I would agree, hands-down, that older cars just seem to defy time and are Cool covered in Awesome Sauce. We tend to have Mecum auctions on TV in the background on weekend nights but will stop and stare, transfixed, when certain cars cross the screen. One such recent example was an exquisite ’57 Bel Air and another was a curvaceous, sexy ’69 Corvette Stingray. My husband and I then play the “Would you drive it?” game, which is usually answered by a resounding “hell yes”. In the real world I find myself doing this when stuck in traffic, wondering if the cars of today could possibly attain “cult classic” status forty years from now?
It is also a consideration I have when deciding on my next vehicle. It will be the first I will have ever bought new, and I plan to have it for at least ten years or until the wheels fall off, whichever comes first. I call this concept “aging gracefully” and I am sure you’ll agree, some cars do it better than others. Anything that is the result of a fad (faux wood paneling, I’m staring at you) need not apply. Browsing though the huge number of new or redesigned offerings for 2011 and 2012 there are certainly many that get my blood pumping now but I wonder, will I grow to loathe the “edgy” look in 2020? As an example, I’m in the camp that appreciates Mazda’s current “Nagare” design language, maniacal smiling grille and all. However, I wonder if I wouldn’t be happier down the line in a simpler, but still attractive Volkswagen GTI? Will the 38-year-old me mind if my car says “boy (or in my case, girl) racer” instead of “responsible, successful adult”?
Thinking just about the past 10 – 20 years, what cars do you think have aged gracefully? My personal favorites include the 1990-96 Nissan 300zx (a car that will ALWAYS make me stop, stare, and possibly drool), 1999-2003 Acura TL (a model I would take any day over the current design), and virtually any Germanic offering. Actually, a few years ago I would have yawned at the likes of VW, Audi, BMW and their brethren but I have come to realize that maybe it’s not so bad if it’s hard to tell one generation from another. I thought about this even more today after seeing the new Audi A3 sedan concept from the Geneva show. It was fresh and undeniably beautiful, but at the same time looked so similar to a decade-old A4 that I’m betting non-enthusiasts would rarely be able to tell the difference.
So, if you’re the type to keep your wheels for a while (and even if you’re not), is a car’s potential to age gracefully a consideration for you, or do you go with whatever speaks to you at the moment and let the chips fall where they may? Likewise, what models do you think still have timeless styling; or on the flip side, what was hopelessly outdated before it even left the showroom floor? Any tales of buyers remorse out there? I enjoy hearing your stories, so keep ‘em coming!