Journal: Help Me Find My next Classic Car!

Help Me Find My next Classic Car!

By Petrolicious Productions
March 30, 2015
30 comments

Today, we’re trying something a bit different and we’re opening up the floor to a reader with his own dilemma. It’s on many enthusiasts’ minds: what should I buy? What are the pros and cons of each? Can I get help from other enthusiasts?? David B, of Canada, wrote in with an interesting question. What car should he buy?

“Petrolicious, I love your site and I wasn’t really into classic cars until I found your site and now I’m hooked.

“I’m currently trying to find a classic that fits my style and budget. I’ve narrowed it down to a Porsche 914, Datsun 240Z or a fairly uncommon car here in North America: the Puma GT Tubarao.

“I know the pros and cons of the 914 and 240Z, but the Puma has really peaked my interest. I know it’s not a super fast car but it looks fantastic and could one day with some cash possibly carry a Porsche flat 6 in the back. My friends are trying to steer me towards one of the other two due to the fact that Brazilian cars have a bad reputation for quality and to ship one here takes time, effort, and cash to import.

Thanks, and I look forward to your reply.” 

Image Sources: wikipedia.org, hemmings.comwikimedia.org

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Diego Gomez
Diego Gomez
7 years ago

Again… well written:

Not that i don’t respect the greatness of the Z, but maybe this will help.

Diego Gomez
Diego Gomez
7 years ago

i meant “maybe this will help”. sorry.

Diego Gomez
Diego Gomez
7 years ago

Not that i don’t respect the greaness of the Z, but maybe gris Will help

thumpgun
thumpgun
5 years ago
Reply to  Diego Gomez

I like Porsche’s too. But I like Z’s more.

Dave Baggley
Dave Baggley
7 years ago

Hello, fellow Petrolicious lovers – thank you very much for all your insightful comments and suggestions. Also, I want to thank Michael Banovsky for answering my email a few weeks back replying that he was going to do an article on my “dilemma”. He thought you guys might have some advice, comments, suggestions or stories that would help in me decision making of what classic car should be my first.
Well, I got to say the comments are pulling in there different directions – about equal between the 240z and the 914 with the Puma a close third. All three are two seaters of course and have RWD but each offer something different in design and drive. I do agree with a lot of you that the best thing to do is just go test drive each car and see what feels best. Spring is here and all the salt is being washed away so I’m sure I’ll be able to take a 240z and a 914 out for a test drive soon. Unfortunately, there’s no chance of me test driving a Puma Gt Tubarao up here in Canada but the looks alone and rareness are very enticing. The 240z has the looks of an exotic (Jaguar, Ferrari, Alfa IMO) and of course the reliability and affordability of a Japanese car. The 914 is a Porsche, not the prettiest car but I like the looks and it handles like a go-kart, has a removable top, pop up headlights, reliable and somewhat affordable and it’s a Porsche. As mentioned in a previous post I too believe the Porsche to be the one to gain in value faster than the other two.
After reading all your great comments so far the best a decision is to test drive both the 240z and the 914 and make an educated decision. As for the Puma it would be a leap of faith but that being said the Puma is like an exotic woman you’ve seen that you’ve never spoken to, don’t know much about but her looks alone are enough to make you want to take a chance and go for it no matter the outcome. But do you buy a classic with your heart or your head?
All three cars I like very much – each for their own unique characteristics. It’s a tough decision but one I enjoy pondering over. I look forward to the next step in my classic car purchase.
Thanks again guys for all the input. Please if you have any more comments to add please do – I look forward to reading them and I’ll keep you updated with any progress.

ronaldo eduardo
ronaldo eduardo
7 years ago

Well, as a brazilian and owner of a Puma GTS 1975, I´ll say to you that the coments about the quality of the puma aren´t true.

The pumas got the finishing and interiors with the quality comparable to porsches of the same age. The only question is about raining, because the construction of the carroziere is in fiberglass, the rubber of the windows don´t fit much right and its a very rare item even here in brazil. So when it rains, water will enter a little in the car. But its not very concerning because its made in fiberglass and dont rust ;).

As you said, its the slower car of the three choices, but for me its the most beautiful and surely is the rarest.

The idea about the flat six i think you should reconsider, because of the space in the back. It is much better to put a VW engine overhauled as puma did back in the days of glory also known as “MOTOR PUMA” equiped with PUMA KIT. 2000cc 1800cc 1600cc S.

I saw a GTE 78 in Ebay a few months ago, in north america, it was very cheap by the way. If you want some help to look a car for you in Belo Horizonte, or nearby give me a call. I´ll be pleasured to help.

Recomend this site about the PUMA details and history, (portuguese only)

http://www.pumaclassic.com.br/

If you want to talk more about the car write me.
ronaldo_eduardo@msn.com

My GTS 75

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo
7 years ago

One thing to keep in mind, at some point you’ll likely want to try a different vintage car so what you choose today should be sellable without too much hassle or at a big loss. You can’t really lose with the Z or 914.

Michael Hoffmann
Michael Hoffmann
7 years ago

Great cars to consider… looks like you are a fan of the long nosed, hatchback/shooting brake, style. If so, I would suggest you consider another option, the Triumph GT6.

Definitely not as powerful as the 240z or Porsche, and probably not as well known or with as deep a restoration knowledge bank. But they make up for it in style and the classic combination of a small light chassis, combined with a relatively big engine. Definitely worth a look!

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
7 years ago

Z!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dan Glover
Dan Glover
7 years ago

David, my fellow Canuck, as someone who just recently bought my first ‘classic’ (’74 MGB) after years of dreaming, saving & driving others cool cars, I am glad I went with one that has parts readily available along with many forums and clubs to assist with both info and practical. Unless you want to spend most of your time waiting months for parts to ship from South America, go for a car you can find parts for easily – the Datsun wins hands down. I enjoy working on my car, but I don’t want to work on it constantly, or sit around waiting for a part with the car torn apart. I’d vote for the 240Z, then the 914, then several other cars before I’d consider a Puma.

JB21
JB21
7 years ago

Puma, definitely. It’s weird and weird enough, it’ll be a proper adventure. And there’s one word that describe human desire, that is “adventure”!!

Bruno Kussler Marques
Bruno Kussler Marques
7 years ago

How about a Fiat 124 Sport Spider?

Tobi Aufdemrad
Tobi Aufdemrad
7 years ago

or the Alfa Romeo Spider..

Chris Dyer
Chris Dyer
7 years ago

Wow, this one hits close to home! My very first car ever was ALMOST a Porsche 914. I ended up backing out of the deal and getting a 1977 Datsun 280Z. That got stolen a year later and I replaced it with a 1974 Datsun 260Z. I love the Z cars, they’re amazing, but now I own a 1997 Porsche Boxster. The Boxster has been my favorite car that I’ve ever owned, and strangely enough, before I decided on that, I was considering a 914… AGAIN!! The problem was I couldn’t find a 914 that I liked, the Boxster came around at the right time and right price. I regret never buying the 914, and I still want one. My vote: Get a 914!!!!

Paul Cressey
Paul Cressey
7 years ago

I bought a 240Z as a project car this past September and I couldn’t be happier; fun project car that can take you in many directions, and is easy to work on. The price point is great, and the parts are not hard to find. The community is also great, so whenever you run into a problem you can get an answer quickly. Dooooo eeeet! 🙂

Edward Levin
Edward Levin
7 years ago

If you’re looking for your first classic, which will probably be your only classic for awhile, don’t buy one without looking at the clubs and forums of the owners of that model; make sure you have a basic understanding of what you’re buying and what kind of support–particularly local support–you can expect.

And don’t buy one you haven’t driven; nothing matters more than how physically and psychically comfortable you are in it. Do your best to make sure you’re buying something you ‘ll enjoy driving. At the price level you’re going to be buying at, the “investment” value is a lot less important than the enjoyment value.

Kevin Fitzpatrick
Kevin Fitzpatrick
7 years ago

I would go for the 240Z. If you intend on modifying it in any way, it’s a blank canvas. If you want to keep it original, a nice example shows off the beautiful lines and silhouette of the car. Way better looking than a 014 in my opinion, but you lose out on the top-down fun so it’s a trade-off.

The clincher for me? That sweet 2-liter straight six! They don’t make engines like that anymore.

Evan Bedford
Evan Bedford
7 years ago

You can see 914’s screaming ’round the track in the movie Le Mans. So if you have a healthy respect for rust, and if you don’t live in Victoria, BC, you can still enjoy your car while it’s insanely cold and icy outside.

Darin Spyderdog
Darin Spyderdog
7 years ago

Go for the 240Z. Good looking car, cool club back up, decent usability, better than marginally safe, great parts supply/aftermarket, well worn restoration path, rising value, and oh yeah….. they are GREAT driving cars!

Seems like a no brainier to me!

Coltan
Coltan
7 years ago

240Z has my vote. I vote mostly out of price point. I find the 914 not very pleasing to the eye. The Puma looks very close to the 240Z but I doubt you will be able to find parts as easy as a 240Z. If you mentioned a 944 I would say it’s a tie with the 240Z. Drive each and look around. The choice is yours.

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini
7 years ago

914, Porsche values are on the rise, it is great fun at the track and if you get aggressive, you can do a 3.2 conversion for some great handling, super fast fun! I would say 240 as second choice and Puma last for all kinds of reasons (although I appreciate the fact that you would have a unique car in that one). Seems as if you can’t really go wrong, just that the others aren’t quite as right as the 914!

Joe Urbano
Joe Urbano
7 years ago

Well Bro, in my humble opinion, you can’t “fall in love with a classic” just by looking at photos and reading stories. You’ve got to get in a few, find THAT road, go through the gears and let the car transform you.

Back in 1979, my dad taught me how to drive manual shift on his 1956 Chevy step-side pick-up; 3 speed on the column -great stuff that I would drive for a few years. In 1981 I drove my friends right side drive, 5 speed, 1973 BMW 2002tii form LA to San Diego – wonderful, freeing, bitchen. Many classic car cruise events in ELA and my love of classics became deeper. I’ve owned several BMW 02’s, a 1951 Chevy Deluxe Special and they were all special cars. Today I own and daily drive a modified 1975 BMW 2002, MY signature classic. This car forces me to drive the road less traveled whenever I can. I’ve never had the $$$ to own the “collectors classic” but from my experience, what your drive, how you drive, where you drive, who your with and what you see along the way will make your “classic” that much more memorable.

Darin Spyderdog
Darin Spyderdog
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe Urbano

2002’s are awesome

Chris Dyer
Chris Dyer
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe Urbano

Great point, Joe! I couldn’t agree with you more. I think someone who’s just falling in love with classic cars really needs to experience a few first before deciding on what to buy. A narrow list is great, it gives you a good starting point. From my own experience I know that what I want isn’t always right. For example, I used to want a BMW M Coupe (clown shoe) but once I drove one, I realized it just wasn’t the car for me. The Alfa Romeo Spider leaps to mind as well. I wanted one of those too, and test drove a few… I love them, and still want one, but it wasn’t right for what I was wanting/needing at the time.

Wilhelm Vogt
Wilhelm Vogt
7 years ago

Take the puma, always a special adventure to own a very rare car,

Andy
Andy
7 years ago

Forgot the BMW 635

Andy
Andy
7 years ago

What about:
Triumph GT6 / TR6
Opel GT
Peugot 504
Fiat Dino

Darin Spyderdog
Darin Spyderdog
7 years ago
Reply to  Andy

here my take on these…..

TR6: is starting to get expensive for what it is, eye of the beholder looks (nowhere near as pretty as the giovanni michelotti designed cars), sort of uncomfortable for taller drivers. good motor, great parts availability, fun to work on, FUN to drive
GT6: awesome little car (killer engine sound, very sexy looks), clam shell hood (fun to work on), great parts availability, but VERY tight, VERY uncomfortable interior if you are over 5′ 10″, VERY hot interior (some aftermarket fixes for this, but they do very little on MKI and MKII cars), and hard to find in decent condition (with realistic, not insane owners)
Opel GT: looks cool, likes to catch on fire, headlights are a constant pain in the ass, engine is not super inspiring, so so interior (very similar to the 240Z however) parts availability? (honest question, I really dont know)
Peugot 504: i know very little about these
Fiat Dino: awesome, but costs lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

when factoring all these cars, id still get the Z

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo
7 years ago

I know it’s not on your shortlist but I can’t possibly say enough good things about the Alfa Romeo GTV, or GTV-6 if you don’t mind something a bit younger.

Michael Meldrum
Michael Meldrum
7 years ago

I’m a huge Porsche guy and I’ve got the 914 on my radar but… I can’t get over the 240z, it would be my choice.

When I was at the shop today dropping off my 911e there was another clients 914 outside, looks great but not very much space and the lines of the 240z are nicer. If you’re not obsessed with originality you can have a lot of fun with customizing a 240z. Good luck.