Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds

Old Cars

LostInTyme

A-List Customer
Old cars have always been a passion for me. I am speaking of an era of cars that were built in the last century, particularly in the thirties, forties and fifties. These cars were part of what is commonly called “Detroit Iron”. Cars that were made with heavy steel, more like tanks. The interiors didn’t have a full array of plastics, vinyl and other products that are made to imitate those found in nature. The interior upholsteries were fabric and had a feel of warmth about them. They had a look about them that evoked a feeling of anther bygone era, the Art Deco period of the twenties and thirties.



I only owned a very few of these types of cars, but I desired many more. I used to spend many hours trekking through Junk Yards, often referred to as Bone Yards back in the days of my youth. These were places where old cars went to be recycled as parts for other cars, to keep them running a few more years. The cars could be parted out, or resold to be repaired and made roadworthy once again. Also, back then, you were allowed to roam freely through these places and remove the parts you needed or wanted and bring up to the desk or counter and pay for them.



I would often sit in these cars and think of who may have owned and driven them in the past. The thing, other than the look of these cars that intrigued me was the smell of them. Rather than smell, I should call it the aroma of them. Smell somehow causes a negative feeling sometimes. The word aroma evokes another type of feeling. These cars certainly have their own particular aroma.



It was a combination of many things. There was a mixture of stale tobacco smoke, coffee, stale food, mud, dirt, gas, oil, mold, mildew, and other things generated by the people and whatever other occupants that spent time riding around in these wonderful cars. It was the smell of humans and what humans do in cars. It was the smell of humanity. It is hard to describe perfectly unless you have actually experienced it.



As I said, I did own a few of these cars, often for short periods in my teen years. I would do what I could to improve them, and make them my own for a brief time, and then pass them along and move on to something else. But, they would always remain in my memory, and the memory of their particular aroma would always be a good one for me.



To this very day, I wish I could have actually owned all the cars I sat in, and dreamed in. I wish I could have driven them around, listened to their old radios, made out in their front seats, parked at a drive-in restaurant and ate burgers and fries in them, put on a set of Baby Moons on their wheels and a couple of glass packs underneath, preferably Cherry Bombs. Oh sure, a four barrel and manifold would have been nice, but those were mostly out of my price range way back then.



On an aside note, and not anything to do with old cars, but with memories of aromas. I distinctly remember an aroma often experienced in church. When the Congregation would all rise, and begin to sing a hymn, there was a short moment when everyone in unison would emit an odor of tobacco and either toothpaste or mouthwash, but it was unique, and I never experienced it in any other place. In these days, almost everyone smoked, mostly cigarettes, and I am relatively certain that this rather distinct smell was common it similar situations throughout the world, back in the days of the Cold War.



So, that is my memory of Old Cars, and days gone by. Good memories, to be sure, and that is how I want to keep them. I hope I have triggered some switch in your mind, of opened up a long forgotten and happy part of your life.
 

caddyd

New in Town
Messages
12
Right on man ~ I consider myself very lucky to have lived my life in a time when cars, music and fashion was cool and the aroma was sweet!
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
The smell of a vintage car is wonderful. I always think of it as exhaust, oil, horsehair and cigarettes. I have an old Alfa Romeo and just redid the interior. Of course the aroma went away, but I put the seats in a closet in the garage and now that space smells like an old car.
 

caddyd

New in Town
Messages
12
Right on ~ Along with the sight, the sound and the fury of the muscle cars of the sixties. Now roarin down the highway like big ole dinosaurs.
 

LostInTyme

A-List Customer
This is Laura Moore in her 1959 corvette. Purchased new by her Father, Clayton Moore, also known as "The Lone Ranger".

0D734143-BEDD-4B27-B55D-A401AE402F3B.jpeg
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,909
Location
My mother's basement
I, too, was once a wrecking yard (not “junk yard,” as I was admonished by a high school classmate whose dad operated such an establishment) prowler in search for what I could get on the cheap to keep my various well-worn cars on the road for maybe a few months longer.

Auto mechanics is not among my standout skills, but necessity had me turning wrenches anyway. It was that or walk.

The days of the automotive boneyard as we knew it are all but past now. Which, much as I miss such scenes, is a net good. Few people paid much mind to oil and transmission fluid and coolant and all leaking onto the ground back then.

Land values have priced out such uses in most places. And far fewer people are patching their cars together with used parts.

The land that once was home to that classmate’s dad’s boneyard is now a generic business park. I’ve lived in my present location for going on eight years, and I can’t recall seeing a wrecking yard anywhere near here.
 
Last edited:

LostInTyme

A-List Customer
The wrecking yards are still around. Access to them is not what it used to be. Everything is computerized, and parts are removed and stockpiled in warehouses. Need a part? Look online, and it will arrive at your door. No more roaming around freely to remove the part by yourself. That said, in some rural areas, the junk yard is still alive and well, and things are what they used to be. Car parts swap meets are the next best thing.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,909
Location
My mother's basement
^^^^^
I’m guessing that the relatively late-model cars (insurance totals, mostly) that come in get stripped of what the operators believe they can sell in fairly short order and what’s left gets scrapped. And I’m guessing such enterprises are operating under far stricter environmental regulations than we had back then. (Were there environmental regs back then?)

I’m acquainted with a fellow who picks up a few bucks from another fellow who parks operable but well-used cars for a few weeks on first fellow’s land. When the collection grows to the point it can fill a car carrier semi trailer, off to Mexico it goes. And the process starts over again.
 
Last edited:

LostInTyme

A-List Customer
I believe environmental concerns took hold around 1965. Cars began to come with PCV valves, one of the first attempts to remove the vapors emitted by the crank-case breather tubes. By 1968 there were lots of equipment bolted to the engines to further reduce emissions, and on and on. The internal combustion engine certainly has been cleaned up but is still probably headed for oblivion. The new craze of electric vehicles is all the rage, but they still haven't come up with a fool proof battery set up. Still not enough range, and, where do all the used batteries end up? Probably at Lowes or Home Depot in their recycling bins.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,909
Location
My mother's basement
On a few occasions I’ve rented cars for long road trips, most recently in late March/early April of this year — a nearly new Camry, for $34 per day plus a couple add-ons that brought it up to 40 bucks a day. The savings in gas over what I would have spent fueling our modified-for-wheelchair-accessibility 2013 Sienna van nearly covered the cost of the rental.

I mention this because the vast majority of car owners rarely drive those cars over the course of a day farther than the range of today’s all-electric cars. So if they have a need to cover greater distances in one bite, they can rent a gas burner.
 
Messages
11,467
Location
Southern California
I believe battery power will ultimately win out over fossil fuel internal combustion and fuel cell technology.
Only if there is some form of miraculous technological breakthrough that extends the life of these p.o.s. batteries. Yes, for the "Average Joe" being able to drive to and from work and/or run a few errands before having to plug in your precious golf cart is feasible with the current technology. But a lot of people want to drive a lot farther than that when their vacation time comes due without having to spend the night in a fleabag motel while their car's batteries recharge to full capacity.

And then there's cost. Even a used EV costs two to three times as much as it's gas-powered counterpart brand new, and the current prices of used gas-powered vehicles have doubled or tripled in the last year alone because of this. Quite simply, the average person doesn't want to spend a whole lot more for inferior technology.
 

Turnip

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,555
Location
Europe
Another point would be making the electrical infrastructure fit for the required loads, should these battery cars intended to be loaded in private households at larger scale.
Appearing to be feasible supplying the respective hardware and capacities in relatively well developed larger city environments I doubt that this would work out in USofA’s clothing lined suburbia and smaller, possibly even rural, communities even in medium term.
Also, it would make public mobility prone to failure caused by weather phenomena or blackouts caused by any other reason.
 
Last edited:

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,909
Location
My mother's basement
Here, where it’s sunny most every day, rooftop solar is a common sight. The lovely missus and I are considering going that route ourselves.

But those electric cars? They’ll never replace the horse.
 

Who?

One of the Regulars
Messages
286
Location
Vernon, CT
My first car was a 1931 Ford (Model A) convertible, which my dad bought from a friend of his for $50. It had a rumble seat. (this was in 1949, I think, maybe 1950)

A high school buddy had a 1929 Ford Pickup Truck.

I learned to double-clutch downshifts and to be gentle with mechanical brakes. A soft touch on the pedal worked much better.

Downhill and flat out it would do close to 60 mph, and it was a long way from second to third gear.
 

MikeKardec

One Too Many
Messages
1,147
Location
Los Angeles
Electric has some amazing advantages when it comes to performance and lack of maintenance. A friend of mine has a Tesla that will make you swallow your eyeballs, it's so fast and the ability to computer control the speed of each wheel independently should, eventually, make the handling equally amazing. But the environmental impact of battery production is significant. To a great extent it's just shifting the burden to somewhere where we don't have to look at it. And battery recycling is a nightmare of potential pollution ... recycling plants have left their taint in homes many miles away and so far it's kind of a mystery how that's happening. Charging times are an issue, unless you only commute a short distance. AND there doesn't seem to be enough generating or transmission capacity. Lastly, you do NOT want to see an electric car burn. Really! That said, I will add ... AT THE MOMENT. I suspect these systems will get a lot better, cleaner, more efficient in the next 30 years. Personally, I think a hybrid is the better compromise provided you live in a city where you're using the regen braking all the time.

As fast as that Tesla was, it was no where near as fun as my Alfa, a high performance car in its day but pretty slow by 2022 standards. But 45 in the Alfa feels like 70 in anything else and the sound is extraordinary and the handling is ... also fun. Not 1 G on a skid pad but an absolute grin inducing automotive riot. Offered a Tesla or something like an excellently restored 1960s Corvette (probably the same price), I'd take the Vett, as impractical as it may be.

I too dislike seeing the more promising Fuel Cell tech taking the back seat just because it lacks performance (so far). I always thought it was the wave of the future.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,429
Location
London, UK
Only if there is some form of miraculous technological breakthrough that extends the life of these p.o.s. batteries. Yes, for the "Average Joe" being able to drive to and from work and/or run a few errands before having to plug in your precious golf cart is feasible with the current technology. But a lot of people want to drive a lot farther than that when their vacation time comes due without having to spend the night in a fleabag motel while their car's batteries recharge to full capacity.

And then there's cost. Even a used EV costs two to three times as much as it's gas-powered counterpart brand new, and the current prices of used gas-powered vehicles have doubled or tripled in the last year alone because of this. Quite simply, the average person doesn't want to spend a whole lot more for inferior technology.

The cost is definitely going to be everything. Here in England, I'm already seeing a rapid and significant rise in the number of not even hybrids, but full EVs around. Of course, this is a tiny island compared to the US, so the infrastructure issue is significantly less of a challenge, and being able to do "only" 300 miles between charges isn't the limitation it would be if you're driving state to state. Add to that that petrol has always been somewhere in the region of three times the price in the UK vs the US. Here in London, there's also the Congestion Charge which must be paid every time you drive into the centre of town in an ICE car - EVs are exempt. One other interesting phenomenon over here is how many kids no longer learn how to drive a stick. Autoboxes have never caught on as a norm here in the UK the way they did in the US - they tend to be rarer, markedly more expensive, and a nightmare of expense if anything goes wrong. It was in my day normal to learn to drive a stick; you can do the test in an auto, but then your licence is only valid for you to drive an auto. Now, however, it's being reported more and more new drivers are only learning to drive an auto because EVs are basically autos, and they see the ICE as dying out within their driving lifetimes.

Of course, it's also going to have to turn to the advantage of the car business, or they won't play ball. That seems to be so over here, and many companies have set a date for phasing out their petrol-engined cars in Europe. EVs are expensive here, but that will come down over time. Leasing is also becoming popular with these, and they are proving cheaper to run that way than the same arrangement with an equivalent petrol motor. Notably, companies which run fleets of company cars are proving a big driver in EVs over here (to the point where friends I know who have applied for one have had to wait up to a year with back-orders, partly popularity, partly Covid delays). Shell Oil have recently been running a big promo campaign for their rise in making electric charging points available across the UK; it will be interesting to see how that rolls out. Once they get up to 500 miles per charge, I think the big game-changer is going to be the fast-charge (you could see how getting caught on the hop most of the time is less of a big deal if you could get a charge in half an hour rather than four or five - it's only a matter of time) and, crucially, the solar charge. For me the killer app would be some sort of solar charging panel on the roof of the car, so that it's always being charged when it's out in daylight.

Definitely, though, with the markedly cheaper cost of petrol in the US, the bigger challenges of rolling out infrastructure, and, I think ,a very different car culture to begin with, Europe and the US will diverge on this. Maybe the hybrid - which over here is already being seen as a 'stepping stone' technology that is already time-limited - will find a place in the US, with the ICE side for those long roadtrips, and the electric for around town.

Me, I dream of the idea of being able to afford something like a really nice Rover P5B or a Morris Minor 1000 with an electric motor dropped under the hood in place of the original lump. On an academic salary, though..... chances are not high!
 
Top