There are some excellent reasons why filling up your vintage ride will cost more than your mortgage payment this summer.
However, we at MyStarCollectorCar will attempt to steer clear of the fuel crisis grifters and list some ways to keep your retro vehicles on the road as much as possible this summer. The obvious solution is a series of upgrades to the old school engineering in your old car.
The list includes a complete powertrain swap to a more fuel-efficient 21st century version, a partial swap to a fuel injection upgrade, an overdrive system via an add-on unit or newer tranny with extra gears, a simple swap to an electronic ignition, along with a host of other performance or body mods that will cheat the air resistance.
A radically different list applies to car guys who choose to stick with the stock versions of their vintage rides. These cats do not want to change history in any way when it comes to their vintage vehicles. For them, any change to their vehicles’ originality would be like scribbling a goatee on Mona Lisa.
Many car guys who subscribe to the factory stock philosophy still want to drive their aging rides in 2022. It’s an even more complicated decision now that a visit to a gas station has become a legalized holdup due to outrageous price hikes created by soulless political weasels with a questionable green agenda. Apologies for the slide back into the root cause for 2022 gas hikes.
The cold hard facts are most retro rides were built during an era when gas supplies were plentiful and cheap–give or take the first politically charged gas shortage that began in 1973. Therefore, many factory vehicles from days of yore paid less attention to miles per gallon and more attention to miles per hour in the grand scheme of things.
20 miles per gallon was a gold standard for vintage rides-and it was a figure that set the bar very high for older vehicles with considerably less fuel efficiency in the old days.
20 miles per gallon would get you fired if you were held responsible for these gas economy figures in 2022, so a stock automotive survivor from ancient times requires a big fuel investment at today’s pump prices. The big question is how can a car guy deal with gas prices that are now dispensed at shock and awe prices?
The first order of business is make sure your vintage ride is running at peak efficiency. Points, plugs, condenser, air cleaner filter all need to be in excellent condition-and finely tuned in terms of the electrical components.
Additionally, the carburetor(s) needs to operate precisely in peak form, not an easy task in view of today’s ethanol-laced gas that is brutal on carb innards. Nevertheless, careful attention to these components will help make an old engine run at maximum efficiency.
Bear in mind the overall condition of the entire inner mechanical components (such as the piston rings and valves) is also critical to the overall performance of an old vehicle.
Even correct tire pressure will play a role in the ancient driving machine’s mileage.
One of the knee-jerk reactions to Me Decade gas shortages was 55 mph freeway speed limits during the 1970s. The upside to lower speeds is higher gas mileage, so some car guys may have to consider easing off the gas pedal on a road trip to save gas. We can be certain that one of the light-footed car guys is unlikely to be Sammy Hagar of ‘I Can’t Drive 55’ fame.
Our final recommendation for car guys? Find your distance comfort zone for car shows in your area and attend as many events as possible in your vintage ride. The distance may not be as great compared to previous years, but what you save in miles per gallon will still pay off handsomely in smiles per gallon.
Just remember to avert your eyes at the gas pumps.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.