By far and large, classic cars are worthless. As James May once famously said, if they were not, they would still be manufactured.

The cars we drive today are faster, offer better handling, are more reliable, as well as more comfortable, and are cleaner, safer and more economical, besides being a lot cheaper to buy. They are, basically, better in just about every single way. Yet, in spite of this, the clearly inferior vintage car not only still exists, but could even be said to be positively thriving. Why?


In much the same way that some make up styles remain the epitome of class, and games like bingo remain hugely popular, the faultless designs of vintage cars still draw the eye.

Vintage cars were created in an analogue world, with designers using pen and paper to form elegant shapes and the flowing lines that today’s computer-based design software would simply not allow for. The designs from the previous eras belong there, wherein those creating cars were not encumbered by the constraints of having to pass crash tests, or the impediments of having to take aerodynamic drag coefficients into account. They could focus on the time’s moods and trends instead, and embody them in all of their elegance.

Modern Production Techniques

The manner in which modern cars are produced sees a lot of the character of new cars removed, as well.

The mass production systems are completed by soulless robots and computers, with programmes producing identical parts every minute of every day with the sole aim of meeting targets and quotas as set by the manufacturers in order to maximise shareholder profit and overall efficiency. There’s a different quality to vintage cars that the modern Toyota or Hyundai simply couldn’t match.


Classic Car Production was Overseen by Craftsmen

The production of classic cars, on the other hand, was a more manual process, which was performed by craftsmen using the tools they had spent years learning in order to create the panels required by hand, and by eye. The results of this have seen their creations withstanding the hardships of daily usage and the weathering wrought by the passage of time. Not all are like this, obviously, but this is what separates the best vintage vehicles from our modern means of transportation.

Safety and Efficiency Improved, but Feel and Character is Lost

The modern systems that are in use in car production these days have resulted in machines that are much more efficient and a lot safer than they used to be, but certainly, on some level at least, they have robbed vehicles of the feel and character which sees vintage models so sought after so many years later.

The older machines are the real deal: delicately balanced mechanical systems that are made up of hundreds, or even thousands, of individual parts, all tuned to work in harmony. The driver was a direct extension of the machine, too, more so than today, required to provide inputs and receive unfiltered feedback directly through the controls. This resulted in an authentic experience that is simply not possible with the cars we make today.

Fortunately, there are plenty of vintage of cars still on the road, so we can keep enjoying them in all their glory for years to come.