“They just don’t build ‘em like they used to!”
When it comes to classic cars, and those who not only own them, but truly appreciate them, this sentiment rings very true.
The love for classic automobiles has a long tradition and history. Collectors, both young and old, tend to have so many different reasons for why they love these classics, and with all the new technology we hear about when it comes to the auto industry, sometimes it’s merely a love of the “basics” that are so appreciated when it comes to this very popular pastime.
Speaking of the basics, and when looking back on car design, the old-fashioned way of “putting pencil to page” was often the way in which designers created their ideas. In this manner, the designers were able to provide fluid designs which incorporated longevity and elegance, whereas some of the computer-generated design software in use today may fall short.
The materials used in the “old days” often dictated the shape of the car. The bodywork and sub-structure would have a significant impact on how the aesthetics of the design would take shape. Today’s era of crash tests, aerodynamics, and systems development were not yet in place, making for one of the more significant reasons a classic car design has such unique variations and shapes, that you simply will not see in the modern-day vehicle.
This is a no-brainer when we begin to compare a classic with a modern design. Mass production systems, computers, robots, and 24×7 production lines have all but stripped away the love for craftsmanship, in exchange for production and profit.
Classic car production on the other hand, was largely a manual process performed by craftsmen using simple tools complemented by decades of experience, to create the panels of the car by hand, and by eye. The end results are creations that have withstood the hardships of daily usage and have weathered the passage of time.
Driving a classic car is a thrill. The drive itself requires thought and concentration that often requires a certain amount of manual input from the operator. This can range from understanding the minute adjustments the fuel/air mixture performed manually with the choke, to selecting the correct gear, and finally controlling the engagement of power to the wheels through the clutch.
Now we have cars that drive themselves! Need we say anymore?
Every classic car has a story to tell, some of them several! This represents a large part of the appeal of the classics and the people who have loved them, then and now. The days of drag racing, picking up your date in the family car, going to the drive-in, taking part in endurance events and the demolition derby, don’t carry the level of pride and heart with today’s cars like they used to. These were the days when you had a car, loved it, washed and polished it, and it was a part of your personal story. Cars were more than just a way to get from A to B, they were a status symbol, a symbol of hard work, and reflected the sentiment of “pride of ownership.” And most old cars were personalized with a name, proudly given by the owner.
Today, many of these aspects still ring true when it comes to classic cars and lifestyle they often provide. These cars were not meant to be covered and tucked away in a garage. They are meant to be driven, to be shown off, and shared with the people who appreciate them. For classic car lovers, it’s never about fuel economy, efficiency, or speed. Classic car enthusiasts love them for their beauty, heritage, craftsmanship, style, and quality. As well, design and art history can play a huge part in how classic cars often influence styles across many industries.
Dufferin County and the surrounding area hosts several classic car events, shows, and car clubs, all filled with owners and enthusiasts alike. The next time you have the opportunity to speak to an owner of one of these “old treasures”, ask about the story of the automobile. You may just be surprised how much history they carry, and we would be willing to bet the owner would agree, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to!
Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks | Photography: Cory Bruyea