Old cars and the perception of age.

Messages
7,485
Location
S California
I drive an 84 Civic wagon. It gets along in traffic just fine and no one notices it. It's just another car even though it's 30 years old. In 1960 I took my drivers test in a brand new 60 Falcon Ranchero but if I were to drive a 30 year old Ford then, it would have been a 1930 Model A and that would have stood out as an old car and would not keep up in traffic. In 1960 last year's car looked old, sometimes really old. Today last year's car is just another car.
 
Messages
3,870
Location
NEUS
Your old Honda would look out of place here in the Northeast. Cars of that vintage have all rusted away 10+ years ago.
 
Messages
5,762
Location
Da Swamp
I've noticed that many things about our lives here in the 21st century don't look much different from the mid-Nineties. Oh, sure, we have cell phones and laptop computers. But in the case of clothes and hairstyles, it's sort of hard to tell 1994 from 2014. In contrast, if you look at pics of people in the Sixties and Seventies, and even the Eighties, anybody who's got even a nodding acquaintance with those periods (let alone lived through 'em) will spot the decade right away. Cars too. It's as if our clothing stopped evolving, but our technology went on. (Of course, when nearly everybody wears shorts and T-shirts 90% of the time, there's not much style there to evolve.)
 
Messages
8,051
Location
Michigan
I've been driving my '72 GMC 1500 truck to work (70-mile round trip) one day a week, as long as the weather is good. It keeps up with the 45-60 mph rush hour traffic just fine, and gives a good ride over the moonscaping we optimistically refer to as "roads" here in Michigan. Now compare this to the situation in 1973, when my dad had a '41 and a couple of '58 Chevies. I thought those cars were really old, even though the '41 was only 32 years old at the time. Dad sold them off to buy a '73 Vega.
 
Messages
22,698
Location
Apple Valley, California
tons of older daily drivers still around here. i see 60's and early 70's ford pickups daily. same with chevy trucks. i see a late 70's cordoba almost every morning parked at mcdonalds. too many 80's cars to remember including my truck that we daily and use for longer trips.went 1000 miles in it last month. we took it to the grand canyon on our honeymoon last feb.
 
Messages
4,967
Location
Lima, Ohio, USA
on the flipside of that just look at how much/how far they HAVE changed over the last 30 years. My neighbors Son was shall we say a "Guest" of the State of Ohio from the Mid 80's until around 2010. (I'm not sure what he did, but he did the time, and it's ultimately not important to the story anyway) of all the stuff that has changed in that time, the one thing he could never get over was the change in cars. also Chris, you and Jack don't live in the Rust Belt, where in many cases it's a question of when, not if, a car will succumb to the Cancer... I For one know if i were to buy a used Truck, I'm headed south/Southwest to TX,AZ,etc. I've seen too Many trucks around 5 years old with significant Bubble rust, or gaping holes where there was Rust along the wheel arches
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,679
Location
Occupied Virginia
I know what you mean. The first car I bought was a 1978 Malibu, a rare-ish 2-door coupe with a V8 when I was 18 in 1989. It was a fairly big car at the time when everything on the road was a FWD Civic, Escort or K-car. It was 12 years old but felt like such an old car, surely on its deathbed since it had 110k miles on it. I paid $700 for it. Now, my 14 year old Impreza that I bought new looks just like every other car on the road, and I'm planning on keeping it for another 4-5 years. There's just no compelling reason to replace it yet. Also, we were thinking of giving my wife's 2002 Corolla to our nephew when he turns 16 in two years. But the thing is in great shape, not yet 100k miles, so why get rid of it?
 
Messages
1,438
Location
NY
look at the cars in my bio. I don't drive my 84 300d very often but when i do i am always like wow its so new. This occurs after driving my 78 Chevy stiff mobile for a while. Both vehicles get along just fine in modern traffic.
 
Messages
1,821
Location
ventura, ca
There is lots of cars from the 70's, 80's and 90's on the road here. Not much rust issues here so if they are maintained, they last just fine.
 
Messages
36,528
Location
ME
My state exempts folks from the annual safety inspection if they run antique plates, 25 years plus to qualify. I'm seeing those plates on stuff with aero headlights, like 1988 escorts with the motorized seat belts. They weren't lovingly restored-- they were just found in field somewhere, and dragged out to take advantage of this exemption. Every year or so some state legislator tries to undo the exemption, without success. I figure he sees cars he doesn't think are "old" cheating the system. It used to be you'd have to run your own machine shop to fab parts for "antique" cars, and have the skill for that, but now I can get Chinese brakes for a 30 year old Benz at the corner Advance Auto. When I was a car-watching teenager in the early 90s, 1971 and prior cars with their high compression and pre-smog attitude were already unobtainable/ collectible. This cutoff continues-- a 1977 Nova isn't nearly as cool as a 1969 where I live.
 

01rangerxl

Site Donor 2021
Messages
10,322
Location
Birmingham, AL
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
I've noticed that many things about our lives here in the 21st century don't look much different from the mid-Nineties. Oh, sure, we have cell phones and laptop computers. But in the case of clothes and hairstyles, it's sort of hard to tell 1994 from 2014. In contrast, if you look at pics of people in the Sixties and Seventies, and even the Eighties, anybody who's got even a nodding acquaintance with those periods (let alone lived through 'em) will spot the decade right away. Cars too. It's as if our clothing stopped evolving, but our technology went on. (Of course, when nearly everybody wears shorts and T-shirts 90% of the time, there's not much style there to evolve.)
I agree that 1990s-2010s styles can be hard to tell apart. The technology is the major difference. It's usually the computers and phones in 1990s movies that look old more than anything else. Furniture, buildings, clothing, etc. aren't vastly different from today. Sometimes police cars date the movie, since few departments used boxy Caprices and LTDs after the late 1990s. I remember in the early 1990s, a late 1970s vehicle seemed old, and seemed drastically different from current cars, almost a classic but not quite. In 1993, the Ford Mustang had only been around for 29 years, but was already a full blown collector car and had already reached its icon status. Same for Tri Five Chevy cars...those were all the rage in the 1980s when they were only 30 years old. A 1984 car will get my attention somewhat, but isn't a really unusual sight, and many of the ones I see are still in unrestored, daily driver condition. Usually primered up pickups, sometimes cars with the landau top peeling off. They do look old, but aren't the head turners that a 1950s car would have been in the 1980s. Even though almost half of 1990s cars are 20 years old or older now, they really don't seem that old. Plenty are dented and scraped up, but they are still a common sight here, and few would call a 1990s vehicle a classic except for maybe an Impala SS or something. It's still weird to see the 1990s stuff starting to age though. I remember when the 1997 F-150 came out in 1996. The rounded styling was love it or hate it, and I remember some people (usually older) going out and buying boxy 1996 models specifically because they didn't want the new "spaceship" or "jellybean" F-150. My cousin bought two 1998s, and I remember how new and different it was for a pickup to have a third door and 6-disc CD changer. Ford built huge numbers of those trucks (nearly a million a year) up through 2003 and a small run in 2004. Now the newest trucks with that body style that was so controversial are 10 years old, the oldest 17! Hard to believe those trucks are almost 20 now, and hard to believe the body style that came after has now been around for a decade. Seems like time flies sometimes.
 
Messages
1,537
Location
texas
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
I drive an 84 Civic wagon. It gets along in traffic just fine and no one notices it. It's just another car even though it's 30 years old. In 1960 I took my drivers test in a brand new 60 Falcon Ranchero but if I were to drive a 30 year old Ford then, it would have been a 1930 Model A and that would have stood out as an old car and would not keep up in traffic. In 1960 last year's car looked old, sometimes really old. Today last year's car is just another car.
Ford used the same basic frame for crown vic from 1978-2012. Other cars had long runs, too. Didn't happen before then.
 
Messages
1,537
Location
texas
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
I've noticed that many things about our lives here in the 21st century don't look much different from the mid-Nineties. Oh, sure, we have cell phones and laptop computers. But in the case of clothes and hairstyles, it's sort of hard to tell 1994 from 2014. In contrast, if you look at pics of people in the Sixties and Seventies, and even the Eighties, anybody who's got even a nodding acquaintance with those periods (let alone lived through 'em) will spot the decade right away. Cars too. It's as if our clothing stopped evolving, but our technology went on. (Of course, when nearly everybody wears shorts and T-shirts 90% of the time, there's not much style there to evolve.)
Things changed when we went from watching 3 channels to cable and internet. We used to get all the same information and it was easy to start fads. Not any more. Not even as many catch phrases ("Where's the beef" - wouldn't happen today)
 
Messages
3,897
Location
Canada
Growing up on the prairies in the 80's, my dad had a few Volvo wagons. Within a few years, all of the bodies were reduced to a pile of rust and were a real eyesore. The worst car was only 15 years old (in 1990) and back when I was 10, that car seemed SOOO old from the rust that spoiled the beautiful deep orange color. Today my BMW is 26 years old and looks (interior and ext) and runs no worse than BMW's within 5 years of age.
 
Messages
628
Location
DuQuoin, Illinois
Originally Posted By: Burt
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
I drive an 84 Civic wagon. It gets along in traffic just fine and no one notices it. It's just another car even though it's 30 years old. In 1960 I took my drivers test in a brand new 60 Falcon Ranchero but if I were to drive a 30 year old Ford then, it would have been a 1930 Model A and that would have stood out as an old car and would not keep up in traffic. In 1960 last year's car looked old, sometimes really old. Today last year's car is just another car.
Ford used the same basic frame for crown vic from 1978-2012. Other cars had long runs, too. Didn't happen before then.
Ford used the basic suspension design from the model T's of 1908 until 1948. Quite a run.
 
Messages
1,250
Location
Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Burt
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
I drive an 84 Civic wagon. It gets along in traffic just fine and no one notices it. It's just another car even though it's 30 years old. In 1960 I took my drivers test in a brand new 60 Falcon Ranchero but if I were to drive a 30 year old Ford then, it would have been a 1930 Model A and that would have stood out as an old car and would not keep up in traffic. In 1960 last year's car looked old, sometimes really old. Today last year's car is just another car.
Ford used the same basic frame for crown vic from 1978-2012. Other cars had long runs, too. Didn't happen before then.
Wellllll- The crown vic had some radically different suspensions over the years. 1998 and up had a four link rear end with a watts link for instance. Hydroforming in the late model frames....etc. So same basic frame is true----trueish anyway.
 
Messages
712
Location
Wenatchee, W.A.
10 years ago when i was 23 i was driving my 1984 Jeep Cherokee with the Hurricane 2.5Liter and i thought it was old. Now 10 years later im driving a variety of Jeeps, a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a 1985 grand Wagoneer and another 1984 Jeep Cherokee that just dont seem that old to me. Guess perception changes with age.
 
Top