It’s such a cliché, isn’t it? The old ones were the best. But it’s such an age old debate when it comes to cars, the styles change with the times, and newer drivers are looking to the future. Driving as an experience is just getting easier and easier over time.
The amount of things like cruise control or the steering wheel vibrating if there’s an accident up ahead, the act of driving now in comparison to, say, fifty years ago, is completely different.
And some people just hate old cars, but is this down to a practicality issue?
The Mini Cooper had a fantastic revamp some time ago, albeit it was made a bit larger to allow comfort, but some people love the idea of an “old” car because it’s quaint.
But the older cars, in my opinion, were better across the board, and here’s why…
There was a lot less faff with the older cars. Now, you’ve got a pointless amount of buttons and GPS, but back then you knew what was in front of you, which is why classic cars are a fantastic dream project for so many.
They are easier to fix, and the enjoyment people can get out of restoring a classic car means so much more than taking a modern car, with its needlessly complicated, to the mechanics, which takes so much of the joy out of being a car owner.
A car with less confusion has much more character, and this is a common theme with classic cars. Character may sound like a term that overcompensates for many other weak aspects, but it’s simply not true.
Of course, they were! Cars now, with their angles and layers of wax applied to them, just look plain shiny!
Think of the perfect car, and most will go for the Diablo or even the Aston Martin. These cars are able to stand the test of time, and just look amazing, even now.
And they were representative of a better time for a lot of older drivers. Yes, Bond drove an Aston Martin, and it’s probably the most clichéd image in the book, but he did look cool though, didn’t he?
And as part of a passion project, doing up classic cars has quite a market. So, even though the parts might be hard to come by because they haven’t been manufactured for 30 years, part of the thrill is getting to know the history behind the vehicle.
And there is a market for classic car renovation, right down to things like dateless number plates, which can be used on cars of any age. So if you decided to drive this beauty after you were done renovating it, then there’s no stopping you!
Back then, cars were much lighter, and therefore faster. So, as makeshift sports cars, the classic ones are the best.
As time has gone on, the Porsche 911 has got 100mm wider, and the VW Golf has expanded its length by 500mm. Put these next to their older counterparts, and the classics will win in a race every time!
A big bone of contention for older vehicles is that they were harder to drive, but is this really a bad thing? The fact that we didn’t have as much traction and cruise control meant that you had to earn your driving gloves by learning how to handle the car, there was nothing to help you.
You had to get a feel for the road and how the car handles around corners. Now, with superior traction and ABS means that we’re hardly driving the car ourselves anymore!
It was unlike no other. Now, you get in a car, and all you can smell is the leather and maybe last night’s drive thru.
The smell of burned hydrocarbons is real and unadulterated, it’s the reason a lot of people became petrolheads in the first place!
And when you boil it down to its basics, the experience of driving a classic car is pure and simple. No filters, no frills, just the way it was meant to be.
Yes, cars are safer now, and that’s a great thing, but the thrill of the act of driving has been slowly worn away. When you think of the classic cars, it wasn’t just cool back then, but it communicated a whole style and elegance that we don’t have in our modern cars now.
So, were the old ones the best? I’d like to think so!
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter