802

    from iowa

    ya hwy 6 or 163 are options for me too
  4. carmak
    Joined: Aug 8, 2005
    Posts: 451


    I daily drove a 65 Pontiac Starchief 4drHT for 5 years and 18,000 miles through a couple of the worst winters in memory (2007-2012). I drove it on I-80 and I-380 to work daily.

    This fall I took it off the road while I had the frame fixed. After 24" on one side and 20" on the other side behind the front wheel she is better than new and will be back on the road as soon as the new brake lines are on.

    When I started driving it the qtrs and fenders were shaggy but the frame was solid (I inspected it on a hoist with a big hammer solid). It took 5 years to rust thru the frame. I would not expect a unibody car such as a Ranchero to last long as a daily driver.

    The best part of driving the Pontiac daily is that the cops get to know the car and wave (in the "good" way) when they pass you.

    Riverside, IA
  5. I'd go for the 64 Rancharoo. If it's not up to modern comfort you can make it that way. Just took my son's 90 Chevy truck cab apart, insulated it to the max for temp & sound! New carpet, heater core, etc. Works great! Add heated seat pads under the covers (Speedway) - did that on the roadster. Hell, add another heater core!!
  6. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    The problem, as I see it is that you are stepping out of a 90s something car that likely had a great defroster, wipers, and windshield washers. Those things on your 64 may be present, but are no where near a good as they are on that 90 something you are currently driving those 80 miles a day. Regardless of what anyone says, this stuff has improved a lot since 64.

    Your going 80 miles (is that round trip or one way?) in the winter, until the ride gets warmed up inside, keeping the windshield clear enough to see for the first 15 minutes will be the issue. You want to be sure the Rancharo is air and water tight or it might never get warm when it gets near 0 degrees outside. Old cars and trucks were not sealed as well as the newer stuff is. Summer driving can get very hot inside old cars.

    Upgrade the heating/defroster system, upgrade the insulation, and upgrade the wiper/washer system. Make sure the door and window seals are all good.

    The basic mechanical equipment will work OK as long as its all in good condition. Keep in mind, some cars used very light duty brakes and steering componments, while other cars from the same company have pretty good stuff. Be sure your ride has the best stuff that was available in its day, or upgrade to modern stuff. Reality is most old cars did well compared to other cars on the roads with them in their time peroid, but even some of the best are really poor compared to what is on the road these days. You have to compete for road space with all the idiots driving modern stuff, at least give yourself equal footing.

    While we are talking about footing, lets talk about tires. I'm not going down the bias/radial war path. The only thing I will point out is tire life. The best bias ply tires last about 20,000 miles and they are worn bald. Good radial tires will go 50,000 miles, both given the suspension is in good condition. You send the same money for either style tires, at 80 miles a day, all you need to decide is how often you want to buy tires.

    You also need to be sure your ride is in its best structural condition, the unibody construction of a 64 Ford Ranchro is not to the same standards as the unibody construction of the newer cars. Rust in the floors, rockers, front frame rails, inner front fenders, and firewall supports will considerably weaken an already poor design and will not provide much protection in an accident. A short talk about seat belts, my 50 Dodge 4x4 had lap only seat belts I chose not to wear. In a head on crash at 30 mph (the lady turned in front of me) I hit my head on the top windshield header. 11 stitches, a still neck, a sore back, and a sprained thumb were the outcome for me. On my way to the windshield header I bent the steering column, distorted the steering wheel, twisted a window crank handle and cracked both pieces of door glass in the driver door. If my truck would have had the shoulder belts I probably would have had it on. My point is, a 64 may or may not have had seat belts, I recommend the upgrade to seat and shoulder belts for both front seat passengers and at least a lap belt for a center passenger. At least the option will be there. In the accident, my disc brakes did not help, I don't think I even hit the brake pedal, but they saved my butt a few time before then.

    Another thing you need to consider is insurance. There is NO insurance company that is going to cover an old car with anything more then liability insurance as a daily driver. If they say they will, there is a loop hole there for them to screw you. What that means is if you get into an accident that is your fault, the others peoples stuff will be covered, and your injuries will be covered (up to your coverage level) but your ride is your problem. If you get in an accident and the fault is the other persons, your injuries get covered, but that will only want to pay you scrap price for your ride. It will be up to you to prove its worth more then that. Expect a fight.

    I drove my 50 Dodge 4x4 for 12 years as a daily driver until the wreck took it out 10/21/11. I didn't drive it 80 miles a day, but did drive it more then 160 miles on many occasions. My heater was rebuilt and all the defroster stuff was up to the standards of the 50s. The heater would roast your out, in town , if it was above 20 degrees, and you drove it long enough to get warmed up. With new glass and new rubber gaskets, new door seals, and additional insulation covering the entire inside of the cab, water leaked in when it rained or snowed, and at highway speeds the wind blew through like the windows were down. A 2 mile, 2 minute trip @ 60 mph in the winter would remove all the stored up heat from running around town for a hour, and start to frost up the windshield from inside. In the summer, after about a hour driving at highway speeds at 80 degrees it would start getting uncomfortable and would stay that way until you had stopped for a while. My truck got 8-9 mpg unless I drove it faster then 70, then it dropped to around 7. 360 Mopar 4bbl carb, 727 auto, 3:55 gears, 235 x 75 x R 15 tires 4x4 with lock out hubs unlocked except in bad weather. I plowed my driveway out with it in the winter. About every 3 years I had to patch up some more rust that had made an appearance.

    I got thumbs up all the time, and ever got chewed out for driving it in the winter more then once. If I redo it as a daily driver again, it will be more modernized then it was and will be fuel injected.

    Real life experience in the Midwest. Gene
  7. Ya if its in good shape why not? Try it for god sake.. you can always change up. I lve at 9000 ft on thr front range west of denver, usually we mesure snow in feet, I drive my '52 every day. Not interstate, but hi-ways on a 60 mile trip.
  8. cartoon14
    Joined: Jan 21, 2013
    Posts: 46


    I drove a 63 Bel Air wagon every day not 80 miles but city traffic can make it feel like 80 miles, no problems. but on the COLD days the wife's Fusion and REAL heat sure feels good...
  9. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    My two cents: it's a big mistake.

    No disrespect intended, but it sounds like you want this Ranchero but the only way you can afford it is to give up your 90s DD. You then try to justify it in your mind that it will work out as a long-distance commuter car in a 4-season climate.

    I could see doing this as a temporary measure, but it doesn't make long term sense. The commute is going to take a heavy toll on the Ranchero and you.
  10. Molonewolf
    Joined: Jan 22, 2012
    Posts: 195


    Lived in South Dakota and drove 2 differant Desotos every day for years. Just drive your ride it will make you smile every time you do. Old cars should be driven.
  11. After daily driving the '37 Ford sedan for 9 months (May 2011-Feb 2012), I will say that it was nice being able to control my travel schedule around weather patterns. With vacuum wipers and a barely working defroster, rainx was definitely my friend, as well as having the windshield cranked out enough to get some airflow across it. The car had no A/C, and I believe that was the hottest summer in my lifetime.

    I'd do it again, in a heartbeat!
  12. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,347


    I lived in Des Moines for three years and my DD was a 70 El Camino I brought with me when I moved up from southern GA. After those few winters my previously rust free truck was starting to show lots of rust. Starting it in January in -10F weather was freaking impossible since I only had space for the wife's car in the garage and it didn't have a bock heater. Carburetors aren't really as user friendly as EFI on those kind of days. It can be done, but there's easier cars to use out there.

    A Falcon Ranchero in winter in Iowa? No way would I do that again. Between rust, cold weather starts, heat/defrost/dehumidify, ice, no traction, and the inevitable accident that you WILL have when either you or the other guy (in an SUV) hits the ice, a Ranchero is a winter no-go in my book.

    What I wish I had driven instead was something like an AWD Subaru with ABS, decent heat and defrost, and fuel injection. Either that or a disposable winter-beater like a later model, FWD with ABS.
  13. general gow
    Joined: Feb 5, 2003
    Posts: 6,368

    general gow
    Staff Member

    up until 2 weeks ago, i drove my '67 f100 daily for about 3 years. 300 pounds of sand between the rear wheel wells made it a beast in the snow. it warms up enough to stay mostly comfortable. defroster works fine.

    i 'upgraded' to an '88 SAAB because the cost of fuel is such now that owning and driving it is cheaper than just putting gas in the f100. economics aside, the truck made a fine daily driver in any weather, and i never got stuck. in fact, i got places that modern cars couldn't get.
  14. 80 miles a day is a hike. The car has to be in excellent condition and maintained to a T. 70 MPH in a stock Ranchero of that era would be a bit hairy.

    I would consider a change to electronic ignition, radials and a dual master brake system. You also have to see what you'll accept for creature-comforts. Definitely carry a cell phone and join AAA.

    I drove a '65 Belair and '68 Impala into the 1990's. Both had heavy miles on them but I took care of them. I still did get stuck once in a while, lucky that my commutes were under 20 miles for most of that time.

  15. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    personally....I would rather be in a newer car when the idiots hit me.
  16. This would be my deciding factor. Your chances of surviving a highway wreck are way better in something newer with more safety options.

  17. I have never owned a car or a bike that was not dailey transportation. Some of them have been a little rough but most of them have been pretty fast. The same cars that we build hot rods out of have been built into hot rods for decades and they were built to be driven.

    The ranchero may want to carry a sand bag or two in the winter as they are a little light in the ass end.

    I owned this pickup from '04-'09. I put 80K on it. Drove it anywhere I wanted to go in any weather that good ol mother nature had to offer.

    It aint no prize but it made the trip every day.


    Before this one I had a '65 galaxie that I drove everyday, it was a smooth as one gets. Midnight blue, warmed over 390. The only thing that hinders one from driving an old car everyday is the condition of the car and the owners ability to drive.
  18. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,102

    from Arley, AL

    yeah, but Benno is a bit off his rocker, so consider the source!
  19. Hey my elevator goes all the way to the penthouse, now if they ever build a penthouse we'll be set. ;)
  20. Sounds like a compliment to me,,,he's friggin' nuts!:D

    But any car that has survived is meant to be driven,,you just have to decide whether you want to drive it day in and day out or you want to turn it into a rusty POS.

    I love driving my old cars,,but I can't see me driving the Ranch Wagon in the snow and salt,,,the rain I don't mind,,but salt and ice I will drive my 97 Ford truck. HRP
  21. I had a '55 ranchwagon that got driven in any weather once. But I wasn't as nice as your ranch wagon even when it was new. :D
  22. I drive my '56 in anything but snow, but it would hurt my wallet too much to be my daily driver when my "other" car gets 30mpg.
    You might want to consider that.
  23. It wasn't always nice,I remember borrowing the wagon from Brenda's grandmother and driving about 60 miles back home one evening in a freak snow storm and the wagon was loaded down with band equipment,,it took me almost 5 hours to get home.

    No one ever heard of cell phones in the late 60's,,we played our last set around 11PM and The ground was already covered when we left for home,,,when we finally pulled into her driveway around 5:30 AM her dad was standing on the front porch,,,to say he was pissed is a understatement!

    Funny now,,but at the time I thought I wouldn't live to see daylight! :D HRP
  24. derbydad276
    Joined: May 29, 2011
    Posts: 1,332


    toss a AOD behind a 250 inline 6 and run it!
  25. lilbdfrd
    Joined: Jan 23, 2012
    Posts: 100


    Im trying to talk my wife into a daily driver 50 merc, but on a 2004 crown vic chassis.Having all the modern amenities and badass looks.
  26. if you don't like driving old cars, feel that they are unreliable and unsafe, why are you on this forum?
  27. Edsel58a
    Joined: Jan 17, 2008
    Posts: 790


    Ran my 70 ranchero year round in Ohio. Every fall doused it in used oil with a water/air pressure fire extinguisher. Inside and on everything. Smeared grease in all the seams I could get my hands or brush into. Held up well. Don't tell Al Gore please, it dripped for weeks.
  28. My '56 is nowhere near as safe or reliable as my daily driver.
    My daily driver is nowhere near as fast in a straight line as my old car.
    That's part of the charm of owning an old car!
  29. I had this friend from West nebraska when I lived in SE Kansas. I had this old Grand prix and he decided that it would be fun to go see his folks for the weekend. About 2 or 3 saturday morning we were just flying up some 2 lane in West Kansas, busting snow banks as we went. One of them knocked us off into this field, he looked over at me and said keep driving its 30 miles to anyplace from here and too damned cold to walk.

    Times have sure changed haven't they.
  30. stealthcruiser
    Joined: Dec 24, 2002
    Posts: 3,748


    Drove my 57 Chevy 210 Wagon 152 miles a day back and forth to work, for 2 years.
    265 V-8, 3 on the tree, vacuum wipers,points ignition, generator, and lots of air leaks!
    Heat and defrost worked well, but it was DRAFTY!
    The one time I checked the mileage, it was getting around 13 MPG.
    BUT, that was all I had to drive at the time.
    Unless it's well "modernized", and your insurance ducks are in a row, I wouldn't recommend it.
    I never had any problems with it, other than changing a water pump on the side of the road, at night!
    You would prolly' be better served with a more modern vehicle for that commute.

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