How Can You Daily Drive a Classic Car? (w/ Engine Startup)

How Can You Daily Drive a Classic Car? (w/ Engine Startup)

Hi everybody, it’s Franny, and today we’re
going to talk about whether you can use your classic car as a daily driver. For this discussion we’re going to
consider a classic car to be anything that’s 20 years or older. So we’re going to use a 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera, a 1985 Ferrari 308 QV, and a 1995 Porsche 911 993 Carrera. So the first thing I want to talk to you about if you’re considering using your classic car as a daily driver is safety. It has to be the most important thing we think of and it’s not just safety for you, but it’s also safety for your passengers as well. Maybe you have a carpooler or you’ve
got kids in the car. So the first thing I want to talk about for safety is the car itself; crumple zones and side impact. So the two Porsches have crumple zones in them, as well and side impact. The Ferrari not so much. Now it does have side impact. Those were added when it was federalized, but I don’t know how this would crumple
up in an accident, So certainly something to think about. Second thing would be bumpers. These two Porsches have five mile-per-hour
bumpers, this is not a five mile-per-hour bumper, so just something to think about. The next would be airbags. So of these three cars, only the 993 has airbags. Now it has both a passenger and a driver’s airbag, but there are no airbags on the other cars, so just something to think about. Brakes: all three cars have disc brakes. So they’re really good brakes, but it’s only the 993 that has ABS and that could be a thing you know. If you’re driving in conditions where you think you’d really need it, it might be a consideration of something you need. Alright, let’s talk about traction control. None of these cars have traction control, and I think you’ll find in the older
cars they just won’t. You’ve got to move up into the 2000s before you find cars with real traction control. Headlights: driving at night it’s super important that your headlights be bright, and that they have a good throw a good pattern. So the Ferrari has reasonably bright ish headlights, but they just have a very low
pattern, because the car is so low. The 993 and the 3:2 Carrera are okay. I’ve upgraded the lights on this car, but they also have fog lights as well and that can be very helpful in bad weather as well. Just something to think about. Okay, So back to talking about bad
weather… Let’s talk about de-icers and de-foggers and windshield wipers. You want to make sure that your car has very good functioning windshield wipers, and totally important. And then de-foggers and de-icers. You want to make sure your car has good air conditioning, so it can clear the windows quickly, and good vents up there to get that air up to those when up to the windshield. And then the last thing I want to talk about is size. Something to realize that these cars are
teeny compared to the cars that are on the road now, so you want to think about driving these things as though you’re driving a motorcycle, because you just, they.. people just will not see you, so it’s just… that’s another, I think it’s another thing to keep totally in mind. The next thing I want to talk about is going to be reliability, so I picked the two older cars. This is an 85, the Ferrari, and this is an 86, this Porsche a 3-2 Carrera. So, one of the things you need to think
about with these older cars is rust. Both of these cars have rust protection built in when they were built, but still over the years, you know, they get pounded with rocks and things, so rust can be a big issue in in these older classic cars. How about stop and go traffic? Can your car handle stop and go traffic? So the 3.2 Carrera does not like stop and go traffic. It’s got an oil cooler in the front right wheel well here, but it needs air flowing over it, so stop and go not so great. The Ferrari has a pretty heavy clutch as well, so that can make it a little more difficult in stop-and-go traffic. Just something to consider, think about.
What about temperature extremes? Can these cars handle a really cold morning? Can they handle a hundred degree day? Is their cooling system up to the challenge? Both of these cars are actually pretty good for that, so just something to consider. And then age: so these cars, like I said, are from the 80s, the mid 80s, and I don’t know if I’d go much further back in time for a daily driver, just because of the things that are missing from cars back in that time. But, you know, an older car, if it’s twenty, thirty, forty years old, you’ve got a metal box full of thirty year old parts in it, so age is another important consideration. The next thing I want to talk about our creature comforts. We’re gonna start with the creature controls in the 993 here. Now this is the newest of our three cars, so I think something that’s kind of important is good heating and cooling controls on the car. So this car has a fairly sophisticated heating and cooling system on it. It’s all integrated and works really really well. The next thing would be your radio. So in older cars you’ve got a decent
radio possibly, but this is the original radio and it’s a cassette deck, and no connectability with your phone or anything like that. The seats in this car: I want to talk about… These are very comfortable seats, and if you’re going to spending a lot of time, you just don’t want uncomfortable seats in your classic car car. The car has power windows, those can be very handy when you’re driving around quite a bit. I really like that about this car. And then also, this car has a couple of other things… I mean, it has cruise control and a couple of other things as well that modern cars would have, but it has power steering. And I want to talk about that, because if you’re in a in a
tight garage or something backing out, pulling on the steering wheel can be kind
of difficult, so that’s a nice feature on this car, and then the last thing, my
favorite feature, is that it’s a manual transmission car, and this one’s actually
a six-speed, so it’s a very good transmission on these cars and really easy to use, but if you’re in a lot of stop-and-go traffic, you may find the manual transmission may be a thing for you. So, let’s go ahead and take a look at the Ferrari. Here in the Ferrari, the story is a little bit different. So our HVAC controls are not integrated. They’re separate, and so you just want to kind of keep that in mind that you’re going to have to operate them independently in
this car. Our radio here is an aftermarket it’s a CD player, it works pretty well, so that’s not really a problem at all. Our seats in this car are not quite as comfortable as they are in some… like the 993 for instance. They’re kind of tight, in fact, that the whole cabin in here is kind of tight. It’s pretty small in here. There’s not a lot of room to put extra
things behind the seats and things like that, so that can be an issue as well. Then the steering: So on this car, it has manual steering on it, no power steering, and the steering wheel is actually kind of small, so it is difficult to maneuver this thing in tight places. Getting in and out of parking spaces and stuff like that. The stick shift on this car is nice. It’s
a five-speed. A little difficult to get into second when it’s cold, but that’s okay. But the but the only really downside is the clutch it’s just very stiff, and so in stop-and-go traffic, you’re gonna probably get a little
fatigued by, you know dealing with this, this is kind of a little bit difficult to work with the clutch. And the last thing is the visibility in the car. It’s not terrible, but it’s not as good as it is in some of the other cars. We have a smaller, little window back here and then on the sides, we have to look
through the louvers and things. So, it’s okay, it’s probably what you would see in other cars of this era, but let’s go take a look at the 3.2 Carrera. And so finally in the 3.2 Carrera here, we have the craziest HVAC system of any car I’ve ever seen. We’ve got our heat down here, and then we’ve got our air conditioning
here in the center console, and then up here is sort of a diverter valve and fresh air controls, so that you just got to kind of get that in your head before you start out. The radio is once again an aftermarket radio, so you can kind of put in what you want, but this doesn’t have any type of connectivity at all. As far as the transmission on this car goes, this is an older 915 transmission and and it can be a little bit difficult to get into gear sometimes. So, it’s something to think about with older cars and older transmissions they can be a little bit difficult to work with. The clutch on this car is is really not too bad. It’s a lot lighter than it is on say, the Ferrari for instance, so that makes it pretty drivable. The steering this car is manual steering, so just like the Ferrari it’s a little difficult to get out of top tight really tight spaces, so, once again something to think about. As far as the the usability of the cabin space, we have sort of have little teeny back seats back here. It’s very ala 911, but you’ve got a nice parcel shelf back here The top on the car back here is manual, so putting the top up and down, it’s just something you kind of have to go through. It is a bit of a process. And then put the boot cover on it, so it’s not like a modern car where you can just sort of hit a button and down on the top goes. It’s not like that. But the seats are very comfortable in this car. They’re nice,
they hold you in pretty well, which isn’t too bad. But even being older seats, they’re very comfortable. Great visibility all around, so this car
actually makes a pretty good daily driver. So another thing I’d like to talk about is the cars safety. So do you have a good place to park it at work and maybe covered parking? And then, what about when you’re driving home, maybe you stopped at the dry cleaners or something or a grocery store. Would you be okay parking the car in a parking lot or on the street and leaving it out of sight? I think that’s kind of important. And what
about personal belongings inside the car? Does the car have an alarm system? And
then finally, is the car easy to steal? You want to make sure that your car’s
not easy to steal as well. Just things we have to think about if we’re going to use these every day. The next thing I’d like to talk about is maintenance on these cars. Now these are older, so I find them actually a little easier to work on, but what about parts costs are and the availability of those parts? Something to take a look at. What about the service interval? How often are you going to need to work on the car? Also you can be driving it more, so you’re going to need to do a little more work on it that way as well. Will you have a backup car? Let’s say something breaks and it goes a couple of days. Will you still be able to get to work? You kind of need a backup car if you’re
going to try to rely on one of these as a daily driver. And then finally, also as you drive it, you’re gonna get door dings and you’re gonna get, you know, rock chips and things, So and you’re gonna end up putting a bit of mileage on the car and all this can affect the valuation. And I don’t know if that’s an important issue for you. It is something else to think about. So another thing to consider is just how
loud is your car? Are you gonna be able to start it in the morning without upsetting all of your neighbors? Some final thoughts on driving a classic car daily would be, do you have a good toolkit, and do you have a good
emergency kit? You may have to stop on the way home and do something a little repair something on your car, which also speaks to.. Do you have sort of the mentality and the grace to not get upset with your car when it goes wrong, and then to pull over and to just sort of get out your tools and start working on it? it’s just something I think that’s kind of important. Are you going to have the confidence to be able to drive the car every day as well? And also another thing would be, can you be late? Is your schedule so tight that if something went wrong with the car that it would be a real problem if you are late? So, these are some other things to think about. I think one final thing would be it’s kind of fun actually. I think is that if you’re stopped getting gas or somewhere
a lot of times people will notice your car. Because it’s pretty different than all
the other cars on the road, and they want to strike up a conversation with you. Are you okay with that? You okay with the answering a few questions and kind of
talking to people? I find that to be super fun actually and really engaging, but it’s just another thing you have to be aware of if you’re gonna drive one of these cars on a regular basis. So I hope you enjoyed the video. If you did, please give it a thumbs up. If you’ve got any questions or comments go ahead and leave them down below. Did I miss anything, is there some big another big thing that I left out? Please let me know down below. So thank you so so much for watching and until next time safe travels, bye.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Hi Everyone, Ever considered using a classic car as a daily driver? In this episode we go over some things to think about when you press your car into daily service. Let us know your thought – Do you daily your classic?

  2. Lovely video 🙂 One issue for me would be parts availability. This depends of course on what car you have and probably also on where you live, even though parts are shipped across the world, but then delivery time of the parts might be an issue too. Where I live you can get parts for Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Volvo easily. There are probably a few more brands, but they don't spring to mind right now. I once spoke to an owner of a 1962 Lincoln Continental who found some parts were stolen of his car when it was parked. That's a rare car over here, but the particular parts were hard to source, even in the US, so the owner suspected the thief knew what to look for.

    Another issue might be the length of daily trips. I can live with an engine that's noisy for instance, but after a while it gets irritating and might damage my ears without protection. I don't mind luxury features all that much, but a good seat and driving position and the ability to keep the interior of the car cool on a hot day or the windows defrosted on a cold day are pretty much a must for me.

  3. I agree with everything you say, but I drive my '66 Beetle almost every day (weather permitting).  I changed the headlights to LED to see better at night and am considering converting from drums to front disk brakes. I keep up with the maintenance and consider it reasonably reliable (I do keep spare parts and some tools in the trunk).  So much fun to drive it's hard to resist!

  4. Wonderful video and thoughtful points to think about. Classic European sports cars are so fun to drive but a backup car is key to mitigating stress of being car-less due to a breakdown. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Hey Heidi and Franny's Garage , some great points on driving a classic car ! I love them all , you keep them looking so nice . ! I like when you said , drive it like your on a "Motorcycle" ! Hope all is well , can't wait to visit Denver again ! Take care……

  6. Wow you guys are rich! 🙂 Another fantastic informative video. I'm really surprised that the Ferrari is a lot smaller than the Porsches. Was that the Magnum PI model? That would be my last pick as a daily, my first would be the 993. All beautiful cars in any event, keep up the great work!

  7. I love your channel! My dream car is a porsche 911 and your videos are so knowledgeable and thorough. Keep it up 💕

  8. Wow, awesome video! I have an almost 20 year old 99 911 and it hits all your key points for a daily driver. Except for a couple of caveats. When its cold (30sF) the shifts are glacial and when it goes to a shop, for things I can't do myself, its usually for a few days or more. Its not like a routine same-day service as in a newer car. So a second car is key. I would call the 996 the first of the modern 911s.

  9. I think using your classic every day for a while is an absolute must if you want your classic to be reliable.
    There is nothing like some regular use to show up the pending faults. However too much use and it will no longer be mint. Parts are a big issue. There is always a solution but it can take a huge amount of time to work out what to do.
    I have owned old cars that were fit for the scrap heap and made them totally reliable just but using them and fixing them up as required.
    We currently drive two 21 year old BMWs. Nether car is mint but they are looked after. Interestingly the rate of failure has not increased in the 13 years of ownership. I just service on time, fix things as they break and go on a big rust hunt once or twice a year.

    Loved your video..

  10. Headlights – so many new cars have plastic lenses that turn opaque and yellow, I'll stick with a nice round 70's glass headlamp. It seems like the most clouded headlamps are on older Mercedes E series, shame on Benz! Airbags – I hope none are made by Takata. Tire pressure monitor system, my son has that on his 2008 Mazda, there is galvanic reaction between the valve and something, they corrode and cause the problems that they were designed to prevent – catastrophic loss of tire pressure. He's had 3 or more flats just due to the alloy stem which incorporates the pressure system. Anyway I'm just having fun here, I'm usually more worried about the safety of the car than of myself, so no rain (rust) and absolutely no salt, snow. If the commute seems to involve a lot of angry drivers I'd say leave it in the garage. Concerning rust – i've found cars made after 1996 seem to have terrible paint on all parts not seen by the public, like suspension a-arms, calipers, axles. Once the paint fails – the underside rusts away quickly. New cars are disposable. Thanks for the video.

  11. Great video as usual. Lovely style Franny. One potential positive and one negative. Positive; does your classic run better if it is exercised daily? Negative; is your commute long enough to get your car up to a decent operating level. I find longer as in 20 minute + commutes might be better for a classic. Finally it would be imprudent to ignore cultural issues at the office. A $60K new Audi is going to come off as less showy and ostentatious than a gently used $55K Porsche turbo that is likely a better long term financial proposition.

  12. What I am curious about it how hot does it get in the 308 trunk? If you chose to use it as a daily driver, would you put groceries in the trunk, or the passenger seat? I would think anything refrigerated/frozen would either melt, or get too hot.

  13. Great topic. Enjoy watching your videos. Definitely have towing if you're going to daily drive a classic. Also expect to sweat sometimes depending on the weather….lol

  14. Love your vids. I think John Muir said, "Drive like you are strapped to the front of your car." Advice that has served me well, whatever I am driving.

  15. Love my Franny videos! My bias, as a Colorado Porsche owner, is that these pristine classics are not compatible with daily usage. It would give me brain damage to expose these to UV paint degrading light, Mg. Chloride, sand chips and poorly skilled iced road drivers… Better to keep them as special treats on warm summer tootles; benefit from value retention and the thrill of the occasion.

  16. I love how you start off with safety. If this video were made by a male, that conversation was would he muddled in the middle of the video, if at all. Thumbs up 👍

  17. Excellent, informative display of proficient, master class level of knowledge (as usual).  Franny, you are OUTSTANDING!

  18. All great points Franny. I have and rotate through driving a 49 Chevy pickup, 51 Chevy Panel, 68 Ford F100 and 01 Harley Roadking to work. I feel as if each time I take for work it may be my last trip. No power, no defrost, bad brakes for today's conditions, no safety features at all. I still do it though. I drive a 2018 Ford Explorer when I am feeling lazy and want a heated seat and a radio that works.

  19. Good questions. There is always so much that can be discussed with this topic it could truly be its own series touching on the various points you brought up. As far as the bothering the neighbors, if I had neighbors like you 2 i'd be over any time you were doing something so I could be a part of it. Nothing better than getting your hands dirty, learning something new, and sharing the experience. Also on the driving comfort portion, with the Ferrari do you find that the odd shape of the floor and placement of the pedals can impact the comfort of the drive? When I see the odd angle of the floorboard of some ferrari's I just can't imagine that is comfortable for any extended amount of driving.

  20. I have a 1996 BMW 318i touring as a daily driver. Pretty reliable even after 200 K miles. But what a nice insightful 15 min. All your non judgemental observations. So relevant. Thanks.

  21. In the summer season I daily both my g body 911s. You`ve mentioned a lot of good points in your video, but I would like to add that an AAA membership might be a good idea.

  22. This is the most complete video on internet about daily drive an old/classic car. And I am only at 4:36. Great job, girls!

  23. I love this vid. You both are always thinking of all the cool little details and important functions of vehicles. Very important points to be considered. I love details!

  24. Another great video! I have 3 classic cars and I’ve weighed the possibilities of using one as a daily driver to enjoy my drive to work . Very compressive look at the prospect of doing so. Thanks!

  25. If you have a few classics like you ladies do, it can be a chore to give them enough miles to run down the gas tank in less than 6 months and just to exercise them. A month can go by before you realize you haven't driven 'car D'. SO there is some pressure to kill 2 birds with one stone and drive it to work. Your classic car insurance company may not appreciate that, a whole other story.

  26. I drive my 1991 Toyota Mr2 daily, and once a year on a round trip from Coos Bay Oregon to Lake Elsinore California. Very comfortable, airbags, air conditioning, nearly 30 Mpg, and very reliable. So Japanese classic cars make good sense!

  27. Great video! For me the reason to buy a 993 from the 90s and not an earlier Porsche model was safety. Interesing that you stress this point, too. The 993 is phantastic as a daily driver…

  28. Great points Franny all over. I drove a 88 Mercedes 380 SL daily to work for 2 years. I called it "commute in style". Yes, you need a backup car in case. Also in the busy Bay Area and especially the I-880 you almost die of a heart attack every day of all the crazy people driving in front of you and who want to damage your car. Especially if you keep more distance to cars in front of you and always somebody squeezes in. I had the luxury of a covered garage at work, which made things easier. All in all, it was a lovely experience. Oh, forgot to mention that my AC did not work, but I could have cared less.

  29. Just discovered your channel. Awesome! You gals have impeccable taste in your cars, and they just look immaculate. Brilliant!

  30. Porsche now classify the 996 as a classic, with that 996 turbo you have the perfect daily 'young timer' classic.

  31. I've had 7 Porsches, from new to 20 yrs old, in Chicago where salt is used. No rust due to German high grade steel (& some aluminum) & state of the art rust protection. I have a 19 yr old 356 replica & it's really rare for someone to tailgate or cut me off. Balances out the smallness.

  32. Jaguars had traction control in 1995 along with ABS, and dual airbags. Plus my 6.0 V12 has been trouble free and has over 120K miles now. I did have to upgrade the cooling system with an aluminum high flow radiator. As a former collector of 1940s through mid-1960s cars (Hudson, Cadillac, and Jaguar), I have come to prefer 1980s and 1990s cars for the very reasons you list. I only just recently retired my 1988 XJ6 that I used for long trips.

  33. We daily drive two older vehicles, a '68 Beetle (painted to resemble a Ladybug) and a heavily modified older Jeep Cherokee.

    Both are very distinctive and gather attention wherever we go. We don't mind answering questions and chatting with those around us.

    The Bug has a newer (over bored to 1900 cc engine) and electronic ignition. We replaced the wire harness a year ago as well. She's a very solid, reliable car.

    The Jeep is lifted with oversized tires, larger bumpers front (contains a winch) and rear (tire Carrie and integrated hitch) and is set up as a rescue and tow rig.

    With regular maintenance and TLC both vehicles are serving us well.

    There is nothing wrong with enjoying your classic vehicle every day.

  34. I personally like my 2007 C6 Corvette Convertible… This young lady is very pleasant to listen to. She really does her homework, and pretty much covers a lot of ground…. Keep Up The Great Videos…. More importantly Good Health…

  35. I daily a 238k mile ‘69 Impala custom to school, work, and my girlfriend who lives 50 miles away. Do I get 17 mpg? Yes.. However it’s reliable, fun(I can easily spin the tires), and its safe considering I flipped my 64 impala at 120mph an survived without a trip to the hospital. I will NEVER own a a car newer than ‘73.

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