There are no rational explanations for owning an old car, or even driving one today. But yet, from an emotional standpoint, the experience is simply magical. Because vintage cars are from a time where they were seen as strong statements.
Published in JANUARY 2020 Classic & Sports Car Magazine | Written by Kenneth E Y Wong
KENNETH WONG 黃恩揚- Classic insider 創辦人，經營高級經典及跑車買賣。對處理高檔車種擁有豐富經驗。曾是香港首間經典車拍賣行的營運總監。經常參與高端古董及跑車的相關活動，貼近市場脈搏
以嬌小、實用、一眼便認得的快意(Fiat) 500為例，當年甫推出便成為意大利隨處可見的人民之車。而愛快羅密歐(Alfa Romeo)就代表了意式激情設計出來的跑車，譬如是Giulietta Spider，那便成為了意大利Dolce Vita的代表作。
There is magic in classic cars. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also deliver one of the most honest driving experiences no modern cars can match. Each classic car has a unique personality, even if they were of the same brand and model, manufactured the same year, no two classic cars are exactly alike, that’s because the assembling of each car was done manually by hand.
There are no rational explanations for owning an old car, or even driving one today. But yet, from an emotional standpoint, the experience is simply magical. Because vintage cars are from a time where they were seen as strong statements. For example:
The Fiat 500 represents the mobility of a whole population like no other Italian automobile. Quaint, practical and with an unmistakable face. Alfa Romeo represents Italian grandeur, sportiness and passion. Giulietta Spider became an icon of Dolce Vita, a symbol of mindfulness and Italianità.
Today, these polarising, distinct characters could not be recreated by simple market research and fulfill the everyday needs of the owner.
Driving Vintage Cars Demands Feeling and Understanding
Vintage cars arouse emotion. To really understand it, you will have to own and drive one yourself. The whole car is reduced to the bare essentials. Only a metal key and the ignition. Stick the key in, manually turn it, and the motor starts. No flip switch, displays, computers or digital speedometers.
Sometimes the motor doesn’t start very smoothly, but rather rattles and coughs like a living being. Only with careful use of the gas pedal can the motor perform flawlessly and consistent. If you get it right on your first try, that pleasing, warm feeling fills your body.
Yet, the next challenge awaits you: the shifter has to be placed over the gearbox with precision and feeling. Your “Oldie” can only be set in motion through skilled use of the clutch. Patience is needed. The motor can only perform when it is warm enough.
Vintage Car Driver Needs Concentration and Driving Skill
What an indescribable feeling as you hear the motor rev up! Curves feel like curves, with every small ascent serving as a signal to switch gears. Driving vintage cars requires concentration and true driving skill. The drive itself will become an experience your senses will never forget. You smell the gas and burned oil, hear the rumbling of the motor and exhaust as you drive on. You shift, hit the clutch and make a turn. Braking is now just another effort and challenge.
Driving suddenly becomes self-purpose. The streets become your playground. Villages become stages and boulevards become runways.
The Magic of Classic Car ownership
A classic car ownership gives one a glimpse into the life of the automobile and conveys the glamorous feeling of life from the past with elegance and subtleness. To sit behind the wheel of a vintage car without modern electronics means to experience driving in its original form. Manual shifting requires a feeling for engine speed, turns require a sense of distance, while the clutch and brake need an active driver.
To purchase, own, and drive a vintage car is to manifest enthusiasm in cars. It helps us embrace the best parts of ourselves—the excited, curious, and gleeful bits that too many people abandon after childhood. The results are unquantifiable. You can’t attach a dollar amount to executing a perfect double de-clutch downshift, just as you can’t for the happiness you get from food, drink, art, or music.
A classic car invites you to slow down. Let the scenery drift past you. Stop. Inhale. Exhale. And Enjoy. We are talking about driving in its original form.