A few months ago, Jalopnik wrote an article about why old cars suck, but they looked at old cars as daily drivers and nothing else. I think this is the wrong way to look at it.
Sure this is fine if your talking about some mid-seventies Buick whatever-it-is, but what about the great classic racers of the 50s and 60s, or the beautiful vintage luxury sedans of the 1930s. I'm sure those are "old cars" too.
The thing is, old cars aren't just daily drivers. You don't drive a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in LA traffic, you take it to Laguna Seca in mid August. I'm certainly not saying classic cars shouldn't be driven, I'm just saying not to treat them as just any other car.
If you look at the subject from a purely logical perspective, one of the greatest racers ever, the Ford GT40 MkII has nothing on a 911 GT2 RS. The 911 is faster, brakes better, handles better, and is almost definitely more reliable. But be honest, tell me that you would take the 911 over the GT40. If you can, you may as well stop here. This is just another example of something classic cars have that new ones just don't, whether that be beauty, prestige, eminence, or something else.
Think about the Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance. Why would it center around "old cars" if they really were only "old cars?" Classic cars, especially pre-war, represent when the design of a car wa barely, if at all, hampered by all the guidelines that make cars like the new Passat come along. A 1930's Era Delahaye bodied by Figoni and Filaschi represents absolute freedom from anything, aside from moving, that could possibly limit the car's styling. That is why vintage cars are awesome. A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was designed for racing and nothing else. There were no crumple zones, there were no airbags, there probably weren't even seat belts in the original design, and that is why classic cars are awesome. Take the first supercar, the Lamborghini Miura. It was just meant to look good. It was illogical. When the tank ran low, the nose lifted at freeway speeds, but it's still one of the best looking post-war cars ever, and I would take one over one hundred Murcielagos any day of the year. This is why "old cars" are awesome. Total freedom from any design limitations, except some safety concerns in the late sixties.
And what about a prestigious history? Just imagine driving the Ferrari Dino 156 "Sharknose" that Phi Hill won the 1961 F1 World Championship in, or the GT40 of Bruce McLaren (although Ken Miles really should have won the ‘66 Le Mans). Just think about taking Ayrton Senna's McLaren around even just one lap of the Monaco Grand Prix, or any track for that matter. But not only racing, imagine driving Clark Gable's Duesenberg, Ettore Bugatti's Type 57SC.
The cars themselves are great too. The unbelievably successful 250 GTO wasn't so successful because every other car was terrible and couldn't take a corner without rocketing off the track in a giant cloud of tire smoke. It was successful because it was great. The Duesenberg SJ is considered one of the greatest American cars ever made because it is amazing. It was the automotive equivalent of unrivaled excellence. It surpassed anything else on the road, and still can. That is truly why these cars are awesome.
What about the companies? Packard, Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, Pierce Arrow, Talbot Lago, Delahaye, Delage. All these companies are out of business, and many have been for over fifty years. This does not mean they did not make excellent cars. Just owning a remnant of one of these great companies, an artifact showing that there was a time when every new car on the road available to those outside the realm of the ultra rich (although Duesenberg was limited to this range) didn't have to be a boring econobox or overly arrogant green gas-whatever-whatever-hybrid-I'm saving the world-boring-box. I would literally trade every Prius in the world and that will ever be produced for a Packard Parisian Fastback Coupe, styled by Pininfarina (It's real, look it up).
So, why are classic cars great, because often times they are not based on anything, they are not a remake of a previous car, they are how they should be. Designed to look good, or designed to perform, designed to do what they are meant to not just to be good, but better than anything else on the road. In the thirties, every Auburn Boattail Speedster was tested to exceed one hundred miles an hour before it was delivered. That, if for no other reason, is why classic cars are awesome.
They also sound great too. Just saying.
This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"