David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/15/14 1:55 p.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

An old car has a certain mystique, a charm that’s tough to capture. It’s about chrome and steel instead of cup holders and plastic. It’s the automotive equivalent of your favorite jeans. Nothing smells like an old car on a rainy day.

Old cars can also be a pain in ass, and this is coming from a guy who owns a few cars that predate the 1976 Olympics. You don’t always buy an old car for the measured performance, though, you buy it for the experience. A Nissan Versa can probably roll my Mini Cooper–yes, I own one of the originals designed by Sir Alec Issigonis–but which one turns more heads or transforms every outing into an adventure?

In honor of our annual old-school issue, here are a few vintage favorites that can supply nostalgia to those who grew up with fuel injection and radial tires. Not only are they relatively easy to care and feed for, but prices are currently rather attractive.

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Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/16/21 12:55 p.m.

Friend let me drive an old AC Porsche once. The exhaust note is haunting, I would love to get my hands on a driver car. I could seriously listen to that soundtrack every day and never set foot in a new car and be a happy person for the rest of my life

Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/16/21 1:25 p.m.

If you haven't already got an air cooled Porsche, it's most likely too late.  Prices are to the moon. 

infinitenexus GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/16/21 1:33 p.m.

About 12 years ago I owned a 1978 911SC, and I had a fairly minimal exhaust system on there and it was indeed heavenly.  Every day I regret selling that car.


Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/16/21 1:43 p.m.

My 914 isn't for sale. I wish I had bought the 911S for $6,000 when it was offered to me. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/16/21 2:25 p.m.
Placemotorsports said:

If you haven't already got an air cooled Porsche, it's most likely too late.  Prices are to the moon. 

If appreciation beats interest rates, there could be a case made for getting a loan, and selling the car at a later time.  If you make a profit, great, if not, you got to enjoy an interesting car for a while.

nlevine (Forum Supporter)
nlevine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand New Reader
4/16/21 2:53 p.m.

I always had a sense of "serenity", if you will, when I would drive my '71 BMW 2002. Sort of like that I didn't feel I had anything to prove to anybody - I wasn't trapped in one of the countless computer-designed, wind-tunnel-tested, they-all-kind-of-look-the-same cars that most other folks were driving. In that moment of old-car Zen, the car's performance envelope really didn't matter...

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
4/16/21 3:17 p.m.

I have a couple older BMWs for daily drivers (an e28 5 series and an e30 3 series) along with a couple hobby cars (a '61 Pontiac Bonneville and a '66 Ford F-100 pickup).  Maybe I don't know what I'm missing by not owning anything newer, but they work for me.  It's gotten to the point where I get thumbs-ups or waves from other drivers on a daily basis. 

If nothing else, I don't have to deal with trying to see around A-pillars that are the size of oak trees.  smiley

Tom1200 SuperDork
4/16/21 3:20 p.m.

I love new cars but as counter intuitive as it may seem to most people; I find driving something with a few foibles more rewarding. 

There is a certain joy in learning a specialized skill, however small, when operating an older piece of equipment. The extra bit of thought fills your brain with the task at hand and melts away the days troubles.

Tom1200 SuperDork
4/16/21 4:21 p.m.

I also like old canoes........

frenchyd UltimaDork
4/16/21 5:20 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

By my nature I tend to like taming the old beasts rather than the mundane sameness of new cars. 
Speed doesn't matter, as much as the satisfaction of doing a difficult job well. 

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