What to Look for in a Daily Driver


New Member
Jan 2, 2007
I am considering purchasing a Classic (65-70) convertible mustang as a daily driver in Los Angeles. Here's the thing. I don't care about authenticity. I really only care about style. Heresy, I know, but what draws me to the classic mustangs is the look. With that in mind, I'd be happy to find a car with a replacement engine, retrofitted A/C, or whatever, so long as it's reliable and looks great.

I've read a lot of posts in this forum, and my basic question is - What should I look for? Is there a particularly reliable model year? Anything I should try to avoid (besides rust, obviously)?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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They don't make very good daily drivers, They get horrible gas mileage, the heaters suck, and the few that have a/c don't have very good ones. But with all the negatives, they sure are fun to drive, I wouldn't have it any other way. :D
first thing is you want something that you would let your mother/significant other drive daily, which means it has to be dependable with a capital D. next you want something that wont be too hard on fuel, say something with a six or small V8. then you want to consider the make and model.

i like my 66 falcon as a daily driver, but then i can put up with no a/c, no power steering, no power brakes, and manual transmission.
I've been using mine as a daily driver for a few years now. Keep it simple. Mild V8 with a new carb, dual exhaust, auto, no power brakes or steering and no A/C. The engine basically only has a big red wire going to the starter and a fuel line going to the carb, plus a couple wires for the pertronix and alternator. Starts every time and if it ever doesn't, there istn't a whole lot to troubleshoot. The three core rad is your best bet as well.

Things that suck are the heater and condensation on the thick glass. I carry a sgueegee all the time to keep the side glass clear on rainy days. The hand brake is terrible as is the entire entry level brake system in the early cars, but there are plenty of upgrades in that area.
if you really want one as daily driver you're best bet would be a 68 or 69/70 car. they are more plentiful with disc brakes, ac, power steering, etc. than the earlier cars. you definitely want one that has AC, power steering, power disc brakes and preferably automatic trans. a six would be a good option for mileage but you won't find one that has all the power goodies, most were manual steering, manual brake, non ac cars. 70 models have the slight advantage of having locking steering column and shifter interlock as well.

so going by the above recommendations the best car for you to use as a DD would be a 70 mustang convertible with 302 2v (they didn't offer a 4v 302 in 69/70), automatic, power steering, power disc brakes and ac. you'll also want a power top as well. from there i would upgrade it with an AOD (Automatic OverDrive) trans, better rear end gears in the 3.25-3.50 range, add a 4 barrel carb and intake, dual exhaust and possibly a set of shorty headers. wouldn't hurt to also think about upgrading the AC system and converting to R-134A. if you do upgrade the ac for 134 i'd highly recommend upgrading to the sanden ac compressor, better evaperator and ac condensor as well.

the stock disc brakes on the 70 are pretty good as is but it wouldn't hurt to use a semi metallic pad and slotted rotors though. another benefit of going with a 70 model would be that they all had highback seats which are not only safer but also much comfortable than the older low back seats, especially the ones with no head rests like the 65-68 models.

the only downfall to the 70 model was that they made a lot less convertibles in 70 they did in other years, but they aren't all that hard to find though.

here is a perfect candidate for what i'm talking about


that was just a quick ebay search. this car doesn't have AC but it has all the other stuff i recommended and ac could always be added later if you wanted.
Bnickel is right: p.s., a.c., p.b., and dead ass reliable. If you are a power junkie, find a 351W to start with; if gas mileage is a concern then go for the 302. Avoid hacked up wiring! If it is a non-disc brake car, upgrade immediately and consider that in your purchase offer. Avoid serious rust, especially in the cowl and frame rails and trunk/floor area that will let in water and fumes or endanger your life.
Here's the thing. I don't care about authenticity. I really only care about style.

The Mustang is the best classic to modify. The aftermarket is HUGE and there are enough cars for purists and those who like to mod.

You didn't really say how much you'd be willing to spend, or how much you'd be able to do yourself.

That in mind, I think the ideal driver would be any 'vert in the years you specified with:
-Disc brakes
-dual resevoir master cylinder w/ power booster
-Overdrive transmission
-Fuel injection
-3-point belts
-Fuel cell
-nice stereo
If you look hard enough, you may be able to find a car that has most of these, or just add them yourself.

That said, I drove my '66 from 2000-2002(I was 16-18) everyday with the stock 200ci/C4, lap belts, and 4-wheel drums. I loved it!:nice:
My '65 coupe has been my DD for over a year. As long as you change your oil, keep it tuned up, and keep on top of stuff (or do it right away, such as brakes and tires), you can't go wrong. 200 CID/C4 Automatic trans, still using points, drums all around. It's what I like in a car. =))) I'm big on modding, but I usually mod my friend's cars, 'cause I like to keep my mustang the way it is. LAs temperature isn't all that bad, and if you ever need help with a 200 in a mustang, I'm only about 45 minutes away in OC! =)
My '68 Fastback has been my daily driver since 1993. She was mostly stock/original when I got her and I've done just about all the work on her myself...slowly over all those years. And while keeping her running. Because if she wasn't running, I was walking. Now, the only original moving part on her is the drive shaft. (Seriously.)

I think any year Mustang will do. Parts are so plentiful, there's no worries there. And the possibilities for upgrades are endless. The questions lie in whether you're willing to drive a car that might catch on fire on the way to the grocery store. And if it does, can you operate a fire extinguisher, whip out tools and get back on the road. (I have.) If not, you might want to buy something that someone else has done all the work on already.

Just my two cents. Ultimately, what the others have chimed in is also very good advice.
I bought a 2005-GT for a daily driver, I get 20mpg in the summer and 22 in the winter (blame the AC), and it cost less than a V6 Camry.

I drove a 97 Cobra daily for 99 months, only things I had to replace were pads/oil/filters/tires and one battery.

I drove 67 Mustangs for 12 years as daily drivers, they were not nearly as dependable as the new ones (they were old when I bought them), but at least I could work on them when they needed it. Ease of, and cost of repairs are the only plusses to using a classic as daily transportation IMO.