Minimalist/Low-Tech Cars

Stadtaffe

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
To play podcasts or mp3's in my recently acquired 1980s vehicle, I got one of those magnetic cassette things with a wire coming out of it and phono plug. Worked fine the first time, had like an hour of listening, wonderful sound quality. Now the cassette keep popping out after a few seconds. Does anyone know how to fix this?
 

MountainWestPipeSmoker

Sparrow
Protestant
Just change the player to a modern USB one and you're done.

USB/Bluetooth, yes. You can even get some that fit in the standard stereo spot that have an auto-extending screen and backup camera support I've seen, though if it's a 1980s vehicle, you probably have adequate rear visibility in the first place.

USB/MP3/Bluetooth support is nice, though. Good for audiobooks.
 

Tex Cruise

Pelican
If you're going to be in the market for a WB ute, I would start looking for a good one right now. There is no vehicle in Australia more certain of becoming a desirable collector's item than HQ-WB utes
I've passed up utes like that top one for under a grand within the last few years. I will never have that chance again, I guarantee the same thing will be $10k plus in a few more years.
I was on the money with this 2017 comment. $10k plus is now about the going rate for an unrestored HQ-WB ute. This tidy original example sold yesterday for a touch under $100k https://burnsandcoauctions.com.au/portfolio/1984-holden-wb-utility-253/

I hope Lenny got one put away in the shed.
 
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dirty_old

 
Banned
Some that haven't been mentioned....
You folks are going on about old MB gassers and I have no idea why, nothing special there AT ALL except for the general robustness of the w115/w116 body (pre 1980 I believe that is = better steel, old school)
-- Diesel mb's however-- (w115/w116/w123 chassis that is) around ~77-85, especially the 300d (that's the 5cyl 'million mile' motor) & even though it's a dog, the 240d is good too. Diesel is the only option if we're talking about "minimalist" & Mercedes. Of course it may take time to find the right one (prior owner maintenance), and a good local mechanic or "enthusiast" status required. One wire is all that's needed to run.
-- 80-~94 F150 with an inline 6cyl & manual trans. One of the last "modern enough" pickups with tons of room in the engine compartment.
-- 89-93 Dodge 5.9 diesel- simply can't beat it as an old man truck. Contrary to popular belief, the 94-05 dodge diesels are not low maintenance, at least not to the point of justifying the "cult" price. The cummins engine it's self (especially 89-98) is of course great but the rest of the truck will fall apart around it, the automatic transmission is a no go, and electrical gremlins and other quirks are expected. The engine compartment is getting too cramped as well. 94-07 cummins and 94-03 ford 7.3 still make sense if you have to tow heavy regularly.
--Dodge caravan , the peak moment of the american minivan. Even available awd. Every mechanic can work on it.
--90's Toyota pickup or tacoma with 4cyl - watch the frame etc for rust, be willing to pay a premium, but the good reputation is deserved
--Nissan 720 or hardbody pickup 80-97. poor man's toyota. Just as bad if not worse than toyota for rust so not really an option for the NE usa bonus for the nissan would be ~1983+ with a sd25 diesel -obvious choice over a gasser if overseas.
--1976-1984 rabbit (mk1 golf in europe) with 1.6D , or 1980-1992 jetta 1.6td , Sure it's going to be quirky with annoying high maintenance vw/euro tendencies, but prius beating 50 mpg, and not too intimidating to jump in if you're wanting to learn
--Any modern 1990-2022 250-400cc Japanese motorcycle, (Korean, Taiwan, or bmw's 600cc could easily be added to this list too.) Preferably 1cyl thumper. The freedom of the open road. So much more fun to go fast on a slow bike than to have to hold back on a rocket..
 

Tex Cruise

Pelican
--90's Toyota pickup or tacoma with 4cyl - watch the frame etc for rust, be willing to pay a premium, but the good reputation is deserved
--Nissan 720 or hardbody pickup 80-97. poor man's toyota. Just as bad if not worse than toyota for rust so not really an option for the NE usa bonus for the nissan would be ~1983+ with a sd25 diesel -obvious choice over a gasser if overseas.
Some good ones on this list. I use a 90s Diesel Toyota Hilux (pickup) trayback as a daily farm vehicle. Luckily my brother picked it up very cheap years ago, it would be worth 10x now.

I also not long ago scored a 1980 Nissan 720 sd22 diesel truck for free. It had been sitting for about 14 years, but I knew it was a good goer before that. Bit of work and she starts and runs fine now. I've bought an ex-telco service body ($300) to fit and use it as a sort of mobile farm workshop. When complete it wll store most of my tools, plus compressor and generator mounted on the back, to save always loading and unloading tools from the Toyota, to take the workshop to the job where possible.
 

Stadtaffe

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
To play podcasts or mp3's in my recently acquired 1980s vehicle, I got one of those magnetic cassette things with a wire coming out of it and phono plug. Worked fine the first time, had like an hour of listening, wonderful sound quality. Now the cassette keep popping out after a few seconds. Does anyone know how to fix this?
The radio must stay, it is of historic value, what was originally built into this model plus I like looking down and knowing that it can receive shortwave and long wave and searching through the static now and then.

I played a tape the other day and it was flawless, only the contraption with the wire pops out. So not wanting to otherwise torture the unit stuffing in something that wasn't really meant to go there I did some research and found that units which can change sides of the cassette without you needing to take it out ("auto-reverse") have this problem and it can be fixed by removing a rubber wheel from the mechanism in the adaptor:

Hopefully this will fix it...
 

Stadtaffe

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
There is a certain pleasure to be had in unlocking my car by putting the key in the door and turning it and starting the car by putting the key in the ignition and turning it. No remote on the key-fob, no keyless starting - as if people are now too lazy now to even stick the key in the ignition.

Does have electric windows but I would consider it a worthy weight-saving if I could just crank the windows up and down.

Heating for Winter but no air conditioning as it requires a coolant which is now banned for environmental reasons. So in Summer I have to resort to natural air conditioning by opening the windows.

Actually this keyless start has some disadvantages - "where's the key?" sometimes after you park, and once I had a modern car on a ferry and when we got it back we did not know where the key was. So we drove off in the darkness. Eventually we saw something fly off the windscreen then the car stopped - the person who parked it left the key outside the glass but didn't say anything! We found it in the darkness on the road but the modern car happily drove with the key on it instead of in it.
 

CaliforniaBased

Woodpecker
Catholic
My 2004 toyota corolla has been treating me very well. I bought it for $2700 a few months ago. Older, more minimalist cars have a disadvantage in that parts are not so prevalent. I think late 90s, early 2000s toyotas and hondas are the sweet spot for simple, but common enough to find parts in the junkyard. I keep most of my cars running using parts I pick up at the local pick and pull down the street.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox
Do current year work vans have extremely low tech options? The few at my part time job seem pretty low tech but most are older models. Anyone know? Could be a great option if you can afford the gas and more expensive maintenance, plus it gives you the ability to potentially shuttle a large family around or start yourself a business of some sort to work around future tyranny.
 

john_Jea

Robin
Other Christian
Do current year work vans have extremely low tech options? The few at my part time job seem pretty low tech but most are older models. Anyone know? Could be a great option if you can afford the gas and more expensive maintenance, plus it gives you the ability to potentially shuttle a large family around or start yourself a business of some sort to work around future tyranny.
I believe the cars themselves are very bare bone, mechanical seats and windows if you buy the cheapest version. Just look closely at what engine it has. The older the engine (design) the less sensors and emission crap it should have.

I have driven a modern benz van, had the same comfort as a car from the early 00's, decent car.
 

dicknixon72

Pelican
Do current year work vans have extremely low tech options? The few at my part time job seem pretty low tech but most are older models. Anyone know? Could be a great option if you can afford the gas and more expensive maintenance, plus it gives you the ability to potentially shuttle a large family around or start yourself a business of some sort to work around future tyranny.

Get yourself a Chevy Express/GMC Savana while you can; GM is supposedly discontinuing them in 2025.
 

CaliforniaBased

Woodpecker
Catholic
Hoovie is big on the GMC Suburban.


I was shocked to learn about the existence of the electronic gas pedal. Likewise there is now electronic power steering, instead of hydraulic.
If the a car is common enough in the USA, and at least about 10 years old you should be able to find very cheap parts for it and fix it yourself using the parts from self service junkyards. Even if the throttle has been changed to a modern drive by wire setup, you can still find and replace the parts yourself. The main issue is how easy it is to dissasemble the car, and the fact that the modern cars require more programming of modules etc. ( I do this at home for ford vehicles with 25$ Chinese scan tool)


Electronic power steering is nice in that it has no leaks, but it seems on Ford cars at least these units are very prone to failure. hydraulic power steering is preferable to having to deal with failure of these units. Anything on 2000s and up ford cars is NOT easy to replace. Toyotas of similar era are many times easier to disassemble.

If you buy a car that is too old or uncommon it actually becomes more problematic to fix because it is harder to find cheap parts. If its a common car in self service junkyards - your gold. You can find parts for it during your road trips at self service junkyards.

PRO-tip you can also stock up on a bunch of spare lightbulbs and fuses at the junkyard. They will often sell you a bunch for a dollar.

Also of note. I was looking at Ford focus cars sold abroad in third world countries and they are much easier to repair - the alternator is in an accesbile spot, and not burried in like on a focus meant for the American market. These cars are being set up to scam the American public. Sad what has happened to our auto industry.
 

CaliforniaBased

Woodpecker
Catholic
Do current year work vans have extremely low tech options? The few at my part time job seem pretty low tech but most are older models. Anyone know? Could be a great option if you can afford the gas and more expensive maintenance, plus it gives you the ability to potentially shuttle a large family around or start yourself a business of some sort to work around future tyranny.
Pickup truck based vans with large hoods are the easiest to work on. Stuff like the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban are good models. They do however, consume a lot of gas. They are tough cars and one of America's last great vehicles.
 
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