Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
Some of you are like me—you love old cars. Let’s talk about that for a bit. We all need to contemplate the future and using old cars as a reference might make that conversation a bit easier to deal with.
I’ve always loved old cars. Ever since I was a sprout, they’ve had my attention. Like all boys of my era, I looked forward every year to September’s “New Car Release” days, when the new car models would be unveiled. Big cities had indoor car shows, where all the new cars were displayed on turntables in an auditorium, often with smiling fashion models pointing to new features as an announcer described them. In smaller towns, we went to the new car unveilings to see them on the dealer showroom floors. I remember the times when my father and I would go to the dealerships to see all the new cars. Those were fun trips. But, while I loved to see the newest of the new, I had a special love for the old cars; a love that new cars could never match.
When I was in my teens, I became aware of a man in my town who collected old Rolls Royces and Bentleys. I found out where he lived and would often drive by his house, just to see what he was working on. He had some truly fine cars, usually about six in number. He’d buy them, fix whatever wasn’t just right, drive them in parades for a couple of years, then sell them off so he could afford to buy the next one that needed a little TLC. I truly admired the man’s dedication and determination. He wasn’t rich, if you count financial wealth, but he was one of the wealthiest people I knew. His passion for those magnificent old cars enriched him far more than having a lot of money or property.
There was an old guy who lived outside my town who drive a Ford Model T truck with a flat-bed on it. The truck didn’t have a top. He’d come to town on an occasional Saturday. I’d see him going down the streets of downtown with his long grey beard, worn overalls, and old leather beanie cap. I eventually learned he was a WWI veteran. He was something of an icon in those parts. He kept his old truck in great running condition.
Then, there were the antique car shows. I really looked forward to those. I can’t remember all the cars I saw, but I know there were Franklins, Terraplanes, an occasional Stanley Steamer or Baker Electric, LaSalles, Dusenbergs, Pierces, Lincolns, Hudsons, Packards, and the expected cadre of old Chevys, Fords, Pontiacs, Studebakers, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Mercurys, Ramblers, and Cadillacs. I think the most unique car I ever saw was a 30s-era Bugatti. I saw a couple of Delahayes, too. There weren’t many foreign cars around that part of the country. It was uncommon to see an old Fiat, Hillman, Austin, or Mercedes, but they were occasionally there.
The look of those old cars intrigued me. I discovered luxury appointments I’d never seen, like voice tubes and flower vases mounted in sconces in the passenger compartments of limousines. We tend to think of old cars as primitive, but they were anything but. Some were extremely sophisticated for their time. They were cutting edge in style.
As I grew older, I became much more curious about the power trains in those old cars. I’d heard talk of 10, 12, and 16-cylinder engines. The first Lincoln MkII I saw had a 16-cylinder V-8. I asked the owner to show it to me, and he did. It was a jewel of an engine. Not long after I saw a 12-cylinder Cadillac, and then one of the rarer 16-cylinder models. Imagine having one of those today. I thought those big engines were amazing. But, it wasn’t just the number of cylinders that made them amazing. I was also amazed by a Packard that had a huge straight 6 in it. When I looked at the engine I realized the pistons in it had to be seven or eight inches in diameter. It was truly a beast of an engine, almost six feet long.
Today, people tend to think of those old cars as slow and inefficient. Most don’t know that Ford Model Ts and Model As with 4-cylinder engines usually would get over 30 miles per gallon and when set up right, were capable of speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The Ford flathead V-8 engines were once considered marvels of engineering and powered many race cars and boats for two over decades. When I think about driving one of those cars, with their too-tall and too-narrow tires, at their maximum speed, I sort of shudder. Those were days when style and power was far and away more important to buyers than safety.
You all know me, so you know I have a point to all this focus on ancient motoring. I’ll get to the point soon. First, I want to linger on a bit of nostalgia involving car culture.
People today take cars for granted. They don’t romanticize them as they did in our grandparents’ or even great-grandparents’ days. Today, people want them to be quick, efficient, safe, and good looking, but today’s owners are mainly utilitarian. We don’t often stop to think about how cars once changed the way most people lived their lives.
Car Culture. That’s what it was called. Cars created new needs. New needs created new industries and services. When horses were the main means of personal conveyance, one of the most important people in town was the blacksmith. He could not only keep your horse shod, but he could make any tool you might need. In the early days of the 20th Century, the importance of mechanics quickly eclipsed that of blacksmiths. Those men whose hands were coated in grease and oil became indispensable fixtures in every town in America. They kept the engines running.
Because almost all cars used gasoline engines, the “filling” station became a ubiquitous fixture on main streets everywhere. All that gasoline and oil had to be created somewhere, and many, many towns had small refineries to keep the area surrounding them supplied. Of course, all those refineries needed raw material. The rapid rise of car culture created an equally rapid rise in the oil exploration and production businesses. That itself drove the need to build pipelines and huge numbers of railroad tank cars. But, the effects of car culture weren’t all so mundane and business-oriented. There were other new things as well.
Racing is as old as humans. Humans have probably enjoyed foot races as long as there have been people to race. Over the millennia, we’ve raced horses, chariots, wagons, stage-coaches, buggies, camels, turtles, frogs, mice, and even fleas. Racing is something people seem to enjoy. It’s not always about going fast, either. It’s about being first. We race, we spectate, and we bet. It all seems instinctual. We have always raced cars. As soon as there were two cars in the same county, there were the makings of a race. Car racing became its own sport in the earliest days of car production. Love of that sport has never abated. It’s changed a lot with the focus on safety and computer controls, but racing is as it has always been – a contest to see who can get to the finish line first. Cars and racing; they’re like peas in pods.
Car Culture created a new past time for owners – touring. Not too many people toured when it was horses and stagecoaches. Some did tour by train, but were limited in where they could go. Tracks didn’t lead everywhere. But roads did! There were roads everywhere. Most were dirt, some gravel, and occasionally there were roads paved by various hard-surfaces. People didn’t much care what the roads were like, just as long as they went somewhere they hadn’t been. Touring by car not only led to the creation of an entire new class of cars, the touring sedan, it also led to the development of many more “destinations,” and another ubiquitous feature of landscape – the motel.
There were other new activities formed by Car Culture. People would pair up and go to seacoasts and river banks to “watch the submarine races.” There has been speculation that half the American kids born in the ‘50s were conceived in the back seats of parked cars. Movies came along about the same time as personal cars, and it seemed a natural evolution for outdoor movie theaters to be created with cars in mind – the drive-in. There was also a revolution in dining. Or, maybe two. The drive-in café was created, somewhat based on the drive-in theater model. They were complete with car-hops and sometimes with speakers where you could order from your parked car. Meals were served on window trays. People learned the perils and joys of eating in their cars. Then, there was an entire class of new chain restaurants created that catered to tourists. Howard Johnson’s was among the first, but there were many, many others.
I don’t want to forget what the passions of youth did to cars. Not only were cars raced on tracks, they were raced on city streets. Drag racing was a common occurrence on any given Friday and Saturday night in almost all towns and cities in the country. It was a “guy” sport. The young men learned how to increase the horsepower and responsiveness of their engines and would test themselves and their cars against their peers. There was a street-cruising culture that would gather every Friday and Saturday night in most downtown areas and impromptu drag racing was almost always a feature. The youngsters created a new class of cars all by themselves – the hot rod. A hot rod was an older car that was customized by the owner. Sometimes the top was “chopped.” Sometimes the fenders were altered, or even taken off altogether, to allow the car to use wider tires. The engines were customized – always! Sometimes it was mechanical alterations, with high lift cams, superchargers (known as “blowers”), multiple carburetors, and/or high-rise intake manifolds. Hot rod engines almost always had headers; stock exhaust manifolds weren’t cool. Some “rodders” built show cars instead of concentrating on speed and power. They painted flames on the car bodies and chrome-plated everything they could on their engines. All that was years before the advent of hydraulic and pneumatic lift kits and control systems we see today. There weren’t many turbochargers, either.
Old Car Culture (today’s descendant of Car Culture) has analogs, too. There’s an even smaller sub-culture that collects, maintains, and exhibits old machines of all kinds. Those machines were mostly made before or around 1900. Many are unique or extremely rare. They were never very capable machines, and today they serve only as reminders of the inventiveness of the human mind. It’s an amazing thing to witness a 130 year-old engine running. You can hear it hiss, tick, click, spit, and sputter, and there’s always something intriguing about it – even when the thing never served any real purpose. A lot of the more practical of the ancient engines originally powered equally primitive generators, pumps, or air compressors. Their common trait with cars is their use of volatile fuels. They all run off gasoline, kerosene, or diesel fuel.
Okay, I’m done with all the hearkening-back to bygone ages. I went there for one purpose only. I wanted to discuss some things about the evolution of cars and Car Culture that were real and are still with us. We don’t see a lot of it unless we are part of the Old Car Culture. We have to go to old car shows and rallies to hear the stories and see remnants of what was.
Very soon, that may all come to an end. If the politics of today don’t change, we should reasonably expect that every old car will be removed from the road. The plans for the future include very little of the fuel most of those machines need to operate. In a world where powerful interests advocate for the death of “fossil” fueled vehicles, we should understand that the danger of all our cars being legislated off the roads is real. There may be a day when no one is allowed to own a private car of any kind. This is the reality planned for humanity according to the original Agenda 21 and its successor, Agenda 2030. It’s implicit in the Agenda 2030 excerpt we know as The Green New Deal, and is also revealed in the aims of much of the Democrat-sponsored legislation we’ve been seeing. To cut to the chase – cars are under attack. An entire part of America’s modern culture is in danger of dying.
What good is any car if it can’t be put on the road? Yes, many can be viewed as art objects. If the conditions are right, a lot of the best examples of each car out there will find their way into technology and social-science museums. They may become the show-pieces of education campaigns that explain the evil history of fossil fuel consumption as well as consumer-dominated economies. Eventually, they won’t have any substantial interest as historical objects and the vast majority will be destroyed – or recycled, which is the same thing.
The future planned for us will totally eliminate all remnants of car culture. There will be no car races. No new car unveilings. No private cars of any kind (unless you’re a Cabal member, that is). Anything we have today that is related to or dependent on the presence of cars and engines will disappear. How will your life change?
The plans for our future include depopulation of the countryside. The idea is there’s no need for private vehicles in the urban environment. We can ride our bicycles, or take the electric trolley, or the occasional electric bus. And, we will be urbanized. Suburbs are to be destroyed. No one will be allowed to live outside a certified, sustainable city. Rural areas are to be reverted to wild lands. There will no longer be anything like secondary roads, only main highways between each certified city. There will still be a need for railroads and some trucks. But, there will be no tourism at all. Industries that depend on travel will be completely eliminated.
If you never studied the plans now being implemented world-wide by the functionaries of the World Economic Forum, then you are sadly behind the knowledge curve. You need to bone up! If you’re old enough – at least as old as me – you may be fortunate enough to expire before the entire realm of change encompassed by Agenda 2030 is put into place. We who are old may not live to see the countryside forcibly abandoned. We may not be around when people are forced to leave the suburbs so their homes can all be destroyed. We may be in the ground when all private vehicles are confiscated and most are destroyed. We may only be spirit beings when people are “relieved” of all their personal possessions and allocated the few items the new rulers deem necessary to sustain them. We’ll be the lucky ones!
If you have an old car, enjoy it while you can. If the most powerful forces on the planet today have their way it won’t exist much longer. It may serve as a reminder of a great time in our history, reflecting a culture that’s barely alive, even now. But, your old car has a target painted on it. The ones who would destroy it don’t see it as a fun pastime. They don’t care about any memories it may evoke. They aren’t intrigued by its various mechanical feats and oddities. They only see it in one way – another object that stands in their path. Old cars are a metaphor for resistance. They have to go. They can’t be allowed, because as long as they do, there will be people who want fossil fuels to exist. There will be people who will remember drive-in movies and cafés. There will be people who will romanticize the entirety of Car Culture. To those who are taking over, all those things are dangerous. They have to be eliminated.
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.