What I Miss About Cars

June 11th, 2013

Jaguar E-Type

I miss cars.

I miss cars that are just cars and nothing else. I miss cars that don’t drive for us. I miss cars that don’t respond to our voices. I miss cars with dials and knobs and levers and manually adjustable heat controls.

I miss cars that aren’t just drivable iPhones.

I miss cars without touchscreens, without heated steering wheels and without cooled seats. I miss cars that go fast just for the sake of going fast. I miss cars with a certain unrefined nature, the kind of cars where the smell of gasoline and the sound of exhaust find their way into the cabin.

I miss cars with two keys, one for the ignition, one for the door locks. I miss cars that need a key to start. I miss cars that need keys.

I miss changing spark plugs and oil filters, serpentine belts and radiator hoses. I miss changing my own headlights and those little glass taillight bulbs. I miss opening the hood and seeing the engine, rather than a simple slab of plastic with an automaker’s logo on it. I miss cars with custom valve covers and enough room in the engine bay to get in and work if needed. I miss burning my forearms on hot headers.

hot_headers_bmw

I miss the days before Sync, uConnect, UVO, BMW Apps and mBrace.

I miss cars that don’t park themselves and cars that let me check my own blind spot. I miss cars that don’t have a beeping fit when I back up in a crowded parking lot or when I change lanes on a highway. I miss cars where the only rear-view camera is the mirror hanging on the windshield.

I miss economy cars that were light and simple, and I miss sports cars that were light and fast.

I miss cars that had spec sheets focused on mechanics rather than number of USB ports. I miss cars that were built to be cars, cars infused with the passion for driving and the need to be driven.

It seems the new cars of today are built for entertainment, while the used cars of yesterday were made for driving.

I miss cars.

What do you miss about cars?

-tgriffith

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  1. Yassar Khattak
    June 11th, 2013 at 10:00 | #1

    My car is still like that :) a 1977 caprice! But about 99 percent of the cars in Pakistan are the same too. The only luxury we have is ABS and Airbags.

  2. Randy
    June 11th, 2013 at 07:12 | #2

    Those cars are still out there, you just need to find one. Plenty of MG’s, Triumphs, Miatas for sports cars. If you like the dependabilty of a car with a computer-managed engine, you can still get light and fast with something like a Toyota MR2 Spyder or Porsche Boxster.

    And having actually lived through the era of carburated, no-computer cars, I can tell you I DON’T miss yearly (or more often) tuneups, spark plug changes, yearly coolant changes, carburator problems (that E-type you show was a nightmare to get the carbs balanced), tires that only lasted 20,000 miles, and the myriad of other problems with older cars.

    I remember tuning up my first car, a 1955 chevy convertible with a straight 6 engine. I could actually stand inside the engine compartment on one side to work on it. If you want the exact opposite (and a sight guaranteed to frighten the most hardenend mechanic) look up Jag XJS V12 cars on Cargurus and look at the picture of the engine compartment. Looks like an aerial shot of an oil refinery.

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