Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine who is in his eighties and has been a mechanic since he was about 14 years old. The subject came up about how today’s cars would fare without all the modern electronic diagnostic machines.
His basic premise was that any car made since the mid 1970’s could not be properly maintained and kept running without a modern auto shop and diagnostic equipment. Modern cars have fuel injection, electronic ignition, computers and emission control systems.
He says that you need cars that still have carburetors and distributors with points. Carburetors are easier to rebuild and repair then fuel injection units. Older cars can be kept running in many cases with a bit of ingenuity. In the past, for example he said that they used to improvise gaskets by taking heavy paper and coating both side with shellac. Then they would coat the metal part with shellac and install the gasket while the shellac was still wet. He said once this dried it made a pretty good gasket.
If you have dirty points, the distributor cap, rotor or magneto cover can be removed and the breaker points cleaned with the striking area of a matchbook cover. The matchbook cover can be used to check the point opening. A cracked distributor cap can be repaired with a little tar scraped from the top of the battery. These are all simple repairs that can be performed on older cars.
One thing you need regardless of the age of your vehicle is a good repair manual and the necessary tools. Now when I am talking about tools, I am talking about hand tools. Think of working on a car without power tools. Do you have wrenches, hand-operated drills, cold chisels and good hacksaws? How about the tools to change a tire and repair it? Do you have a few basic parts, fan belts, water hoses, extra tires, maybe a new starter and alternator? How about oil and filters? If you can find it cheap enough, maybe even a parts car.
An added bonus to having an older vehicle is that it stands a very good chance of surviving a EMP attack with little or no repair.
Of cause everything above is assuming you have figured a way around the fuel problem, either through storage, methane, wood gas or other means.