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Your Dream Ride: Classic or Modern?

Your Dream Ride: Classic or Modern?

Some of us have lived long enough that what were our daily drivers in our youth are classic cars today. Most of you, however, have only recent memories of some of the great classic vehicles you have seen at car shows, in old movies or some of the televised car auctions that are now the rage in some parts of the world. Those of us who owned and drove them daily have a different perspective of these so-called classics.

While many of these classics are beautifully designed and some of them have what were very advanced features in their day, they don’t hold a candle to modern vehicles. It is hard to find a vehicle today without such amenities as; electronic fuel injection, an automatic transmission, air-conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows, stereo radios with CD slots, traction control and sunroofs. Can we live without these? Sure we can, but do we want to?

Here are some of the items you lived with when you drove one of these fifties-sixties-seventies classic cars:
Maintenance – The type and quality of lubricants available then necessitated that the oil be changed every three thousand miles or five thousand kilometers. The chassis also had lubrication points that required a squirt of grease. Modern cars need little or no greasing and the motor oil is good for two to three times that as in the sixties.

Repairs – Sure, modern parts may be more expensive, but very few classic cars could be driven sixty thousand miles/one hundred thousand kilometers without a complete engine rebuild. The transmission and clutch were probably replaced long before this.

Tire and brake mileage – Most of the classical car tires would last about twenty thousand miles, with the brakes having worn out shortly before that. Modern tires will safely run four or five times as long, and the brakes as well.

Driving and handling – Most classic cars were softly suspended and rolled heavily when cornering. Only a few of the classic sports cars handled well, but most of them were expensive then and astronomically priced today.

Performance – In the sixties, a six second run to sixty miles-per-hour was very fast and any top speed over one hundred mph was good. Even the most sedentary modern econo-box will have a higher top speed and some of them will turn in sub-six seconds to sixty.

Given the choice, I would much rather drive a modern car than one of the classics, even some of the more exotic classics. Driving should be a pleasure and the trip, not the destination, should be the reason to get behind the wheel.


  1. Richard says:

    I have to take issue with some of your comments, Dave.
    First, where do you get your tyres from, because I want some;).160,000 kms on a set of tyres would be great. Agree modern tyres last longer, but not by that much! Old cars were distinctive, looked different from each other, had character, and are still fun to drive. OK, not on a freeway, but there’s little better than driving an old classic roadster on the back roads in Summer. An old MGB for example, is not too expensive, is easy to look after and maintain, and is FUN! So, given the choice, you and I would be in different cars on different roads, and I would be enjoying the drive and not worrying about the destination!

    June 13th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

  2. Dave the Rave says:

    Richard: You must be a car enthusiast, good for you. I have been getting great tire (tyre) mileage for a few years now. My daily drivers are usually Sports Utility Vehicles. Until recently I was a “road-warrior” accumulating many miles each year on business as a manufacturer’s representative and before that as a company sales manager. The SUVs were convenient because I hauled paint spray equipment and samples.

    My current ride is a Mercedes-Benz ML 500. I just changed the tires (tyres) at more than eighty thousand miles and the tread was still acceptible. Previously I had a Mercury Mountaineer AWD SUV. I got ninety-eight thousand on the original equipment rubber and almost that on the replacements.

    An old MGB is a fun car. I have had some nice sports cars, too. I had a 1956 Austin-Healey 100 (the last big four cylinder A-H), a 1960 Austin Healey Sprite bugeye, a 1964 Triumph TR-4 and more recently five Mustang Cobras.

    The ’56 Healey defined why some people say that Brits drink warm beer because they have Lucas refrigerators. (GRIN) It had electrical problems that came and went and could never be eliminated . . . but it was fun to drive. I rebuilt the engine in 1959 after three years of running, had to rebore the cylinders, something I would never have to do on a modern engine.

    I agree with you that the trip is the fun, not the arrival at your destination. Aren’t cars great?

    June 26th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

  3. Richard says:

    SUV’s? ML500’s? Gee, Dave, I’m talking about tyre (tire) wear on cars, not tractors and trucks! 🙂
    Seriously, though, I am impressed. To get that many kms out of a set of tyres is remarkable, or you must just pussyfoot around?? I had an SUV for a very short while, and when I got it the tyres were virtually worn out, and that was at 40,000kms. I’m not a fan of 4WD, SUV’s, but at that rate of tyre wear I could be converted…..

    June 27th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

  4. Dave the Rave says:

    Richard: The worst tire (tyre) wear I have experienced was on my ’03 Mustang Cobra, the one with the supercharged V-8. I only got about forty thousand kilometers of wear on the rears, but changed out all four for better, high-performance rubber. Of course, I had run about thirty hot laps at Road America Road Racing Course a few weeks earlier 🙂 I have had good luck with tires (tyres) because I buy premium brands. On my ML500 I ran through a set of Nokian (Finnish) winter tires (tyres) in 80,000 miles (more than 120k kms) running them all year long. I now have high-end Bridgestones (Nokian doesn’t make my size anymore) with about 12,000 miles on them and they look new.

    June 29th, 2012 at 1:08 am