Gerardo Cammarata of Classic Car Hunter SA has restored nearly 50 classic cars over the years. He isn’t really a fan of modern cars as he believes that old school will always be cool.
If you read my earlier columns you may have noted that I’m really not a fan of most modern cars. I have touched on some of the reasons for my distaste in a previous piece. In today’s fast paced world, manufacturers have perfected the art of what I call ‘the mirage’. An ever-shifting oasis, where your coolness is determined by ownership of the latest gadget, preferably before it’s even been launched. Many folks will fork out huge premiums to be amongst the first in line to get the latest mobile phone, car, motorbike, computer or watch.
After splurging out your hard-earned cash, to be amongst the first, in a matter of months or even weeks, the craze dies off. Your over-paid-for cool gadget of choice is now unwanted as the craze builds up for the imminent new and ‘better’ version.
Better software, faster, more powerful, with more functions, a facelift, a better gearbox. And so, the cool hunters of today spend their lives chasing a few weeks of glory, much to the financial glee of the producers of both the new gadget and the marketing hype around it. The mirage disappears just as quickly as it appeared, only for it to re-appear a short distance away. And the cycle is repeated. In this feeding frenzy, we ultimately have to ask ourselves, and teach the younger generation, what remains cool no matter?
The Classic Effect
Have you ever been to a school matric party. The cool kids arrive in their dad’s, or hired, latest supercar, the crowd applauds, the next supercar pulls in; lather, rinse and repeat. But then someone rocks up in a 1969 Camaro. V8 burbling through the exhaust, polished chrome wheels, just a little prod of the accelerator shakes the whole car. The engine sounds like a lion roaring. The crowd goes wild. The really cool kid has arrived.
He or she has arrived in a timeless classic. Something that will never go out of fashion. Something that will forever represent a bygone time. A time when life was cool. A time when little care was given to pollution or crash safety. A time when mankind just built cool stuff, they didn’t build stuff to be cool.
Some days I commute to work in one of my classic vehicles, be it a truck or a classic bike. When I stop at a filling station people come over to greet me. They ask about the vehicle, they reminisce on times gone by when their fathers or grandfathers owned one. The words spoken more often than not are: “wow, this is so cool, I wish to one day own one”.
The lesson in this? Perhaps if you really want to be cool, stop looking at the next new thing, and look back to the old school. Look back to a time when cars, trucks and motorbikes were built to be cool. Look back to something that will not be uncool in six months or a year.