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Old car questions

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by trifectarich, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I'm helping with an estate settlement and one of the things we're dealing with is a 1978 Continental Mark V. It has 80,000 miles on it, but I'd guess it never had more than 100 miles put on it in any year from 1995-2005, and perhaps none since then. It's still in excellent condition because it's sat in a garage for years.

    My question is, when a car sits unused, like this one has, for years at a time, how much do things like belts and hoses deteriorate? I'd have no idea what the antifreeze looks like or if the battery has any life left in it. Should we try to sell this as is, just to get it off our hands, or do we go to the trouble of replacing some of these things? And once we get started, is the list of things to be replaced going to get longer and longer and longer?

    It's a V-8, so I can't imagine there's much need for a vehicle like this in today's hybrid world.

  2. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Probably worthwhile to have it towed into a shop for new fluids, lube, battery, belt and hose replacement, tuneup, etc. If it's been in a garage and only has 80,000, some collector might pay a decent price for it if you shine it up and get it road worthy.
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Watch out for dry rot on any hoses, belts and even tires.
  4. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    The Mark V ... God, what a great car. You could fit a Smart car under its hood. Absurdly comfortable, feature-laden, and if well-taken care of, the 460 V8 would run forever. Of course, you'll squeeze about 9 mpg out of it in city driving.

    As mentioned above, check all the rubber, inside and out, and have it towed for a full-on mechanical check-up. Its collector value is just starting to rise -- there were probably 80,000 or so made that year, so it's not exactly a rare car, but there is definitely a subset of collectors who would be interested in a well-preserved version.
  5. KG

    KG Active Member

    All of the things that are normal maintenance (fluids [should all be drained and replaced], belts, spark plugs and cables) should be replaced for it to run as well as it can. The suggestions of having it towed are spot on. You don't want to risk damaging any of the major components that make the car worth more when they are original.
  6. BitterYoungMatador2

    BitterYoungMatador2 Well-Known Member

    Dude, I'd keep that sucker if you would be permitted to and have suitable storage for it. It's not often you see a cream puff like that available. Most of the 1978 Lincoln's for sale on Ebay are beat to the highest element of shit. Would never use it as a daily driver but definitely as a nice day weekend cruiser.
  7. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    If there's a better car for the L.A.-to-Vegas run, I can't think of it.
  8. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    1) Have it towed to your favorite dependable mechanic.
    2) Have all the belts, hoses and any other major components made primarily of rubber replaced.
    3) Size up your market and see what it will bear - unless someone in the family chooses to keep this machine.
  9. BitterYoungMatador2

    BitterYoungMatador2 Well-Known Member

    None that I can think of. Maybe a mid-70s Cadillac Eldorado convertible. But this is tough to beat.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  10. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Member

    Do NOT try to start the car by jumping the ignition system. After several years of no useage, there is probably no oil left on the metal surfaces at the top of the engine. And any gas in the fuel line has deteriorated over that time.

    Tow the car to a reputable and knowledgeable mechanic for a complete checkup and engine overhaul. That will probably run you close to a grand by the time it is done.

    THEN you will know whether or not the car is worth keeping for yourself or if it is worth restoring for sale to some possible collector out there.

    Settling an estate has loads of hassles. If this car becomes another hassle, then there may be some value in getting rid of it in its "as is" state. That is totally your call!
  11. lono

    lono Active Member

    If you buy a car like this, you need to figure that by the time you go through all the fluids, tune-up, brakes, etc., you could well end up spending upwards of $2,000 to make this excellent car truly road ready.

    Whatever you do, DON'T buy it if you can't afford to fix it, too.
  12. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    It's not in excellent condition under the skin. Have all the fluids drained and replaced, including brake fluid. Strongly consider replacing all five tires — the four on the ground plus the spare. Have the gas tank checked out — if there's rust and corrosion in there you might as well go ahead and have the tank replaced, along with the sending unit and fuel pump. At the other end of the fuel system, have the carburetor thoroughly checked over. Have the radiator thoroughly checked out for leaks and rust.

    New filters all the way across the board, too, and also belts and possibly hoses for both the cooling system and the air conditioning (which may end up entailing replacing the entire A/C system with a modern R134a-based system because you pretty much can't get Freon in 2009). Have the electrical systems checked out for shorts/faulty wiring. Make sure the motors for the headlight covers are working and also check the cheap plastic gears those motors use to open and close the covers.

    And make sure nothing's made a nest in the A/C ducts, the trunk or under the seats. :eek:
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