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Friday, June 28, 2013



Where have all the old cars gone?  While driving around the other day, on the highway, through the streets and in the mall lot I noticed something, or I didn’t notice something, there are no more old cars on the road.  Well I am sure there are old cars, but they are hard to spot these days.

Years ago old cars were easy to spot.  Every car maker changed their designs each year.  There were only a few manufacturers, so every kid over age seven could identify any car by make, model and year.  If a car was old, you knew it was old and you knew exactly how old it was.

“Damn, look at that ’49 Ford coup…still running.  Man if I had that baby I would chop it, nose it, lower it, and add some duel exhausts.”

You could also tell old cars because they burned oil like there was no tomorrow.  From miles away you could spot (or smell) an old car. 

Old cars used to rust after about three years.  If you did not wash it, and wax it every week or two the old paint jobs would not hold up and old cars would rust away.  Apparently paint jobs today are far superior.  I had a red jeep for fifteen years.  I washed it by leaving it out in the rain, and never waxed it.  When I turned it in there was not a spot of rust on it.  When is the last time you heard the term “rust bucket?”

Some old cars used to have vinyl roofs.  These were really sharp looking for about two years.  After two years, even if you Armor-Alled regularly these tops turned to dust and underneath the rust came shinning through.

You used to be able to hear an old car from miles away.  It has been years since I’ve heard a car sputter or backfire.

What happened to old cars?  I think competition from abroad has forced manufacturers to improve their paint finish and technology has improved efficiency and dependability of engines.  Government regulations with respect to emissions and safety have undoubtedly taken “old cars” off the road and helped the development of better longer lasting cars.  Maybe it is good that government does sometimes force improvements down our throats.

I’m not complaining, merely observing.  I know there are plenty of old cars on the road, but they are just not as “old” as old cars used to be.   


  1. Great post, and you're right. Old cars were redesigned every year, and the fall unveilling of new styles was an event. Today cars are "refreshed" every other year or so, which usually means little more than relocating the license plate holder or adding a little color to the alloy wheel hubs.

    We never had the rust problems you had up north, mainly because we didn't salt our roads in winter. I was talking to my mechanic recently and he said the frequency of car repairs is MUCH LOWER than it used to be, but the cost is MUCH HIGHER than it used to be. Bottom line...he's thriving.

    Sometimes I think we've outsmarted ourselves.


  2. My husband has two cars -- both over 20 years old -- Volvo estates (station wagons)and not a bit of rust. One of the cars has been off the road for quite a few years, but it's the first car he ever bought new and he is very sentimental about it. Next week he is taking it to a man who can make it road worthy again -- or so he hopes!

  3. clash for clunkers put them all in landfills.

  4. My brother had a Ford from the '40s. I haven't seen one of those on the road for a long time. I do like seeing a '57 Chevy or a "54 Crown Victoria on the road from time to time.

  5. i'm thinking they couldn't pass inspections and were not road-worthy any longer.

  6. Very true, I've often thought about this (as someone who loves the big old sedans that don't exist anymore). I think at some point about 30 years ago, suddenly car-making got all high-tech and plastic moulding, better paint and better technology all round replaced the old steel and vinyl, so that cars that are "old" now (say 10-15 years old) don't even look that old.
    On the other hand my car is now coming up to 11 years old and while it still looks pretty good, all the electrics are starting to wear out. I KNEW there was a catch to electric windows (apart from the obvious danger of dying in a flood because you can't open the windows).

  7. fist car was a used 1936 Ford coupe. I loved that car.
    My heart still leaps up when I see a restored old car on the streets.....they had and still have Class.
    Why can't they build new cars that look like the old cars???? I'd buy one. Don't pay any attention to me. Everyone knows I am crazy....

  8. Our son adores old cars and spends much of his time fixing them and flipping them. He claims that everything on old cars is repairable while new cars are all computerized and are too hard to work on. Maybe all of the old cars are now in car shows.

  9. What to do with older cars, from one of my old posts:


    My husband is not impressed with new cars. He kept this car for a long time. He is diligent about maintenance. When its 13th birthday was approaching, we thought it would be fun to throw a party. Since we are Jewish, we thought a bar, I mean car, mitzvah would be appropriate. (Note to members of other tribes: When a Jewish boy becomes 13 he is eligible to become a member of the Temple & to be regarded as an adult. That’s why he says, “Today I am a man.”) We had it all planned. Since, at that time, many dealerships were failing it would have been no problem to rent an empty showroom for the night & park the freshly washed & waxed car in it. I would make it a prayer shawl (size xxxxxxxxxxlarge) & a yarmulke (skullcap). We would read passages from the owner’s manual. Unfortunately, this never came to pass because some people in our family thought some of the prospective guests who were Orthodox Jews might feel we were insulting them. I still think it was a great idea!!

  10. Yea, they all look like they came off a bubble machine. Even the Kube.

  11. There aren't any old cars around here either, but that's because they put in some new rules which made it harder to get a roadworthy so all those old cars just started to disappear. Such a shame.

  12. It's not THAT old, but my husband's 1980 Olds Toronado looks like an ancient artifact.

  13. The Old Cars are hiding do South. I see old cars all the time here in Western North Carolina. Model Ts and newer.

  14. We have lots of old cars around here in Cheyenne, Wyo. I'm driving one of them if you ever want to come and see it!


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