Those who read the last article in this series will recall we are now down to car selection…the fun bit.

As a background, my wife and I are off to the USA for July, and will be buying a classic American car and road tripping it across the US. You can read the original article here.

In the last article, I had my narrowed down car selection to: a mid-60s Thunderbird, a boattail Buick Riviera, a 72-73 Ford Torino, a Pontiac Trans Am (a la Smokey and the Bandit) and a Camaro. We need to preferably pick a model and then aim for one of those to buy when we get there. This would be after getting the car thoroughly checked out of course.

In this past week since that article was published, I’ve had some thoughts about buying a classic yankee car. Not really second thoughts though. For a classic car, I’m looking at a budget of about US$10k or so. But then, my eyes wandered to the later model Challengers and Camaros. Hmmm. I can get a 2010 6.4L, 6-speed manual, 426HP V8 Camaro with a 0-100 time of 4.9 seconds for under $20k? How about a six-speed manual, 5.7-Hemi Challenger about 2010 for $19k with around 40,000 miles on the clock.

New Challenger, or old one? (actually I can’t afford an old one!)

I’ve managed to convince myself of some ‘pros’ for buying a newer muscle car. We are going in July – the middle of the US summer. Stinking hot, and then some. Next year, we’ll be going back in July again. Two things concern me here: the cooling system of a mid ‘60s classic car compared to a modern car, which won’t even blink at the heat outside the car. Also the air conditioning; there’s no denying that modern car’s AC is going to work a whole lot better than one from the ‘60s or ‘70s.

What about reliability? We will be doing 8,000km on this next trip, then about the same next year. I’d take major precautions with any classic car purchase, and make sure it was completely serviced before hitting the road, but still, you never know…

I’m still keen on a classic, but now torn in choices.

So – what to do? Advice please!

Lastly, you may remember I am writing a book on this trip – covering how you can do the same and just how you get your money to the US to buy a car, how to insure it, how to ship it home and then how to get it on the road. USA2NZ: Buy It, Drive It, Ship It will be out in October, and we finally have a cover! Check the website out here. It will cover buying a car or RV from the US and getting it home again.

Blank bookcover with clipping path

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Fred Alvrez
How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm a driving instructor and an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.



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