Hammer Time: New Cars Suck

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

Someone parks two cars near you. The first? A sports car. It could be a Porsche 911 C4 Cab, a Ferrari F430, or a Z06 ‘Vette. Something special. Expensive. Exotic. The other car is an oldie. Let’s say a 1976 Toyota Celica or a 1984 Volvo 240 wagon. Which one would interest you?

I’m hardly immune to the thrill of a four-wheeled magic feather. But oldies always put a smile on my face. The new stuff? Not so much. I see them all the time at the sales and although I appreciate the technology, it’s a bought commodity. An old car from a long time owner is something truly earned, and I rarely see them at the auctions.

To me it’s a mark of personal valor and integrity. Just as somebody takes years to build a successful business that changes people’s lives. An old car that is well kept through the years shows a level of loyalty and priority that is rare in this day and age. I always enjoy meeting these folks in my travels and should I pick up their car at a sale, I make sure they end up in a good home.

Steven Lang
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  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Jul 23, 2009

    What a great topic! To respond to a couple things: 1. The Volvo 240 is not the best car ever built, the Volvo 940 is. Evolution is a wonderful thing. have owned 3 240s, 4 740s, a 940, and a 960. All great cars, but the 940 is in a class by itself. As long as you are not in a hurry.... 2. I have a new car - '08 Saab 9-3 SportCombi 2.0T 6spd stick. Fabulous. Quick, comfortable, and practical. Only way it could be better is if it was the diesel we are so cruelly denied in the States. Really, the first new car I have ever bought. Why? 'Cause I turned 40 this year and I can easily afford it. Especially at the stupid cheap discounted left-over price. $22.9K, to be exact. Nice to have a car I don't have to think about for the next 5yrs/100K miles or so. I'll likely keep it long enough for it to be a well-kept old car. :-) I also have three old cars. '92 Saab 900 Turbo Convertible, '74 Triumph Spitfire, '69 Saab Sonett. All equally fabulous in their own way. The 900 is just about modern enough that I am comfortable taking it on long trips (in the summer), despite having nearly 200K miles on it. Impecably maintained by previous owners and myself. The Spitfire and Sonett are strictly for fun, though both are completely reliable. Just not particularly comfortable! 3. "It is more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow" No truer words have ever been said. In the Triumph, with it's kicking 80hp (dual carb and headers) 1296cc motor, I can drive pretty much FLAT OUT everwhere, all the time. Near redline in the first three gears all the time. Fling it around corners at the limit. And not even break the speed limit in most cases. A Kia Rio will kick it's ass in a straight line. I don't care, the car is about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I've owned it for 14yrs and will likely be buried in it. If I drove the 9-3 in the same manner, I would be in jail - it will go nearly 100mph in 3rd gear! I rarely exceed 2500rpm, there is just no need to. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to drive something like a Ferrari in this country. Luckily I have mostly grown out of my Baruthian tendancies. I drove like a complete maniac in my younger years. So count me in as another one who loves to see well-kept older cars around, BUT if I need to drive from ME to NJ for work, I'll take my new 9-3.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 23, 2009

    I'd talk to the Ferrari owner, but the chat with the 76 Celica owner would be longer. I'm not hot for any Volvo, but yes on the 76 Celica. I recently spoke with a local Audi R8 owner - we focused on his difficulties actually locating a car to buy (several states away), before I realized that we live in different worlds and I didn't want to seem like some sort of car groupie.

  • Mielsita Mielsita on Aug 23, 2009

    i have a 1986 oldie volvo 240 wagon- my first car! had it for only 2 weeks. I got 133km out of a full tank of gas, of 60 litres... that seems wrong. ANyone got any idea on the fule ecconomy of the 240 volvo 2.6 l? broke novice! and i am proud of it. I t is so easy to park !

  • Thats one fast cat Thats one fast cat on Apr 02, 2010

    @JMO I got the joke and I agree - 76 celica? Really? 240 Wagon - sure, if (as one of the commenters pointed out) it had something other than the pathetic lump under the hood it came with. Old vehicles don't necessarily mean poor, but driving a 76 Celica suggests a certain failure to understand the concept of "driving." Having said that, let loose the dogs of flame....