Asking What drives you? I love watching the Hagerty “why I drive” series. A lot of them stick with me. The quote in the one, and I can’t remember which one, but the man says: “ a new car is better in every way, but what they are missing is class and style.” May not be exact words, but along those lines. Stuck with me for sure.
I’m Guessing I’m on the younger side of the classic hobby, in my 30s. I’ve been going to car shows with my dad since I was a little kid. Something about the classics. I own 4 classics, the newest being a 71 Roadrunner, which was the last car my dad and I restored together. I helped restore it for him after restoring my 68 Camaro, so we could cruise together. Man, the times we had.
I truly believe I was born a generation too late. What those ladies and gents experienced growing up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s cannot be replicated.
so going back to the quote above, new cars are prob better, more reliable, faster in some cases, but they lack everything else. No style, no class, no shifting, they are kinda boring, excluding of course the muscle and super cars of today, the power they make cannot be matched by stock muscle cars. But still, something’s missing!
Driving a long straight, open it up, maybe hit triple digits, in the classic, you feel it, you gotta keep it under control. You’re driving! I can do the same in my wife’s Kia and hardly notice on the interstate. It’s sad and I guess dangerous at the same time, they creep up and you don’t even notice!
So back to the main question, what keeps you guys and gals going back to classics time and time again? Mine is of course my connection with my dad, second, connecting with the past in which I wasn’t even apart of, but wish I was! I drive them as often as possible, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. Don’t save them for the next guy, drive them!!!
Thanks for the post! You're obviously not alone in your passion and I like the way you summed it up at the end. I couldn't agree more. Please share a pic of that '71 Roadrunner, would love to see it.
Thank you for contributing, Thompsonspeed! Your '71 Roadrunner is real sharp! Your answer to what keeps people going back to classics, it's so many things: I like working on cars, I like older car's styling, I love the way they drive and feel and how they make me feel. I know I am sacrificing safety, fuel economy, etc. but that's why these are toys and not commuting appliances.
That said, I wish I could easily upgrade my 3 and 4 speed automatic transmission (in some of my cars) to the 6-8-10 speed automatics of modern cars. It's frankly stunning how fast a boring V6 Camry is these days with these close ratio gearboxes. Low 14s @ almost 100mph in the quarter mile? That's no joke, and I will always appreciate the newer cars as they always get better and faster.
I drive older cars mostly for the man-machine connection they offer. I find modern cars to be too polished and refined. There's little character or visceral feel of the machine. There was a switch throw around the turn of the Century when a lot of cars got too isolated. I like comfort as much as the next guy, but it's rewarding to feel like you're commanding a thing rather than being simple a passenger.
I just got my 914 on the road. It does not have power steering or brakes so you can detect the greater g forces as you turn. Love it.
BTW, all that said, not all modern cars are bad. The current Miata is a gem.....
Great points and insights everyone. And I apologize if I came off a little harsh on new cars, I didn’t mean to. There are a ton of new cars that are pretty cool. But they just don’t seem to have the feel for sure. As you had stated, it’s the difference between being a driver and just a passenger.
The classic are cool, not only because of all the reasons you all and I have stated, but also, they still have their place today. I have a 50 Chevy pickup that I use the same as many use a new pickup, I mean it’s not going to pull a 20-30 foot camper, but I’ve hauled lumber, engines, transmissions or whatever in it. It’s 70 years old, has the original 216 with an insane 85hp. But it’s awesome to drive something like that to do your daily chores, to use it as intended. and everyone wants to stop you and check it out. The roadrunner I own is well done, a nice car, but the one that gets all the attention is the pickup(at least where I live). Mainly because everyone had one, or their grandpa/father/aunt/ had one. The memories it’s able to bring back to a lot of people is amazing. Not everyone had a sports car road runner. But almost everyone has memories of an old pickup used the way it was intended. It’s fun meeting people and listening to their stories of a similar truck or car.
No need to apologize, we are probably all in agreement that almost all new cars are too good at being boring. The only new vehicles I like are the ones with aftermarket support so I can easily reprogram them to take out the soft transmission shifts, torque managed throttles, etc. For me looking at new car is always a matter of "can I afford the monthly payment and get the sprinkles on top that I need to actually want it?" 😂
All interaction has been co-opted on new cars: boosted steering, brakes, windows, locks, doors, automatic transmissions, lane departure, ABS, traction control, rear view cameras.
Hearing someone claim that having a manual in a modern car lets them feel like they're more in control makes me shake my head a little. Yes, it's true up to a point. The rest has been taken out of the driver's hands.
Not dismissing them so much as thinking it's a shame they don't know what they've lost and what they've missed. And a little sad that sort of engagement is nearly extinct.
I have a 63 Valiant: 3 speed on the column, no power assist anywhere. It takes deliberate action and engagement to drive it and for that I love it. Like driving a truck in comparison to newer cars. Probably even full sized '60s fare.
The more I see and read of new cars, the more I like what I have: 57, 34 and 15 years old the three of them. Something happens to the newest one, I'll go backward when I look to replace it.
What drives me ? The smells, sounds, the comfortable old shoe feel of older cars. Even a well used newer one. A little character from miles and years. The cars everyone loved to then and loves to now hate on.
Yes, some quirky personal preferences, but the same enthusiasm. Especially for the inhabitants of the Isle Of Misfit Cars.
Motor on Y'all. Let's Terraplane !
Well said! "What drives me? The smells, sounds..." really gave me all the feels.
As for folks feeling "more control," maybe it's the safety and technological functions of newer models that makes them feel more comfortable.