Hagerty.com

Ruining classic cars


#1

Many may not understand these things, but they make me sick. I have seen so many otherwise gorgeous classic cars ruined by 24" or larger chrome wheels and tires with a 1" sidewall. This was a trend that started in the ghettos, and somehow made it into mainstream society. It has gotten so bad that even vehicle manufacturers have started putting these hideous wheels on new cars. That’s bad enough, but to see vintage cars ruined by this garbage is downright disgusting. I don’t have a problem with someone using period correct aftermarket wheels of the proper size on classic cars.

My other issue is people putting modern computer controlled EPA engines in classic cars. I am a firm believer in carburetors and breaker points. I even replaced the 4.3L V6 EPA engine in my 1993 Chevy pickup (standard cab, short bed, 2 wheel drive) with a well built carbureted 383 ci V8. I removed all the electronic and emissions crap. It does have aftermarket electronic ignition, similar to the original GM HEI ignition.

I really don’t mind seeing someone build a hot rod out of a classic car or truck, as long as they use period correct parts. I especially love old gassers, both real and replicas.


#2

Over-sized wheels: Meh, silly…yes. But disgusting…no. It’s not to my taste and I also like period correct stuff, but it’s a style thing. It might make me snicker a little under my breath, but I certainly don’t lose sleep over it.
Carbs and points: I remember mentioning not long ago in another thread about replacing generators with alternators that it was a visual thing for me. If an old car like my 50’s Chevrolet came with a generator, then an alternator always looked odd…even if it was a bit more practical. Same with carbs. But an electronic ignition is different. It’s not visible along with being more efficient and reliable and all else equal typically means more power too.
Gassers: Funny you bring this up along with the big wheels issue. Gassers originally were a purpose built car made only to go in a straight line a 1/4 mile at a time. I remember them well on the cover of many a HOT ROD magazine issue back in the day. Usually stupid (and illegally) loud I thought they were silly looking then as I do now for a street driven car. Kind of like humongous wheels and low aspect tires. But then that’s a personal taste issue isn’t it. And neither “ruin” a car IMO. In fact the ‘big wheels’ modification is usually easier to reverse than Gasser mods to an old car.


#3

I used to feel exactly the same way about the same things. I had the opportunity to speak with a guy who built this beautiful lowrider. The car is considered a part of the family and the entire family participates in events. I have talked to many enthusiasts with run of the mill muscle cars and they won’t even let their wife near the car in the garage. I gained an entirely new appreciation for the types of cars you’re talking about. The big thing I learned is that people modify cars because of many reasons, personal taste being the biggest one. While I would never own a lowrider, and an LS swapped muscle car does little for me it is important to appreciate that we all have different tastes and reasons for why we do what we do with our cars. At the end of the day, it is because that is how we enjoy our hobby.


#4

@vulcanrider - While it is not my style, very large wheels is something I am fine with car owners doing. Not attractive but the best part is that change is very easily reversed. Those owners also often spend time making the rest of the car better (rebuilt engines/drivelines, paint jobs, interior restoration), meaning that even if they put a hideous set of wheels on, one more classic car is still on the road. I can appreciate that. When they are done with the car I can buy it and remove those wheels in an afternoon and have a great car that now fits my taste-however good or bad others might feel my taste is.

To your point on the engines- If it saves a car that would otherwise be crushed, swap away. At times I get a bit worked up when I see good survivor cars used as a base for highly modified creations. It seems to be some take the “start with the best car you can find” a little too far, especially when it comes to pre-war hot rods. Many a Ford Model A that was in rust free driver shape had the 200-cube four junked to shove in a flathead and put a modern chassis underneath. There are millions of Model As though.


#5

@Kyle and @MisterTorgue
Good point on the family aspect and quality detail work usually found with the ‘big wheel” and “low-rider” crowd. It ‘ain’t my cup a tea’, but I still admire the workmanship.


#6

I appreciate anyone’s right to disagree with a particular style, but I think there should also be a certain level of mutual respect. There are lots of styles I don’t care for, but I also know someone has poured their blood sweat and money into that project.


#7

Plastic tat! Typically used as side-skirts, additional spoilers, aftermarket wings, eyebrows, extending wheel openings, over masking rear tail lights, added as air scoops,… and the list goes on. Can turn a well designed classic into a “StarWars-like sky raider”.