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Everything old is new again.

August, 2011

Everything old is new again. Why vintage cars are ‘in vogue’

Ford Shelby Mustangs, 57 Chevrolets, Ford Gran Torinos, 1926 Bentley Speed Six Tourers…  If any or all of these car models get the little motor in your heart racing, we’re sorry to inform you: you’ve got a retro car obsession.

You may already have known this (the shiny, four-wheeled machine sitting in your garage which you refer to as your “baby” may have been a dead giveaway). But why do some people have such a passion for old-school cars? Whether you dig cars from the vintage era of the 1920’s or if you prefer the ‘classic’ models of the 1960s and 70s, we suggest some reasons to explain the retro car craze.

Humans have always loved “vintage”

It’s been said by many experts that humans have always been fascinated by things that have come before us, as well as by things which are extremely rare and valuable. English explorers and archaeologists searched for artefacts and treasures from ancient civilisations, Renaissance artists took inspiration from the artworks of classical Greece and Rome, and countless modern buildings and homes have been built to resemble the architecture of previous decades or centuries. We’re fascinated with the way that people did things before our time, and retro cars are no different.  For many, owning their favourite retro car is like owning a little piece of history, especially if the same kind of car has been used in their favourite film or owned by a certain famous hero of theirs.

It’s a quest for individuality

In a world where everyone’s wearing the same clothes, shopping at the same stores and watching the same thing on TV, a vintage car is no doubt one way to set yourself apart from the crowd. Some people may have their ‘regular’ car for every day, while saving their retro gem for special occasions, such as taking long driving trips along winding coastal highways with Elvis Presley blaring from the radio.

Longing for something ‘authentic’

Many see their cars as a solid, physical manifestation of their nostalgia for the ‘good-old-days’ of the past, whether imagined or not.

“In an age of ‘invisible’ downloads from the iTunes library, is it surprising we long for the days when buying a record was an event?” says John Walsh in his great article in The Independent magazine on why we love vintage. “Retro is all about ownership, solidity and lastingness, of having some concrete possessions in an increasingly virtual world.”

People’s cars become a throwback to the days of “authenticity” in a world of endless copies – Even though, ironically, cars were the first things to be mass-produced, and the car itself has been a symbol of Fordism and production-line manufacturing since the 1920s.

A happy hobby

Cars are a very important, special and personal thing for many people, and some choose to make a hobby collecting and restoring old cars. Many people can attest to the sheer joy it gives them to maintain their car in peak condition, regularly servicing it, driving it and talking to it in their garage on any given weekend. Some people have even made a career of it, sharing their joy and passion for old cars with others by restoring and selling various models.

Some people love vintage cameras, some love vintage fashion, and some just love vintage cars. While it’s not for everyone, it’s easy to see the appeal of owning something from a bygone era. As John Walsh says, “retro is a loving exhumation, a bringing back to the light, of the world we saw – or fancied we saw – around us, before the modern world kicked in” Whether you’re old enough to remember such a golden era before the ‘modern’ world or not, sometimes it’s just fun to drive something a little bit different.

Why do you think vintage cars are so “in vogue”?

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