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.
If I’m not out bombing down a back road, tinkering on someone’s car, or researching my next purchase, I’m reading, watching, or listening to my favorite automotive journalists. In no particular order, these are people I’ve come to really enjoy the work of, and tend to seek out for automotive content.
I love cars. Of everything that makes me who I am, those words are the easiest declaration I can make. Whenever someone asks me what my plans are for the weekend, when a new acquaintance asks me what I do for fun, if an old friend asks what I’m up to these days; the answer typically revolves around noisy boxes on four wheels.
However, I’m finding that my infatuation with these petrol-explody screech boxes is a bit of a distraction from my “normal” life. I’m sneaking glances at my Tumblr at work, daydreaming of drives while listening to co-workers, and spending any spare or stolen second to plan my next auto related activity.
The people listed at the beginning of this post saw to it that their love of cars became something more than a screen saver on their desktop. I waste a lot of time musing if people will actually care for what I have to add to the conversation on this well staffed subject. But the only way to know is to speak up.