Is this the car for me? (warning long)

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Amanofdragons
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Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by Amanofdragons » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:48 am

My name is Daniel and I'm 20 years old. I have a fair bit of money saved up and am looking for my first car. I've done a lot of looking around. Whatever car I do decide on would be my daily driver. Winters here in Washington suck, roads are mostly ice and snow for half the year. The other half of the year I have to watch out for deer, elk, moose and other animals on the road.

At first I thought I wanted a muscle car, a mustang, camaro or challenger. I still do but gas and insurance will kill me, even with a v6. 20 year old male being a slacker in school sucks for insurance. also doesn't help I live about 40 miles to town on windy mountain roads. I realized also, through parental complaints rwd sucks in the snow. Learned that lesson this winter visiting my Gf on a day I should have stayed home.

Next I thought about something 4wd, mainly an fj cruiser or a wrangler. Insurance is slightly less, gas is about the same. Love the outdoors so I figured make a cool camping outdoors rig. Way to pricy for what I wanted. Still slightly set on a sporty car. I'm young and stupid, what can I say.

I thought I finally found something that might fit the bill. A fiesta st. Front wheel drive and sporty. New at the very top of my budget, good gas mileage from it's 4 cylinder. I have yet to find one locally and the nearest is 4 plus hours away. My parents seem to like the idea. Forerunner at the moment.

Then on craigslist earlier tonight, I come across this Baja bug. Baby puke green, light bar on top and no interior pics. I never considered something like it. I'll admit, normally I'm not a fan this color, but for some reason I lIke it on this lil bug. Just has character.

according to the ad it's a 69' that's been converted into a Baja. "1600 dual port, racing seats,overhead running lites, tow bar, butt kickin' stereo & so much more" according to the ad. The guy is asking $4200 firm for it. I don't know enough about these things to make a decision on it. Is this a good price? Anything to look for if I decide on it? The ad:
http://spokane.craigslist.org/cto/4968643052.html

How are these things in the snow? Are they easy to learn to drive a stick on? How fast can I make it without killing myself or my bank account? How bad could I be looking at insurance wise? I'm assuming it's reliable cuz dad says they never die. Are they? Do I need to be a master mechanic to own it?

Thanks for reading this. I hope you can persuade me which way to go.
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doc
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by doc » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:09 am

Aman,

Welcome to STF!

Just one old guy's opinion, but, this car is not what you want for a daily driver, get to work car. This is a play car - a second car. While any car can be made into a fairly reliable daily driver (with enough time and money), I think you will do better looking at more modern, practical, full of amenities for the ladies type of car. How about VW Golf, Mazda3, small Subaru, etc. Much more reliable for primary transportation. IMHO.

Get on the road with a small, reliable, fairly new gas sipper then start saving for a fun weekend ride. Longer row to hoe, but probably lots less frustration.

Keep us posted.

doc

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:20 am

:D That isn't baby puke green, it is first week baby poop green.

I think your being "a slacker in school" should have read that you have a talent to be a author or something like that. A fun story to read. :wink:

Doc wrote his reply while I was writing mine and I pretty much agree with him but... being a young man once I also drove daily drivers like this as my daily driver. My ex-father-in-law gave me some good advice (most of his advice wasn't this good if it were good at all :lol: ): (to paraphrase) you need a primary car for transportation that would get you across the states w/o trouble if that is where your job took you. Remember your job is you income, you car is income dispersal. I was smart enough to heed his words at least as far at that piece of advice went. You are 20 now and have no idea what is going to happen to you in the future... prepare for it in advance rather than being stuck and having the potential of missing a golden opportunity.

Before you bought at that price, I would have it looked at by someone who knows VWs well; e.g., inspected to see if it is done right not just "purdied up". It has a lot of glitz on it and, if it were me, the exhaust would be the first to go as it is a power robber plus probably being loud.

Assuming you can stand the color for a long time it is a nice looking car Dan. What I can see of the fit and particulars it looks good. It seems to have a lot of goodies up to and including stuff you probably would not use off-road too much (I don't know what "racing seats" mean but if you were to spend a lot of time in the saddle I personally would opt for suspension seats if compared to 'glass or poly seats with little to no padding assuming that is what "racing seats" are referring to). If it is a street only posing car it could be what you are after assuming the girls won't gag over the color :roll: . If it would be used off-road any there is no mention to a cage; I would want for street only if it were mine for several reasons. A big sound system I would suspect is not going to be used as much off-road as one would think but it might be great for annoying the other people at stop lights or coming home early in the AM. :twisted:

'69 means IRS (good) and a ball-joint beam up front which translates to less potential suspension travel if off-roading is in the picture. Otherwise they are good for the road. Personally, for road only I would like to see the sway bars still used assuming that the front bar has been removed (an easy fix).

Lastly: if you were to build something like that I would suspect that you could easily throw a lot more money at it than the asking price. The other thing to consider is resale; could you get your money back out if it turns out that this is not the car for you and how long would you have to sit on it before you could sell it. There is almost always money loss but just how much there is needs to be thought about. Personally I have made some major $$$ blunders in my life so you are talking to an expert here. :lol:

My opinion is worth slightly less than you paid for it.

Lee

richard123vmt
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by richard123vmt » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:41 pm

When you ask "do you have to be a master mechanic?" Well, somebody does. Your old man sounds like a likely case. Where I live in CA there are numerous restored old cars and many are owned by non-mechanics--but they have someone to take it to. However, of course, with a VW you learn and it is all pretty easy. You should at least do your own tune-ups and like that, while the women don't even do that.
It is a very sharp car but that might not be backed up mechanically. When you are paying a good price you should get a brand new engine, preferably not a rebuilt, and the same goes with most of it. But it might be a run down car with sharp looks. In fact, it might be worth it to the right buyer.
Anyway, I wouldn't recommend it by a longshot. A car is about mobility and mobility is social. You want something that can get you places, not something to work on.
Finally, the important thing. You are making the fatal error that all first time buyers make. Choosing a car! No! You must not limit your selection in any way. It must be based on price and condition. In fact, were you in need of pinching pennies, choosing the ugly duckling is the way to go. Look at all cars you could possibly like. The time you invest in selecting a car pays off. Look at total cheapies too. Get an expert view of the market. It is a lot of trouble buying a first car. You can get a LeBaron for cheap any time. And what could be wrong with a LeBaron? People just want to get rid of them. And soon after you start driving you won't give a poop what it looks like. (Maybe not a LeBaron).
What I currently have is a 92 geo metro and a 71 vw bus. I used the bus as a daily driver until gas prices got too high. The geo is much zippier, can do highway speeds, not likely to get a speeding ticket. With the bus it is all about 55 (double-nickel), although it might hit 60-65 on a down slope. It is a stock 1600 motor with a weber progressive carb.

ZeroClearance
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by ZeroClearance » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:37 pm

Look for rust under the battery tray and in the heater channels...if you do get the bug make sure to get a "How to Fix Your Volkswagen For the Compleat Idiot" book or a Bentley Manual, both of which are great for being a first time mechanic. You don't need a lot of experience to work on a bug, it's called the people's car for a reason. They will never die if you give the car love.

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Marc
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by Marc » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:14 pm

All good points above, but the very first question you need to get answered (and it won't happen here) is what it'll cost to insure. You might even find that your insurance agent can't find someone to underwrite a modified vehicle, at least without a professional assessment of its condition. I was unable to see a photo of the car you're considering but I'll assume it's configured as a "typical" Baja Bug. Common pitfalls on Bajas are equipment violations like inadequate bumpers, tire "coverage", even headlamp placement. Things that most cops wouldn't bother to hassle you for if they just saw you drive by, but would be obligated to cite if you had other contact (for example, involved in an accident - even if you're not at fault). Insurance companies may be reluctant to write a policy on a vehicle that isn't 100% street legal, and if you don't mention it up front and it's discovered later - like when there's a claim - you can bet there's a clause in the fine print that absolves them of having to pay up, or in the case of a liability claim be authorized to "recalculate" what your payments should've been and dun you for the difference. I would make absolutely sure that your insurance company is OK with the way the vehicle is configured, you've got at least another five years before many of them will be looking for any reason to not cover you.

In WA, "all vehicles must be equipped with fenders, covers, flaps, or splash aprons adequate for minimizing the spray or splash of water and mud to the rear of the vehicle. For passenger cars, motorcycles, mopeds, trailers, and semi-trailers, all such devices shall be as wide as the tires behind which they are mounted, and extend down to at least the center of the axle." ...that means the treaded portion of the tire cannot extend beyond the fender, and the fender's supposed to come all the way down to the vertical midpoint of the tire - rarely the case on a Baja.

Headlamps on any "customized" vehicle "may be no closer than at the time of manufacture." This rules out all "narrow-" or "bug-eye" baja noses unless there are headlights added on/under the fenders that are as far apart as the factory-installed ones were.

"When any motor vehicle was originally equipped with bumpers or any other collision energy absorption or attenuation system, that system shall be maintained in good operational condition, and no person shall remove or disconnect, and no owner shall cause or knowingly permit the removal or disconnection of, any part of that system except temporarily in order to make repairs, replacements, or adjustments." ...a strict interpretation of that law would preclude any "baja bumper" I've ever seen, since the original brackets & facebars have been removed. But in practice, if the bumper system appears substantial this is generally overlooked PROVIDED the ends of the bumpers extend out to a point even with the centerline of the tire tread....99% of baja bumpers fail to do so unless extensions are added.

ZeroClearance
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by ZeroClearance » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:27 pm

Any updates?

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: Is this the car for me? (warning long)

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:54 pm

Do not rationalize a purchase. "It won't take long to get it going and trustworthy". Cars (toys) aren't like that; I you look on Craigs List or other places like that you will see for sale a lot of (Visually) barely started to "almost finished" projects for sale.


Again, get a dependable car first then you can get "a money pit". Blunt but accurate. I saw a lot of guys my age (this was a long time ago but things didn't change that much as I got older) get project toys for a primary car then lose their jobs because they couldn't make it to work. Ego has no place in this choice.

Lee

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