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The Thing about Driving Classic Cars

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Ahhh, Fall! Cool and dry weather. Foliage turning the leaves colors that even the Home Depot paint department can't replicate. Life is slowing down as we prepare for that inevitable coming of winter where being indoors is best for our fragile human bodies. Fall also gives us the opportunity to get our classic cars out and enjoy them for a Saturday evening cruise-in, maybe a car show, or just a Sunday afternoon jaunt on some pretty back roads.

New+Camaro+SS.jpgImagine how I felt when my good friend told me he is thinking he might sell his 1969 Chevelle SS with a 454 cubic inch engine, 450 horsepower with a 4 speed! Take that in, a 1969 Chevelle SS with a 454 cubic inch engine, 450 horsepower with a 4 speed! A car he spent years building that resulted in
a stunner that draws attention wherever she goes. Why is he selling it? He is considering a new Camaro to replace it. This is because he doesn't drive his classic on a regular basis, so maybe it is time to sell...La, la, la, la, la...I can't hear you...I just can't stand to even think about. I have seen the before and after pictures of this car and he simply cannot let it go, no way, no how! This problem must be solved and I have the solution, my friend can be saved!


What is cause of my friend's problem, almost a disease? Yes, it is a common disease of those fortunate enough to own cars that fit the vintage, classic, antique categories. 
"The problem isn't using the car but instead stems from not using that beautiful machine sitting in far corner of the garage." 
It's that sort of out of sight, out of mind issue. If the car's only purpose is for the infrequent weekend jaunt, the occasional Sunday drive, and the extremely rare trip to an final location that is not home. It only makes sense that maybe it is no longer needed. In fact, this disease rationalizes that a sale is kind and caring, it would be even humanitarian to let someone truly appreciate your old car in which many dollars and countless hours have been spent. Anyway, there are more sexy, younger models out there that you can take out on a regular basis. Maybe to a restaurant, to the beach, to all those places where your old car just doesn't feel comfortable. Sadly, it is not the car's fault. She is just as beautiful as ever. It is instead an issue with the owner's mindset.

flintstones-car.jpgI have two cars I drive daily, in fact they are all that I have at my disposal. Neither has modern amenities, in fact, I think the Flinstone family vehicle may be more modern. Yet my vintage autos are used for trips to Lowes, Walmart, the drug store, picking up the kids, even running to McDonalds. Why would I ride around in cars that I believe actually create extra road noise and pipe it directly into the cabin and then amplify it by 10? Because there is not a new car in the world that makes me grin every time I drive it. I have decided that my daily driver is something that will make me smile, not necessarily make me comfortable. I have built a relationship and no shiny, wannabe classic is going to break us up.

Messy+Garage.jpgI believe the reason why we tire of our old rides is because we use them for the very occasional 'cruises'. This means that when you finally do go to use them the battery is dead, it is covered bumper to bumper with dust, and you have to move the kids' bicycles, the lawnmower and a host of other things just to clear the path for backing out of the garage. Essentially, it is just a lot of work. Include with it the cost of insurance for the car to just sit there. Add to that every car's worst enemy is to just sit unused. I experienced this just recently as my travel made one of my cars sit for a month. Once I started it up I had electrical problems that didn't exist when I shut it off last time. It had experienced, what we call in the car trade, "Lot Rot', where things that worked when parked no longer do.

syringe.jpgThe antidote, the cure, the vaccine against this horrible disease of the mind? Use your old car everyday and enjoy it. Not only does this continue to build your relationship with your car, there are also many, many, many advantages of driving an old car that a new one simply can't provide.

Thumbs+up.jpgA guaranteed smile on your face all the while you are driving.A guaranteed smile on the faces of those around who enjoy seeing your car.An opportunity to meet new people, answer questions and hear great stories about their past experiences with a car 'just like yours'.Getting to see your ride glimmering in sun as you walk back to it while doing errands.Making you stop regularly on a long trip and see things that you would have normally missed.Using back roads just because they are more fun.And the best thing about driving an old car? It slows you down, or at least it does for me. I will admit, it is a bit more work to get out of the house, to fit in snug places, to walk the extra distance in the parking lot to the store front. However, I find this slowing down reduces stress and makes every outing more enjoyable, relaxing, an event.

If you are out there, right now, crazily contemplating the sale of your lifelong dream let me share the advice I gave my friend. For the next month do the following.
Parking+Lot.jpgUse your car for regular everyday activities - running to the store, out to grab a bite to eat, getting to soccer games, running errands - in short, life.Park it like you would a regular car (well, within reason of course).Don't stress about it, let it get a little dirty, let it look like it is used.Think about how much this old car loves to make you smile.Remember the experiences you and this classic share.
Then, if you still want to sell your car for that new, sleek, quiet, and car that is identical to everyone else's, maybe it is time to move on. My guess though is that many of you will fall in love all over again.

That's the thing about driving classic cars, they were originally built to be driven every day, why shouldn't you do the same?

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