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Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #78: New cars with no excuses necessary

Yesterday we published an introspective column by Aaron Robinson, the accomplished and highly-regarded Executive Editor of the Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Although Aaron's time in the business far exceeds mine—I was still doing midnight street racing for pathetic amounts of cash when he joined Car and Driver as a marquee contributor—he and I are basically of an age so I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for much of what he writes.


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Vehicles today are built for much different reasons today. 

In the past they were styled and built for that emotional reasons to get people to buy them and use them as an extension of their personality. 

Today most are built to be of great utility while meeting strict mpg regulations, crash regulations and trying to keep it affordable. They have been called appliances and they really have become that. 

Years ago a 32 Ford was a canvas for an artist with a cut off saw. Chop a roof today on a car not a easy or practical task. 

While we still have some interesting vehicles they are in great decline. 

The vehicles supporting the performance aftermarket is the truck and Wrangles being sold. These can still be modified in their own ways and personalized but even they are at risk with today’s regulations. 

Many of the post 1980 cars are not going to be restored. Lack of parts and tech to restore them will be a problem. Then you face. The value vs cost of restoration. Most of these cars will cost much more than they are worth to restore. 

I am glad I lived mostly in that sweet spot of cheap 60’s muscle cars of the 80’s and new cars today better than we ever saw for performance. Yes we will have electric performance but it will lack that sound, smell and vibration that made you feel as part of the car. 

The bottom line is Rush would never write Red Barchetta about a Tesla. 



You see glimpses of the future today in how easily you can unlock extra power from modern turbocharged engines. Plug a handheld computer into your car to reflash the ECU, and bam, the 70 HP difference between your GTI and a Golf R has disappeared.


Someone in a Miata cut around me the a few nights ago and tucked in to make the next exit. The headlights on my Tacoma were about the same height as his mirror. He spent a very uncomfortable quarter mile or so before the exit ramp ended. I recall having the same sort of problems with my Opel GT back in the day. They're just not fun cars for traffic at night.


Someone in a Miata cut around me a few nights ago and tucked in to make the next exit. The headlights on my Tacoma were about the same height as his mirror. He spent a very uncomfortable quarter mile or so before the exit ramp ended. I recall having the same sort of problems with my Opel GT back in the day. They're just not fun cars for traffic at night.

Pit Crew

Being a very happy owner of an ND2 Club I can't help but agree with the recommendation!

New Driver

Jethro Tull, Living in the Past. One of my favorites and yup, I just turned 65 y/o!!

Advanced Driver

Beautifully said, Jack!! As my kids became teens I began to understand how aggravating I must have been to my parents. Long hair, bell-bottoms, loud cars and motorcycles.  Your kids need to see themselves completely different from you. It's their job.

Yesterday I looked at an iphone picture a friend took and I look exactly like my Dad. How cool is THAT?!

Advanced Driver

"The whole purpose of young-person music is to exclude old people." Absolute truth. The first time I heard AC/DC, with loud three-chord rock & roll and a singer who sounded like a cat in a blender, I assumed they were going to be huge. I knew the parents would hate them and the kids would love them. 

As to average cars, well, they have always been average, but we are still in the tail end of the golden age of combustion engines. My co-worker's Focus RS would run circles around my old Shelby KR Mustang, and I recently drove my friend's Challenger SRT Demon. It was docile until it wasn't.

As long as we have fuel, we can drive them. That, I think, is the key.


It's interesting to be talking about generational changes in music a day after Eddie Van Halen died. I'm 65 and I'm guessing there are lots of baby boomers who respect EVH as a guitar player but can't stand the band Van Halen, in any of its iterations. I respect success but that doesn't mean I always agree with its aesthetics.

Pit Crew

Excellent article!  Being about the age we seem to be discussing here, 61, I very fondly remember my mom telling me many times...."That music you listen to is of the devil and you're gonna go deaf listening to it so loud!"  Did I turn it down, heck NO!  I have a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder with an all BOSE stereo system and crank it very often!  I do believe my sub"thumper" in the back is bad, gotta get me a new one of those.  Thank God I did not get caught up in a "religious" ritual of burning all of our "from the devil" albums!  I 

still have a stack of about 100 songs on vinyl and also a Technics direct drive turntable. I am of like mind, most of the vehicles sold today all look almost exactly the same.  It has got to be true, Chevy took all the decals off of one of their Malibu cars and people thought it was a BMW, AUDI or TESLA!?!  REALLY,  come on now....I take pride in my '77 Chevy El Camino cause it only looked about the same 5 years, then in 1978 it changed! Keep writing the articles that get me to thinking about the "good old days!" I appreciate them deeply!

New Driver

Yes, I agree!  In the last three years I purchased a 2018 Focus RS as a daily, a 2019 30th Anniversary Miata, and a 2020 Shelby GT350.  I am doing my part to save the manuals.


Every generation wants to shock their parents, but that is getting harder and harder to do. What with tattoos, ear gauges, lip, nose, tongue, and eyebrow piercings, about the only thing left to do is to go back to the clean-cut crew-cut folk singer look of the late 50's and start singing "Tom Dooley."  


It's tough to be too old to rock and roll, but too young to die.


As always, I endorse base model muscle cars, they vary in handling, trunk space, and styling, but every drivetrain in them is great, they are all rear wheel drive, they are all reliable daily drivers full of common parts from their big automaker, and they have a very comfortable ride compared to the Hellcats and GT500's.


Regarding music, Eminem is my number one favorite musician since I was 9 years old, and no other songwriting, rap or otherwise, can achieve what he does with words, but I think I'm going to have a hard time convincing future generations of that.


glad U put the music topic nxt to the car's.  I'd focus it more on the style than the technology.  Many ways? I don't care bout the tech. Yes (with a large exclamation point) I like the less-polluting vehicles of today.  But just like the music - I'd rather listen to an early Doc Watson or Jeff Beck guitar riff than what's heard today. I'd rather an Italian or Brit of the mid/late '50s - late '60s ora mid/late '30s - very early '50s usa car than what we see today.  Just like the French elders (1650) objected to young's dance the minuet (too sexual) and the Greatest Gen objecting to the rock dance of the Boomers - I hate the Darth Vader look of the vehicles this author cites in the orange, blue'n red above. /AND/ I do it with (above) awareness...

New Driver

Great Article. As an aging Baby boomer, I am a Points and Condenser guy, Who can also play in the electronic ignition arena.  Where I live, (the greater Toledo Ohio area) one of our high schools is teaching young people to repair, maintain and build motorized vehicles, wrenching from the ground up and fabricating racing machines. They may not have the expertise for 'Point and Condenser' however, they are building vehicles for the future. Congrats to them and anyone young interested in getting their fingernails dirty.

I feel out internal combustion future is safe and we can add Battery Power in the near future.