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I recognize that it's comparing 2 completely different classic beasts. I want both and am interested in hearing arguments either way. First time owner for either. Budget is somewhere in the 35-40 range (and yes, I've seen decent Chevelles at that price). DC resident. Helpful comments only, please. Need suggestions on things to consider. Thanks folks! 

Original Post

Filet or New York Strip - both good, just different cuts.  

Do you want an open air nimble two seater or a rumbling 4 passenger American muscle car? 

Speedster will be more raw. Motoring in it's pure form. Bounding down the roadway with your cheeks 6" off the ground. Eye level with the lug nuts of a Semi. 

Chevelle will be more apt to have creature comforts (roll up windows, a/c, protection from the elements (and SUV's). 

I think it really comes down to lifestyle.  Any kids? Do you intend on driving the car long distances, leaving it in parking lots overnight?  Are you looking at Chevelle convertible or hard top?  This is one of those decisions that is really a personal one rather than a "which one is better".  Either way, buy one fo them.....drive it and enjoy it and then if you can afford to and have the space, buy the other one down the road and you will have 2 very different but cool rides.  As you probably know there are big differences on SS cars vs. base cars in value so choose wisely.  Regardless,  have fun!!!!

 

"...If you have to ask at all, get the Chevy..."

 

There's more in Stan's simple response than meets the eye.

The Chevy will be much closer to the driving experience of a modern car. Find someone with a Speedster and get yourself some seat time before writing any checks.

You may love it, you may hate it. You're asking a bunch of folks who have already admitted their failings and signed up for the twelve-step program.

 

Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@RoyP posted:

I think it really comes down to lifestyle.  Any kids? Do you intend on driving the car long distances, leaving it in parking lots overnight?  Are you looking at Chevelle convertible or hard top?  This is one of those decisions that is really a personal one rather than a "which one is better".  Either way, buy one fo them.....drive it and enjoy it and then if you can afford to and have the space, buy the other one down the road and you will have 2 very different but cool rides.  As you probably know there are big differences on SS cars vs. base cars in value so choose wisely.  Regardless,  have fun!!!!

Thanks Roy. No kids, but 2 shepherds which will NOT be anywhere near these toys. Although my partner already has an SUV and I have a sedan & a motorcycle, I do want to use this as daily car as well. Or more realistically, rotate between all 3 to get to work/meet up with clients. I will most likely have some modern upgrades to add to the car. 

To add another consideration, what is the weather like where you live? If you are looking at this as a daily driver then you need to know that most of these cars aren't weatherproof and leak like sieves in rainstorms. The exception would be the Intermeccanicas as I understand it. Maybe the Special Edition cars as well.

Air conditioning, heat? Both can be challenges as  well.

I think that most of us with experience with these cars would highly recommend that meet up with some owners of various makers cars and learn all you can before you leap.

Good luck

 

A Speedster 356 is a selfish lifestyle choice.  Some wife's tolerate them but most don't love them.  There are for people who dream a lot and or like to tinker.  Pound for pound there is not much better in the Cool  Department.  The lines are endlessly Euro's version art deco and beauty.  They are raw, than can be fast, and semi comfortable.  They are not cheap anymore & most are not very weather tolerant.  They are very seasonal too.  Depending on where you live it may only be a 3-5 month toy.  I have had two, one from the entry level to one on the very high end.  12 years combined.  I just sold one because there is a lot going on in my life.  I know I will miss it some day. 

I like muscle cars but fell out of love once I realized (circa 1980's) that a 130hp Euro car or even a Mazda RX7 could dance circles around an overweight brut muscle car on a back road.   It depends on where you get your kicks.  They are both great but they are so very very different. IMG_20200605_084004

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Ah, you ride a motorcycle.

That's something that will help you relate.

After driving a Speedster for a while, many of us say it's a lot like a four-wheeled motorcycle.

It's super light and tossable like a bike. The controls are unassisted, and light and direct. You feel the road through the steering and your seat. You need to pay attention like on a bike. You're exposed and open to the outside more than in even most other convertibles.

And, you're almost as vulnerable as on a bike, too. You're very low and difficult for others to see. And that thin, crunchy fiberglass around you provides about as much protection as a leather jacket.

The engine (aircooled in most of our cars) is right behind your head and bolted directly to the frame. You feel it and hear it almost as much as on a bike.

The noise, vibration, directness, and vulnerability are considered debits by folks looking for more civilized rides, but if you like a bike, you will understand.

Some of my favorite rides over the years have been a BMW 2002, a first-gen Miata, and a newer MINI Cooper, but this is a whole nother thing than any of those.

 

 

I still miss my old '67 Chevy II, 350, 4-speed. It was a brute, and as unstable as could be on any wet surface. But, man, it ate up those miles running from CT to NC, or CT to OH, back in the '90s. Slow down in the rain. Defrost wasn't great, but it works well enough. Heat if I needed it. Too much heat in the summer. 

It was a car.

Everyone seemed to like it. It got lots of smiles and waves, and plenty of dudes strode up like they were gonna sell me something, just to ask if it was a "big block" (Nope, there weren't none of them from the factory) or an L-79 (Nope again, but that was what I was shooting for in terms of power and throttle response). 

I put disc brakes on the front of that car, front and rear sway bars, Goodyear Eagles. Lowered it with cut springs. It all helped. It was close to "neutral," handling wise. But it would not handle in any reasonable sense of that word. All this was 25-30 years ago. Things have changed.

You had to be careful with the Nova. But you could put a couple-three friends in it and hustle down to a concert in some New London dive. It did not require its passengers to sign a waiver.

A Speedster replica is something else. A bathtub on a skateboard, maybe with 150 horsepower. You like carbs? Weber carbs? You're in luck! They're right on there, two of them, clogging up their idle jets for no reason at all. Enjoy!

Unless you go Subaru. For $40k you can. You'll have a bathtub on a skateboard with 180 horses. Waaay more problematic than my 350(?) HP Nova.

You have one passenger seat and room for two overnight bags. Keep some spare parts in the frunk. 

And keep a bunch of towels in the car in case of rain. Buy "How to Keep Your VW Alive" and learn every page. It's a way of life. 

People will stop and stare. They'll roll film while hanging out the passenger windows of passing vehicles. They will accost you at fuel stops and convenience stores. They will have questions. 

"What year is that?"

"Is that real?"

—This second query will never be directed to you in a '68 Chevelle. 

What will you tell them?

 

@GDJ posted:

If there was one deciding factor that made you choose to go with a Speedster, what was it?

Look... I always say-- if something else will scratch the itch, buy that other thing.

The trouble is, I didn't even know I had this rash until I bought my first one. I'd seen a couple of them in the wild, but I had never driven one. The closest I ever came was a 1968 Beetle my friend had for about 15 minutes back in the 70s, before we took a hard turn into 'murican iron. I was a hard-core Muscle Head until I got married, at which point I just had to temper my need for speed for a while.

A while became years, years became a decade and more. I started a business and it was successful. I was talking to Jeanie about a car. She said, "Sure. Anything but a Corvette". I was thinking of a C2 'vette, so I double-clutched and downshifted. One day, I was on a job in a supermarket, and there was a Kit Car magazine on the rack. I bought it, and gave Kirk a call. I was super-interested. His advice? "drive one before you buy one".

He may as well have been telling me to hitch a ride on Columbia to see if space travel was for me. I knew nothing of this site, and my chances of driving one were somewhere between striking oil while planting tomatoes and stubbing my toe on a gold brick in my back yard. I bought one on eBay-- rough as a cob, and stupid cool.

It was like crack. I was hooked. Lots of guys buy these without that kind of dopamine hit, and are "OK" with their car, but always look over the fence at the green yard their neighbor has-- a "real" car, with all kinds of stuff that can't be purchased for any price in replica world. No need for a 15 minute explanation every time some schlub asks, "what is that?" No need to spend $10K to get a 150 hp motor. No need to become a pretty good mechanic just to own and operate one. No need for a LOT of other stuff that is just baked into the cake with these clown cars.

So the advice remains-- if something else will scratch your itch, BUY THAT OTHER THING. If you're the kind of guy who gets bit and doesn't change your mind about it, welcome to the madness.

I've had many corvettes, cobra replica with a 428, 69 mach I, and finally the small plastic car in my garage now, its a drivers car that will require your attention to take it down the road spirited... its nowhere near as fast as any of my other follies, but the smile it puts on my face every time I know I'm going to sneak away from life for a hour or two in it, none of the others even came close, I'll have it til I'm taking a dirt nap ...

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