I Refuse to Die Until I Cold Start an Old Race Car Engine

There are very few cars that terrify me more than old race cars. These things are bulky, unsafe, and all kinds of rudimentary—I genuinely don’t know how anyone ever looked at them and said “yeah, I’d race that.” But folks, I’ve found my very specific niche. I just want to start those big boys up.

I recently stumbled on a video dedicated to just that: cold starts of old cars. It was so incredibly specific that I had to click on it, but good lord am I glad I did.

This video is ten minutes of wild vintage cars, throat-punching sound, and machinery. I love that so many of these cars have their engines exposed as they kick to life, that you can actually watch the fire that gives an internal combustion engine its name. These things actually spit fire! The ozone must hate them! I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching an old racer work its magic outside of old film reels of races—and I gotta tell you, my mind is blown.


I’m absolutely here for this. Someone please get me behind the wheel of an old car just so I can start it up. I am actually, genuinely salivating at the idea of getting to figure out how all that old engineering works, at getting to feel my dang bones try to rattle their way out of my body.

If anyone out there knows where I can fulfill this wholehearted desire, please let me know. I’m genuinely thrilled at the idea of doing nothing more than starting a car.

More than anything, I’m glad these cars are still out there doing their thing—used the way a car was destined to be used. Kudos to everyone who maintains them with love and care.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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Three words, friend: Radial. Aircraft. Engine.