View Full Version : Best bang for the buck!

09-29-2004, 02:10 PM
OK, think back, of all the cars you've owned what was the one that was the best for what you paid for it as far a reliability & fun?

Of the 15 or so cars I've owned mine would have to be a 1971 Subaru FF-1 Station Wagon.

I got it from a friend for $100 in 1976. It was sitting next to his shed in his backyard when I spotted it at a party. Said he whacked the front end, killed the radiator & drove it home. Fixed the rad, but not the body work & there it sat for a year.

It was in surprisingly good shape with about 80k on the clock.

Some cool things about it:

Front wheel drive pancake 4 horiz opposed with a 2 bbl weber style carb. Like a 911!

Adjustable rear height suspension with an allen key through rear floor. Front could also be adjusted.

Inboard aluminum front drum brakes with steel inserts. (a bear to work on!)

Spare tire mounted in engine compartment on top of engine.

9 or 9.9 :1 compression ratio that seemed to be able to run on any liquid. (Great during the gas crunch in college) got high 20's to the gallon.

Free reeving engine, or was it just my heavy foot, that, no lie I could beat my friend in a drag race with his '71 MGB!

Very good in snow & gravel roads, could really through the car around. Would have been a good rally car.

I drove this car through college as a daily driver when I wasn't using my TR250.

Put a new clutch in in 2-3 hours, two guys could pop the whole engine/trans axle out easily.

I put maybe $100 into in 3 yrs & junked it for $50, still running.

It was just one of those cars.

Oh, by the way I said FF-1 stood for Flying F#$k-1!

I'll post a photo when I get a chance.

09-29-2004, 02:16 PM
Subarus rock.

My best bang for the buck would probably be my VW Squareback. Bought it for $800 drove the doors off it for two years (literally... the back hatch broke and wouldn't stay shut reliably anymore). When I blew the clutch out I decided to let it go, sold for $800 the day I put it in the paper.

Trevor Triumph
09-29-2004, 02:29 PM
Bang for the buck... I had a Simca 1204 that we bought because Chrysler was getting out of the French car business in 1971 (about $1600). It was an odd looking car but with such comfortable seats. While it took a while to get there, it would deliver 32 mpg at 65 mph and 28 mpg at speeds in excess of 70 mph. It hauled the four of us around in comfort. The drawback was the oversteer-understeer thing. It would move from one to other without a lot of warning for the novice driver. That's what ended our relationship... a kid "borrowed" the car and flipped it. Fortunately they survived with minor scratches and we bought a 1973 Opel Manta... a really terrific car. T.T.

09-29-2004, 02:40 PM
Odd answer - but our old Nissan Pathfinder.

Bought it with 75k on the clock, and we drove it w/o any breakdowns or maintenance aside from scheduled maintenance until 225k miles! NOT ONE BREAKDOWN, no replaced pumps, alternators, NOTHING. fluids, filters, plugs, that's about it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

We wheeled that thing all over Colorado, it was great for exploring. We loved that rig. It died 4 years ago at 225k in rough shape but still running. We were taking a nap off the shoulder on a frontage road and a truck lost control an hit us...totaled the poor truck....

Bruce Bowker
09-29-2004, 05:40 PM
1971 Toyota Pickup bought new which I sold for more than I paid for it. I was lucky to have bought it just before vehicles started to explode in price. I left the US in 1973 and had a difficult time for may years grasping the concept when people said they were looking at a new Chevy that was only $14,000. Cars to me were $2000 to $2500.

Bought the Toyota truck near Washington NJ and I clearly remember there being a Toyota 2000 GT there which belonged to the owner of the dealership. One of my favorite cars.

09-29-2004, 06:45 PM
Best bang for the buck? Well, only two vehicles come to mind of me and like Bruce they’re both Pick-ups.

The first was a used 1982 Dodge Rampage pick-up I bought for $2600 in 1986. For those that don’t know the Rampage (AKA Mini-El Camino), it was a little compact type PU about the same size as the VW Rabbit PU. She was real fun to drive (5 Speed). Had FWD & was great in the snow (lived in the Denver area). She was also a great commuter vehicle, as the 2.2L engine sipped fuel and I could still haul about 8 sheets of drywall (major basement remodel). What else could a guy want as it did every thing I asked of it with nary a complaint? The Rampage was real easy to work on too; with the only real mechanical issues besides the normal servicing stuff (tires & brakes), was that I had to replace the engine timing “belt” twice (The first @ 82K and again @ 120K).

The sad part was that my old apartment manager in Denver had it towed while I was out of the country for a little over a month. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif By the time I got back home the tow & storage fees amounted to more than the car was worth. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif

Second would have to be my used 1988 Ford Ranger PU. I bought it from my girlfriend (now my wife) in the mid 90’s for about $2000 when she was looking for a newer vehicle. While it only had a four banger engine is was great around town commuter and weekend hauler. The only real down side, was having to down shift for long steep graded hills. Other than that it served me well and gave me no trouble. She was also our number one choice for making all of our many camping trips into Mexico (wouldn't want the wifes SUV to get scrached would we /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif ). Ended up selling her in 1998 for $5000 after putting about 25,000 miles on it (89K total). BTW simple math will tell you that that was a $3000 profit!

Boy, all this reminiscing reminded me of how much I miss both of them little trucks. I think I'm actually getting kind'a misty. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif


09-29-2004, 07:31 PM
Number one was my '74 Opel Manta. Bought it in '79 for $2200 I drove the snot out of it for around 100k miles. Easy and cheap to work on, lots of fun to drive. I parked it for a while and drove my Jensen, swearing I'd properly trick it out very soon. It sat for a couple years before my brother took it and flailed it for another 150k miles. He eventually sold it because neither of us had the space to keep it. Still in really good shape he got $1200 for it. I wish I could find it today and get it back.

Number two was my '87 Mazda B2000 Cab-plus pickup. Bought it brand new when I finally admitted I needed more than a Jensen Healey to transport camping gear, bicycles, Opel engines, motorcycles, jet skis, etc. Comfy for long drives, got good mileage and never needed anything but regular maintenance. Had 137k miles on the clock last time I saw it in '94. I'd probably still have it if some scumbag hadn't boosted it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif


Super 7
09-29-2004, 08:26 PM
Best Bang for the Buck I've had is probably my '68 Cortina GT 4 door. I bought it in '94 for $1500.00. I still have it. It has run a road racing school, half a dozen track days and autocrosses to many to remember. It has beaten all the Porches at a Porsche club autocross. It has never been beaten by an MG or Triumph at the Portland ABFM autocross. I ran it at the all import drags at Woodburn, where it ran a 16.8 seconds at 80 mph, sending 4 civics and integras home in the process. There is still not a tear in the upholstery, and the original white paint looks good. I used it for an everyday driver for years, including two Alaskan winters.

Although I have spent money on it, the money has been almost exclusively for performance upgrades in the suspension and engine. Except for wheel bearings and brake shoes, there has been very little done in repairs.

It still looks pretty nice, but over the years being owned by me has taken a toll on it in minor lumps and scrapes. I bought another Cortina with perfect body paint and interior to replace it, but so far have not had the heart to change it out. I will probably rationalize a reason to hang on to it.

There is an attachment to this post showing it running an SCCA autocross in Tillamook if you click "attachment". I don't know how to show the picture in the post.

09-29-2004, 09:02 PM
Bang for the buck? Mazda B2000 I bought for $2500 and rove it 'till it drove no more!

Fun for the buck? '65 B roadster. Got it for free 16 years ago and still makes me smile to this day!

09-29-2004, 10:10 PM
My 52 L110 International is deffinately the best bang for the buck. $1200 in 95 for it and it has been the most reliable, and best running car I own, and probably ever will for that matter.

09-30-2004, 01:55 AM
Mine has to be a Jag.......paid 600 in Sterling (about $900 at the time) in 1986 for a '76 XJ 5.3 (XJ12) with 53,000 genuine miles. Put another couple of hundred into it to fix the exhaust and passenger-side rocker panel, drove that puppy all over, stone reliable (except for the ignition module......the only thing ever to quit on it) but it never stranded me. It was the first car that my youngest ever rode in on the way home from the hospital where he was born, and the first car that my eldest ever threw up in. It was also the car that got my father into Jaguars /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif Loved that car, sold it before emigrating two years later for what I paid for it, and he got a bargain!!!

09-30-2004, 09:43 AM
Best bang for the buck. Has to be the Lancia Fulvia /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yesnod.gifI bought at a clearing sale here during the 70s. I paid $1100 Ausy for it and bought it off a Rajnichi. Remember them, they used to sit in a cabage patch in Oregon and listen to the teachings of "the Bagwan". I drove it for about 15 years, and the only major problem was head gaskets. They have a V4 engine with one head,(narrow angle, and covers both banks of cylinders) and seem to have trouble keeping gaskets in the very wide head area.
It went like the clappers (Frequently) handled superbly and except for the aformentioned head gasket was very reliable. A girlfreind hit a kangaroo in it years ago, /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif and I have never been able to find any replacement front end pannels for it, so it waits. It is sitting in a shed waiting patiantly, so I still have hope of getting it going once again. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers.gif

09-30-2004, 10:37 AM
Now we're talking! I love the looks of the Fulvia. I like Lancias in general, always slightly different from what other manufacturers were doing in the mainstream (so were Citroen.....I like those too /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

Super 7
09-30-2004, 01:06 PM

They also sprayed salmonella into the salad bars at a couple local restaurants and were working on other biological weapons at their compound.

You're lucky that Lancia wasn't a Rolls, the Bagwan would have taken it.

10-01-2004, 12:57 AM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gifThis one is almost embarassing. Mine is an '02 Kia Rio! It is my daily driver/loner/snow/auto-x car. Most bang for the buck, you bet. Paid $800 for it at a salvage auction and $400 for a parts car. The poor thing had 48k on it and had been t-boned. To top it all off, it turned out the car belonged to a guy a friend of mine works with. He had apparently blew the motor up somehow and Kia had replaced for him under warrenty. Well, on his way home from the dealer, a mini-van crashed into him! So not only did I get it cheap, but it had a brand new motor it! Lots of cutting and pasting and it's back together. After 25K, other than tires and oil, I haven't done anything to it, but then again, I guess it's as close to a new car as you can get for $1100!(I sold off alot of stuff off of the parts car) Funniest thing, we took the thing to the GRM $2004 Challenge and beat 25 cars with it, including my pal Swarf's TR-7! Check it out, it's down near the bottom, https://www.grassrootsmotorsports.com/2004pictures.html /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

10-01-2004, 12:22 PM
Most of the cars I've had that went BANG didn't cost many bucks at all! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

10-01-2004, 01:28 PM
Next to my Fiesta, I'd have to go with a KIA as well. Mine was a Sephia that I bought and expected to destroy in a couple of years (an excuse for a more expensive upgrade), but the **** thing would not die. Finally did trade it in, but my wife was not happy about it.

Sometimes it is nice to just park a car and not worry about someone scratching, stealing or even noticing it.

Super 7
10-01-2004, 01:42 PM
Was that 2004 dollar challange a blast or what? I would like to do it some time, but I don't have the skill to build something that would work well for that kind of money.

Good for you!

Funniest thing, we took the thing to the GRM $2004 Challenge and beat 25 cars with it, including my pal Swarf's TR-7! Check it out, it's down near the bottom, https://www.grassrootsmotorsports.com/2004pictures.html /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

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10-01-2004, 11:03 PM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yesnod.gifIt sure was a blast. I din't even get ****** when the trans in my Mustang went kerblewy.(shoulda been top 5 easy, oh well) Next year's car is going to be a v-8 powered Spit. A couple of friends are trying to convince me to pull the 429 out of the 'stang and stuffin' it in this years car. Dunno, might happen! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif That's how you get those mad, mad skils, is by trying. You should build a car anyway, bring it down and enjoy the spectical! Lot of good people. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/savewave.gif

10-03-2004, 07:26 PM
71 Chevy C10 pickup. I bought it from a frend of a frend for $400. Put a used transmission, used white letter tires, tuned it up, and drove it about a year. Sold it for $1000. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif

10-04-2004, 05:24 PM
Now we're talking! I love the looks of the Fulvia. I like Lancias in general, always slightly different from what other manufacturers were doing in the mainstream (so were Citroen.....I like those too /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

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Fulvia???? what the **** is that? It sounds dirty to me.

MGA Steve
10-04-2004, 05:41 PM
A '57 Ford sedan that had been parked behind my grandfather's barn for 5 years. I needed a car for the summer during college (I had to sell my '56 Chevy 2-door hardtop when I left for school) to get to my job. I added a new battery, oil, and antifreeze and drove the Ford home. Later that summer, I replaced the clutch. Total cost in 1966 = $45.00! After that summer, my Dad drove the car to work for 5 years and never put a cent into it except for tires. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-05-2004, 02:55 AM
$1800 for the TR7, $1000 for a 1970 911T two years ago (and $2750 for a new engine/carbs installed,) $6,000 for the '69 big block Corvette.

Jim Weatherford
10-05-2004, 02:56 AM
My current jewel... my '73 Jensen Healey Mk.I Purchased my car in 80% condition, and while getting the bugs out of it has cost a few $$$'s (hey it's a LBC) running over a piece of steel angle iron on the freeway didn't help much. But now I have a new suspension and drive line. Now it's overhauling the head, it's always something. But more fun per mile than with my Cobra Replica by far.

10-06-2004, 10:07 PM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gifHey sammyb, nice picture in your signature! I like the 'vert Dodge! I have one just like it! New bang for buck car, but it hasn't proved itself yet. I paid $100 for it, and with parts and a new stereo, I have about $500 in it right now. I will admit, you have alot of nice cars in your garage, but mine is bigger! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-15-2004, 10:43 AM
Has to be my old '67 VW bug-- bought it with 100k miles but with new Mexican motor for $1700 (no rust). Put a $120 paint job, drove it every day for 7 years (showed it in daily driver category VW shows) and sold it for $2700. Wish I had it back!

10-23-2004, 11:52 PM
I was stationed in Athens Greece with the USAF. In 1964 I had the top bid($153.oo) for an American embassy staff car being auctioned as government surplus.It was a beautiful jet black 1957 Chevy 150 sedan with less than 80k on the clock. The embassy motorpool mechanics had rebuilt the motor already and all the running gear was in perfect shape. It was spraypainted every year with black lacquer, and a quick wax/polish job made it look like a black pearl. The aircraft mechanic/hydrolics shop made me a polished tubular grill, another GI traded me a set of "mags" for a couple cases of beer, and I went to work for a Greek mechanic when I was off shift work in trade for work space/advice. I reworked the carb, split the manifold(duals) and ran twin pipes without mufflers...it sounded like a P-51 on a strafing pass when I stomped on it. I drove it, and raced it (club rallys and ELPA events) for a year. One day a Greek car dealer was so taken by it, he offered me an even trade for a 1959 100-6. Red with black side panels, and wires to boot...how could I say no? The Healy served me faithfully both on the road and the track. I regretfully sold her for $800.oo when I left for my next duty station. Two unforgettable cars and over $600 profit.

10-26-2004, 05:03 PM
My first MGB, purchased in 1981 for $7000. It was stolen in 1987, and my insurance settlement was for $7500.

10-27-2004, 01:46 PM
No question.Timing is everything. In 1970 in a car magazine I saw the Datsun 240Z being advertised as "coming to the USA". I went to a Nissan dealer in Davenport, Iowa, and was told that I could place an order, it would take about 6-8 months to get, I had to put down 10% of the price right then, and I had my choice of color, but I had to submit 3 colors, and it would be one of those three. I picked White, Burgundy, or Silver and gave them a check for $360 (New price, fully loaded was $3600- Go ahead and laugh, but it seemed a lot back then.) It came into the dealership 5 months later, and it was blue. Who cares? I took it, and drove it with a permagrin on my face for two years. During that time I got married, and with a baby arriving, I bought a new 1973 Boss Mustang..(Remember, the real long and lean one?) I sold the used Z car for $4200.(That was the same price as I paid for the brand new Mustang!) Dollar for dollar, making that the cheapest automobile thrill I could ever have, and it lasted for 2 years.
Heres to the First Z car! Bottoms up! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thirsty.gif