Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press

Automobile fan in Merced has reasons to be thankful

We should be very thankful for many things all around us. But for some folks the fourth Thursday of November is the only time of the year that Thanksgiving is observed.

I think thankfulness should be a daily occurrence and practiced many times each day.

I have many things I am especially grateful for, such as my wife, family, pet, good health, comfort and hobbies. I also am very thankful for our shiny 1-year-old sport utility vehicle which still looks and acts brand-new. Driving this car is an ongoing pleasure. Modern vehicles are much safer, reliable, economical and comfortable than vehicles from decades ago.

Still there are quite a few plusses in the Motor Musings realm as well. I am very thankful that the love of vintage vehicles was instilled in me many years ago. My idea of a good day could be checking out car show videos on You Tube, reading my favorite enthusiast magazine or, even better, getting out to see these rolling jewels “in the flesh.”

It’s heartening how many old cars and trucks there are out there that I can enjoy. I even get to drive a few of them once in a while. Just being able to walk around cars parked at an event is a big thrill, even if they are not running or moving.

Even more praise should be lavished for the circle of friends I have made in the old car realm over the years and many opportunities during the year to enjoy cruise nights and other special automobile events.

My motoring buddies and I speak the same language and are more than willing to sit down for a while to share insights and aspirations. They are accepting of other points of view and are eager to share details about the car’s engine, drivetrain and other details.

We should also be thankful for the people willing to organize and run old car events. Because they are so busy with countless details they rarely get to enjoy the event themselves and that’s a shame. Many folks, myself included, are blissfully ignorant about the amount of work necessary to stage a successful car show.

I am also thankful it’s a free country, especially in the choices of old cars and trucks that we can own and work on. Folks almost universally are understanding about my love of Studebakers, Ramblers and old Plymouths, along with the more-popular Pontiac GTOs, Chevrolet Camaros, Dodge Challengers and Ford Mustangs.

I can’t recall a time when somebody bad-mouthed a particular brand of car at an event, enough so that it would make others feel uncomfortable. We are free to pick our own kind of old car and truck, the color of paint it’s covered with and the tires and wheels they roll on. It’s good there isn’t much criticism or ridicule evident in the antique auto domain.

Some people like their cars just like they came from the factory, maybe still sporting the original anemic six-cylinder engines, spartan-looking interiors and frumpy wheel-tire combinations. I am also thankful that Detroit made four-door sedans and station wagons. However, I am running across a large number of folks who want lots of muscle under the hood with beefed-up suspensions to take on twisting roads and open stretches of highway. it’s great that there is room for everybody in this wide world of car collecting.

It’s a little distressing to see the high prices sought on cars for sale these days. On the other hand it’s good to know that antique automobiles are esteemed and treasured and are likely will be in demand for decades to come.

Along these lines, I am very thankful that there is a thriving hobby for people who build and collect miniature models of American cars and trucks. It’s great that many gearheads prize vintage signs, old gas pumps and hubcaps. Models and manifolds sure keep my interest level at a high pitch.

So here are some suggestions that auto aficionados can put into practice on Thanksgiving Day. They can drive their 1932 Ford over to Uncle George’s house for turkey and dressing. After having more than enough to eat, those families and friends can take a spin around town in that vintage vehicle, celebrating the freedom to be able to enjoy our old cars.

Doane Yawger of Merced is a semi-retired newspaper reporter and editor.

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