J ES MON D RE MEM­BERS WHAT IS WAS LIKE WANT­ING TO OWN THE COOL EST CAR IN THE SCHOOL CAR PARK

New Zealand Classic Car - - Local Market Report -

Ever since I was a lit­tle kid — which re­ally wasn’t all that long ago — I dreamt of hav­ing the coolest car in high school. And who hasn’t? We have all dreamt of pulling into the high-school park­ing lot with a car that no one else has, with that sub­tle-but-no­tice­able rum­ble, a nice set of wheels, and good shine.

There’s no doubt that we all had a clear pic­ture of what we wanted that car to be, and I was no ex­cep­tion — mine was a 1986 Ford Sierra Cos­worth. I wanted that car so badly that I started work­ing from a very early age to try to achieve the car of my dreams. Nat­u­rally, I didn’t reach my goal at the time, so I set­tled for a 1965 VW Bee­tle mod­i­fied with a non-stan­dard 1600cc Vari­ant en­gine. It was a cool-look­ing car and had a sweet Pi­o­neer stereo and am­pli­fier with lots of bass to at­tract the op­po­site sex … or so we young boys thought at the time.

I felt like I had ‘ar­rived’ when I bought this car. I couldn’t wait to get my li­cence so that I could drive it solo with­out my dad breath­ing down my neck, to take my friends out for a drive and im­press the girls. But, man, was I wrong! This car was so ex­pen­sive to main­tain that I might as well have slit the roof open and in­serted my pay packet ev­ery Fri­day evening, be­cause it took all my weekly earn­ings, and more.

I thought for sure that I would have the coolest car in high school, and while some thought the car was “neat”, I viewed it in a to­tally dif­fer­ent light, and, in some ways, I couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

This heav­ily mod­i­fied car was noth­ing but a nicely pol­ished piece of junk. It was cheaper and safer to take the bus. Yet, I did love it and put much work into it to keep it on the road, but, for some rea­son, I could never make it re­li­able — not with my lim­ited re­sources at the time, any­way.

My friends and fam­ily scoffed at the gas mileage and the car’s re­li­a­bil­ity, but the big­gest crit­i­cism they had of the car, which, to this day, I still can­not un­der­stand, is that the car only had two doors. It was as if they be­lieved I was com­mit­ting some kind of im­moral act by not hav­ing an am­ple amount of door. I mean, since when was the coolest car in the school park­ing lot a peo­ple mover?!

De­tached

The big­gest prob­lem that the world of clas­sic cars faces to­day is that young peo­ple seem rather de­tached when it comes to any car five years old or older. I think a lot of this has to do with the way tech­nol­ogy is con­stantly chang­ing. Ap­ple comes out with some new iphone ev­ery year or so, and gam­ing com­pa­nies are con­stantly com­ing out with new games. Mil­len­ni­als have been trained to get the lat­est and great­est prod­uct, and any­thing over a few years old is con­sid­ered worth­less. And, for some items, I guess that’s im­por­tant, be­cause you want to have a com­puter that can sup­port the lat­est soft­ware or a gam­ing con­sole that al­lows you to con­nect with friends. Though, be­yond those sorts of rea­sons, the need for brand new prod­ucts is com­pletely un­founded, and the clas­sic car com­mu­nity will suf­fer be­cause of it. There’s a need to mas­ter how to re­tain our val­ues and nur­ture our re­la­tion­ships.

The clas­sic car com­mu­nity has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to help this gen­er­a­tion of mil­len­ni­als un­der­stand what this pas­sion is all about. It’s not about a con­stant flow of new tech­nol­ogy; it’s about soul. It’s that feel­ing you get from driv­ing down the road in a clas­sic car, of be­ing one with the car and not hav­ing an elec­tri­cal bar­rier in be­tween. It’s the feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion that one gets af­ter an is­sue with your car has fi­nally been fixed. It’s the clean lines of the car that just look bet­ter than the un­in­ter­est­ing styling of some cars to­day.

Af­ter many at­tempts at try­ing to ex­plain to my fam­ily and friends why my first car was great, I re­al­ized some­thing: if you don’t get it, you just don’t get it! Un­til you have ex­pe­ri­enced be­ing be­hind the wheel of a clas­sic car, un­til you have heard the per­fect ex­haust note deep in your soul, un­til you have spent those long nights in the garage with grease up to your el­bows, you just won’t get it.

So, I end with this: to keep the clas­sic car cul­ture thriv­ing, con­sider invit­ing some­one young to work on your car with you — your kid, your neigh­bour’s kid, your nephew, your niece, your grand­kid. Teach them how to tune a car­bu­ret­tor or re­place drum brakes — teach them any­thing. And, when you’re done, take them for a ride. Not just around the block, but a ride down a back-coun­try road or on the mo­tor­way. Watch their smiles get big­ger and big­ger as the ex­haust note gets louder and louder. Make it a ride that they will want to re­mem­ber — for­ever. Sim­ply put, help them ‘get it’. Un­til next time, safe driv­ing.

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