Old cars will leave you hanging. They break down far away from those you love…they squeak and squawk and growl and groan…they act differently than you’d expect…all these things and more can be expected when you drive an old car. But….
you always remember your old car.
A new car is old after you’ve owned it for a while. It is never going to be as old as a car that started out old, though. It will have your scars…it will be full of memories that only you could remember. An old car will have your memories, to be sure…but it will also have the mystery of the owners before you. An old car has MOJO.
Old cars can be inexpensive to drive. If someone hasn’t decided that it’s a “classic” yet you can buy an old car for a song. It all depends on the context, I guess…old is old and if folks don’t recognize that it’s an “antique” that’s all it will ever be in their eyes…just old and “in the way”. Parts can be cheap…who would need a neutral safety switch for a 1974 Plymouth?
When you drive down the road in an old car, it’s like being inside a rolling time capsule. Old cars are a nostalgia trigger for a lot of people….”my family used to own a Valiant…I remember that..” and it feels good to be a part of a good memory.
Cars are a marker, too. Now the cars from the 90’s are old cars…and I catch myself thinking, “Nah…that’s pretty new“…until I realize that it’s 20 years old already. Sometimes we gauge time by what we were driving when we worked at the hatchery, or the warehouse, or the grocery store, or the bookstore…a rolling resume of a random work history.
When we brought our first child home from the hospital, we treated her like she was made of glass. Into the back seat of the old white Valiant, strapped her into the thrift store car seat…carefully driving back to the apartment we were living in across from the Fuddruckers in Asheville. If a child were to draw a boxy car, it wouldn’t hurt to have a Valiant as a model. It was just an old car…bringing home a new life.
Now…almost by default…we drive newer cars. They’re easier to drive…don’t take as much attention and upkeep and “listening for the new squeak” as the older cars do…but we sure do miss our old cars. Maybe someday we’ll wax nostalgic about our Dodge Grand Caravan…but I doubt it. It’s something about the MOJO factor..or lack of. If it didn’t start out cool…it’s not going to end cool.