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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/15/14 1:55 p.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

An old car has a certain mystique, a charm that’s tough to capture. It’s about chrome and steel instead of cup holders and plastic. It’s the automotive equivalent of your fav…

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Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/16/21 12:55 p.m.

Friend let me drive an old AC Porsche once. The exhaust note is haunting, I would love to get my hands on a driver car. I could seriously listen to that soundtrack every day and never set foot in a new car and be a happy person for the rest of my life

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/16/21 1:25 p.m.

If you haven't already got an air cooled Porsche, it's most likely too late.  Prices are to the moon. 

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Dork
4/16/21 1:33 p.m.

About 12 years ago I owned a 1978 911SC, and I had a fairly minimal exhaust system on there and it was indeed heavenly.  Every day I regret selling that car.

 

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/16/21 1:43 p.m.

My 914 isn't for sale. I wish I had bought the 911S for $6,000 when it was offered to me. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 2:25 p.m.
Placemotorsports said:

If you haven't already got an air cooled Porsche, it's most likely too late.  Prices are to the moon. 

If appreciation beats interest rates, there could be a case made for getting a loan, and selling the car at a later time.  If you make a profit, great, if not, you got to enjoy an interesting car for a while.

nlevine (Forum Supporter)
nlevine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand New Reader
4/16/21 2:53 p.m.

I always had a sense of "serenity", if you will, when I would drive my '71 BMW 2002. Sort of like that I didn't feel I had anything to prove to anybody - I wasn't trapped in one of the countless computer-designed, wind-tunnel-tested, they-all-kind-of-look-the-same cars that most other folks were driving. In that moment of old-car Zen, the car's performance envelope really didn't matter...

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
4/16/21 3:17 p.m.

I have a couple older BMWs for daily drivers (an e28 5 series and an e30 3 series) along with a couple hobby cars (a '61 Pontiac Bonneville and a '66 Ford F-100 pickup).  Maybe I don't know what I'm missing by not owning anything newer, but they work for me.  It's gotten to the point where I get thumbs-ups or waves from other drivers on a daily basis. 

If nothing else, I don't have to deal with trying to see around A-pillars that are the size of oak trees.  smiley

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
4/16/21 3:20 p.m.

I love new cars but as counter intuitive as it may seem to most people; I find driving something with a few foibles more rewarding. 

There is a certain joy in learning a specialized skill, however small, when operating an older piece of equipment. The extra bit of thought fills your brain with the task at hand and melts away the days troubles.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
4/16/21 4:21 p.m.

I also like old canoes........

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
4/16/21 5:20 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

By my nature I tend to like taming the old beasts rather than the mundane sameness of new cars. 
Speed doesn't matter, as much as the satisfaction of doing a difficult job well. 

BuzzF5R
BuzzF5R
1/20/22 1:30 p.m.

So many cool classic cars skipped,Alfa, Saab Triumph to name a few, that dont break the bank. IMHO

 

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/20/22 2:16 p.m.
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) said:

My 914 isn't for sale. I wish I had bought the 911S for $6,000 when it was offered to me. 

I had a 72 911E when it was just an old sports car.  I had it a year, broke it when the valve train let go on one side, and sold it for what I bought it for.  I miss that car and kick myself every time I see a long hood for sale.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/20/22 2:49 p.m.

I drove mine to the hardware store the other day and scored the perfect parking spot.

Meporsche
Meporsche New Reader
1/21/22 8:06 a.m.

When I retired a few years ago, I unloaded an 87 930 and a 72 911.  Mistake.   I kept the 82 911, smart.   I still drive it regularly but with the insane values that increase very week it seems, I worry a lot more about someone screwing it up.  I'm never selling it so the value run up just costs me more in insurance and anxiety sad

Probably shouldn't have sold that damn Testarossa either.  Too soon old, too late smart.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
1/21/22 8:27 a.m.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/21/22 8:54 a.m.

Oh the irony of using a 911. What about a JEEP? laugh

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
1/21/22 8:58 a.m.

Find me a modern car that evokes the reaction my Bugeye Sprite does. 

A large part of the joy of older cars is what you can evoke in others. 

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
1/21/22 9:55 a.m.

Interesting that this article came out in 2014 talking about old school cars with feel vs "modern cars." And now, 8 years later, I have a 2013 car that evokes all those feelings, and probably did then at the time the article was written...

 

Running through the gears on a twisty back road reminds me of all the older sports cars, I've had, from MGs and Fiats to air cooled 914s and 911s. It's got the feel and sounds down pat.

But yeah, with the price of the air cooled stuff now, I could have sold mine now and bought a dozen JCW Minis...

And yes, that license plate frame says "This IS my other car" back when so many cheap cars had plates that said "my other car is a Porsche" (or Ferrari or Rolls)

paddygarcia
paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/21/22 10:03 a.m.

A moparhead buddy in college had one of those license plate frames on his 360 Volare. Took him a while to notice when we modified it to read "is another Plymouth".

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
1/21/22 11:20 a.m.
BuzzF5R said:

So many cool classic cars skipped,Alfa, Saab Triumph to name a few, that dont break the bank. IMHO

Agreed, but I don't think it was supposed to be an exhaustive list. Just some common yet diverse examples to consider.  That said, I'd also throw some Japanese metal into the mix.

Anyways, like most here I can relate to point of the article.  My '11 WRX is better in every objective way to my '86 MR2, but there are some experiences/emotions/whatever it simply cannot replicate.  I'd be better off selling the MR2 while the market is good and reallocating that money to doing more endurance racing, but I can't seem to part with it after all these years.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/21/22 11:31 a.m.

We like old school cars because they're the cars we wanted to own when we were younger.

My 911 story: there was a black 25th anniversary 1988 911 coupe for sale here in town for about $18k IIRC. I decided to build my own version of a noisy little coupe with pontoon fenders by putting an LS1 in an MG. Yeah, that was a bad call.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/21/22 11:39 a.m.

Yup, it's just a column about old cars--not a definitive list or anything. Cool that it's still relevant. 

And it is funny how newer cars transition to old cars. When the Miata came out, it was called too new to have soul. Now now mine wears an antique license plate....

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
1/21/22 1:01 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Yup, it's just a column about old cars--not a definitive list or anything. Cool that it's still relevant. 

And it is funny how newer cars transition to old cars. When the Miata came out, it was called too new to have soul. Now now mine wears an antique license plate....

I'm always puzzled by the Miata having been thought of as souless at the time of it's release.  I rode in one at an autocross school when they first came out an I instantly thought it was fantastic old school style car...........we even went to lunch in the car and I further fell in love with it.

I also had a similar reaction to the new Mini  and Cayman when those came out.

With that said there is something about 70s and 80s cars that really appeal to me.  For me 60s cars are just a bit to crude and 90s cars have a modern feel to me.  I think it comes down to you have to make certain adjustments / drive around some of the handling foibles of 70s & 80s cars. 

I sum up the Datsun by saying you have to drive it like you hate it and you're trying to break it...............that fact that it seldom breaks is why I love it. I never thought I'd own the car for 37 years.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/21/22 1:11 p.m.

Well, the only other new car anything like the Miata at the time was the Alfa Spider/Graduate. You have to use "soul" to justify that choice against a car that just works :) The original NSX got the same complaints, remember. It wasn't prone to self-immolation so something of the driving experience was lost.

At the time, purists complained about the power steering beause it wasn't pure. Now that steering system is held up as an example of how to do it well, and everyone complaints about EPAS. The steering didn't change, but the "perfect imaginary old car in my head" image has.

And you really, really have to take into account the fact that our automotive tastes take a set at some point in our lives, and anything older is antique while anything newer is too modern. The problem is that this set point keeps moving forward in time for the total pool of automotive enthusiasts. A specific subcommunity of car guys will get stuck - go to just about any Father's Day car show and it'll be the same cars it was 30 years ago with the same band playing the same early rock and roll - but you can't stop the march of time overall.

My mom's first car was a first-year MGB. When I was in high school, that would have been an old car to me. 6 years ago, I borrowed her Miata for a road trip and realized that it was as old as that MGB would have been.

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