There was an ancient time when kids and their parents packed into an unremarkable sedan or station wagon and hit the road for a summer holiday.
The goal was simple: get to Point B (typically a godforsaken hellhole overrun with other tourists and their kids) as soon as possible-and arrive with the same number of passengers in the family chariot.
The trip itself needed to be punctuated with car sickness and countless kid battles in the finest tradition of boredom laced heavily with turf wars inside the hot airless automotive passenger chamber of horrors. These were the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer from the past for many kids from a bygone era. We are able to remember them with a real sense of fondness because they were family memories.
Most of us now look back on those days with a sense of nostalgia because these were the salad days of our childhood and now our family roll calls may not take as long these days. We were just kids, so we just took it for granted that our family numbers would be the same for the rest of our lives.
There are very few roads that will take us back to that time and place in our lives-but an old car may get a person closer to the time travel machine required to take this fantasy land journey because they provide plenty of fond memories from the past every time we are lucky enough to become a passenger in them.
MyStarCollectorCar decided to list five good ways to make a trip down memory lane in an old car have more impact for car guys.
The first MyStarCollectorCar recommendation is buy a car that was a part of your childhood memories. The best way is to buy the actual car but that gets as likely as a date with Samantha from ‘Bewitched’ as the years pile up on your personal odometer, so buy a reasonable facsimile car from that era of your childhood.
The second MyStarCollectorCar recommendation is do not equip the car with any improvements that were not in the original car. We’re talking about a barebones car in most cases-one where an AM radio tops the very meager list of options in the car from a time when we were kids. Additionally, vent and manually operated windows would trump the non-existent AC in the family car from most of our pasts.
The third MyStarCollectorCar recommendation is run over all of the passengers’ communication devices with the old car. This rule should be particularly important to adults with children or grandchildren in the car because you want their undivided attention on the road trip. Running over their state-of-the-art communication devices will be a great way to get their undivided attention right from the start.
The fourth MyStarCollectorCar recommendation is use only paper road maps to drive to the destination. Paper road maps are no longer a big part of the gas station inventory in most cases because they have become obsolete in today’s electronic age. Today’s gas stations are mainly junk food kiosks designed to make fat kids even rounder so a search for road maps may have to start before the trip. The fact your old car has already flattened all of the communication devices (including the ones with GPS apps) makes the road maps even more important for the road trip’s success.
The fifth and final MyStarCollectorCar recommendation is send the fattest kid in the car on a hike to the nearest gas station when the fuel gauge in the old car yields a bad estimate or best guess. The kid will benefit from the exercise and build personal memories along the way. Better yet, just go with the kid to make sure the kid walks right by the junk food while at the gas station. Unless they need the extra energy to carry the heavy metal retro 10-gallon gas can back to the retro car.
Thus ends MyStarCollectorCar’s brief lecture on an ideal road trip in an old car.
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.