Driving Into a Brand-New Year

January 1, 2013 | By Ted Kade

The idea of moving into yet another New Year brings with it a range of different meanings for different folks.

For many people, of course, it’s time for making those New Year’s resolutions. People declare that they’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, stick to an exercise program or maybe run the dishwasher when it’s full rather than just stack their excess plates, cups and bowls in the sink.

Others look upon the New Year as a “blank slate,” a time when you can shake off the cobwebs and unwanted baggage you managed to accumulate during the past

12 months and get a fresh start on life. After all, there’s a brand-new calendar hanging on the wall; why shouldn’t that symbolize a fresh page in your life story.

Any or all of those viewpoints may apply to people in the vintage vehicle hobby, but for people who are fans of those older cars and trucks, the New Year holds something that outsiders might not even be able to comprehend.

That “something” is the satisfying fact that your vintage vehicle just became even more vintage.

A year ago your car or truck had character and special appeal that no showroom-new vehicle could match. Well, the fact that the vintage ride resting in your garage has just added another year to its odometer gives you even more bragging rights and added reason to feel a definite pride of ownership regarding your special wheels.

For certain owners, this will be an especially important year. Consider cars and trucks from the 1963 model year for example. Those vehicles have reached the half-century mark...at 50, it’s a golden anniversary year for them.

Or is the pride of your collection a pre-war gem that rolled off the production line during the 1938 model year? Congratulations, your vintage ride has seen three-quarters of a century come and go and is observing its 75th birthday or diamond anniversary; however you’d rather see it. (I know, some folks now say the 60th anniversary is the diamond year, maybe because a lot more people and things make their way through to that 60-year mark, but I happen to be a graduate in good standing from the old school. On the other hand, if you have a 1953 model car or truck and want to think of this as its diamond year, well, I may be old school but I’m also pretty flexible.)

Now let’s approach this “special anniversary” discussion from another direction. I know that there are lots of different definitions regarding what qualifies as a “vintage” vehicle but for the sake of our talk today let’s label it as a car or truck that’s been on the road for at least a quarter of a century. After all, 25 years qualifies as a silver anniversary, which is no small honor in itself. Well then, that would mean a car or truck from 1988 now qualifies as “vintage.” That really is enough to give one pause for thought because I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that I have some socks in my drawer that were purchased before 1988.

Some folks no doubt will turn stone-faced at the notion of a car or truck from 1988 being “vintage” and will vow that nothing from the ’80s or beyond should ever be welcomed into the hobby.

But then I also remember a time when people said the same thing about iron from the 1960s.

With that in mind, maybe we all should make a special New Year’s resolution that no matter what our personal preferences may be, we’ll accept everyone else’s right to restore, maintain, drive and take pleasure in any vehicle that brings a smile to their face.

And to that I’ll add a special January wish of my own...may everyone who’s reading this page thoroughly enjoy their favorite ride—no matter when it was built—during every day of this fresh New Year.