Call all Petrolhead - Page 4 – Cars, Transport & Getting Around – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Call all Petrolhead

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(@bertel)
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Are there automobile enthusiasts in this community, or rather, classic car enthusiasts who are looking for like-minded people. I would be very happy to meet you.

 

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(@jeanne)
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Does anyone have advice regarding what make and model of car one could best bring from the USA? A car for every-day use, maybe a hatchback or wagon.   I know that certain modifications might need to be made on an imported vehicle, but am hoping that not having to pay the ISV would compensate for the expense of having a vehicle adapted/modified to PT requirements.  

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(@boxertwin)
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The first one that comes to mind is the Dodge Journey, it is available in Europe as the Fiat Freemont.  I’m sure there are more, I’ll add as I think of them

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(@boxertwin)
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A couple more options are VW Jetta (hatch or wagon) and a couple more smaller SUVs Honda CRV and Toyota’s Rav4.  Wagons fell out of fashion in the US and hatch backs never really made it but there would be some good used Mercedes wagons out there and the C class models are a very common sight here.  Engines may be different (true for all the vehicles imentioned) but most other chassis and body parts would be the same.

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(@jeanne)
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@boxertwin.  Thanks.  I had a Jetta wagon some years back and loved driving it. Maybe time to try one again.  I don't like styling of the new J wagon as much as the old one - I preferred the more boxy shape - but nothing to be done about that. I have also heard good things about the CRV. I will keep these in mind.  

You mentioned that the engines may be different - does that affect the availability of replacement parts or can they generally be obtained locally?

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(@boxertwin)
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@jeanne

I have found everything can be found locally or through the many online vendors.

I mentioned engines being different because Europe has typically used small diesel engines while the US would have a larger gasoline engine. Specs for equipment may differ a little too but the basic vehicle running parts will be the same.

It is worth noting Gerry's advice about the cost of fuel. I brought a 30 year old motorcycle from Canada and while I paid no import tax the experience was expensive and took just over a year, I wouldn't do it again. It would be different for someone importing from within the EU

There is a decent choice of wagons and hatchbacks here, more choice than the US so worth considering 

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(@jeanne)
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@boxertwin. Thanks for the tips - I'm currently only at the point of discovering what I DON'T know.  I am living back in the US at the moment, but worked in Europe for many years so know that fuel is much more expensive there.  But I think that after the price shock for the first few tank-fulls, it becomes a fact of local life. I hope to end up in a place where I won't need to drive for daily errands, but can walk or cycle.  Car for extended touring only. And hauling items too heavy to carry.

I am also looking forward to driving a "small" car again - with all the tank-sized vehicles on the streets here in the US, small cars don't really feel safe. It's a vehicular arms race. 

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(@boxertwin)
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@jeanne

I remember it well, my wife and I had 4 V8s, 2xfull size pickups and a large SUV each and justified it because we were 70 kms from a city and it snowed (a lot)!

Got a Civic wagon and Suzuki Jimny  now but enjoy them both, they make sense here. 

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(@jeanne)
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@boxertwin. Thumbs down for driving a tank, but a big thumbs up for becoming an ex-tank driver.  I currently live in MN so I know all about snow, which is one of the reasons I want to move.

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(@bertel)
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@jeanne I have a small old R4 (Renault 4) for the usual small local trips. The consumption is very moderate and so are the maintenance costs. Advantage, the increase in value is guaranteed in any case.

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(@jeanne)
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  • @bertel. R4! Yes, and with five doors, please. 
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(@bertel)
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@boxertwin I personally like very much the Mercedes W 124 TE with the M 104 engines. This cars are very comfortable, reliable and not expensive to run. The car also is very versatile. I have one (her name is Berta) with a trailer hook, that can pull 2.2T. Ideal for my hobby. With it, I can pick up restoration objects, bring them to the paint shop and so on. The value retention is also very stable.

In the 90s there was an interesting advertisement from Mercedes. The slogan was roughly as follows: "Buy this new Mercedes SL car, as long as you can still afford it."

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(@boxertwin)
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Humberto, yes the m104 that was one of the best they made and the W124 seems to have done well in Portugal where it rusted badly elsewhere. The TE was the best of them but I have a soft spot for wagons. Also a soft spot for R4L. I never owned one but had a 2CV with column shift. I also had a couple of Pininfarina Peugeots, a 504 and 304 cabriolet, a CX2.5, I had a thing for French cars for a few years 

 

 

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(@bertel)
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@boxertwin I have mixed feelings about French cars. The popular models were built interestingly and the functionality was very high. But most of the technical solutions, we're talking about the 70s and 80s, often just made me shake my head. I once started to dismantle a Citroen DS21 for a full restoration and at some point I was so surprised at the complexity of the structure, i.e. how trim strips, insulation material, etc ... were simply used thoughtlessly, which cause very large damage to the body over the long term. The design and chassis were very different and of course very avant-garde. I have to admit, for me, German, Italian and English cars from the 60s and 70s are the best.

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(@gerry)
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@jeanne

Worth thinking about fuel economy also, bearing in mind that petrol here is currently about Euros 1.57 per litre which equates to about USD 7.12 per US gallon.

 

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(@bertel)
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@gerry Yes that is a fact. But I have a small advantage here on the border with Spain. The fuel is usually around € 0.30 cheaper there. The gas bottle with 12kg gas (propane / butane) is only half the price than in Portugal.

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(@bertel)
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