I had always wanted to own and drive a classic car since I was a young kid, and one that could be reliable and a daily driver. And after so many years of learning about cars, buying hot wheels, playing racing games online, building Lego cars, creating cars online, going to car shows and meets, and then finally getting my drivers license and my first car at 16. That was one of my next goals in life, to buy and own a classic car, but after seeing so many Mustangs, Camaros and Bel Airs. I realized that it had to be more unique, and a car that even some of the old guys hadn’t seen. Or a car I had never seen or had much knowledge of either, and I had just turned 18 at the time, how crazy is that? To buy and own a classic car at such a young age, and be the first one in my town to do it out of my whole school, wouldn’t that have been super awesome and cool?
Yeah, well it would’ve been, if it had actually happened. While it ended up being just a pipe dream and a very expensive and time consuming lesson, It’s not like no good ever came out of the experience, I met new friends and learned a lot, but I just never got to do some the things I really wanted to do with it. But maybe that’s all part of what the lesson was, I’d like to think it will get back on the road some day so I can drive it. But for now I guess all I can do is just hope and wait, but in the mean time I might as well tell the story about this car and my experience with it, so…let’s start at the beginning.
Oddly enough, this story doesn’t start with the car in question, but rather this 1956 Mercury Medalist in the picture above. The town I live in used to have a May festival every year with a car show, and in May of 2019 when I first saw this car at the show, I couldn’t help but keep coming back to it. I ended up meeting the owner and we talked about the car, it was a 312 C.I. V8 with a 3-speed manual, it wasn’t perfect but it had it’s charms. Sitting in it was pretty neat, I liked the big steering wheel and the comfy seat too, but what intrigued me even more was the price tag.
At that moment I realized something, it was possible for me, someone with very little money, to own a classic car! As before this I thought that it was gonna be a challenging and very expensive task to buy one, but $5000? I might just be able to swing a similar amount of money for a running and driving classic. But after some research I also realized that only well known classic cars like challengers, chargers and chevelles were in the higher price range, but of the lesser known and less popular cars actually weren’t that pricey. I didn’t have anywhere near $5k at the time, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t start looking.
And so, for the next 8 months I looked all around the 500 mile radius I was willing to go. I had I big list of options to choose from (Back then they were more plentiful), but I only went to see a few. A 1966 Plymouth Barracuda with a 273 V8 (out of my price range), a 1968 AMC Ambassador with a 343 V8 (probably should’ve bought that one, it was a nice car), and the chosen 1964 Chrysler New Yorker with a modified 413 V8. However, while I love almost all classic cars, I tend to lean towards Mopars. And than when I saw what the 61-64 Chryslers looked like, I fell in love with the design, it looked like the perfect mixture of 50s and 60s styling to me, So that’s when I started looking for this type of car in particular.
The first one I asked about was a light blue 1963 New Yorker, but it ended up having a cracked block, so that wasn’t gonna work. However the next car I found was the one I bought, it had some rust as it had been sitting right by the ocean for around 8 years, like right next to it. But I had just gotten my inheritance which made up the difference (Thanks Aunt), and I was super excited. And it didn’t look too bad, at least not in the pictures, but it turned out that those pictures were taken 4 or 5 years prior when the rust wasn’t as bad, so after driving 400 miles through a snow storm and having to sleep in grandma’s Marquis (multiple times). I was little annoyed, but all of that vanished into thin air when the owner started the car up.
It was loud, as it had duel exhaust on it. So I was more than happy to take it for a test drive, it drove pretty good (considering the problems it had), and me being exhausted from the 400 mile trip I didn’t want to come home empty handed. So we settled on $4200, which at the time seemed like a good deal. But in reality it had lots of issues, the tires were 25 year old Sears tires that wobbled down the road, only the speedo and alternator gauge worked, it had an exhaust leak, it had more than enough rust, and the brakes were iffy to say the least, and those were only the big issues.
But at the moment I was so happy to have a shot at getting classic car I really wanted that I kinda just didn’t care, so when me and my mom stopped at a gas station to fill up for the trip home, the car ended up dying because the battery was dead. So I called the now ex-owner and he was at least nice enough to come down and charge up the current battery and buy me a new battery, so at that point the price a paid came down to about $4000 as the battery was nearly $200, but I honestly still think I kinda overpaid considering the current condition the car was actually in. My mother wasn’t too happy either, as the money I was spending was basically all I had at the time.
The ex-owner also reminded me about the weird way the heat system worked, where you had to turn off from under the hood using a knob, as it was a warm sunny day I turned it off. But driving the 400 miles home that night was bitter cold without the heater on, and I hadn’t been able to get the gauge lights to work either. So there I was just driving through the mountains, freezing my hands off, not able to see any of the gauges that did work, and my mom following close behind in the other car. Luckily we were able to stop at a midway point for the night, and I must say that sleeping in the Chrysler was a lot more pleasant than sleeping in the grand marquis, the bench seat actually provided some level of comfort.
On March 16, 2020 we got home hungry and tired. But I couldn’t care less, I had one of my dream cars, and the first thing I was going to do was show it off at school and…oh wait, that’s the week that school ended up being canceled for the rest of the year because of the lockdown, so I never did get to do that. Oh well… So the next best thing to do was get new tires. So there went $500 into it right there, but it made a massive difference in how the car drove. The other thing it really needed was a trunk key, It didn’t come with one and and the only other way to get to the trunk was through the back seat, so after finally finding a locksmith to make a key for the bizarre lock, there went another $75.
But one of the other things I really wanted to do was start going to car shows with it, and in May they started doing some sizable car meets in a city not too far from where I lived, and needless to say I got plenty of attention. Just like I hoped, the car became well known in my town and at the car meets as people would gather to see this odd ball vehicle to take pictures and ask questions about it. I was respected, people in normal basic cars got out of my way, and other guys in classic cars greeted me as I drove by. I loved the feeling of driving it and the rewards it gave, I just couldn’t get enough of it, but after a while the car certainly began to have enough of it.
As the months went on, the problems began to creep in, slowly just like the rust on the rear end of the unibody frame. The first was the throttle connection gave out, as one of the connector pieces had fallen out when I was driving and caused the gas pedal to fall halfway before having any response and would sometimes get stuck. Luckily enough it ended up being a quick fix for $70 by my mechanic, but then it began to leak oil and transmission fluid, however while the oil leak stopped entirely on its own, the trans leak did not. After every highway drive it leaked about a half a quart out of the pan, my mechanic replaces the pan gasket for $100, doesn’t fix it. He does it again, still doesn’t fix it, he does it a third time while adding some transmission sealant, it shrinks the leak down but doesn’t stop it.
These problems however, were just the start, as this was the beginning of not just mechanical problems but general problems. While most people liked the car, some did not, as it got keyed multiple times were I lived and I ended having to park it elsewhere. I was always paranoid of the amount of fuel since the gas gauge didn’t work, as the transmission fluid level, and around late July I was starting to get burnt out. The car meets weren’t the same and I needed a break, and in correlation with that I badly overheated the car while sitting in traffic during a cruise for about 10 minutes straight. And when I finally found a parking spot the radiator was smoking hot and letting off lots of steam, but with no working temperature gauge I didn’t even notice until it got bad.
I had also lost a hubcap earlier that day, but after a short while I realized that I would never find it and it wasn’t worth looking for. So the day already wasn’t perfect, but after I overheated the car I also realized that I had never thought to check the coolant level and I had just made the stupid decision to sit in traffic idling for 10 minutes, so all I knew to do at that point was pour some water on it to cool it off, and waited till I was sure it was completely cooled down. The next week I find out the head gasket is blown, go figure, as I could see the coolant burning off the heads. At the time all I knew is it was going to be expensive, I had gotten tired of meets and cruises anyway, but it wasn’t going to be easy to deal with regardless, but I surprisingly would end up learning a lot about the car due to this.
In late July of 2020, I drove it to my mechanics place and parked it. While my mechanic takes forever to finish his jobs, he’s the only mechanic in town that knows about old cars and offers low prices, he ended up teaching me certain things about my car and even let me help him on occasion. As he slowly but surely tore down the motor, all the cheap and crappy fixes began to reveal themselves, the gaskets would be the worst of it. All of the them were either poor quality, falling apart or missing completely, and that was when I realized I clearly hadn’t looked at the car close enough before buying it. However there were some goodies too, it had actually been bored out to around 435 or 436, had custom high compression pistons, and a cam. So while the car had potential, it just hadn’t been taken care of enough to get there.
As the months dragged on, I became impatient, this was going slower than Christmas. And it was sitting outside only getting worked on occasionally when the weather was good, and that wasn’t too common for the inland northwest. So most of the time during the winter the car just sat, but while it annoyed me a lot I tried not to show it, as my mechanic was having health issues at the time and still is to this day. But it still irritated me, I missed driving it, that feeling of power and prestige that it gifted me. I sat around for months wondering if I would ever get the car back. One thing I had also learned is that parts for this car were incredibly hard to find, and were often expensive, hence the price of repairs went up steadily.
The last time the car was driven was in June of this year when the motor was fully functional, I attempted a 16 mile journey to a car show as a test run. And while the motor clearly had its power back, the brake pedal was like a rock and it would only move a slight bit, and because the booster was bad the engine nearly died on multiple stop lights. So when I finally pulled up to the show, the motor completely died and the transmission gushed all the fluid straight out of the new pan we had put in, this time worse than before, but that was before I learned not to use cork and rubber gaskets. I then called AAA and had the car towed back to the shop to have the booster rebuilt and yet another gasket put in, as the cork one had been pushed in by the pan, thus causing the bad leak.
Another problem had come up as well, I was unable to license the car as the previous owner had never licensed it himself, but luckily since it had classic plates it wasn’t an issue to legally drive it on the street. Yes, I could wait the 3 years to appeal the title to have it put in my name, but after getting 3 different answers from the same DMV I just gave up, as it was just too confusing. But while the car sat I had some time to dig up some history from the service papers that had come with the car, there wasn’t much to find but it gave me an idea of what the car went through.
From what I could gather, the original owner had the car till the early 2000s, the papers I had showed that he took care of it on a normal basis and spend a good chunk of money on it. But around 2002 or 2003 some sort of accident happened causing the car to go though major repairs on the front body, it was cosmetically repaired and sold as is by a classic car dealership in Oregon. After that the car bounced though at least 5 people, I’m guessing that they didn’t want to try and fix all the electrical problems it had, it’s estimated to have around 65k or 70k miles on the body, I’m unsure about the engine and trans due to the fact they have both been rebuilt at least once.
So, what’s keeping this car here now? well the shift selector seal went bad, and I’m guessing from sitting for so long. So now it needs to have the medal part of the seal pushed back in, a new rubber piece put in, and the shift cable reconnected, that’s it. But my mechanic works on my cars last because he knows that there’s no where else I can afford. So either one of two things is going to happen: Either I’m going to have the car towed to a transmission shop and have it done there if I can afford it, or he’s going to eventually finish it before that, and I have no idea what’s going to happen first.
So what has happened since? Well it has a used fully functional gauge cluster, a rebuilt booster, rust and paint work that I did myself, and the engine now has no functional issues. But I’m curious, what would you do in my situation? Would you sell it and try to get your money back? Would you keep working on it trying to get it into a fully functional state? If you had the money would you take it to a special shop and have it done there? My plans are to have the car fixed up so I can use it for things like autocross and go to events like the Gambler 500, and just use it as a 2nd car. Please tell me what you would do in the comments below.
On a final note, I’m sorry this took so long, it was supposed to be out over a month ago but life issues kept me from staying focused on this. As the car would’ve been back in my hands if the most recent problem hadn’t come up, and the next COAL will definitely won’t take as long as this, at least I hope not. This also ended up being longer than I though it would be, but I wanted to include the whole story and not leave anything important out. So with that being said if you read till the end, thank you and happy holidays!
When I was a little younger I bought a Jaguar XJ 12 Series 2 and it had some issues and rust of course.That was in August 1997. Through the years I fixed some things and drove the car. Now I still have some ignition problems that came up lately but I never thought to give the car away. In between I got married and my wife had a Willys Jeep sitting in her back yard in Geneva Illinois for over 20 years. In 2016 we finally decided to gare about it and as I live in Munich Germany we shipped the car there so I could work on it more frequently. It took a while before i got started. First of all we found out that the engine was seized. We took the body from the frame and started working on the engine first. After we put huge amounst of WD40 into it finalli broke loos and I could start to rebuild it. In spring of this year I was able to start it the 1st time and I also got the frame sandblasted and painted, new brake lines installed, the drums machined and so on. It still will take a lot of time to get it back on the road.
But my message is to not give up and keep working on it. I never regretted that I bought the Jag. And now when everyone goes electric classic cars will appreciate in value. I’d rather buy a second car to get around and keep the other one.
Thanks for an honest approach to classic motoring! I’m older than you,(not always wiser) and an ex mechanic, who started on mid late 1970s Holdens, so points ignition, repacking wheel bearings and carbys were old friends-or foes.
I bought my ’69 Skylark from the importer and should have been more through with my body inspection. While I was rebushing all the suspension, I did tell my wife that “I know I’ll enjoy it someday, but at the moment, I regret buying it”
That passed, and 10 years later, I still enjoy driving it, despite it’s rattles, wind noise and a dozen other slight annoyances. And thanks to the ‘lark and the internet ( how did classic car drivers especially those of imports manage back then?) I’ve made friends with other Buick owners in Australia, Canada and the USA. We got driven around Vancouver in an Electra 225 convertible- huge thanks to Doug. Meet Brian & Terri in Las Vegas. And while I’d be happy with a Camaro or Malibu, I enjoy the ‘larks rarity here in Australia.
Will I make money, or even break even? No. It’s not about that. It’s because I can, and I wanted to. When it stops being fun, or I’m to old to work on it, it will be time to move it on. And Merry Christmas from Australia.
Welcome to the world of classic car ownership! You are in a bit of a tough spot, and quite frankly I’m not sure what to tell you.
Buying any used car (classic or otherwise) it seems that you are more often than not buying someone else’s problems and deferred maintenance. So getting out from under this car into something else might be a good idea, but you could also end up with a whole new set of problems.
On the other hand, don’t let the sunk cost fallacy trap you into a car that you don’t truly love (or maybe once loved but don’t any more). Ultimately cars are not family members or pets – we can walk away from ones that have become a burden or no longer interest us.
I would follow your own advice in your last paragraph. If it stops bringing you pleasure, it is time to let it go.
Yup I agree with all of this
Lovely car, and CC effect I saw one just on Sunday going to pick my daughter up from the end of her University term.
Well, you’re surely in a pickle, you might want to read my long term tale of a needy classic.
My later classic car adventures were more successful, once I had more time, money and space available. Perhaps you should advertise the car, if you can pass it on to someone else without totally losing your shirt that might be for the best.
For myself, whenever I hear the word “modified” I run away like my hair’s on fire. Everyone in the world knows (or can look up) what parts are in a 413 as Chrysler built it. Once it’s been modified, only God and the builder have the answers. As you have now learned. It sounds to me like your worst problems have been from the poorly done engine rebuild, but you have now survived that problem and have a properly done engine.
It sounds like you have a couple of strikes against you – you don’t appear to have a good place to work on it yourself and you give the impression that you are not inclined to take on some of these repair jobs yourself. We all had to start somewhere, and most of us had a good mentor who could teach us the many things we did not know. The internet is a partial substitute today, but there is no way around it – this car is approaching 60 years old and was never engineered to last this long. Stuff is going to fail, and if you are going to be at the mercy of a mechanic, be prepared for disappointments (whether in cost, results or in the time required. Fast, cheap or good, pick one.)
These cars have good bones and were made of good stuff, but keeping anything of that age running and driving right is more like a long-term relationship. It is easy to see your own old car as nothing but problems and every other old car out there as a solution, but (trust me on this – I’ve been there) but they are probably no better than what you have, and will only give you new ways to experience failures. If you are willing to invest the time into learning a car (buy the shop manual and the parts manuals, take a class or two at a local vocational school) this could be a satisfying learning experience. If you are not willing to make that investment, you are probably going to be happiest going to shows and looking at other peoples’ cars.
The real litmus test is how you feel when you see the car. Does it fill you joy or has it become a huge drag? With a classic car (and I’m speaking as the owner of one), it will never be 100%. It’s a matter of learning to live with and love it at whatever degree is satisfactory. It’s a vintage ride, and you described the upsides of that well. But the downside is that it’s not practical nor a good investment.
The more work on it you can do yourself, the better. If you have to keep paying a mechanic to try to keep pace with the car’s every failure, you’d better have some deep pockets. I started working on my own VWs because I couldn’t find mechanics who would touch them, even if I paid their wages. In my small town, they’d rather just take simpler work, of which there is no shortage. So having a good mechanic is a blessing, but in the end, you will end up in the poorhouse if you don’t do most of that yourself.
My Westy had been sitting in the driveway in a state of disrepair for about three or four months before I finally got it started and idling again last week. It sucked to see it down for the count for such a long stretch, but I still felt joy every time I stepped outside and saw it in the driveway. I will never sell it unless circumstances force me to.
Don’t give up. You’ll regret it. Been there done that too many times. And yes, the next will always have its own set of problems. Great car, great learning experience. Hang in there.
I let a ’76 Eldo convertible rot under a shed in the 90’s after a wheel bearing failed halfway through a 300 mile move, on a Sunday. That soured me on it. It was hauled away after the (also rotting) house was sold in 2004. If you don’t have a garage and keep it exercised, an old non-Ferrari will only go down in value. Get what you can while you can get more than zero.
My dad’s best friend had a NYer in the same color as yours when I was little. He also had an MG Midget, which I remember riding in with 4 other kids.
I will say that I owned a large 60s barge as my first car and it was SO expensive as a 19-year-old kid to try and manage it. But I could have, and I regret selling it to this day. Frankly, your Newport is likely never going to lose value. You’ve already invested the money in it to get it this far. If you have the money and space to buy a second car, get a Camry and daily that, and have this be your labor of love. Don’t sell unless you really have to.
When you said you didn’t want to go home empty-handed after driving 400 miles, there was a certain amount of sunk cost fallacy right there.
If you bail on the NYer and get another classic, prepurchase inspections are your friend.
A few decades ago I concluded that I just wasn’t temperamentally suited to working on cars. I assume you know whether that’s true of you, or not.
Sounds like a classic case of “I gotta have a classic caritis” from the start. This is where one wants a classic old car so bad they forget that it is an “OLD” car for one and jump in eyes closed. Then there is also the “seller” who for many of them may not be that honest or trustworthy. So with the gotta have it and no due diligence these are the type of things that happen. Add in the not wanting to drive home after coming this far. Plus paying about $1000 more for a four door sedan (least worth) than you should have. Finally it is especially bad if you are unable to do any of the heavy work. These are rookie mistakes which is why I don’t believe a rookie should ever look at one of these cars by themselves. I’m sorry he has to learn the hard way.
Some of us were just watching a fellow on a truck forum for our Ford trucks. Fairly young and sees the trucks we have so he has come down with the I gotta have it symptoms. The truck he is looking at is heavily rusted in bed, quarters, and the roof from pictures. Who knows about under. Mechanically it runs Ok at idle which is the thing that impresses him which is bad. Some members say go for it while others, like me, say don’t. There are better out there for the money, take your time, as this truck will cost you around $3-4 for every $1 in value when he is done. This rookie case is still pending…
A well-told story, and good to see some familiar Spokane sights.
Chrysler products in those years always had electrical troubles but rarely overheated. Your prize must have been badly abused before you got it.
Your tranny fluid loss was from the O-rings on the shifter cable adjustment. Use two adjusting rings to keep the worn threads from wobbling around.
I look after two classics and the contrast is interesting.
The 1979 Lincoln Mk V has a Tmeyer 434 Stroker kit installed. It was done at a good shop so it is reliable and leak-free. The problem with this car is as soon as I get one thing fixed, another crops up. Part of it is the excessive complications my has added to it but the other part is the fact the car is 42 years old. Right now the electric fan relay is broken and getting a replacement has been delayed due to the supply chain issues we are having. It means I couldn’t drive it at all this year.
The 1978 Cadillac, on the other hand, is bulletproof. It can sit for a year and with a few seconds of cranking it always starts right up. These were well made cars with proven components.
I much prefer the Cadillac because, with the brakes excepted, it drives much like a modern car.
When buying any used car a mechanical inspection is always worth the $100 or so.
You have a very nice mom.
Ha, yes, she is a keeper for sure! Not every mom would be nearly as accommodating or helpful while hardly being a bad one. Be sure to tell her you appreciate her.
It takes a brave person to admit that they may be in over their heads at least a little and that perhaps their decision were not the wisest. Of course all of that is in hindsight and it’s very easy for some of us to criticize your decisions here, most of us have made a mistake or two in our lives as well.. And you can’t always get a competent (key word there) pre-purchase inspection done when not in the middle of a city, conversely an inspection may be worth what you pay for it, an advertised low cost PPI is less than an hours worth of shop labor around here, the guy is not spending half a day on the car evaluating everything and certainly isn’t providing any guarantees. You looked at it, it ran and drove and looked okay enough, so you pay your money, take the car, and hope for the best and realize that if it were literally “perfect” in all respects the price would be much higher in the first place. Then when things work out differently you make the harder decisions. A perfect car will be much more expensive, but possible cheaper in the long run. Just like making payments on a new car, you afford it bit by bit, same with buying a used car with some “needs” vs the already restored one.
My $.02 is if you really love the car, keep it. But look at your finances and see if you can in fact afford it. Proper licensing and insurance are part of responsible vehicle ownership if planning to drive in public and if lacking may end up costing far more down the road.
My second part of advice is to look at what it would take to fix stuff yourself. You may not be able to literally disassemble the engine or transmission and know what you are looking at to determine what’s good or not (I wouldn’t), but stuff like the transmission linkage issue seems like it might be a matter of trying to read up or watch videos on it, ordering the part that needs to be replaced and spending some time under the car (with a very good set of jack stands protecting you). And/or ask your mechanic if he thinks it is something you might actually be able to do yourself, he may well share some advice; if he’s as busy as you say he is, he really doesn’t need your car there and may be happy to get it out of his hair (and his lot).
The third part is to invest (yes, invest) in the tools you need to correct a problem, but only as it arises, buy what you need when you in fact need it, not before. If you can in fact correct an issue yourself usually the cost of the correct tools will be less than the labor cost of the mechanic. You’re in school, living at home, your time is essentially worth very little. You have the time to at least attempt to fix it yourself. And if successful, those tools will last a lifetime and pay for themselves over and over again. The most expensive part of interesting car ownership is paying people to do the stuff you can’t (or won’t) do yourself. Some jobs aren’t reasonable to tackle yourself, but many are.
And lastly, all of those shiny car show cars are guaranteed to have at least one and usually a multitude of issues that are not plainly visible when you walk around them but the owners will likely tell you if you actually ask, you might be surprised to find how long the “list” really is to get it back into absolutely perfect shape.
Plenty of people here have older cars , the vast majority of which have some sort of issue that will either be gotten to eventually or just dealt with and never fully corrected due to either time, money, or just it not mattering all that much.
“The third part is to invest (yes, invest) in the tools you need to correct a problem, but only as it arises, buy what you need when you in fact need it, not before.”
For a special tool or something less used I agree, but going in I think you net a set of the basic hand tools in the most common sizes. This time of year there are usually good deals on sets that cover common sizes all in a case that lets you know whether you’ve put everything back or not.
I enjoyed your story about your car. I once had a 1964 Chrysler Newport in the mid eighties and it brought those memories back.
I was enamored with it. I thought it would be a good car for me to learn on, but I lacked the skills and tools for most of the work. I was in my early 20’s and had competing interests as well. The big job I did myself was removing the radiator and putting it back it after having it refurbished.
Ultimately what killed it for me was it needed new brake drums, and as this was pre-internet days, they were difficult to find. Without brakes it was not road worthy, so I couldn’t drive it anymore. I figured it would be the same for every repair that was needed.
I ended up giving to the junk yard for the price of the tow.
I learned alot from that experience. The cheapest part of owning a classic car is buying it. I still think about having a classic from time to time, but I also know after about 5 outings the novelty for me would wear off.
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Old Cars! Your experiences reflect those of every guy that gets into a low cost vintage car. I applaud you for your honesty, most guys would never admit to having to deal with all these problems. The real difference is how many resources the new enthuthist has available to deal with the inevitable problems.
If you grew up in a family where your Dad has to drive older cars because that’s all he can afford, and he works on them himself, you are at a huge advantage. You are already aware that all old cars have problems, you may have read some books on basic auto mechanics, you will have some experience with diagnosis and repair, and have likely had hands on experience with tools. You will also know that older cars can never just be ignored and “assumed” to be in good order. You have to constantly monitor fluid levels, look for and fix any leaks, and constantly check all systems and make the necessary repairs. If it’s not fixed you, don’t drive the car. That’s what the bus is for!
Back when I was a kid, those that wanted a car just for transportation, would find the best car in the best shape they could afford. The make and model and how “cool” it was didn’t matter. Usually these guys moved up to late model used cars, then to new cars when they could afford it. And they never looked back!
The guys that wanted a certain type of old car, be it a 30’s,40’s 50’s or 60’s car that they wanted as a hot rod, custom car, Lowrider, or even a used up muscle car, bought the car they wanted, figuring that they could deal with and fix the problems, and steadily improve the car over the years. Their stories mirror your experience.
The simple truth is that if you are not prepared or capable of working on the car youself, you are going to spend a lot of money ( too much) on repairs and maintenance, and suffer the frustration of having to depend on a mechanic, provided that you can even find one that will work on your car. It is best to also have a minimum drama everyday driver that you can depend on. Hondas and Toyotas are excellent in that role.
Cars are just machines, they will wear out over the years as they perform their mission. New cars have an initial service life where they are generally trouble free for many years. The older the car, the more every system is going to wear or deteriorate, even if they aren’t being driven. You can buy an old car that that was properly and completely restored, with every area completely rebuilt and refreshed. You will pay, a lot. You can buy a maintained and preserved old car, with a documented service history. You will pay again. Most old cars have been through multiple owners, some repairs were properly made, some were “Mickey Moused”, some were bodged up, and most just deferred the proper work. Truthfully, many old car sellers don’t really know exactly what shape their old car is really in. So, it is “buyer beware.” Even an honest buyer can’t make any promises. You have to go into the deal with your eyes open, have the car inspected, and you can usually use the results to negotiate a fair price.
To answer your question of what you should do with your car. You have three options. Fix what it needs and drive it, sell it as it is, or store it somewhere until you want to deal with it. You will need to store it somewhere it will be protected from the elements or it will just deteriorate further. Buy an old Honda or Toyota and learn about basic car repair and maintanence. Visit car forums like the H.A.M.B. and the AACA, American Antique Car Association, you can learn a lot from those sites.
I hope that you don’t take anything that I’ve written as a personal criticism, as a car guy we have all been in the same spot. Good Luck whatever you decide!
I think you could use need an old – car mentor, other than your mechanic friend. Maybe an old -car club in your area or some older enthusiasts who are into working on their own projects. Many of the issues you face are quite simple for an experienced old car hobbyist, including engine disassembly. Indeed, everything on your old, simple car, (except for the transmission internals) are eminently repairable by the typical experienced hobbyist, or you, if you have the opportunity and inclination to learn.
Affordable old car ownership requires self – sufficiency in repairs and maintenance. Many nice vintage cars make no economic sense if the owner has to pay for repairs. And indeed, part of the hobby’s enjoyment includes doing the work oneself. I own 18 older cars and for me, these repairs and restoration are the highlight of my ownership experience. Once a car is fixed, I find it ….. a little boring, TBH. I’m thankful for this because some of my classics would have bankrupted me if I had paid someone accordingly.
I’ve worked on cars, bikes, tractors and equipment since I was a kid, including attending a vocational college. But working with other hobbyists on more complicated tasks really boosted my knowledge, experience and confidence.
As for your Chrysler – your experience is absolutely typical of a cheaper classic car. It needs attention. Would I sell it? No. If I were to replace it with another inexpensive classic, I’d have exactly the same problem an older car needing work. Almost all old cheaper cars need work when they are for sale.
When I buy a classic I assume it needs work and I assume the seller is hiding problems. Either they know what the car needs and have declined to fix, or they are faced with a symptom they cannot diagnose or resolve and sell it in frustration. You’d be amazed how many cars I’ve bought with bad ignition coils. For some reason, even professional mechanics have lost the ability to diagnose them and the owner dumps the car thinking the problem is mysterious and unfathomable.
Sometimes I find the problems before I buy, and sometimes, I only find out afterwards. I can see the work a previous person has done as it tells a story of attempted repair and failed results. For example, seeing a mess of brand new tune -up parts on a cheap car for sale is a great sign it has an issue that has not been resolved.
Sometimes there is no one problem on a cheap, but instead an accumulation of worn parts, simple deferred maintenance. I prefer these as it suggests there are not significant mysterious problems; the previous owner has just squeezed all the use out of possible. Such maintenance and repair is actually fun for me, I love rebuilding brakes, front ends and tune ups.
Good luck with your hobby. I think we’ve all been there at your age with plenty of enthusiasm, but requiring a bit of assistance in direction.
I feel your pain. I have owned a cheap but troubled 1965 Chrysler for almost 20 years now.
I see plenty of good advice and experience in the previous comments, but here’s a little more.
1. Even a well sorted old car will need attention on a regular basis (time or money or both)
2. You don’t have to learn everything at once, but the more you can do yourself, the better off you will be. Even if you can afford it, finding a shop that can and will do good work on old cars is hard & probably getting harder.
3. Whether you decide to keep it or sell it, your best source of information & help is probably the forums at forcbodiesonly.com The C bodies technically don’t start until 1965, but those folks are also into the earlier full sized Mopars too.
Cork gaskets were used on transmission pans successfully for decades. When properly installed they will last for several years. The key being properly installed, which includes verifying the condition of the sealing surfaces and correcting any deficiencies. In the case of a sheet metal piece the most common problem is a bent flange, particularly around the bolt holes. The fact that the gasket “blew out” supports a bent pan. Unless the pan is straightened or replaced with a good one it will leak, no matter what type of gasket is used.
The only other advice I’ll give is that you need to either apply for the bonded title immediately. Without the proper paper work the car has no value to most people. Just because there are no tabs to expire doesn’t mean that it is just fine to continue driving it. With the bonded title done it will be easier to sell, some will still walk away but there are people willing to take a gamble if the price is right. You’ll also have it registered in your name if you do get pulled over and it will be easier to get insurance too.
This story rings out loud for me.
Lovely car. I understand the appeal, for a ’64 New Yorker grabbed at my heart years ago in Denver. It was in substantially original condition with an original-type exhaust system, so its 413 was the strong, silent type: just stare hard at the accelerator and quietly off you went. I loved the way it ran and drove, but I thought it was overpriced and didn’t relish the cost of feeding such a thirsty beast, so I regretfully passed on it.
This kind of car, even in tip-top condition, is not a realistic or reasonable autocrosser. If you had a couple of bargeloads of money, you could modify the hell out of it and turn it into a quirky point-and-laff item on the autocross circuit, but if you want to autocross, you will have a lot more fun and spend a lot less money starting with something a lot more suited to that use case.
It sounds like you don’t have a good option for a competent shop, and that’s actually probably a good thing, because if you did, you could very easily wind up falling into a tar pit and spend years throwing good money after bad as I did It actually sounds like you’re treading around the edge of just such a tar pit, with the car in custody of a yeah-yeah-I’ll-get-to-it-eventually mechanic. At least it sounds like he’s not as much of a screwup as the one I got tangled up with, but that’s a pretty thin margin of comfort.
You’ve realised this car surely needs a lot more work than you thought—good, now quadruple the amount of work you think it needs and you’re beginning to get in a realistic neighbourhood. It is a very old car that spent a long time in a climate with a kind of car-hostility that creeps into every last hidden corner, cranny, and component. The overwhelming likelihood looks like this: stuff that seems fine…isn’t really. Stuff that seems a little broken (…worn, rusted, faulty) is in fact a lot broken (…worn, rusted, faulty). Every task you take on will reveal itself to be bigger and more costly than it seemed at the start, just like the engine.
If this is to be anything other than a bank account-draining driveway monument (in your driveway or your mechanic’s), you will want to either cut and run (sell the car) or pick up a working knowledge of how old cars are put together, how they fall apart; how they work, and how they break. Right away, get the three books described in this post (everyone can free-grab my copy of the Petersen book) and start readin’!
The lack of dashboard illumination is a bunch of dead bulbs and/or a dead instrument cluster rheostat in the car’s headlamp switch (replace the switch).
The fuel and temperature gauges are both powered via what is called the instrument cluster voltage limiter, a device involving a bimetallic strip that opens and closes breaker points to provide a rough average of 5 volts to these two gauges’ operating mechanisms. Crude way of doing it, but it works…until it doesn’t. If you’re lucky, the points stick open or some other failure stops any power reaching the gauges, and so they fall to their lowest readings and stay there until the limiter is fixed. If you’re unlucky, the points stick closed. This sends full line voltage (12+ volts) to the gauge mechanisms. The needles peg on the high side, then the gauge mechanisms burn out, and then the gauges fall to their lowest readings and stay there permanently; the gauges have to be replaced. On a car like your ’64, the limiter is built into the fuel gauge, so you can’t just unplug an external limiter from the back of the instrument cluster and plug in a new one, as you can on other Chrysler Corp cars. There is a workaround involving bypassing the built-in limiter and retrofitting a plug-in external limiter, which allows one to use the much less crude electronic instrument voltage regulators that are now available. Info is here.
Your car’s pissing of trans fluid after shutdown indicates a seal above the transmission pan gasket has failed—the reason why these leak only (or extra-badly) after shutdown is the torque converter drains down into the transmission, raising the fluid level. The first suspect here is the kickdown lever shaft seal which faces upward and is at the left front corner of the transmission housing (behind the bellhousing). You’ve already identified this seal as one of the car’s needs. There is no substitute for replacing it; stop-leak types of additives cause more and bigger problems than they solve. Replacing this seal isn’t a terribly awful job.
Trans fluid leaks that happen all the time, not just after shutdown, tend to be at or near the pan rail level. You’ve identified the transmission pan gasket as a leak point—as Scoutdude says, cork gaskets work fine with unbent pans and completely clean sealing surfaces. Without both of those conditions met, you will have a leak. That said, even under the best of conditions, cork and other floppy trans pan gaskets are a damn nuisance. And there’s a mountain of cheap (not necessarily inexpensive) poorly-made new trans pans available. You can buy a much sturdier, completely straight new pan and a vastly better, much easier to work with, reusable pan gasket from Chrysler. Part numbers and descriptions are at the end of the second bullet point in this post (yours is the larger 727 transmission). Pay attention, in that same post, to the transmission filter information; the ’65-down 2-hole filter you require is not the same as the single-hole ’66-up filter, though both have the same attachment pattern.
Other transmission fluid leak points on these cars include faulty or missing O-rings where the gearshift and park cables enter the transmission; a faulty seal where the neutral safety switch screws into the side of the transmission; a faulty gasket between the park lock housing and the main housing, and sometimes the cables sneak out of their floorpan clips and drop down onto the exhaust pipe, which burns though the plastic cable jacket—then you get a trans fluid leak out of the cable. New cables are costly, but a working repair can be done with the cables still installed.
If you aren’t into using this car as a rolling classroom, get its paperwork in order, sell it for whatever you can get, and move on to the next thing. You should fix the paperwork right away anyhow; you can get in very deep and costly legal doo-doo if you’re in a crash with an improperly-registered car, not to mention insurance companies look for any reason to deny payment of a claim, and a car without valid papers is a slam dunk on that front.
I personally hope you decide to keep it and eventually sort out its problems.
The lack of a title to the car would be concerning to me, and if even the DMV can’t make up their mind on a reliable process, it might be time to part ways and recoup some funds.
So, a tough decision to make.
I kind of like the looks of these, but I don’t love them. My mom just hated it’s looks. My mom’s ’63 New Yorker was for years, “The car she never had”. It was a replacement for the problem plauged, but beloved ’60 New Yorker that my dad had enough of, so it had to go. Unlike the ’60, it was problem free, but only lasted a year, my mom hated it’s looks so much, she nagged my dad into replacing it, “With just about anything!”. Just before it’s first birthday, we got into it, and my dad took us to the Caddy/Olds dealership owned by a friend of his and we drove out with a baby blue Sedan DeVille. My mom really liked that car, and she was still driving it when she suddenly decided to stop driving for a couple of years. It was traded in ’67 for my sister’s first car, a ’68 Cutlass “S”. For decades, she denied it ever existed. I had taken a pic of the rear end of the car in our garage for some reason, but I couldn’t find it. Finally, a few years before she died, I found the pic, and her comment was “Oh that ugly thing!”, she still hated the looks of it.
Good luck with the car, if you love it, keep it!
Looks like everyone has already said pertinent thoughts. On the optimistic side, look at the entire experience as a lesson learned, knowledge and experience is priceless, also the resolve to rise to the challenge of any problem shows great character.
That was a very good story you wrote, and I enjoyed reading it. It was so interesting, that I even read all of the comments as well, to see what everyone had to say to you. So I feel I have to add some of my own, as some encouragement.
I’m a lot like you, except that I’m a lot older (retired) and should know better! I’ve owned classic Mopars since the late 70’s, up until the mid-80’s. Then I owned nothing classic again until 2010. Another mopar, which I kept just 9 months and sold. Now again, in 2019 I bought a classic ’69 Mercury Marquis Convertible. I paid just a little over double what you paid for your car. I had a PPI done, and everything checked out. I’ve had the car now for 2 yrs. and aside from a rather nasty brake problem (which the PPI never found) it is 95% sorted out, and I spent this past summer going to lots of car shows.
Even though I’m far from being a proficient car mechanic, I do have a “willing to learn” attitude, plus I do have the shop manuals and parts manuals I need. I am lucky to have found a good car mechanic (thanks to car show friends I have made) who does the stuff that requires more than I can do, like fixing that brake problem, suspension, and even routine stuff that he is happy to do. But the weird stuff I try to tackle myself. The first thing I noticed when I got the car home was that none of the interior or trunk lights worked. That really bothered me. I tracked the issue down to a bad headlight switch, which I replaced myself. (the headlights and all exterior lights worked perfectly even with the bad switch.) My experience with this car (being a Ford product) is that they are terrific cars for backyard mechanics. Very simple straitght forward engineering with good explanations in the service manuals.
Getting back to your mechanic… Initially, I took my car to a good mechanic I found on the internet, in town here, that was monkeying around with the brakes for 2 months! Finally I saw that he was never going to get them right, so I had the car TOWED out of his shop, to another shop nearby. He was far more understanding of my car’s brake system, and realized the severity of the problem (silicone and DOT 3 brake fluid had been mixed in the system) and told me I had to buy all new brake parts from the Master Cylinder to every wheel cylinder. (I had already done this with the first guy!) But ultimately he blew out the steel lines and a huge piece of “spaghetti” came out! After that he put in normal DOT 3 in the system and the brakes work great. That was 2 yrs. ago. So my point is, I would be getting my car out of that place where it is just sitting all the time and over to someone who can get things DONE!
Lastly: I talked to the previous owner of my car, and it turns out he actually SOLD the car, because he couldn’t get those brakes working right! NOW, he wants me to sell it back to him. But of course that is going to happen. I love this Mercury.
I would say sell it. unless you have a garage to keep it in to work on it yourself it will deteriorate into junk being left out into the elements. get a dependable late model daily driver and learn how to do all your regular maintenance yourself, take some classes in car maintenance then when you get confidence in your abilities and have a dry sheltered garage then get back into the old car hobby. there will always be lots of interesting old cars for sale especially with all the boomers moving on.
I’m going to agree with emjay66 above. I drove my first classic regularly for five years until I had to park it (I had just bought my second house, which needed the money and attention desperately) and it sat in my driveway for two years quickly deteriorating. I sold it when I realized it had gotten beyond my abilities to fix—the body was too far gone to save.
My second gets driven whenever possible, stored indoors in the winter (I’m in the Rust Belt) and started weekly when salt keeps it off the road. I’m not a mechanic but I know enough to do basic stuff, and I’ve got friends who can help with the bigger stuff. Consider finding something in better overall shape and take your time learning—there will be other cars that call your name.
I’ve read your story and it seems that you have the “main ingredient” necessary for the car restoration hobby … enthusiasm. So, don’t sell your classic car if you still have the desire to own and drive part of our American automotive history.
Here is my advice for you as a classic car owner who is in the midst of an ongoing restoration project. I am no different from you except for the age difference. And I am not a mechanic … just a guy who likes the old cars.
1. Enthusiasm: if you loose it, you might as well sell your classic car. I sometimes think I’m “too old” for this hobby … but I still have my enthusiasm for it, and I still own two cars that need a lot of work.
2. Inexpensive daily driver: don’t try to depend on a car that is pushing 60 years of age for your daily needs … it’s a disaster in the making. Remember that your classic car is first and foremost an “old car.” Old cars have problems … a project car should not be your daily driver. Work on your project car yourself, doing as much of the work as you can that’s where your dependable daily driver enters the scenario … if you have a dependable daily driver, you are under no pressure to “fix your car” before you go to work or school the next day.
3. Information: Google and YouTube are a wealth of information; buy or download a factory service manual for your car … use Chilton & Haynes as generic sources of information. The factory manuals were published by the manufacturers for their specific cars. I downloaded the manual for my Chrysler a few weeks ago. I bought the manual for my Plymouth not long after I bought my car way back in 1980. Don’t forget to use your smartphone to make pictures, pictures, and more pictures of your work … you can’t make enough pictures as reference information for your various projects.
4. Tools: Buy good quality tools, and a quality tool box to keep them in, and do not loan them out! Craftsman tools are excellent as they are available at Lowe’s and still offer their lifetime warranty. I bought my first tools when I began working on my first car … a 1962 Chrysler Newport, when I was in high school way back in 1970.
5. Stickability: Keep at it … break your car restoration project into small bits and pieces … as the old saying goes… you can’t eat an elephant in one sitting!
And that’s about it.
You have a unique Chrysler, as it was the final version of the previous generation before they went to the new body style in ’65. Your’s is also the final year of the push button operated Torqueflite transmissions … that in itself makes your car unique. So, follow the above steps and before you know it, your car will be refurbished … if it’s a “twenty footer,” which it looks like it is, who cares!
I own two classic Mopars, a 1965 Chrysler Newport and a 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury GT. I’ve owned these cars for 41 years. I bought the Plymouth in 1980 for 550 dollars as a “tired used car,” and the Chrysler was our family car from 1966 until ’76. I took my driver’s test in that one … ironically back on Christmas Eve in 1969. They were sitting in my mom & dad’s barn for several years, but are now outside, as the barn is on it’s “last legs.”
The Plymouth is in need of extensive body work. I have never “struck an arc” in my life, but that will not stop me from restoring it. YouTube and Harbor Freight to the rescue! The Chrysler needs its 383 refurbished … once again, it’s YouTube and Google, coupled with a downloaded service manual at my fingertips … this will keep me motivated.
I’m lucky that my cars are “all there” … I don’t need to search high and low for replacement parts … you’re lucky that your car is a runner.
Car restoration brings people together from all walks of life … my wife enjoys working on her classic car … I have had the pleasure of helping her work on her ’86 Mercury Grand Marquis … I have a picture of her redoing the rear drum brakes on her Mercury.
Since I am writing this on Christmas Day, Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy your ride in your classic Chrysler New Yorker.
A fine tale of getting in a little over your head. Many of us have been there. I resurrected my 57 Chevy 210 4 door sedan while i was in Engineering school with limited resources. The key was outside support from friends, family and a place to store and work on it. It was not a daily driver, once it was painted. First thing i learned in the hobby was to always have a clear title of ownership in your name no matter how much energy it takes. Second was to either have money and knowledge if you can’t do your own work. Paramont is to stop any task if you’re not having fun…if this extends to the whole package, time to move on…but keep in mind that this is fun and should bring a smile to your face. Too much pressure if you need to fix it for tomorrow’s trip to work…enjoy the accomplishments…..geez would else can get 60 year old car cruise down the road but someone with passion
I used to want an old classic, but since I’m not mechanically inclined and since I’m a trucker, my time is very limited and a key turn classic was way more than I could afford. So, I decided to buy a “modern” classic! Two years ago, I purchased a 1995 BMW convertible. I only wanted an all original model, purely stock. And as many of the comments have stated, there’s no such thing as a perfect car. There’s always something amiss! But what I do is take care of the basics, like fuel filter that hasn’t been changed since 1998! New brakes all around, I exchanged the 14 year old tires a few weeks ago, new headlight switch, windshield cowl, etc….
The point is, there’s always something. My regular mechanic, although very capable with old American cars, (I think he could sort yours out) but I got the feeling that my BMW scared him. I belong to the BMW Car Club of America, which has been very helpful, and through them, I was able to find a mechanic who’s an ace with all things European!
All, I figured that I’d buy a car that i could age “with” and did things as they pop up. Just something to think about.
At least you haven’t reached this point with the car, and presumably the firewall hasn’t been butchered.
My adopted aunt and uncle had a ’64 NY in this same beige color–they named it, appropriately, ‘Sandy’. They later bought a maroon car ostensibly as a parts car, but ended up driving it too. The previous owner was a woman named Patty, which of course became its name. I can remember the push-button transmission controls and the funky square steering wheel. Our driveway described a 90 degree turn into the garage, with a row of Arborvitae on its outside edge, and my adopted aunt never got the hang of backing out of it, she would never turn the wheel enough and would end up in the Arborvitae every time.
Man I’m ecstatic to see a youngster interested in classics AND you can’t hardly go wrong with a Mopar, my first however was a 65 GMC lemon deluxe.. I mean custom deluxe I walked more when I drove that truck and I still won’t own another GMC to this day. My Chrysler was a 86 fifth avenue with a 318 and open heads bc the pipes and cats fell off one day. I drove the s#*&t out of it for several years from Harrison AR to Mount Vernon AR weekly for several months, after driving it through my field and picking up a limb with cracked a metal fuel line causing a slow leak I had no idea about at the time then driving it to Quitman where the closest store with tranny fluid is at (20 miles) after I heard it slip a time or two WHICH it slipped every since the two or three slips to town! Once a slip always a slip I was told after that. Oh and the Fuel Control/Spark Control went kaput which was 200 if it could be found (cir. 2005 I think, it was the year of the prowlers whenever that was now . Oh and when I hammered on it exploding out my driveway in a cloud of dust and rocks half sideways which looked and sounded sooo very awesome as hell, that is until my original differential also exploded I then hauled it off to the scrap, I took that money 300 dollars in 2012 and bought me a 79 pickup for 750 and an inline 6 which is just what I needed back then. My advice would be to keep that car however it’s an antique and you done sooo much work on it already and I never seen one before l, didn’t even realize they made them that far back, if the rust is not terrible bad then I’d keep it. Btw I had rust eat up metal brake lines before on a Ford that came down from way wAay up north around Branson so if you haven’t looked at them specifical on top next to the body and near any clips, it would not hurt to feel them out to make sure.
My parents bought a new 1964 Chrysler New Yorker. During the time our family owned it, the front passenger’s seat reclining mechanism failed, so if the driver accelerated hard, the seat back would fully recline. The stainless trim on the back window retained water and the body eventually rusted through on the driver’s side lower corner. We all really enjoyed the power of the 413 cu. in. engine, especially in the mid-1970s when it was rebuilt. At the time, parts were easy to come by. It rode like one was on a cloud, but was not confidence inspiring in hard turns, as were most cars of that vintage.
In the 1990s, I owned two Chrysler products, both 3/4 ton crew-cab trucks. The gauges failed on the 1964’s instrument panel [The truck was a short-bed, 4-speed stick shift behind a 318 cu in engine with 2 barrel carb.]. I was able to get one of the electric gauges working, but not the rest. At the time, because I had a growing family, I could not afford sending the gauge cluster out for a rebuild. My then-wife gave it to a ministry. A year later, we heard the truck had an electrical fire, but we never learned if it was later rebuilt or if its then-owners junked it.
The other truck, purchased after giving away the 1964, was a 1968 long-bed crew cab with a 383 cu in engine and automatic transmission. It looked terrible in Chrysler’s brown paint, stock for that year, but the 383 engine was strong and connected well to the road via the 727 Torqueflight 3-speed automatic transmission that was selected through a lever on the dash. My then-wife did not like the truck nor would she drive it, so I sold it.
Parts for any mid-1960s Chrysler products are becoming harder to find.
I now own a 1954 GMC one-ton flat-bed truck. Most parts are easy to find because of the many reproduction companies making parts.
My advice to the current owner of the New Yorker featured in the article, get it fixed. If you can’t afford to do that, then sell it Such a classic deserves an appreciative home. It would get that here, in Southern Nevada if you are so inclined.
What an interesting car .
It certainly looks nice and has a presence .
Unless you’re willing to learn how to work on it, I don’t see how this is going to have a happy ending but then I’m a Journeyman Mechanic who still enjoys repairing old clunkers .
Hate to be a killjoy, but if the car isn’t registered in your name, and you get into a crash, and someone gets hurt or killed, nursing an old car will be the least of your concerns. You and your family could be on the hook for life-altering sums of money. And depending on the laws where you live, you could also be looking at criminal charges. Since the adults in your life haven’t intervened to prevent this from happening, I’m hoping I’ve misread the situation.
But if that’s really what’s going on, I second Daniel Stern’s advice: get the paperwork sorted ASAP and sell it for whatever you can get.
This got me thinking about my first car, a ’65 Mustang in poor condition. First repair was new headers since the ones it had rusted through. No money to pay anybody, so I did it. In an apartment parking lot. Yes, I’m the reason why apartments don’t allow cars to be worked on anymore. Not long after, a clutch job. Again by 16yo me without experience and I still have the knuckle scars to prove it. In and around other more minor repairs the car was fairly reliable now and then I noticed coolant leaking from the front of the left head gasket. Cue a head gasket job in that same apartment parking lot. All of that and much, much, more was within the year I owned the car before a friend wrecked it for me showing off and I got a lesson of another kind that night. Few could have afforded to pay for the repairs I made and even fewer would have wanted to, yet I did it happily because I wanted a car and ended up learning a lot about the mechanical world and logical thinking. At least in regards automotive diagnostics lol.
The point I’m trying to make is that I think OP should persevere and take the lead role in the car’s repair and upkeep. He’s dejected right now because there’s not much getting done because he’s waiting on others to get to it on their own time and, let’s face it, incompetent repair work since there’s no reason that trans leak should take multiple attempts to fix. Twice should be the absolute max by a newb. Another thing OP is missing in this is the emotional kick that you get when you fix a problem which is surprisingly addictive.
I too have a 1964 Chrysler New Yorker.
Same color; think I remember it called beige rose.
It was my mom’s dad’s he bought new in ’64 in Claremont, CA.
All original, 413 golden lion engine. Original headliner doesn’t even sag. Original hub caps and monikers. Elecyricfront bench seat, radio, a/c, etc. 89,000 original miles.