If you are sure it is white smoke and not blue, then most likely it is a head gasket problem. A compression test would confirm this.
Blue smoke on startup is valve stem seals, which is totally normal on a car this old.
Perform a compresion test to rule out/in head gasket.
If head gasket, then it should be replaced, just did one 2 weeks ago for a friend, about an 8 hour job (I'm old and slow :) ).
Replace head bolts as well, and thermostat.
Valve stem seals require a special tool set.
I would not be concerned about fumes, unless you have an exhaust leak. So check exhaust system.
I probably would not let my wife drive it because of the possible headgasket failure, which would leave her stranded.
Friday, May 15th, 2009 AT 7:55 AM