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2008 Forester AE
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Discussion Starter #1
Not really, but still..

It started back in my dub days, walking down the street with my now-Wife, a VWclub friend went by with a honk and wave from his 'vert ghia.. "What was that car?" she asked with genuine excitement..

You see I'm a car guy (like the rest of us on these forums) and I'm used to prattling on about different models, years, quirks, etc and filling in the background noise during our walks.. so when she shows real interest it's on; "That's a Ghia convertible, probably a 71 or 72 with those lights and bumpers.. do you like it?" :biggrin:

From that day on we have been planning that oneday we'll find a ghia convertible and re-enact all the 70s ads; picnics, sundays drives, windy roads, etc..



All is good until I start talking to friends who are into LBCs (Little British Cars for those not in the know..) "Why would you want that slow thing!" and, "good luck finding parts" and, "a vw?:crazy:" These are MGB and Triumph guys talking..



So now my interest is piqued, I take a look at Craigslist and find 1 basket case ghia (not even a convertible!) for $6000, a dozen daily driver TR6s for around that price and two dozen MGB drivers for even less that that..

more available parts, more power, same missing roof, and same ability to rust(or catch fire!) on the spot.. so would you?
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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So now my interest is piqued, I take a look at Craigslist and find 1 basket case ghia (not even a convertible!) for $6000, a dozen daily driver TR6s for around that price and two dozen MGB drivers for even less that that..

more available parts, more power, same missing roof, and same ability to rust(or catch fire!) on the spot.. so would you?
Having owned a few British cars in my early years, I can say probably never again. Choose a TR6 over an MGB because the MBG is a unit body and will break in half when the unibody rusts enough. The TR6 is a separate body/frame, so the body will just fall off the car but hopefully the frame will still be there. (The Ghia would also break in half...)

I had a 1960 Healey 3000 in 1971 and remember the wiring already being rotted. I had a 1970 MGB in 1972 and the body was already beginning to get rust holes. And the MGB, although it was a very new car back then, made a quart of oil go away every 300 miles, was slow as molasses, and had the typical catastrophic failure at least once a month.

I had a bud who bought a '62ish XKE around 1973, and he spent $1600 on a brake job and many hundreds of dollars having someone weld metal into the unibody to try to keep the car from breaking in half. (That same year, I bought a 1966 Corvette for the same price as my bud paid for the XKE, and enjoyed the fiberglass body and its lack of rust. And when the brakes needed fixed, I reamed out the caliper bores with sandpaper in my driveway and had new brakes all around for under $100.) Although they were kind of fun to drive, I don't long for the British car experience. I do have 2 friends who own old Lotuses (one of them owns two). As expected, they are sitting in garages and have not run for 20 years. They are safer that way.

I guess it comes down to how much of a masochist you are. I am also assuming that all of the cars you are talking about would be deathtraps if you took a big hit from an SUV.

I have a 1991 BMW 318is that I bought in 1994 (when I was 42) and plan to keep forever. THAT is a well made car. It is practical, drives like a dream, and it is RED.

Of course, if you are SEEKING a crisis, a British car would see to it that you get your crisis :)

George
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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When was the last ime you drove an old car? People, including myself, remember how fun it was until they go to do it again. I would go with the ghia, just because VW's can be fixed on the side of the road with bailing wire and a flat head screwdriver. But remember, you will tinker with this thing EVERY time you want to drive it. If you don't like to tinker, or don't have the aptitude, it will be a money pit. Most importantly, find a good VW shop nearby. They will keep you on the right track. Power is now a big issue. A 1914 CC longblock can be had for under $1000; good for about 100 hp.

My experience with LBC's is limited and ALL negative. I have spent hours on the side of a road several times trying to get a friend's running. If you buy one, get a painless wiring harness right off the bat and be done with that headache.

Oh, did they ever make a 318i vert? They run forever and are a blast to drive. I don't know much about them though. (not yet at least)
 

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(The Ghia would also break in half...)
Ghias are body on frame. Never seen one broken in half.

Having owned several v-dubs I would vote for the ghia. I don't know how avaliable parts are for LBC's, but VW parts are easy to find and usually pretty cheap. There are dozens of aftermarket and parts vendors out there.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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I vote for a Ghia too. Build or buy a nice 2110 with dual Dells or IDFs (don't cheap out), and have fun with it. If I were to buy another aircooled VW, I'd look for a Notch :rock: Otherwise, I want a 70s or 80s 911 for a play car.

Stan
 

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It's not right to say that Brits voluntarily drink warm beer. It's just that they keep their beer in Lucas refrigerators.

As for mid-life crisis, I'd sure prefer a Ghia to the customary Harley and a pony tail. But I guess it would be nice to be able to grow a pony tail! :icon_wink:
 

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Even when new none of those cars were particularly fun to drive. My dad had a TR6 and his commander ( airforce superior, no idea what it actually was) had an mgb, both were a bit of a workout just to drive around daily. A friend recently picked up a tr6 and has mostly restored it, but it goes to car shows and cruise nights and then back in the garage/on the trailer.
 

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a real mid-life crisis is if you have to ditch the wife, your dreams of affording a play car go right along with her :icon_frown:
 

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I vote for a Ghia too. Build or buy a nice 2110 with dual Dells or IDFs (don't cheap out), and have fun with it. If I were to buy another aircooled VW, I'd look for a Notch :rock: Otherwise, I want a 70s or 80s 911 for a play car.

Stan
I'd love to have a notch and an old 911 one day, but my next VW will be a split window double cab!

It's not right to say that Brits voluntarily drink warm beer. It's just that they keep their beer in Lucas refrigerators.
:lol: Having also owned a Land Rover, this is very funny!
 

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A convertible Ghia will cost you $$$. The cost vs how good they really are doesn't make sense to me. While they are fun, they certainly aren't sports cars. Yes, parts to keep them running are available, but parts to fix the body are not as easy, are expensive, and are frequently much poorer quality than the originals. Pretty, yes. Motoring pleasure? Not so much. BTW, they aren't really a body on frame...more like a body on a rust prone sheet metal floorpan.

I currently own a British car (original Mini), and it's fantastically designed yet horribly executed. Build quality is terrible. Parts availability is excellent. Fun to drive is beyond words. My uncle had a TR6, lusted after one for years but finally bought a very nice one and still spent lots keeping it running. My Mini has been surprisingly reliable but then it's only got 34,000 miles on it. The easy availability of cars and parts plus acceptance by the Brit car community makes them enticing, but there are better choices out there.

For 23 years I owned this car plus a succession of similar ones prior to it:

Idiots who have never owned one will make fun of Fiats but they are excellent bang for the buck, far cheaper to buy than the Brit cars, always more powerful and usually better equipped (5 speeds, 4 wheel disc brakes, a top that doesn't take a half hour to put up). Yup, they rust, but so do the British cars so that's a wash. You could also buy an Alfa Romeo but it will cost more and is really no better car (though the Alfisti will argue that until they die).

So what do you do? You can have all the fun of a traditional sports car without any of the typical headaches, for the same money or less. In fact, you could buy my brother-in-law's car right now for $5500:

...and it's got a turbo conversion! :biggrin: Linky: turbomiata The Miata is a fantastic car...forget about all the "girl's car" nonsense...more crap from stupid people who have never driven one and heck, we drive "lesbian" cars anyway. :lol:
 

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Miatas are awesome. They are a great roadster of a modern design, yet stiff have a retro feel to them. Problem with them is they are not smog-exempt and not really "old".. But, those are pretty much the only problems which are greatly outweighed by other the benefits. They are bullet-proof and parts are dirt-cheap and readily available.

Stan
 

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You haven't lived until you've tried a Miata gearbox - Best. Box. Evar.

S
 

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I'd get a Miata in a heartbeat as our "fun" car BUT there's no legroom in them except for the very newest models.........I'm 6'5" and could not even raise my leg to access the clutch pedal.......just too tight for me, sadly.

Steve
 

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So what do you do? You can have all the fun of a traditional sports car without any of the typical headaches, for the same money or less. In fact, you could buy my brother-in-law's car right now for $5500:

...and it's got a turbo conversion! :biggrin: Linky: turbomiata The Miata is a fantastic car...forget about all the "girl's car" nonsense...more crap from stupid people who have never driven one and heck, we drive "lesbian" cars anyway. :lol:
OMG, if I had any fun money burning a hole in my pocket, I'd so rock that Miata! Sexiest specimen I've seen in quite some time, nicely done!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great replies,

While a miata would be a lot of fun there are 5 of them on my street already.. I'm thinking of something a little more involved.

I like the TR4/TR6 ideal the best, although MGB or Alfa or Fiat would be a consideration as well. There is an Olde English Car club here in town that meets thursday nights, I think we'll go down and look around to get more info on these neat little cars.
 

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I thought of a Fiat X1-9 in my early days but never got one. Japanese reliability won out. I did get a chance to peer under the hood of an old problem MG someone in the family had once and was not impressed. IMHO the MG and probably Triumph would be like a bad girlfriend: she may look nice and turn heads but in the end drains the wallet and consumes lots of time for little pleasure in return. :biggrin:

It all depends on what you want. I driving performance is paramount, I would skip the older imports you are talking about. If working on the car, car shows, social events around them, etc are a big factor, then you may really enjoy having one. Of the cars you are talking about my personal favorite for looks are the Karmann-Ghia and TR6.
 

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For a reliable and not too expensive, yet awesome-performing play car an older Corvette is hard to beat also. I wouldn't mind owning a '60s Mustang convertible as well.

Stan
 
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