The relentless march of time brings with it, apparently, progress. But not all progress is good – and not even good progress is always good. I’ll take It’s a Knockout over X Factor any day.
With a curmudgeonly hurl of freezing cold water over life’s relentless march forward, here are the five things we miss about old cars.
Before touch screens we had actual, physical buttons that you pressed, causing actual things to happen and transmit. Buttons were so great that you could judge a car’s status by how many it had – car companies knew this and made sure to kit their cars out with lots of them. And if you bought the poverty model you’d have a lot of buttons that didn’t work and everyone would know. Unlike touch screens, which all look the same, there were many, many different types of buttons – from the chunky ones in Mercedes to the somewhat less robust ones in Dacias. Buttons were brilliant. Please bring them back.
2. Slim doors In the olden days car doors gave less a sense of safety and security, more a sense of connection with the outside world. Slim was the byword, bereft as they were of safety bars and curtain airbags and the sort of electrical gadgetry that would keep Q occupied for days. What they lacked in fundamental side impact protection they more than made up for in elbow room, a trade off I personally welcome.
3. Say Performance with a Spoiler
Like a X Factor judge gushing crocodile tears over the latest wunderkind in Judges’ Houses, modern fast cars can’t just signal their credentials, they have to emphasise them, underline them, highlight them and generally batter you over the head with them. It wasn’t always thus. Back in the day it was enough to whack some go-faster stripes, mesh headrests and a chin spoiler on a Capri to tell you it was the Quick One. Such subtlety met with nods of appreciation from fellow road users, rather than more emphatic hand-based recognition.
4. Keys At Great Escape Cars we haven’t yet experienced such things as keyless entry and bluetooth connectivity, but we have heard that such giddy technological feats are now commonplace. We’re quite happy with our keys though, because they open the car door only when we ask, they can’t be kidnapped unless we drop them and if they fail we can get another one cut in about 5 minutes. Well, for now anyway. When car makers start replacing perfectly serviceable solutions to problems with more complicated solutions to problems that isn’t progress. It’s silly.
5. The Choke
It’s the perennial item of motoring nostalgia, and with good reason. The switch from Olden Times to Modern Times can pretty much be nailed down to that day in 1992 when The Choke disappeared. Always accompanied by the definitive article, The Choke and its Machiavellian modes of operation were from an era when cars had to be conquered and tamed, not simply driven. Mastering The Choke was as crucial to learning to drive as parallel parking and reversing. Long after cars stopped needing clothes pegs to hold The Choke, this obtuse, frustrating and downright demanding feature of motoring life continued to confound drivers. Today The Choke remains the biggest cause of problems for customers when hiring our cars. But mastery bestows status and for that reason modern cars are that little bit Less Good without The Choke.
If you miss any of these old car features, do not fear – they’re all still available on our fleet of classic hire cars. They’re available to hire by the hour or day or on one of our popular road trips. Find out more at www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.
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