There comes a point in a car’s lifetime when it is simply a used car. A pile of metal and rubber forgotten to all but the most dedicated owner or poorest college student. Cars that the California Air Resources Board offers you $1000 for every two years. That prompt a swipe left when included in your profile pic. That inform your co-workers that an older car to you is from twenty years ago, not five.
We’re in an odd spot, those of us who appreciate cars of this flavor. It’s even difficult to name this grouping of car so many of us are enthralled by. You can’t call them classic without fear of the homie with a ’70 Charger and matching torque wrench coming after you. Calling them vintage feels wrong, the very utterance of the word clouds your vision in sepia filters and sparks the uncontrollable urge to nonchalantly light a cigarette and exhale toward the ceiling.
Wiggle the steering wheel. Blip the throttle. Check the distance between it and the brake. Slot the lever from first gear to second to first. Observe the shift distance.
Light changes. Green means go.
Note the clutch take-up. Roll halfway into the throttle, then mat it. Slight giggle as the rear tires pay lip-service to the concept of traction. Slight giggle from the passenger as her seat tilts back with the force of acceleration, forward with the brakes.
When most folks talk about travel it tends to revolve around the destination. People willingly sit aboard tubes of jet propelled aluminum for hours on end, just to look at some buildings that are different from the ones at home. People spend thousands of dollars to wake up with their body clocks still set to night when the sun in front of them is rising, to eat foods they saw once on Pinterest, and to check-in on social media in order to craft an online persona that’s more cosmopolitan than their suburban hometown would suggest.
To each their own. My aspirations are a little different.
During my summers growing up there was a classic car meet every Thursday in the parking lot of a local diner. For the most part it was old school American cars. There’d be the usual variety of Mustangs, Camaros, and Darts. Plus a couple Bel Airs or Thunderbirds.