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Nostalgia Time

Modern cars have come a long, long way from what they used to be. When I first was given the steering wheel (which was down our rather long driveway when I was about ten years old and we had a Mitsubishi Sigma Galant station wagon), thing like airbags, GPS and pyrotechnic seatbelts weren’t even dreamed of. And there certainly is no substitute for modern safety features – people can walk away from a serious crash with just a few bumps and scratches (and a rather bad case of the jitters, admittedly), whereas the same crash in an older car would have involved serious injury and possibly fatality. Dual-zone climate control means that there’s no more fights about “I’m too hot” and “I’m too cold”, and pollen filters make car trips more bearable for those who suffer from hay fever.
But there’s something to be said about older cars, and most drivers over a certain age (and a few under that age) get a bit wistful when they see an older car, and more than a few of us still own older vehicles. But just what is it about older vehicles that we like?
• Nostalgia: if you have a lot of happy memories associated with a certain make or model, you are likely to want to own one.
• Simplicity: Some drivers who have been on the road a long time find the multitude of gadgets and electronic bells and whistles in modern cars to be a bit overwhelming – or even unnecessary. Another aspect of simplicity that appeals to some car enthusiasts, especially those who like to do a bit of tinkering in the garage, is that older cars that don’t have everything done by electronics and electrics can have some repairs and tweaks done by a keen amateur – anyone with a good set of tools can replace a wind-up window, but you have to really know what you’re doing if you try to fix an automatic window.
• Fun: This is one that appeals to passengers rather than drivers, but older vehicles (especially utes and four wheel drives) tended to have ghastly suspension but bouncy springs. The seats weren’t very adjustable and they certainly didn’t have any lumbar support other than a pillow, but they were like a trampoline when you went over a speed hump.
• Charm: The original Mini Cooper was drawn by hand. Later, cars tended to be designed by computers, taking aerodynamics into account. Most modern vehicles do have aesthetics applied to them by a real human, but very few capture the bug-eyed cuteness of the VW Beetle, the Mini or the Fiat 500, which is why new versions of these have been release that combine the best of the old with the best of the new.
Drivers can have other reasons for owning an older vehicle. Some people are holding onto one because they believe that it will become a classic one day: after all, the Model T Ford was once as common as muck, but is now a rare and coveted vehicle. Others stay with an older vehicle because they don’t give a damn about fashion and status, and can’t be bothered upgrading. To each their own!

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