They say knowledge is strength. That adage may be fine as one lives their lives since knowing things enhances how we react to life situations. It starts as a young child. The faster we learn that we could burn ourselves touching a hot stove the faster we avoid injury.
However, when it comes to classic cars, ignorance, or at least looking at those cars with rose colored glasses on...is bliss when in reality, knowledge about the cars of yesteryear should bring us to a different opinion of them.
Nostalgia takes precedence over knowledge, because when confronted with how these cars are really ran back in the day, its owners of these classics choose to not remember.
I remember learning to drive in my mom’s 1963 Chrysler Imperial. It was a land yacht. The view looking over the hood was likened to being on the bridge of the aircraft carrier Nimitz with its large flat hood extending outward. The steering was so loose that you could turn the steering wheel an inch or two either way before the car would head in that direction. The same goes for our 1965 Cadillac DeVille convertible. It was a marshmallow not only because it was white on the outside and white on the inside, but I think the steering and suspension was also constructed out of marshmallows! American cars back in the day were noted for their soft ride, terrible driving geometry, and terrible build quality. Even though the muscle cars were as fast as snot on a bowling ball, as long as you hit the gas and drove straight ahead you had no problem, but the minute you had to maneuver or turn, well you did that at your own risk.
When I rolled my 1970 Triumph Spitfire on a country road, my dad insisted I get a safe car. Well, he decided that the car for me, being a college student at the time, was a 1979 Pontiac grand Prix. It was a beautiful car, maroon with red interior. While I enjoyed driving in the lap of luxury, what I didn't enjoy is that every time I hit the gas, I could watch the fuel gauge needle drop like a stone. I would have to fill the car up every other day. Sure gas was cheap back then but back then minimum wage was a buck fifty. Driving in luxury was short lived.
I remember my 1973 Pontiac Firebird. It was a dog. It rattled, gulped fuel like it was Kool Aide, and had the most uncomfortable seats in the world, a ride that rivaled Fred Flintstones.
Then when I moved to Florida, I bought a Pontiac Fiero, you know the one whose engine would catch fire a lot? I believe it was a 1983 model the first year it caught fire, I mean the first year it came out. It overheated constantly, and was in the shop more than it was on the road. Once when I left it at the dealer for repairs, it was stolen while sitting on the lot. The thieves even got approval from the dealership for the local repair shop to sell them a part to fix what else, a broken radiator hose because the heat of the manifold would melt it. They never recovered the thing. It was then that I believed there was a God. After that I lost my senses and went cheap and bought a Vega. I and the car were put out of our misery a year later when it died on the road.
Then there was dad's 1973 Pontiac LeMans that I drove when home from college, It was ugly and it drove awfully. I could go on, but suffice it to say, while we love the look of the old cars, when you really wipe away all the nostalgia that comes with them, they were not great cars. Sure many of their present owners were teens back in the day and remember good times in them, and it is those memories that gloss over the knowledge that they were just not good cars.
So everyone collecting these cars today all you have to do is go back in the way back machine with Dr. Peabody and Sherman to take a cold hard look at the cars as they came off the assembly line to realize that these cars were not the pinnacle of engineering prowess. Instead they were a combination of a chassis with a body attached to it with tires, a steering wheel, and an engine, and as long as you weren't doing anything that went contrary to the way it was designed like maneuvering, you could get from point A to point B. Even though the cars of today are treated more like appliances rather than automobiles, their light years ahead of their predecessors. But I dare say that cars like the Hyundai would ever be on someone's collection 50 years from now.