I purchased my first classic mustang before I even had a license, however my love affair with them started at a MUCH younger age. My scruffy but elegant 1966 mustang served me well throughout high school and my first year of college, getting me from class to the beach with ease. I learned A LOT about what it takes to own a classic car: it’s like having a puppy that never was potty trained or taught not to attack the mailman. They’re messy, loud, and operate on their own terms.
However, just like most puppies, everyone loves them, and everyone wants to ask you about them. Your trip to the gas station will take twice as long because you’ll have someone who wants to chat about your car. I almost always get the, “Oh, I had one of these!” followed by “I wish I never sold it” shortly after. Driving a classic car is a constant reminder that these are not just tools for transportation, they’re rolling metal boxes filled with memories. Everyone reminisces about these cars in different ways, usually because they associate a positive memory with them. Was it their first car? Did they meet their first love with it? Did they win $20 in a drag race? All of the above?
I’m lucky to have owned quite a few classic cars at my relatively young age of 22, and each one provokes a different emotion with those around me. I have memories attached to each one I’ve owned, some positive and others negative (they can’t all be great). As I drive a classic, I can’t help but think about the stories it could tell, even if they’re just boring trips to the grocery store. Digging into the history of a classic car and becoming an automotive archaeologist is just half the fun, as you never know what you’ll find. I think of these cars as a giant journal with plenty of blank pages left for me to fill in with my own memories and adventures. The late night drives, the trips to the beach, and the questionable shenanigans that I probably should not mention.
You’re correct to assume that driving a 40+ year old car takes a little bit of patience. I can’t just hop in my car and drive off, I need to let it warm up for a few minutes or else I risk damaging something. Sometimes things don’t work and there’s absolutely no foreseeable reason as to why. If you can deal with the quirks and the often times questionable character, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most satisfying experiences imaginable. (No joke!)
We enthusiasts all share a common interest and get along easily. Sure, there’s the occasional brand war amongst us, but that doesn’t stop us from waving at each other when we’re on the road.
I’ve been daily driving a classic car since the day I got my license and one thing never gets old: everything you own will smell like exhaust fumes. I can’t mention that one in the journal, it’s already a given.