Why people love Classic Cars

The passion for machines from another era

2y ago

Why choose a classic car? Why a less efficient vehicle, with none of the modern amenities, that needs more maintenance and can at any time suffer a failure that is difficult to repair quickly due to parts availability?

As technology evolves, in a relentless search for speed, efficiency and ease of use, many times the user experience is neglected. It's easier to open the streaming service app and search for the song than go through the Vinyl shelf, pick the album, put the record on the turntable and locate the right groove. It's simpler to take a picture with a smartphone and review it instantly than taking your time to perfect your skills, shoot film and wait a few days for the results. This instant gratification is great for everyday life, for a world that changes so fast that it leaves us no time to slow down and enjoy the experiences.

For years, waiting five minutes every morning, to let that old Italian engine warm up, that annoyed me a lot, especially on the days I was running late. But this small inconvenience was quickly forgotten after reaching 3500 RPM ... That was the moment I began to realize, those five minutes of my time, soon after would be rewarded by the driving experience. Sometimes I would even take the longest route just to continue listening to the Italian quartet under the bonnet and enjoy the smell of petrol and oil that permeated the interior.

For similar reasons, there is a giant community of Land Rover fans, that don't care about fuel consumption, reliability or maintenance. It was easier to own a Japanese 4x4. From personal experience with both worlds, I can report that it is not the same thing. In both vehicles, there is the sensation you are driving something with the ability to take you anywhere. But only in a Land Rover, there's the sensation that we are in a piece of automobile history.

In the vehicle that discovered the forgotten corners of the planet. The only car the most isolated tribes ever saw.

In a classic Range Rover, all this experience is taken to another level. A staple of industrial design, so distinctive, it was exhibited in the Louvre. The unparalleled capabilities true 4×4, with leather upholstery and woodgrain inserts.

For all intents and purposes, it's an armchair, capable of crossing the Amazon forest and the African salt flats. Even when inevitably, the British Leyland engineering lets you down, you still have a beautifully sculpted garden ornament.

That's the magic of "unreliable" old cars, they have so much character, it makes repairing them more than replacing parts, It feels like looking after a sick family member or helping a friend.

Many people forget the difference between a classic car and an old car. In my opinion, when it comes to a classic vehicle, the way it makes you feel, outweighs all its faults. It has to be more than the sum of all its parts. A classic car has character, personality, it has human qualities. For instance, a Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz, ... (any other econobox)..., will never become classics, when they reach a certain age, simply because they have as much personality as a refrigerator. They are appliances! The fun small car became extinct in the 90s. This trend is spreading across the automotive industry unless it is a special version or and high-end model, most of the latest crop of cars are boring to drive. Very rarely a company builds a fun base model, like the mini 1000, Toyota Corolla (ke20) or the original Alfa Romeo Alfasud, they were fun to drive, try their modern base model counterparts and I believe you'll agree with me.

In a world focused on disposable consumption and instant gratification, most people do not understand this point of view aficionados have towards these amazing machines of a bygone era. It's more than yearning for a time that doesn't exist anymore (we all know our choice is irrational), but not everything that makes sense on paper is the best option.

As this trend for the latest and greatest evolves, there's also a growing affinity for "obsolete" technology, mainly in the art world. For instance, many well-known musicians, have gone back to recording on tape and fully analogue systems. The same goes for world-renowned photographers and movie directors, that still prefer using analogue cameras and film. All this, for a very simple reason - the natural imperfections of these outdated formats, give them a more natural and genuine character.

My addiction to classic cars was cemented by this Alfa Romeo 33, What was your gateway into this world?

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Comments (18)

  • Toyota summed up the current attitude to Car manufacturing when they openly stated that they produce "appliances", not vehicles.

    When compared to the classics, modern cars have no soul, no character, no style - until you get into BIG $$$ territory, where even those cars are sanitised with so many safety features and constraints that the power almost becomes meaningless overall.

    I consider myself fortunate in owning a couple of older Italian cars too, and I've looked at buying newer models on several occasions - but they just don't grab me like my current cars do. The new cars are nice to drive, they go hard, they look good.. but they don''t force you to engage, they do all the hard work for you.

    I think this engagement, the involvement, the passion - is why classic vehicles are so desirable.

    Nice article Antonia, well done.

      2 years ago
    • Exactly, I used to love BMW, but they completely neutered their regular models, they said they are tired of hearing last true Bmw was the e46, the new 3 series will be really fast. the issue never was the speeds it can achieve, but the...

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        2 years ago
    • Exactly! It's a lot harder to express than it is demonstrate. But everybody who I let drive or ride in my cars gets it.. I have a couple of pre-electronic Ferraris, a 328GTS and a 348 Spider. There are pics in my garage.

        2 years ago
  • I to like classic cars. I don't quite own one yet, but I do assist restoring another classic vehicle that people enjoy seeing, which is slightly bigger than a car.

      2 years ago
    • Someday you’ll get one! Really ? What do you work on ?

        2 years ago
    • I do voluntary work at one of Britain's most popular steam railways restoring carriages. They are built the same way as cars from the 1900's - 1950's were built, with a solid steel chassis, wooden framing and steel paneling on the outside.

        2 years ago
  • Bem escrito, the car that introduced me to the classic car world was the DS.

    I like the smell, the noise, the looks of classics and the community that dedicates so much effort to keep them running.

    Now they are getting quite expensive, many buy them as '' investements'' and don' t even care about them, which is sad to think about.

      2 years ago
    • Its an astonishing piece of engineering, french automakers unfortunaltely wont take that kind of approach anymore, i love the DS and the SM. yes the specularion is an huge drawback of the classic car market nowadays, but as long as we can...

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        2 years ago
    • O novo 508 está interessante, e o C4 catcus também tem bastante carácter, pode ser que voltem os tempos de glória dos carros franceses. É esperar para ver.

        2 years ago
  • Yes, like having a grandfather clock. You have to wind them up every morning - but who's complaining?

      2 years ago
    • Exactly, but I’m a Little afraid my generation will be the last to love and enjoy classic cars, my younger brother and his friends don’t seem at all interested in cars or driving

        2 years ago
    • Well, I'm Gen Z and absolutely love them, so.

        2 years ago