You wouldn’t ride a horse down Main Street, and soon you won’t drive a collector car down your town’s main drag.
Twenty years ago, I wrote that in the future we would treat our old cars like horses. Our cars would be trailered to roads that were appropriate for them, we would use them there — and then trailer them home.
That future is now.
Increasingly, our old cars are simply unsuited for the mix of everyday traffic.
A few years ago, I had a chance to go overnight horse camping near Gunnison, Colorado. Bradley and I mounted up, and with our guide and a pack horse for supplies, headed up into the Rockies.
The horses were in their natural element. Their hooves clattered on the rocks as we crossed streams. We saw no other life aside from a few deer and some eagles.
With today’s classic car tours, we are creating the same situation for our old cars.
The second annual SCM 1000 is an excellent example of putting old cars in the proper old-car environment.
All 45 slots are filled for the tour, and there is a waiting list. The route, which includes spectacular scenery from Oregon and Washington, is set.
As Porsches from 1973 and earlier are featured, we see a preponderance of 356 and 911 cars in the field. However other marques will be represented as well.
The newest car in the field will be 46 years old.
How great it will be to see 45 classic cars on the back roads they were born for. Driving 60 mph will be a thrill — 70 mph or more adventuresome. Curves that a modern economy car would take in stride can become white-knuckle experiences as skinny little tires struggle to find grip.
Their great, finned-drum brakes will be more than adequate to stop the cars when the cars in front have drum brakes as well.
Expressway time will be limited. Almost all of the tour’s 1,000 miles will be on the curving two-lane roads these machines were made for.
I would rather have 1,000 miles of quality time in my old cars once a year than spend a second thrashing them in modern traffic.
It’s become an inescapable part of the old car experience that to fully enjoy our cars, we need to take them out on the kinds of roads they were designed for. There, surrounded by similar archaic machines, car and driver both are in their element.