Are Older Cars Really More Enjoyable Than Newer Cars?

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Jul 13, 2021 | Column | Posted in Columns | From the April 2021 issue | Never miss an article

For those of you scoring along at home, you may have read my column in the previous issue where I extolled the virtues of sports and sporty cars from the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was an era that gave us timeless icons like the Miata and never-to-be-seen again gems like the CRX and MR2. Ahh, those were the days.

But before we start giving each other high fives in a blissed-out, nostalgia-fueled haze, let’s come back down to reality a little bit. Yes, the cars of my late youth and early adulthood were cool, and memorable, but they’re also 30 years old. Everything, everything seems better when viewed through the soft lens of nostalgia, and these cars are no different.  

Yes, my 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo is quick, and with some work it can be a truly excellent-handling car, but a new, bone-stock Mazda Miata will pretty much destroy it. 

Old cars are cool, and in some cases we’ll never see anything like them again, but don’t let that distract us from the fact that cars today are almost universally amazing. In fact, they’re so universally amazing that we’ve become bored with things that would have blown our minds in the not-too-distant past. 

Imagine, for a second, time-traveling back to your high school parking lot in 1986 with a 300-horsepower 2020 Toyota Camry and busting off a few 5-and-a-half-second zero-to-60 passes to the delight of the huddled masses. Those two nerds who knew about the AMG Hammer would build a statue of you on the spot.

This realization was driven home for me earlier this evening as I was loading this week’s test car–a new Hyundai Veloster N–onto our trailer for transport to the Florida International Rally & Motorsports Park for track testing tomorrow. My pre-track inspection was the same as it always is with our press loaners: Check the tires, check the oil, check the brake fluid. 

In truth, press cars only travel to the track by trailer out of courtesy to the manufacturers—and because we usually have a lot of video and test gear to haul over as well, so it’s just easier to keep that stuff in the truck. But these cars that show up from our media fleet service are basically track-ready. Heck, we even took a Prius to The FIRM recently, and it wasn’t the slowest car there.

Sure, some folks will say that “cars today have no soul.” But have you driven a Veloster N? Have you driven a Civic Type R? Have you driven an 86, or BRZ, or M4, or Camaro 1LE, or MX-5, or GTI, or, or, or...?

“Cars are getting heavier,” others will gripe. “Surely you must admit this is bad for reasons too numerous to detail in this brief complaint.”

Okay, yeah, maybe they are. But at the same time, they’re getting safer and faster around race tracks. I’d also point out that the Camaro lost a couple hundred pounds from the fifth generation to the sixth, so the creep of mass is clearly not inevitable as cars incorporate lighter materials and more high-tech construction.

Quality is also improving across the board. Newer vehicles are staying on the road longer and with less maintenance than ever. Heck, I bet you’ve even owned a car or two that you bought new in the last decade that was still running the same spark plugs when you sold it. Can you say the same about your E30?

Look, I’m sure I’ll get the inevitable terse email about this column, so this is where I say that I’m not going to be parting with my MR2 or regretting selling my ’90 CRX any time soon. But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out what a golden age of performance we’re living in. To single-mindedly pine for the “good old days” is to ignore that the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1 is the least powerful of the current crop of top-model pony cars in the U.S. That’s mental.

I also realize that many of today’s top-line and even middle-of-the-road sporty cars are priced at a premium many of us can’t reasonably afford. A Civic Type R at north of $40K is a lot of scratch, I’ll admit. But today’s new cars won’t be new forever, and cars are lasting longer and longer with every generation. Thirty years from now, nostalgia for today is going to be sweeter than ever.

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Comments
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Vajingo
Vajingo HalfDork
3/31/21 1:47 p.m.

Old cars=more dangerous to drive wrecklessly=peril at every turn=fun every time the ignition is turned. 
 

old cars FTW. 
(see F40vs.F50 argument.)

Tk8398
Tk8398 HalfDork
3/31/21 1:50 p.m.

I don't dislike new cars, they certainly perform better, but I also can't even come close to affording anything new that isn't completely boring, and in my opinion long term (~15+ years/150k+ miles) has drastically decreased since 2000.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/31/21 2:03 p.m.

New cars have wider and better rubber, stiffer chassis, more horsepower and fancy e-differentials to put power down in a meat that makes 3200lb pigs with less than 4" of suspension travel more entertaining then they should be. 

 

Older cars lean, sway, have suspensions that compress and rebound, 205 rubber is considered wide and have to be modified heavily and set up to remain remotely close to a newer vehicle on track, but the ability to find their limits at lower speeds makes some so much more fun. 

 

Mechanical grip is needed for speed potential, but a lack of it is needed for smiles. 

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/31/21 2:29 p.m.

I'm sure my preference for '60s-'80s (and sometimes older) cars absolutely has to do with what I imprinted on, but my DD is a '16 Mini. It is very good. It starts every time, and the defrost is very effective.

It's not the pinnacle of everything a newer car can be, but it's got to be in the top 10% for new cars with "joie de vivre," right?

And it never, ever makes me smile like the older cars I've had, including recently enough to back to back them. It is so numb by comparison. It's clearly true that some of what you feel is "NVH," sworn enemy of the OEM engineer. But I don't dislike all the vibes, and the result of having quashed so much of it is that this small, sporty car feels more like furniture than a pulsing, vibrating piece of mechanical excitement. And it's not like the '87 535is was beating me up on road trips. In that, I felt comfy, but also connected.

New cars aren't bad. They're fantastic. But I still get much more joy out of older cars, even if they need a lot of tweaks to work well, and are arguably quantifiably worse vehicles.

I know, I know, it was an article/rhetorical question... But posted to the forum, so I was supposed to blather on in reply, right? cheeky

You'll note I do still have said Mini. If you can swing it, it's nice to have something that does always just start and run and defrost and so forth. But that's an argument for "technically better," perhaps, but not so much for "more enjoyable..."

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/31/21 2:29 p.m.

Older cars are only more fun in a way that they are easier to fix when broke and the level of "Oh E36 M3!" is less when it happens. 

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/31/21 2:54 p.m.

Not more enjoyable, not less enjoyable imo. Just different. Newer vehicles are, of course, typically heavier as per general size goes (due to safety features and electrical/electronics, brakes, tires, etc, etc. I'm in my mid 60s and I seem to remember having as much fun driving my mid '60s Pontiac, mid '70s Alfa and Fiats (as a dealership employee), and my wife's new at the time '90 base 5spd 240sx coupe as I do newer vehicles. The odd thing is that one of the most 'enjoyable/fun' vehicles I've ever had was an '85 GMC 5spd std cab long bed S15 with the 4 cyl. 2.5L 'Iron Duke' eng. It had power nothing (not even pwr brakes). You could speed/momentum drift that truck on paved roads like you wouldn't believe. And that thing had long legs for what it was (my guess was just over 125+ mph). The only time I was out-cornered in it was by a young guy in a well modified Civic on a very tight mountain road.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
3/31/21 3:13 p.m.

Depends on the car, not it's age. 

At least for me.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
3/31/21 3:23 p.m.

Are apples more enjoyable than oranges?

 

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
3/31/21 4:10 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Apples are more enjoyable; no peeling, you just take a bite and enjoy.......far simpler.

As for older cars; I like to explore the limits of a car but I like long lazy 4 wheel drifts. 

New cars are superior in every way, they're faster, ride better, more comfortable and a whole lot safer. I enjoy new cars a lot because they are so amazing but I find older cars more enjoyable because of, not in spite of, their being less refined.

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/31/21 4:30 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

Are apples more enjoyable than oranges?

 

 

My '81 RX-7 is more enjoyable than the new(er) car because it has direct feeling manual steering of just the right weighting, direct feeling brakes, light clutch and shifter controls like a proto-Miata, and driving it feels like the contact patches are hardwired to your nervous system.  And the dashboard and instrument panel feel delighfully minimalist.

My '06 Volvo is more enjoyable because it is faster in all directions, quieter, more comfortable, more sound insulated from road and traffic noise, has hot heat and cold A/C and heated seats.  It also, in theory, is less maintenance intensive, although in the past month it did require a front suspension rebuild and two replacement wheel bearings...

 

Sometimes you feel like an apple, sometimes you feel like an orange yes

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
3/31/21 5:17 p.m.

Skinny/pleasingly plump, blonde/brunette, focused/scattered et cetera. No right/wrong answer. My only real observations are A - I generally dislike doing anything mechanical to a post smog car, and B - give me a modern car for day-to-day use. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) Dork
3/31/21 5:44 p.m.

The real problem with new car is the expense.  Are you really going to drive your new very expensive sport car at it's limits with nary a care in the world?  I doubt many will.  I will drive my old cars right up to and past their limits with absolutely no concern whatsoever.  In fact, I will do it with a giant smile on my face that only I know is there thanks to my helmet.

Sure if I won the mega millions, I'd buy that new Rally car by Lamborghini and do the same thing.  It's all relative to what you can risk and what you enjoy. 

I suppose if I had an endless fleet of press cars to abuse, I'd wax poetic about modern cars too.  As long as I'm paying the bills for the fun it'll be older cars. 

P3PPY
P3PPY Dork
3/31/21 7:06 p.m.

Man. All I see in each thread is how I shouldn't buy the stickiest tires for my car but should get some midrange rocks so I can find and dance on the limit at a less dangerous speed. 
That said, it's still fun to track a car without a ton of grip, right? Like a TNIA? 

New York Nick
New York Nick GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/31/21 7:12 p.m.

For me this is one of those you want the thing you don't have questions. I agree with all the previous posts, new cars are amazing but they can be a bit bland. My daily is 26 years old. When I got it I was moving backwards 15 years. I was all excited because it felt so simple. Now that it has been my daily for a couple years I really love all the high tech in my wife's brand new CRV. Pushing the button to start it or having the door unlock when you touch the handle sure is spiffy! I'm sure if I drive that everyday I would be wishing for my old truck. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/31/21 7:13 p.m.

Maybe it isn't apples and oranges, but more like hot wings and cottage cheese pierogies.  Both are completely awesome, and both are pretty far from each other to where you can never have ONE food that contains all of the awesomeness of both.

gunner (Forum Supporter)
gunner (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/31/21 7:25 p.m.

Ah, it's great to have choices. One thing that really differentiates model years is that NVH has been  engineered out more successfully every year from better technology. There's a reason to get super low NVH in the 70's and 80's you had to drive a heavy luxobarge. In the early 1980's I asked my dad during a conversation where he was waxing poetically about his past ownerships why they no longer make cars that can go 80 mph all day long, and he replied that he didn't know why but probably because of the 55mph speed limit, they no longer needed to. I had not been introduced to non american cars at that time, aside from a VW Beetle.

When I bought the E28 M5 I learned that there were definitely cars built back then that would do 80 all day long. Not only that, They were amazing. That car had the perfect amount of rawness mixed with the ability to keep up with modern traffic without issue. My 2001 Corolla is definitely put together better and required way less maintenance but is definitely slower, but will still do 80 mph all day long. I still own the Corolla.

I used proceeds from the BMW to buy a Triumph Street Triple, searching out rawness again, which I missed, but it was time for the BMW to move on. The damn bike is too refined but it is so FAST.

Cars are so fast now, speed hardly matters. Electric cars can go as fast as you want with pretty much the only limit being range. Now, it's about the joy of driving.  Post-speed wars? Manual transmission sales are going back up, they are way slower than auto shifting these days. We have technologied (new word I just invented) our way into the perfect car. Just like anything else  that's perfect, now we want to give it a flaw so we can enjoy it. I'm enjoying the hell out of what I have. One day long after I'm dead, The human driven car will go the way of the horse. Then we'll be heading to space for the next risk/thrill.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/31/21 7:37 p.m.

I daily drive a couple 35 year old BMWs.  Maybe I don't know what I'm missing by not owning anything newer, but they do everything I want them to do.  

I also get thumbs up from other people nearly every time I'm out, which probably wouldn't happen if I was in a newer car.  smiley

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
3/31/21 7:43 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Those aren't old,  they just aren't new anymore.  Old is 1930's 40's 50's 

 My MG falls into that category because of its hand crank. The same method of starting since the very beginning.  
    The cars of the 80's and 90's are several generation removed from the cars of the 40's-50's 

Driving that MG feels similar to driving a Ford Model A. ( with a sporting attitude )  compared to the cars of the 80's which were faster safer and more efficient.   But nobody thought of them as light hearted fun. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/31/21 8:00 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

My '06 Volvo is "old".

It has a torque converter fed transmission.  Sure, it's a clutch-to-clutch 6 speed unit, but modern automatics have 8-10 gears if they aren't CVTs.  Or they are twin clutch automated manuals, colloquially called DSGs, since Porsche/Audi did invent the breed in the mid 80s.  (Porsche apparently ran them in some 962s, and Audi was testing them in some S1 E2 cars in 1986)

It has port fuel injection.  That is WAY old tech for 2021.  Stock compression ratio was 8.5:1.  I have updated it with a 9:1 engine, but with direct injection this engine would have 10:1-11:1 compression were it to continue to run only 15psi boost.  On that note...

It has a separate exhaust manifold.  Practically NO turbo engines nowadays, and most nonturbo engines too, have a separate exhaust manifold.  All exhaust ports join to one point in the head and there's one exit out.  On a turbo engine, this is a direct attachment to the turbo.   Which brings me to...

The turbo.  It's very old school in design.  Granted, it has roughly the same flow as the gigantic KKK K27 turbo used in the iconic Audi Sport Quattro from 1984, but turbo tech changed markedly in the twenty years between then and when my car was first made.  Even so, my 2003-engineered "giant" KKK K24-7400 turbo is pathetic compared to the modern offerings from Borg-Warner (who own the rights to/bought/grew from KKK) that are used in so many turbo cars today.  Thanks to extensive CFD and better manufacturing techniques, modern turbos can be sized one frame-size smaller for the same flow, meaning much less lag.  Drive, say, a 1.5l Malibu, or a 1.6l Escape, or a 1.4l Jeep, and it feels like a small V6, not a laggy small-displacement four.

Catalysts.  Volvo has a big ole cat mounted practically under the driver's seat.  Modern engines have stainless steel matrix cats bolted to the turbo.  I really can't explain this one, Volvo had been bolting cats to the turbo since 1998 in the US.  It does make for cool noises on a cold start as the variable cam timing goes to full retard in an attempt to heat the cat up, the exhaust noise is pure turbine whine.    Not very fuel efficient though.

Speaking of warmup.  The engine is very old in design.  It has a pressure side thermostat, and there are no solenoids to control coolant flow.  Modern engines shut off flow to the block or even to the intake valve side of the cylinder head, for faster warmup.

M2Pilot
M2Pilot Dork
3/31/21 8:54 p.m.

I often think I enjoy my '98 e36 M3 more than my '16 f80 M3.  But the f80 has several features that i wish the e36 had.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/31/21 9:50 p.m.

I'll say my 2018 GTI is damn excellent at pretty much everything...braking, handing, great seats, great ergonomics, pretty quick etc. I enjoy knowing it will do whatever I want it to and do it well. That said, I find it not terribly exciting to drive, probably BECAUSE it is so good, so solid, so quiet, so without any drama.

My 32-year-old Porsche 924S has a few rattles and lousy door handles (ironically, they are from a VW), but it makes all the right noises from the engine and exhaust, and while it's not as "easy" to drive as the GTI I have no doubt at all it can take corners faster (both cars are on the same tires in the same width, incidentally) and can stop faster too (even if the brakes dont' "feel" as good as the GTi). There's something to be said for a car being lightweight, and that's something that few new cars are. No matter how good you tune the suspension or add power or put on big brakes, the laws of physics still apply. And I still LOVE driving the Porsche, while the GTI is simply "nice to drive and very good"

Likewise, my 31-year old Dodge Raider is in all measurable ways a hunk of junk compared to modern SUVs, hell even my 2005 Sequoia. It leans, has mediocre brakes, is pretty slow in every respect, and street handling is best described as marginal. But I'd rather drive it any day than my Sequoia or my wife's (excellent-handling) CX-9 or any other new SUV (or new Jeep, I might add). 

There's also this general sense of pride driving an old car (especially an uncommon one). I can drive my very nice GTI and nobody will take a second glance at it, since ther are 100 others just like it within a 10-mile radius (that goes for things like an M3 in this area, for that matter). But in the Porsche or Raider, I constantly get people stopping to ask about it, or talking about it at the gas station, or whatever, which is kind of fun.

IDK, I have no desire at all to do my daily commute in any of my classic cars (or other classic cars, no matter how nice). Modern amenities make boring commuting much nicer (heated seats, bluetooth, auto wipers, etc etc). But when I'm not driving to work, I almost always leave the GTI parked all weekend and drive the Raider, Porsche, maybe the Sequoia, or even occaionally the e30 rally car (though it has NO amentities). They are all more "fun" to be in than the GTI, for various reasons. 

(when I had my moderately-modded WRX, I probably considered that a more "fun" car, but that's because it had a number of flaws, like a vintage car that it had to make up for by being "fun.") . At the time I did not have the Porsche or the Raider, though....so my only "vintage" options were my then-beater rallycross e30 with a weak M10 (yawn) or my 1990 XJ (which amazingly drove far lousier than the Raider and I hated driving it). 

Classic cars aren't automatically "fun" to drive. Some just suck. But if you get the right ones, they'll beat out a new car for pleasure driving any time. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
3/31/21 10:13 p.m.
P3PPY said:

Man. All I see in each thread is how I shouldn't buy the stickiest tires for my car but should get some midrange rocks so I can find and dance on the limit at a less dangerous speed. 
That said, it's still fun to track a car without a ton of grip, right? Like a TNIA? 

This is why I vintage race. It's also why I have a 40 yr old motocross bike along with my modern dirt bike.

For me, no. 

Kinda. 

I appreciate older cars. If I had my choice between a 2020 Mustang Turbo 4 and a 1986 XR4Ti I would be in the Mustang like a mofo. 1970 1/2 Camaro or a 2020 V8 Camaro? New one. Now if it were between the 1970 Camaro and the XR4Ti I would rock the xratty all day long. Here's where I go stupid. 1956 Cadillac Series Sixty or 2020 Cadillac Escalade? Series Sexy all day long.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
4/1/21 1:15 a.m.

I don't think I should have to choose. It is possible, but not common, to build a new car that captures the emotional response of something considerably older. Using (largely hidden) modern technology can get rid of the worst parts of the original ownership experience, while keeping enough personality and character that will cause the driver connect and bond with it in a way that's impossible to do with the relative perfection of so many 'better' cars.

akylekoz
akylekoz SuperDork
4/1/21 6:32 a.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

This brings me to my 2008 Mustang, is it old or new?  Stick axle, Lopey cammed V8, retro styled.  New and nice enough to cruise with SWMBO, after some Steeda boltons and it handles a track day very well.  With heated seats, AC and a decent stereo, it is enjoyable for longer trips.  The pre 2010 interior has a simple old school vibe that I like, two big gauges, three knob heater and a volume knob. 

A balance that I can live with, better than my 92?  Maybe in some ways other ways not.   Better than a 2018, same answer.  

What I don't like is how common it is, this may change in another ten years.   

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
4/1/21 6:37 a.m.

I have no interest in new cars. Zero. None.

Sure, they are exemplary performers. But they are all some of the ugliest cars ever produced. And overweight. And riddled with electronic crap I don't want or need. And, expensive.

I suppose it makes me a Luddite. I'm okay with that. I no longer enjoyed working on cars until I returned to the analog cars of yore. The fun is back, provided I can avoid the rusted fasteners and sheet metal.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
4/1/21 8:33 a.m.

I think there was a pinnacle for cars in the late nineties. They got emissions, fuel injection, safety, ergonomics, reliability and some other stuff we needed figured out, but cars had not yet gotten heavy, with so many nannies and such ugly styling. The new Corvette or BMW M2 might be exceptions to my theory.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
4/1/21 8:36 a.m.

Yes.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/1/21 9:10 a.m.

Does your new car have a crotch vent? Didn't think so.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
4/1/21 9:36 a.m.
Tim Suddard said:

I think there was a pinnacle for cars in the late nineties.

Can I buy some rose colored glasses from you?

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
4/1/21 12:29 p.m.

No, the pinnacle was back in the 1960s or very early 70s before smog legislation gutted them all.

New cars may be more fun while they are running; old cars are more fun even when they stop running because a shade tree mechanic has a hope of tinkering them back to life.   If your modern beast kacks out on you, all you can do is get out your cell phone and wallet and arrange for someone else to fix it for you.

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
4/1/21 1:57 p.m.

Quote: "If your modern beast kacks out on you, all you can do is get out your cell phone and wallet and arrange for someone else to fix it for you."

I think you're posting on the wrong forum. Shade tree tinkering is not what GRM is about.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/1/21 2:08 p.m.

I kind of like when an OBD2 car throws a code having a bluetooth dongle send the code and a diag report to my phone. Knowing that I need to replace the cam position sensor makes it a much easier job then setting points ever was. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/1/21 2:15 p.m.
wspohn said:

No, the pinnacle was back in the 1960s or very early 70s before smog legislation gutted them all.

New cars may be more fun while they are running; old cars are more fun even when they stop running because a shade tree mechanic has a hope of tinkering them back to life.

 

I not feel like I missed out on anything.

Earlier today I had in a late model GMC where the hood hadn't been opened for 9000mi.  It was two quarts low on oil.  50-60 years ago, at 9000mi it'd be getting its second replacement set of points and plugs, and would be halfway along to its first valve job.

 

Plus, the more hands have been into something, the more likely it is to have been hacked badly.  Stripped screws in the distributor.  Carburetor ALL out of whack because they were trying to mess with the choke and the idle mixture adjustments to solve a problem caused by weak spark because the dwell is off.  I pulled the head off of a Pontiac 400 where someone sank all of the valves because they were a bit too enthusiastic with the seat grinder.  Cheap stamped valve covers warped all to hell because someone cranked the fasteners down.  

 

The beauty of modern hands-off vehicle maintenance is that it is far less likely for someone to screw anything up!

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
4/1/21 2:54 p.m.

My 996 Turbo is raw.  It has turbo lag, it makes the right noises, the hydraulic steering rack has feedback where the steering wheel will buck.  It's just fun.  It's new enough that everything always works, I'm not worried about it not starting, or the hvac not working, it's also stupidly fast. 

The 1993 Corrado VR6?  Not so fast, reliability questionable, but an awesome sounding motor, light on its feet and great steering feedback.

My "modern" Golf R?  Insanely quick, 100% reliable, heated seats, Apple Car Play, very little steering feedback.  Fun car, but nowhere near as involving as the other two.  A nice DD, but not an emotion inducing ride.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
4/1/21 3:10 p.m.

Old cars = Easier to work on or modify. Much more visceral and raucous. Also depending on the car much more of a headache or uncomfortable. 

New cars = boring and complicated; however, a lot of creature comforts and tech that can make long commutes short. 

Jeremy Clarkson said it best when reviewing his Mk7 GTI. I can't quote him directly but with new sport compacts offer performance and comfort all in one package - in the past we always had to sacrifice something. 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/1/21 3:23 p.m.
Appleseed said:

Does your new car have a crotch vent? Didn't think so.

My '68 Coronet had a huge floor vent that would, at speeds above 65 or so blow a girl's skirt up around her waist.  My girlfriend at the time called it the obscene vent.  I no longer have the car but unless I screw things up that girl and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in June.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
4/1/21 3:52 p.m.
APEowner said:
Appleseed said:

Does your new car have a crotch vent? Didn't think so.

My '68 Coronet had a huge floor vent that would, at speeds above 65 or so blow a girl's skirt up around her waist.  My girlfriend at the time called it the obscene vent.  I no longer have the car but unless I screw things up that girl and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in June.

Well done congratulations, sir 

The 30 year marriage is nice too.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/1/21 5:17 p.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

I kind of like when an OBD2 car throws a code having a bluetooth dongle send the code and a diag report to my phone. Knowing that I need to replace the cam position sensor makes it a much easier job then setting points ever was. 

So, 10 feet from me, is a Japanese Cockroach, an '01 Corolla.  

 

Aside from a myriad evap codes that generally mean it needs a charcoal canister assembly, it had a P0125.  "Engine coolant temperature insufficient to enter closed loop fuel control" or somesuch.  Hey, insufficient coolant temp, that means replace the thermostat and keep chuggin', right?

Well....

The criteria for setting that malfunction is not seeing the oxygen sensor ever exceed 450mv.

One thing that can cause that, such as what was occurring on this old 1ZZ, is the now-Bakelite valve cover gasket heaving oil, which runs down the exhaust manifold heat shield, dripping directly onto the upstream oxygen sensor.

 

So that P-oh-thermostat is really a bad valve cover gasket that nuked an oxygen sensor...

 

Oh.  And someone had been in here before, and stripped the wire insulation from the harness side of the oxygen sensor connector.  Not green with corrosion yet but lots of frayed wires.  Can't find an O2 pigtail, time to get inventive...

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/1/21 7:38 p.m.

An old pal and I did a serious backroads blat a few months ago. One car was one of the later air-cooled 911s with an updated motor and some nice mods. The other was a practically new GT3 Porsche. The older car was hands-down more fun because it had more feedback, loved being tossed and was smaller. The GT3 was like handing a 20 lb dumbell to a bodybuilder. "This is cool and all, but where's the track?".   

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
4/2/21 6:56 a.m.
FMB42 said:

Quote: "If your modern beast kacks out on you, all you can do is get out your cell phone and wallet and arrange for someone else to fix it for you."

I think you're posting on the wrong forum. Shade tree tinkering is not what GRM is about.

There was a time it was. I miss those days.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/2/21 7:22 a.m.

In late as usual. but the title says "more enjoyable", not "better".  And the answer still, is sometimes.  Also, what is your year cut-off?

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
4/2/21 9:38 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
wspohn said:

No, the pinnacle was back in the 1960s or very early 70s before smog legislation gutted them all.

New cars may be more fun while they are running; old cars are more fun even when they stop running because a shade tree mechanic has a hope of tinkering them back to life.

 

I not feel like I missed out on anything.

Earlier today I had in a late model GMC where the hood hadn't been opened for 9000mi.  It was two quarts low on oil.  50-60 years ago, at 9000mi it'd be getting its second replacement set of points and plugs, and would be halfway along to its first valve job.

 

Plus, the more hands have been into something, the more likely it is to have been hacked badly.  Stripped screws in the distributor.  Carburetor ALL out of whack because they were trying to mess with the choke and the idle mixture adjustments to solve a problem caused by weak spark because the dwell is off.  I pulled the head off of a Pontiac 400 where someone sank all of the valves because they were a bit too enthusiastic with the seat grinder.  Cheap stamped valve covers warped all to hell because someone cranked the fasteners down.  

 

The beauty of modern hands-off vehicle maintenance is that it is far less likely for someone to screw anything up!

As a teenager I worked on an old Duesenburg,  built in the late 1920's worked on through the Great Depression and WW2  clear up to the 1950's into the 1960's when I worked on it.  
    The remarkable thing was the care all those mechanics had.  Not one rounded but or bolt. No stripped screws.  
    While the car had the patina for age there wasn't a single sign of Hackery.  I took the care to make sure the screw driver properly fit the screw.  Took a few moments with the grinder and whetstone. Took the time to ensure the wrench was on square. Not only wiped things clean, I actually polished my work out of appreciation of the fine car I had a chance to service.  

malibuguy
malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/2/21 10:05 p.m.

I disagree with the cars lasting thing.

90s-00s Japanese cars for peak durability in more cases then not.

 

I dont expect most of the newer stuff to be around like 20-30yo stuff is

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/2/21 10:28 p.m.

In reply to malibuguy :

Lemme tell you about the 20 year old Japanese car that literally started crumbling everywhere I put a wrench to it, today.

It still has jacking points, so it didn't seem to be that bad,  but when one of the chassis laterals broke out with moderate pressure on a 3/8" ratchet, I knew I was going to be in for a bad day.

 

If you want a car that will last forever, get a Swedish car, or certain German cars.  If you want a car that will run forever, get a Japanese car.

Japanese cars do not last forever, and European cars do not run forever.

 

I have a Swedish car.  I can fix mechanical and electronic problems.

Justjim75
Justjim75 SuperDork
4/2/21 10:56 p.m.

I think my sweet spot is 1995 to 2005.  And I need three, a truck from 95-99, a Miata from 2000 to 04, and my 05 Legacy GT Limited wagon 5 speed to daily.  I'll save my motorcycle list for a different thread 

RichardSIA
RichardSIA HalfDork
4/3/21 2:18 a.m.

Hmm, lets see.

"Bought a new...", um, no, never happened and never will. I've driven current production cars, they annoy me beyond civil discussion with their automatic locks, light that do not turn off on demand, distracting video displays, varied nanny buzzers, and absolutely numb ride.

I literally fear they will kill me with boredom as the drive is like watching video, great for falling asleep but not for driving.

Took forty plus years to acquire my Lotus Europa, the only car I ever tried to buy new.

Looking closely the newest car I have is a '91 Buick I cannot wait to be rid of, unless you count cars I am building from parts as "New"?

The whole premise of the article is surreal to me, the cars the author is nostalgic about are too new for my consideration. My cars are nearly all 60's - 70's as I cannot afford 50's cars anymore.

Peak of U.S. production was 1970, maybe up to 1972 for a few. Imports got a reprieve from the worst Gov. mandates/neutering up to about 1974. From there is has all been downhill, now we are to embrace the electrique freque show, no way. Infinite resistance! ∞Ω

 

malibuguy
malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/3/21 7:32 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Your right about rust...and really thats hit or miss.  I have 3 tercels, with different places of rust, one is very solid other then some wheel well rust, but the rest of the car is solid.  The race beater has rocker rust and the very end of the frame/trunk floor is kinda crappy...while its wells are PERFECT.  Then my 4dr has kinda little of both but not as bad...and has nearly 2wice the mileage (260k)  and lived on a farm for the last handful of years before I bought it.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
4/3/21 10:41 a.m.
RichardSIA said:

Hmm, lets see.

"Bought a new...", um, no, never happened and never will. I've driven current production cars, they annoy me beyond civil discussion with their automatic locks, light that do not turn off on demand, distracting video displays, varied nanny buzzers, and absolutely numb ride.

I literally fear they will kill me with boredom as the drive is like watching video, great for falling asleep but not for driving.

Took forty plus years to acquire my Lotus Europa, the only car I ever tried to buy new.

Looking closely the newest car I have is a '91 Buick I cannot wait to be rid of, unless you count cars I am building from parts as "New"?

The whole premise of the article is surreal to me, the cars the author is nostalgic about are too new for my consideration. My cars are nearly all 60's - 70's as I cannot afford 50's cars anymore.

Peak of U.S. production was 1970, maybe up to 1972 for a few. Imports got a reprieve from the worst Gov. mandates/neutering up to about 1974. From there is has all been downhill, now we are to embrace the electrique freque show, no way. Infinite resistance! ∞Ω

 

I completely agree with you except as regards daily drivers. Those need to be as functional and reliable as possible.  So I buy new, and accept total depreciation since I drive them until the junkyard gets them.
   My last one lasted 20 years, over 371,000 miles and went to the junkyard with a perfectly running V8 that used a quart between oil changes.  Cost me only $1000 in repairs over that whole time.   Had the original untouched engine, transmission starter injectors etc etc etc. 

 Rust was its weakness.  We have salt on our roads from Halloween until May some years. 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
4/3/21 6:51 p.m.
M2Pilot said:

I often think I enjoy my '98 e36 M3 more than my '16 f80 M3.  But the f80 has several features that i wish the e36 had.

Like door panels not made of styrofoam? 

marknoakes
marknoakes New Reader
4/4/21 12:27 p.m.

The question is way too subjective and the answers explain why I spend most of my attention on Classic Motorsports instead of Grassroots Motorsports. Define "enjoyable". For me it means a manual transmission, no ABS, no traction control, certain sounds and smells and vibrations, a certain sense of feel, and a tight connection to the car and to the road.

rpasea
rpasea New Reader
4/4/21 6:32 p.m.

In reply to FMB42 :

I have a '97 Silvia that I believe is the same as your 240sx. Great car to toss around. Cars from the '90s are old enough to remind us of analogue driving but still with safety features like airbags and abs. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
4/4/21 7:35 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to malibuguy :

Lemme tell you about the 20 year old Japanese car that literally started crumbling everywhere I put a wrench to it, today.

It still has jacking points, so it didn't seem to be that bad,  but when one of the chassis laterals broke out with moderate pressure on a 3/8" ratchet, I knew I was going to be in for a bad day.

 

If you want a car that will last forever, get a Swedish car, or certain German cars.  If you want a car that will run forever, get a Japanese car.

Japanese cars do not last forever, and European cars do not run forever.

 

I have a Swedish car.  I can fix mechanical and electronic problems.

Gotcha so K-swap an E36 and outlast the apocolypse that is the 2020s. 

Vracer111
Vracer111 HalfDork
4/5/21 7:38 a.m.

I had 'golden era' Hondas and modded them... 90 CRX Si, 91' Integra RS, 91 Civic DX sedan. Very fun and engaging cars.

Will say though that I much prefer the FR-S over every one of them... it had moves and responses they simply didn't (even though it weighed more) along with direct connection to the chassis and WAY better transmission feel... (reason everytime I think about the DC Type R Integra always 'wanted' I remember the sloppy Honda shift rod linkage system and 3rd gear synchro issues...) The Hondas were AWESOME motors in very decent cars.... The FR-S is an AWESOME chassis with beautifully setup suspension, and though the FA20 boxer motor isn't near Toyota AE86 or Honda B18 levels of engaging... it is a decent unit and has nice torque down low compared to them. 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
4/5/21 8:17 a.m.

A large portion of my old car joy has to do with working on and most importantly modifying them. Then being able to go out and drive, test, trackday it.

My new, newish, newest thing I own ('07 fusion).....is the daily and its little more than a reliable tool. It there and it works, also cheap to own.

My pickup is a strange middle ground. Its absolutely a reliable tool but I do enjoy when I make a modification. Most of which are to make it a better tool. However I very much want to body swap to a 70's crew cab. Keep all the reliable tool and get good looks.

Overall new cars just don't interest me. They fail to instill a sense of fun and thrills...despite their obviously much better performance and quality than old cars. The Z proto and maybe the Veloster are the only cars to really spark an interest. Actually I think the Z may be a car want...but only after the aftermarket gets ahold of it and a good looking body kit comes out. The G nose render is really what speaks to me.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/5/21 8:45 a.m.
ddavidv said:

I have no interest in new cars. Zero. None.

Sure, they are exemplary performers. But they are all some of the ugliest cars ever produced. And overweight. And riddled with electronic crap I don't want or need. And, expensive.

I suppose it makes me a Luddite. I'm okay with that. I no longer enjoyed working on cars until I returned to the analog cars of yore. The fun is back, provided I can avoid the rusted fasteners and sheet metal.

I seem to recall you formerly towing your race car with a old truck.  And then figuring out how abusive that was and upgraded to something considerably more modern.....

For me, it depends on the situation.  While it would be cool to have an old station wagon to tow a camper, doing it with something new makes it easier to do that, which means when I get to the destination, I'm far more refreshed.  And I'm not so annoyed along the way that taking your time is more enjoyable.  Having the amenities helps, too- towing with cameras is easier and safer.  

On the other hand, back when I was racing, I enjoyed the Alfa over my Miatas, even though it was slower.  

In terms of the smell/emissions, I very much remember going on road trips with my parents back in the 70's.  I detest that smell, and the headaches were no fun.  Clean air makes enjoying the trip much easier.

Better/worse?  Depends on the situation.  

aw614
aw614 Reader
4/5/21 9:31 a.m.
Vracer111 said:

I had 'golden era' Hondas and modded them... 90 CRX Si, 91' Integra RS, 91 Civic DX sedan. Very fun and engaging cars.

Will say though that I much prefer the FR-S over every one of them... it had moves and responses they simply didn't (even though it weighed more) along with direct connection to the chassis and WAY better transmission feel... (reason everytime I think about the DC Type R Integra always 'wanted' I remember the sloppy Honda shift rod linkage system and 3rd gear synchro issues...) The Hondas were AWESOME motors in very decent cars.... The FR-S is an AWESOME chassis with beautifully setup suspension, and though the FA20 boxer motor isn't near Toyota AE86 or Honda B18 levels of engaging... it is a decent unit and has nice torque down low compared to them. 

I never thought the Honda shift linkage was that bad, I have had the 3rd gear grind at times at high RPMs, but it still feels way better than a modern Volkswagen shifter that has zero feel with tons of slop. 

I think the FR-S/BRZ and the current MX-5 are the closest we have to getting a modern new car that has more of a 90s feel to it. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
4/5/21 10:17 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

I tow with a 30 year old van; back in October we used my buddies 10 year old truck. The difference between the two just in wind noise alone if stunning.  I only do one out of town event a year, if I did this tow more often I'd have to give serious consideration to something newer.

 

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/5/21 10:19 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

How much is the age of the design, and how much is the age of the actual weatherstripping?

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
4/5/21 10:44 a.m.

In reply to Jesse Ransom (FFS) :

It's a bit of both; as it is a camper van it has the huge highway mirrors, whereas the newer truck as more aerodynamic mirrors.  The van still has drip rails. The passenger side wing window seal is due for replacement, at the moment I've shimmed it to get rid of the whistling sound. All new seals would quiet it down a bit but it will never be as good as a newer van or truck.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/5/21 12:11 p.m.

I personally think electric power steering is the separation line between good and great cars.  I've driven some that are good, but they sap any greatness from a newer car for me.  Your views may vary.  Give me a good hydraulic rack and pinion any day.  Whether it is an old MG or a newer BMW, I want to feel connected to the car, not isolated.  

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
4/5/21 12:47 p.m.
racerdave600 said:

I personally think electric power steering is the separation line between good and great cars.  I've driven some that are good, but they sap any greatness from a newer car for me.  Your views may vary.  Give me a good hydraulic rack and pinion any day.  Whether it is an old MG or a newer BMW, I want to feel connected to the car, not isolated.  

I used to think that, but now believe the electric assist steering in a Fiesta ST is quite good.  Maybe better in some ways than the hydraulic power steering in a Miata.  But I did swap my NA Miata to a manual rack and thought that had the best steering feel of any car I've owned.

RichardSIA
RichardSIA HalfDork
5/27/21 2:58 p.m.

How is this even a question?

After FINALLY, I think, diagnosing the real issue with a '91 Buick Century, I'm getting another pre-computer car. Or several.

At least pre-computer does not kill the engine for One bad injector, a faulty carb may give you a miss but will let you get home. Same for most every other subsystem of the newer cars, if they are not perfect the whole car is a "Brick".  

Beside, all the new cars under $100,000.00 look like they were stamped from the same generic mold and are more likely to put me to sleep at the wheel than to hold my interest. So I owe it to the public to only drive pre-computer gross-polluter automobiles in the interest of everyone's safety.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
5/27/21 3:23 p.m.
RichardSIA said:

How is this even a question?

After FINALLY, I think, diagnosing the real issue with a '91 Buick Century, I'm getting another pre-computer car. Or several.

At least pre-computer does not kill the engine for One bad injector, a faulty carb may give you a miss but will let you get home. Same for most every other subsystem of the newer cars, if they are not perfect the whole car is a "Brick".

I think you're full of it. My old carbed cars would often leave me stranded due to some fault or another. Like icing up, or the needle valve failing, or on the Holleys, the power valve failing and needing to be rebuilt/replaced. What a joy on the side of the road at night in the rain. I've NEVER been stranded in a modern fuel injected car. I have, however been kept from going places due to the old carb and points cars not berkeleying starting AGAIN. You might like to tinker with them because you're more comfortable with them, but I don't like HAVING to berkeley with them just to get somewhere. I finally got wise on the latest project MGB and sold it off. The next poor fool can try to keep it running.

BTW, one bad injector on a modern car will throw an check engine light (and tell you exactly which cylinder is bad) but it will rarely shut the engine down, as you claim it will.

 

Beside, all the new cars under $100,000.00 look like they were stamped from the same generic mold and are more likely to put me to sleep at the wheel than to hold my interest. So I owe it to the public to only drive pre-computer gross-polluter automobiles in the interest of everyone's safety.

Since you think that anything newer than '91 is a new car, I'm going to ask you the same question I asked before, do you think a CRV looks like it was taken from the same mold as a Fusion? Are you that blind?

Here's my 2013 car. Does IT look like it was taken from the same generic mold as as a Malibu or an Explorer? You said ALL of them look the same.

If this little turbocharged, fuel injected, computer controlled, 6 speed manual sporting car puts you to sleep, you have problems.

 

By the by, I don't feel disconnected from the road in this car, even though it has two mode electric power steering. OTOH, the floaty suspension and soft steering on my '62 Falcon DID feel completely disconnected from the road. But it MUST have been better because it was old, right? Give me a break.

I don't care if people like what they like. That's fine. We should all like different things. But don't make berkeleying stupid statements.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/27/21 3:40 p.m.
racerdave600 said:

I personally think electric power steering is the separation line between good and great cars.  I've driven some that are good, but they sap any greatness from a newer car for me.  Your views may vary.  Give me a good hydraulic rack and pinion any day.  Whether it is an old MG or a newer BMW, I want to feel connected to the car, not isolated.  

While it's true that may cars with electric power steering have crappy feedback I'm not sure that's the technology's fault.  The Porsche GT3 has fabulous feedback and electric boost.

preach (fs)
preach (fs) HalfDork
5/27/21 3:51 p.m.

The plastic in newer cars bugs me. As does the amount of stuff that can, and will, fail.

I will, very likely, own my current or another Cayman for the rest of my life. It is an amazing sports car/grand touring car, absolutely amazing, carves canyons and drives across country. Perfect.

Yet, in those same canyons I love, I'd rather drive a 914 in them. Speed limit is generally 50 and you carry speed the same way in a 914 vs a Cayman. 2000# vs 3000#, 195s vs 265s, and so much less plastic/electronics (ok...that elephant in the thread says 100hp vs 300...). The Cayman is well above 50 to be fun on those roads, at the speed limit it's a one finger drive.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/27/21 4:12 p.m.

I missed this the first time around, so I'll chime in now.

This is a tough one. A lot of new cars are boring, but there are some I've sampled that are cars that are so ridiculously good that I couldn't have dreamed of something like that when I was younger. Take my favorite modern car, the Challenger Scat Pack Widebody. 305 steamroller rubber on all four corners, almost 500hp, a comfortable interior you could live in everyday, and looks that you can't get out of your head. Docile enough to grab groceries, and insane enough to lay rubber at 60mph if you punch it! I drove that thing nearly 3 years ago now and still think about it daily. That said, most newer stuff is good at being a car, but finding one with a "soul" can be difficult sometimes.

What you rarely get these days are regular, plebeian cars that have that "thing" that make you want to drive them hard. An example of this was a friend's 1990 Honda Civic sedan. It was red with the automatic transmission and no other options. Radio delete, tiny steel wheels, and no A/C. I wrenched on it for her a while ago (needed front brakes) and while test driving it, I was shocked. It felt like a go-kart! It handled shockingly well, and even with the automatic, steering was spot on, and the sense of speed was raw and right in your face. In fact, I liked it so much that I nearly bought it from her when it blew the radiator a few months later (she put about 5 bottles of stop leak in it and I didn't want to deal with that). I can see why people love the performance variants of those Civics; the regular ones are a hoot, so the hopped up ones have to be even better!

RichardSIA
RichardSIA HalfDork
5/27/21 11:02 p.m.

Yep, the New (Oversize) "Mini" has that same "Melted" look that is so prevalent on newer cars. Just distinctive/retro enough to not be mistaken for a Ford/Toyota/Chevy/ etc. jellybean. With a few exceptions I frankly cannot tell most modern cars apart, by make or model. Might be a little easier if I cared at all. But Madison Avenue and keeping up with the Jones's have no hold on me so I am free to enjoy whatever I may afford no matter how non-PC it may be. 

If you doubt one injector kills the whole car you can come visit before I do the replacement in the morning, or view one of the several you-tube vids that provided the clue. "Modern" computer controlled cars have stranded me FAR more often than my points and coil vehicles despite owning far fewer of them for much less time. And, oh the joy, each "Component" will likely run $65.00 to $400.00, all electrical items are non-returnable. I can adjust points at the roadside but when the silicone chip fails it's a tow truck every time.

Please drive only modern cars, leave the true Automobiles for the rest of us who actually appreciate them and have no issues with routine maintenance.

 

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
5/28/21 7:09 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:
ddavidv said:

I have no interest in new cars. Zero. None.

Sure, they are exemplary performers. But they are all some of the ugliest cars ever produced. And overweight. And riddled with electronic crap I don't want or need. And, expensive.

I suppose it makes me a Luddite. I'm okay with that. I no longer enjoyed working on cars until I returned to the analog cars of yore. The fun is back, provided I can avoid the rusted fasteners and sheet metal.

I seem to recall you formerly towing your race car with a old truck.  And then figuring out how abusive that was and upgraded to something considerably more modern.....

For me, it depends on the situation.  While it would be cool to have an old station wagon to tow a camper, doing it with something new makes it easier to do that, which means when I get to the destination, I'm far more refreshed.  And I'm not so annoyed along the way that taking your time is more enjoyable.  Having the amenities helps, too- towing with cameras is easier and safer.  

Yes. I towed with a 1965 F100 for several years. I did a disc brake conversion (easy swap from a newer 'dentside' model). Still had the 3 on the tree shifter and manual everything. And it performed the task better than most people expected. Would cruise on the highway at 70 with the E30 on a steel trailer.

After a couple years I had some issues with it vapor locking on a very hot day, then the column shifter linkage finally deciding to jam for the first time ever. Outside of that, I was faced with some decisions about restoring it vs spending my money racing and so forth. I'd had it over ten years and was kind of ready for something else so it was a perfect storm of encouragement to buy something newer (but not 'new').

I sold it...something I'm still not sure I regret or not. And I bought the 1993 Lightning, which has more power, comfy seats, a/c and power steering/brakes. Fuel injection, so no vapor lock. Auto trans, so no juddery clutch while trying to reverse. My 50 year old self enjoyed the luxury.

But...the electronic ignition, fuel injection and cheap plastic parts have provided their own annoyances and failures. I can still mostly fix it myself but it is rather miserable to work on. And I bought this because the newer trucks with the ridiculously complex Triton engines have some pretty devastating problems of their own not easily remedied by the home mechanic (spark plugs, for one).

I no longer race or tow a trailer (because reasons) but still like having a truck. I'm very 'meh' about the Lightning and would sell it--for a profit!--if I could find a decent 60s or 70s truck for what I'd get for it. But I can't, because the old truck market has gone off the rails. So having owned both a classic (carb, points, manual everything) truck and a modern (EFI, AOD, power everything) truck I'd still rather have the old truck.

jerel77494
jerel77494 New Reader
7/8/21 7:06 a.m.

One of the major sports car magazines tested three modern BMW's.  Which did they prefer?  One that wasn't in the test - a first gen BMW M3. 

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
7/8/21 7:10 a.m.
Olemiss540 said:
M2Pilot said:

I often think I enjoy my '98 e36 M3 more than my '16 f80 M3.  But the f80 has several features that i wish the e36 had.

Like door panels not made of styrofoam? 

Having owned an E36, I think Styrofoam door panels would have been an improvement. What they used looked good right up until everything came unglued.

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
7/8/21 8:00 a.m.

I would rather go for a drive in something from the 60s than something from the 2010s, but I dont want to rely on it to get me to work every day. 

I like old stuff, but I also like working on cars. If working on a car is just another chore that needs done you wont like the ownership experience of old stuff.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
7/8/21 10:23 a.m.

The MGB was mentioned.

They are not inherently unreliable. They aren't complicated enough to be unreliable. They are subject to highly varied quality in replacement parts (I get the impression sometimes with the Chinese electrical stuff that they were only concerned with having the appearance resemble the Lucas original and forgot to actually check if they would conduct electricity and do the job they were made to do. 

There are a lot of cheap owners that try and cobble a 50+ year old car into functionality instead of opening up the wallet and actually restoring it.  If restored properly, an MG is a very reliable unit up to around 100,000 miles or so  which seems to be the cap for most cars with carbs. I drove one for any years as my primary transportation (mine was actually and MGA).   Stick a survival kit (plugs points condenser) in the boot and you are good to go. Anything else is probably never going to be needed (the water pump I put in my MGA coupe in about 1975 is still there, unused.)

Try fixing your modern injected computer operated car if/when it fails you. Only tools you need is a cell phone and a credit card plus a lot of patience.

They do require more pilot skill without modern anti-lock braking, and all the other  operated safety gimmicks, but they are also a lot of fun to drive.

darkbuddha
darkbuddha HalfDork
7/15/21 12:47 p.m.

There's something that gets lost in these old vs new car arguments: there are real reasons we complain one way or the other.  It isn't a game or semantics or politics or personal preference or dogma.  Lack of safety, inefficiency, unreliability, poor visibility, lack of feedback, poor ergonomics, ingress/egress, size, room, accessibility (both financial and physical), underpowerd, overpowered, over-isolation, NHV, viscerality, speed, handling, whatever; they all contribute to how we experience these cars.  And objectively, most criticisms are justified to at least some degree.  Regular production cars are compromises through and through, and often it's just evident enough to be annoying, if not outright objectionable.  But that's the deal.  Pick your compromise and live with it.  Or if it's not tolerable, uncompromise the car if you need/want by modifying it or pick something else.  But this obsession at finding some overly romanticized or objectively ideal car is misguided and likely, pointless.  You'll likely be better of picking something you like/love and modifying it (or forgiving its shortcomings and faults) instead.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
7/15/21 1:56 p.m.

IMO new cars in general aren't as fun as older ones but there are still some good ones. Mini, Miata and FRS at least that I have driven. 

There was also a lot of E36 M3 pumped out back in the day. I mean to be honest I'd much rather have most any modern car then something like a 90s Buick Century.

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf HalfDork
7/15/21 2:10 p.m.

Since MGBs were brought up. I had zero problems relying on my B to get me to work daily for about 5 years. It was also my AutoX car, road trip car and sometimes Mulholland car (I didn’t feel comfortable pushing it on wire wheels).

And it was not a restored car and I did maintenance on a regular basis. It was Frankensteined from 3 donors; chassis and most of the body from 1, fresh-ish engine and OD trans (an upgrade) from another, and asst’d other parts from a 3rd. Plus some aftermarket upgrades.

The biggest problem was keeping tops from getting slashed for a cheap radio. I kept it unlocked and they still cut open the top. So eventually, when dry, I left the windows down.

My strong preference is toward pre-1973 cars. But practically speaking I do now drive 1990s cars which feel meh to me. The newer bells and whistles are more annoying and distract from . . . driving.

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