- Tires. Cars used to routinely have blow-outs and tires would regularly need air. To show you how much better tires have gotten over the years, vehicles used to have full-sized spares in the trunk. As tire technology improved, they were replaced with small “donut” type pares. Today, some vehicles have self-inflating tires and many don’t even include a spare. Now that’s progress!
- Dashboards. Have you ever seen some of these old metal dashboards? They may have been great to cook eggs on in the summer but safety was not exactly a priority.
- Fuel Mileage. The fact is most older cars were gas guzzlers. Getting over 20 miles a gallon was the exception, not the rule. Muscle cars of the 70’s were particularly brutal on fuel, getting perhaps 12 miles per gallon. Of course, when gas was 29.9 cents per gallon, mileage wasn’t as big of a concern as it is today.
- Seats. Plastic vinyl seats used to be common and could be VERY uncomfortable in the heat of the sun. With few exceptions, seats had few contours and stiff bench style seats were common.
- Windows. Even today’s un-tinted windows keep an interior cooler that the old clear glass ones. Talk about a green-house effect. Plus most of today’s cars have power windows.
- Infotainment. If your classic car had a radio it was likely just an AM one. Today’s vehicles have USB ports, satellite radios, GPS, internet access and even video players.
- Rust-Resistance. You see fewer and fewer cars that have rust issues today. In fact, old classified ads in the north would proudly claim a vehicle was a “Florida car”, meaning it was never exposed to road salt, ice and snow.
- Safety. It is hard to imagine a happy family traveling at 60 miles per hour in some of these older vehicles. Metal dashboards, giant unforgiving steering wheels, and chrome bumpers? No thank you. I’ll take my safety harness, safer bumpers and airbags thank you.
- Motor Durability. People used to brag about a vehicle that made it to 100,000 miles. With even minimal maintenance, todays vehicles can routinely reach that mark.
- Size. Many of these older cars were GIANT. They were difficult to steer and taking a driving test in a full size car like that was a real challenge. Most of today’s cars are smaller, can be more easily maneuvered and more are being equipped with a “self-parking” option.
Classic cars may have had more personality and style than today’s cars but to suggest they were “better” is not reality. The next time you hear someone say “they don’t make them like that anymore” you may want to say “thank goodness!”
Another thing that didn’t exist back in the day is online traffic school or defensive driving courses. These types of courses can be of financial benefit to drivers who got traffic tickets they want to get removed from their driving record or drivers who want to get a defensive driving discount.