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There are many factory features that are the root cause of a heated debate in car guy circles, depending upon whether said features are embraced or erased by the vehicles’ owners.

There is no hard and fast rule about retro style cues, but (generally speaking) the factory features represent a war between original and modified vintage vehicle philosophies.

MyStarCollectorCar takes pride in our uncanny ability to straddle a fence in car guy debates, so we decided to illustrate five straight-from-the-factory features that heat up a car guy conversation.

Jim Sutherland

The first item up for debate are clearance lights on a vintage pickup truck. Clearance lights on the retro trucks’ roofs look very cool to many car guys, while others view them as extra hours of body work when they are removed, filled, and sanded from the history of the truck.

The choice to remove or retain the clearance lights is rightfully decided by the guy who owns the pickup, but they are a source of debate in the car hobby.

The second contentious item on MyStarCollectorCar’s list are door handles in a classic “yes or no” debate. Most high-end custom rides do not have door handles, mainly because they interfere with the overall flow and style of the finished product in the eyes of their builders.

Pro-door handle car guys would disagree with the idea door handles that have been “disappeared” in the same sense as political opponents in hardline South American countries during a bygone era. The keep-‘em car guys would also lean heavily toward the factory door handle feature in retro rides.

The third factory feature that incites car guy conflict is exterior bright work and badges. Many of the bygone automotive eras feature generous amounts of exterior bling that denoted the extra cost of the vehicle based solely on its shiny trim.

There are many car guys who love the extra bright work on a vintage vehicle because it celebrates and represents the period in which the retro vehicle was built.

The other side of the bling coin is exterior bright work may not mesh with the owner’s custom vision for the retro ride. Many car guys like to eliminate the shiny trim parts to showcase the overall style of the vehicle, including bumpers that may get modified so they fit closer to the car or truck and are painted to match the overall color scheme.

These two very different viewpoints about bling may cause a car guy dust-up in the hobby.

MyStarCollectorCar’s fourth point is the ride height of the vehicle. There are many car guys who believe the vehicle needs to be able to scrape newly-mown grass while others love the factory ride height. The contentious point is whether the slammed look makes the retro vehicle look very ugly or very cool.

Beauty is most assuredly in the eyes of the beholder in this debate, but the new age of air ride systems provides a variety of height choices that may prevent car guy pushing-and-shoving matches at shows.

Our fifth and final point in the factory features is a roof chop. The debate rages between no chop to how much metal to chop from the original roof pillars. The roof chop is common for pre-war custom ride projects because the builder wants to give the vehicles a lower and sleeker style.

However, in the eyes of other car guys, the need for a lower roofline becomes less urgent over the decades because vehicles became lower and sleeker at the factory. Non-chop car guys do not believe newer post-war vehicles look better with a lower roofline, plus they are impractical on the road because of the reduced visibility issues.

In the final analysis, the car hobby has only one hard and fast rule that is not open for debate here at MyStarCollectorCar: car guys are free to make their own choices the very second their names appear as the buyer on a bill of sale. 

Jim Sutherland

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.