MAY 10 FIVE FOR FRIDAY: MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR LISTS FIVE THINGS TO CONSIDER ON A ROAD TRIP IN AN OLD CAR

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A road trip in any retro ride is an enormous challenge, but therein lies the irresistible charm of a long journey in an old vehicle that is well past its best-before date, specifically the risk factor intertwined with the spirit of adventure.

For the record, we consider a road trip to be any distance that requires at the very least an hour to get from Point A to Point B while pushing the retro ride to the max along the way. In other words, the owner must drive his old rig at speeds well above his comfort zone. The experience is not for the faint of heart.

The owner need not run at the front of the pack on a road trip, but he also needs to avoid creating traffic jams because the owner believes he and his retro ride cannot handle the pace. It is a tricky process that required healthy doses of guts, reality and consideration for other motorists on the same road.

A seasoned driver in a retro vehicle has learned how to approach a road trip from previous experience and will consider several factors along the way. We at MyStarCollectorCar have learned from our many road misadventures and would like to offer five things that have jumped out at us over many long journeys in vintage vehicles.

The first thing that factors into a long road trip is the width of the road, with particular emphasis on a highway’s shoulders. Imagine a scenario where your old car breaks down on a road and you need to find a safe place to park before it loses momentum. It’s a situation we at MyStarCollectorCar know all too well because we have broken down in old vehicles on busy (and non-busy) roadways with no shoulders and suddenly encountered a situation that required an immediate solution.

Our solutions ranged from pushing the vehicle to the closest driveway or exit road, or making the old beast straddle the ditch, depending upon the distance to the next side route. There is no perfect game plan in these circumstances, but luck will factor heavily into the equation.

No shoulders on roads should be duly noted by every car guy who chooses to use them-and he better bring along a good emergency game plan.

The second factor on a long road trip is any situation that involves peaks and valleys because an old vehicle may need plenty of momentum to scale a steep hill, along with decent brakes on the downhill portion of the program. The basic rule is gas pedal to the metal on the climb and hope the brake pedal does not hit the floor metal on the descent.

It’s not exactly a state secret that vintage vehicles in stock form do not perform as well as a new vehicle, so we at MyStarCollectorCar strongly advise their owners to accept their limitations on an up-down-roundy-round road trip.

The third issue on a long road trip involves a heathy dose of skepticism because everything may not be as it appears in an old vehicle, including the gas gauge. The rule of thumb? Do not place blind trust in a vintage ride’s gas gauge because you will inevitably end up as an unpleasantly surprised pedestrian if you put too much faith in the old war pony’s fuel gauge. In a related matter, bring along a full jerry can if you are not into long walks.

The fourth piece of valuable advice from us here at MyStarCollectorCar expands on the unreliable gauge issue. Do not trust the rest of the warning devices on your vintage vehicle, especially the idiot lights because you may not notice the oil pressure warning light when it’s flickering -but you will definitely notice the oil light when it and the pistons all go solid. Also, pay attention to overheating sights, sounds and smells because the old car’s temperature gauge (or idiot light) is not your friend and will gladly put a figurative knife in your back at a very inopportune moment.

The fifth and final addition to our list is make sure you have tunes in the car, whether they come from the old car’s factory radio or a modern sound system with your own choices for tunes. It is a well-known scientific fact that loud music will cover up disturbing mechanical noises in a vintage vehicle on a long road trip.

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. 

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