I was driving home the other night after golfing with some buddies, and as usual, my mind started to wander. There’s something about nighttime driving that I’ve always enjoyed, but something just seemed… off. I realized that it came down to the car I was driving. As I’ve mentioned before, my daily driver Cadillac is comfortable and powerful, but it’s also a little sterile. It wallows a bit (especially as the miles have increased and the struts have worn), it’s quiet and the ride is smooth, and the steering doesn’t provide a lot of feedback. As a result, I don’t get the same sort of tactile feeling that I get from any of the old cars that I’ve driven. Whether that’s just nostalgia talking (driving as a teenager wasn’t the chore that it often is as an adult) or the fact that road noise, steering effort, audible exhaust, and other “annoyances” have been engineered out of newer cars, rendering them easier to drive but less direct.
I’m struggling a bit to put my thoughts into words here, but there’s something intangible and almost romantic about the incandescent glow of an old instrument panel and the steady thrum of a V8 that makes me happy, and is missing from any new car. Apparently Murliee Martin was thinking the same thing, as he posted a similar sentiment on TTAC yesterday. As he points out, old cars have plenty of faults, but sometimes the right road and the right song can overcome those failures.