When New Cars Were Classics

When I was a teenager, the month of September brought with it the end of summer vacation, the agony of having to start school again, and the thrill of anticipation as we waited for the new models of our favorite cars. Back then, each year brought something more than a price increase and a bunch of hype about nothing wrapped up in a body style that remained unchanged for multiple model years.

I was a Chevy guy. Looking back now I’m not sure where that preference came from, but I remember the first time I laid my eyes on a 1955 Bel Air hardtop and fell in love.

It didn’t last long, however. I dropped her like a hot potato when I saw my first Bel Air convertible. Heaven on wheels it was. My mom used to tell the story of my announcement at dinner one evening that as soon as I got my driver’s license, I was going to get me one and a “convertible girl” to go along with it. Not a bad idea, actually.

That love affair lasted for two years. The ’56 model couldn’t lure me away, but in September of that year, the automobile love of my life hit the road.

A friend of mine sent me the images below with a note that these are actual billboards recently sprouting up in Detroit, Michigan. I don’t know if that’s true, but it doesn’t matter. His point as stated in a caption introducing the images is the important thing. It reads:

Old age is when you still have something on the ball,
but you are just too tired to bounce it.

Another reality of old age is that memories can easily crowd out the present. The “good old days” always trump today, and I have to tell you that looking at these images and comparing them with the modern cookie-cutter cars jamming the streets, nostalgia prevails. And for good reason.

Take a look:

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