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Using our cars as daily drivers

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Using our cars as daily drivers

Post by David V. on Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:32 pm

I own both a Saab 900 which I usually drive year-round, and my Sebring, which I've been driving in the summers only (when not overhauling something). Recently I just finished the engine overhaul on the Sebring, and therefore did not drive it all summer, or almost. Which meant I was really looking forward to spending some time on the road with my favorite car. The Saab needed some maintenance done so I left it at my parent's house and have been daily driving the Sebring for the past 2 months. I have been pleasantly surprised! Very Happy It handles city driving quite well for an estimated 500hp car and although city gas mileage is dubious, the highway gas mileage I have calculated is better than my Saab, even with the carb tuned too rich and the vacuum advance deleted. I mostly attribute this to the low final drive gear. It can store a whole load of groceries thanks to the parcel shelf, and other than the electrical problem I have just finished repairing starts right up every time and runs reliably. Only downside is having to dodge the speedbumps Razz How many other classics/hotrods can be driven every day this well?

So what do you guys think? Would you daily drive your pride and joy? Food for thought...
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Daily Driving

Post by DrJ on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:31 am

That is my goal David. Not sure when that will happen as mine has been on jack stands since this time last year for a drivetrain re-engineering, but I am just about ready to wiggle in the T5. For me much will require attention before becoming our daily driver including:

Finish the installation of the top frame that began life in a 1992 Capri convertible;
Determine feasibility of retrofitting a cobra curved windshield frame and if so:
Relocate windshield wipers with washing capability;
New dash and instrument layout with center console, probably neaten up the wiring as well;
New door vent windows that will interface with the new windshield and open;
Install a new Vintage heating system for the cockpit.

The car dives during hard braking so the front end needs to be looked at;
The steering does not self-center out of a turn so the rack may need attention;
In the brief time I had it on the road she lost coolant (once I installed a thermostat) so she may need head gaskets, needs study;
She rides hard depending on road conditions so I would look into adjustable shocks and or softer springs, possibly working with Eaton Detroit;

Also picked up a pair of special edition Mazda Miata bucket seats with adjustable head rests that fit the Healey well, that need installation.

So I did not have the pleasure of building her from scratch but am enjoying the journey of making her my own and if lucky, a better more comfortable driver.

It is an education for me and I am enjoying the process.

DrJ

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Re: Using our cars as daily drivers

Post by Hotrod on Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:46 pm

David, I would drive mine every day if it wasn't for the insurance issue.  Most  collector car insurance prohibits daily use and will not pay for any damage if they determine that's what you were doing.  My regular insurance company would probably give me liability, but that's all.  I've been through that with my street rods.  I did see that Grundy offers something that will allow more driving.  I'm going to check into it.

DrJ wrote:The car dives during hard braking so the front end needs to be looked at;

DrJ, I discovered during the recent tear down of my car that there was no anti-dive built into the chassis when it was designed.  The Mustang II originally had anti-dive, but for whatever reason Classic Roadsters decided not to carry it over.  I plan to correct this on my car during the rebuild, but it will take major rework of the chassis.

Adjustable shocks might help your situation, but increasing the compression setting will make the car ride rough.

Mike
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Daily Driver

Post by DrJ on Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:12 am

Thanks Mike,

So what involves incorporating anti-dive?? Figure to rebuild the front end as the existing parts must be getting worn by now and I would be interested in correcting this issue regardless of the work involved.

Paul

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Re: Using our cars as daily drivers

Post by Hotrod on Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:47 pm

Paul, the upper control arm should tilt down in the rear as viewed from the side.  Classic built the frame so the the upper arm is virtually level or parallel with the lower arm.  

The upper arm mounting surface will need to be cut loose and rewelded on an angle.  The problem is that the frame rail is so close the the upper mount surface that there is no room to drop the rear of the mount surface.  The control arm will contact the frame.

I'm planning some major modifications to my frame so the clearance issue will be corrected then.  You could notch the frame rail, but it would need to be reinforced or strength would be compromised.  

Also, if you tilt the upper mount, you will need to make the upper spring pocket parallel with the lower control arm.  I'm planning on going to coilovers, so this won't be an issue for me.

Here is a link to a picture of anti dive geometry.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Mike
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Re: Using our cars as daily drivers

Post by David V. on Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:37 pm

@Mike: Hmm yes that is the problem with collector car insurance, cheaper rates come with more restrictions. It really depends on the province/state you live in, etc. Also note that when I say I've been "daily driving" it lately I mean that I've been using it to run errands and acquire this delicious thing called food. I could never bring myself to actually commute with it and leave it in a parking garage all day. Thankfully I can commute by bike so my other car being in the shop does not affect me much.

And I am in the same boat as you. Did not originally assemble my Sebring but have gone over every nut and bolt (or will have soon) and improved many areas. Hey I thought I was the only one with crazy modification projects/ideas! Am looking forward to seeing some pictures, especially of that windshield and convertible top conversion! Wish I had time to write up more of my build thread. Am in the process of breaking in my new engine.

Cheers!
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Daily Drive

Post by DrJ on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:20 am

Thanks Mike, gives me something to work with. I have been so tied up reworking the drivetrain and only recently began thinking about this. You do not know what you do not know and I figured the issue was weight transfer (which it essentially is) that could be controlled by shock valve adjustment. Now I see that there is more to it. Will have to be done as the current situation is unacceptable. Thank you for the advice and I'll post any progress or lack there of.

David,

I have my MX insured with Hagerty, same company my 66 Vette was insured with. Reasonably cheep and no restrictions (that I am aware of).

Posting pictures is a skill set I have not yet developed (I am 54 but have been slow to adopt all the tech). Will make it a point of getting some pictures posted once I get further ahead. The Capri top frame has been jigged up, cut apart and welded back together again so that it fits the car. I fabricated mounting hard points and installed it all to the car. The frame has no front bow made as of yet as the windshield frame issue is just beginning. For the top to fully retract into the cockpit the aft area behind the seats will need modeling but I have experience with structural fiberglass work so no worries there. The Cobra windshield frame (if it is as close as I believe it to be) will very likely require some glass work on the front clip as the concavity of the Cobra frame is about one inch deeper that ours. Other than that the dimensions I have from the internet look close. I made a tracing of our frame and will look to compare it to an actual Cobra in the Spring. If it is a go then their 400 or so new, another 400 for the glass.

I'll keep you posted.

DrJ

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Re: Using our cars as daily drivers

Post by David V. on Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:55 am

@Drj: Just curious as to why you chose to go with a cobra windshield instead of an original healey windshield. A healey top would already be made to fit. I recall this alternate healey replica company similar to sebring whose kits had healey windshields and no deck behind the parcel shelf.

As to posting pictures...well...I am looking into making a video tutorial to help those that don't have experience with this. But that's not official yet Wink Keep an eye out!
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Daily Driver

Post by DrJ on Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:10 am

During this Summer the wife and I went to a couple of car shows armed with tape measures and cameras. Measured MGB, TR6, Healey 3000's, Fiat Spiders and Alpha Spiders. The widths were all found to be to narrow requiring what would likely be a challenging wide wrap around interface so as to mate up with the vent window's. On spec I picked up a MGB frame on e-bay for 99. as it was as close as any of the others and cheep. It could probably be done but then I consulted the mysterious world containing the sum total of human knowledge.....the internet. What I learned is that windshield frames for virtually all Cobra kits come from Wholesale International. The frames and just about dead nuts width wise top and bottom. The height is taller by an inch or so (do not have the comparative numbers here just now) but it is raked back which would likely lower the vertical height. Regardless, I can live with an inch or two of additional height. As mentioned on the previous post the lower concavity looks to be deeper than what our clips will accommodate, but I can glass in a fairing. It would still need an interface with weather stripping for the vent windows but I believe that to be an easier fabrication issue than that with the MGB. Also as mentioned, if successful, the windshield wipers may then be inside the cockpit (not as good as outside) so that would require a rework. Also a chance to make new vent windows that function. Not likely to move forward on that particular part of the project until I can actually see one at a show or if necessary I may fly myself (built a plane) to Factory Five and look at one there next Spring. Until then its finish the drivetrain, and begin work on the front end issues.

DrJ

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