What is it About Old Iron?

Jul 12, 2012 View Comments by

Why do we get so turned on over old cars, bikes, tractors, or just about any other rusted, busted old heaps? Do we see the possibilities of what they can be, or what they once were? Are we looking at them through rose tinted glasses, which comfortably distort reality? It’s mostly us “guys” that seem to be afflicted by this bug, I really don’t see too many women mooning over a 66′ Harley, or a tricked out 68′ Mustang, so it’s got to be a testosterone thing. I watched this Fourth of July as over 700 guys drug out their classic machines in 107-degree heat for an annual show. Chrome so hot it would brand you; tires melting into the asphalt, made no difference, 700 machines, and as many spectators, all being char-boiled. Not even good old common sense could keep even me away, again, mostly us guys.

I suppose our attraction is to that time in our lives that this old iron represents, a better and simpler time, before mass technology, and all our current responsibilities and problems. A time when our biggest worry was a zit, or what we got on the math final. A place where twenty bucks would fill your tank AND pay for a kick’n weekend. I guess that’s what makes these “classics” worth ten times what they sold for new, and why an old Honda will get more looks than a new Harley. Make no mistake, nostalgia sells, but does it have any shelf life, and can it really make you 24 again? Yes, and no.

Yes; they have a “limited” shelf life, usually as long as those who can relate to them as their high school dream machines are alive. That’s why machines that were the cat’s pajamas in the 20s are dropping in value, stuck in a market that really is dieing off. And no, they won’t make you 24 again, that boat sailed and hit an ice burg long ago.

Example: about five years ago I bought the very same car I took on my honeymoon thirty years before. Not “like” the same car, but the very same 1966 Corvette coupe we got married in! I had to sell it when our first child came along. Then I got all of about $3,500.00 for it, and now I paid $18,500.00 to get it back. Oh my, what a time warp; the feel, the smell, the heat pouring into the passenger compartment, vent windows instead of AC, that rock hard ride, I had forgotten all those pleasures, my wife hadn’t, she wouldn’t even ride in the car with me, to make things worse, some kid in a tuner blew my doors off! Make me feel 24, no, it made me feel like 74, you really can’t go “back” it’s best to live in the time and place you are. Don’t get me wrong I still love that old stuff, I still have (and ride) my 1970 Honda SL350, thing is, I bought it new and have never been without it, so there are no…faded memories. I know what to expect every time I throw a leg over, and enjoy it for what it “is” and not what I want it to be.

Ride on, the best is yet to come.

P.S. I sold the Vette for $24,500.00 two years later.

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!