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The car show season is in full swing and the old road warriors are back for another round of survival of the fittest.


The best way for old rides to get fit is a new lease on life with a resto-mod.


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Resto-mods will give a car the best of both worlds: old school classic looks and modern engineering under the vintage sheet metal.


However there are many owners who want to keep the old cars in their original condition and would not change a thing on their rides.


They want to enjoy the entire driving experience from the past and who can really blame them? We have few opportunities to get this close to automotive history in its purest form in our new high tech world.


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There are also many owners who refuse to turn their old rides into trailer queens that spend more time riding down the road than driving down the road. MSCC holds these kind of owners in high esteem because they tempt fate every time they climb behind the wheel and hit the open road.


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These guys are the adventurers in the old car hobby because they are willing to take a chance on an aging vehicle and embark on their own adventure. Their adventure will include many obstacles based upon the car’s age and the impending trip.


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Driving a survivor car from the past means one thing: its original engineering was not meant for modern traffic conditions. It may overheat in heavy stop and go traffic, it will not stop on a dime when somebody inevitably cuts off the car in traffic, plus it will not run as efficiently on today’s neutered unleaded gas.


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Vintage survivor cars may not be able to stay in the fast lane on today’s highways because they may have been built during an era when 40-50 mph was the maximum speed on most highways. A heavy flathead six engine from the past was not meant to run with the big dogs of today.


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The game changed with the introduction of the modern overhead valve V-8 engine but a 50 or 60 year old V-8 engine is still a gamble at higher traffic speeds because of the age of the mechanical components.


So what’s a car guy to do when it comes to old rides and the 21st century reality? For starters, we recommend the road less travelled for these cars. The philosophy behind the original rides is the experience of the old cars, so it does not really matter how long it takes to get to the destination.


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The back roads offer a less frantic pace that will allow the old car owner to relax and enjoy the ride without the crazed frenzy of the freeway.


MSCC also recommends that owners carry tools, booster cables, flashlight, a few extra parts, and a can of gas (don’t believe most vintage gas gauges) with them on road trips.


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Our list of parts would include fan belt, fuel filter, fuel pump, water pump, generator/alternator, points and starter if possible because they are usually easily installed on most old rides-even on the side of a road.


Include other things like emergency flashing lights and a safety vest because distracted drivers are lethal-give yourself a chance at the side of the road.


One final item for a road trip in a vintage ride: a cell phone.


Don’t fight it-you need to carry some high tech 21st tools in your low tech rides.


Jim Sutherland

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