(pics at the bottom for those of you too lazy to read the narrative
My 560SEL was, effectively, my first car (I did have a '67 250SE, but it was never registered and I sold it before I got my license because it was rusted beyond repair), and for the past 4 years has been my only car.
Obviously, being a Mercedes, and being a very, very well maintained one at that, it has absolutely no issues whatsoever with being driven every day; I mean, my family has owned the car since 1992 and it's been on a tow truck one time-when the transmission packed it in. Other than that, as far as major problems go, it has been and continues to be completely flawless.
However, it hasn't been practical for me to work on it... It's a very complex car, I don't really have any experience working on cars to speak of, and since it has been my only car, anything I did to it on say, Monday night, had to be undone by Tuesday morning so I could get to school or work.
So. I've wanted a second car for some time... Something relatively simple and easy to work on, that parts are still more-or-less readily obtainable for, something that can be made very fast, didn't need to be smogged, and which was fairly unique.
I considered a 1985 BMW 524TD, but decided that I didn't want to tackle trying to get a reasonable amount of power out of a completely unproven engine for my first project. I also considered a 1969 Plymouth Belvedere sedan, which fit all of my requirements... But it was over 400 miles away and I had no easy way of getting it back here. Last week though, I found a car on Craigslist... A car that I've always liked but completely forgot about for several years. I bought it last Friday.
It's a 1973 Buick Riviera. Yes, one of the 'boattail' ones that most people think are fugly. It weighs over half a ton more than the 560 does, and it's something like two feet longer than the Mercedes. It does, however, have a 455ci V8 in it.
It needs a great deal of work- the interior is trashed, it needs paint, all 4 ball joints are shot, all the rubber bushings in the suspension are original and thus cracked and completely worn out, the steering shaft coupler is loose, the power steering pump leaks, the transmission leaks, there's a leak at the nut that adjusts the lash in the differential, the A/C system is missing parts, the heater core broke on me on Sunday, etc. But the body is basically rust free (there's some light surface rust on the hood and trunk and that's *it*), and the engine has had the heads rebuilt and just had a tune-up and is very, very healthy.
But yeah... just had to post about it 'cause, uh, I'm a bit excited about finally getting something I can screw around with.