If you want an uncomplicated life, you may want to steer around the old car world.


Sure the vehicles come from an uncomplicated mechanical era but, like people, they are also more prone to breakdown as they age.


This weekend we attended one of the last major shows of the season in our neck of the woods and the weather was highly cooperative as we basked in the warm glow of the summer-that-would-not-die all day.


Above average temperatures make people very happy at car shows, but you might get an argument from the cars when it comes to the heat.




Consequently an older vehicle equipped with a stock engine may have a tendency to flood or vapor lock when the heat is on during the day. It came with the territory with them when they were young and fresh out of the factory and they are just as likely to act up in the heat in 2012. Make that more likely to act up unless the owners stray away from stock cooling systems, carbs and mechanical fuel pumps.


The new gasoline is no friend to old cars either, because it has too many changes like too much ethanol and too little (zero) lead, while its octane levels are not good enough to help launch high compression big blocks into orbit from a bygone era like the 60s.


A lot of things can go wrong on an old vehicle when they are run in their stock form and most car guys run with the Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” when they drive them.


They will bring along an extra starter, generator (alternator in some cases) water pump, fuel pump, fuel filter, fan belt and anything else that can be carried in a trunk and installed on the side of a road. Car guys also learn the hard way why they cannot rely on the accuracy of their gas gauges, so many also carry a full jerry can.




The simplicity of the old warriors makes them highly fixable on the side of a road and their shaky track records means that car guys will eventually find themselves on the side of a road with their beloved old rides. This is not an “if” question, this is a “when” question, ask any car guy.


We counted four separate stranded vintage vehicles within a half hour of the show when we left the car show this past Sunday afternoon.


The four of them were lucky enough to have simple solutions to their problems because it was just another case where a warm day was too much to handle for the old road warriors. Every car guy knows that particular adventure story very well if they drive the old iron to shows.




We would like to salute the car guys who jump in their vintage rides and drive to shows. We salute the car guys who believe that their old cars belong on the road and not inside a trailer when they head to a show.


They know they face a few obstacles along the way to a show and they still say; “I bought it to drive it- not drag it around behind my new truck”.

Jim Sutherland

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