Every now and again my brain wanders with visions of driving an old car as my daily driver. I mean how cool would it be to cruise the streets everyday in a classic Chevelle, Charger or Mustang. People constantly giving you the thumbs up, you’d feel like a rock star at every stoplight and valets would always give you the prime spots. I mean hell, if you’re going to go out and drop 25 or 30 large on a new Mustang or Challenger why not get the original right? Before you consider doing this, however, take heed because I’ve been down this road and want to give ya’ll some real world impressions about driving that classic everyday.
I tried doing this last year for over a month in my modified 1968 Dodge Charger. I started on July 20th and finished up on August 25, 2009 and in that time I logged just under 6000 miles… not bad for one months worth of driving. The reason for all those miles was one big ass road trip around the continental United States. I even rigged my baby out with all the conveniences of a new car by installing navigation, satellite radio, a new comfy interior and even a CB radio.
Throughout that entire month I never encountered one problem as the car ran beautifully. Going back to the above paragraph I can safely say that we were indeed the highlight of every stoplight, intersection and destination that we traveled too. Inquiries and comments a plenty were thrown at us and hell, we even got on the local news a few times. So with that being said, would I drive a classic everyday? The answer is simple… no.
While I had a wonderful time driving my old sled, I have to say that by the end of everyday it was exhausting albeit a bit nerve racking. The main ingredient that new cars have over the classics is 42 years of technology and innovation. Yes, new cars do essentially the same things as old cars, but they do it in much different ways. Things like ride quality, interior cabin noise and safety are leaps and bounds over the classics and don’t even get me started on fuel economy. One must also consider possible breakdowns and parts availability as some items are simply not available any more. Ask anyone whose ever tried to find a replacement grill for a ’68 Charger… it’s a total bitch as well as being SUPER expensive. Maintenance on the classics is a bit cheaper (especially if you’re DIY’er) but will be more frequent than on a new car.
What it all comes down to in the end though is this: new cars are just that… new. They look new, smell new and perform like new. They come with such wonderful things as a warranty, good fuel economy and air conditioning. They’re also safe, quiet and reliable. Where old cars are cool, new cars are practical. Where old cars are a thrill ride, new cars are a safe ride and where old cars look great, new cars just perform great. In the end it is obviously up to the individual to make this decision. Just a word of advice though from someone whose been there.
Buy new, drive safe and get from point A to B without any drama. Just make sure however you have that extra spot in the garage to put that four wheeled dream in when the time comes.