Progress is a wonderful thing. Mostly – and in terms of car development almost certainly – there are no longer spectacularly bad cars, well not mechanically anyway. They are all fairly reliable and pretty well specified, even at the lowest level. Even the so called ‘budget’ manufacturers are snapping at the heels of the big boys such is their confidence that they can one day produce modern, good looking, aspirational cars which will take a nice slice of the global market.
There are those that think that the cars of today are somewhat sterile and that not many will be looked back on in 20 years’ time with any particular fondness or nostalgia, but that might just be a generational thing.
One thing is certain however and that is that no one will be tinkering with them on a Sunday morning like they have in the past. Gone are the days of father and son working in the driveway with an old washing up basin under the sump plug.
I was reminded recently, when talking with an old mate how we used to play around with our old cars and not just by the roadside. He used to live in a road where all the garages were designed with a pit in the floor where you could actually work underneath the car and we used to pretend to be real car mechanics all day on a Sunday whilst his mum brought us tea and sandwiches and we “race tuned” our XR2’s.
I feel sorry that today’s boy racers will not experience that pleasure and instead have to make do with how they can hook up the biggest bass bin in the boot and at the same time ensure that the car is lary enough to still turn the heads.
We used to spend hours cleaning and polishing our little hot hatches once we had changed the plugs and points and coated everything else with WD40! (the “race tuning” I alluded to earlier). Well todays teen car nuts will not experience those little pleasures because the modern day cars are not really designed to be fixed at home and anyone attempting to do so will need to obtain a fairly decent amount of hardware, including expensive computer equipment and software.
If you’re still not convinced, ask yourself this question; when was the last time you saw a car mechanic with greasy overalls? Answer – you won’t because todays ‘technician’ doesn’t have to fix anything, he just needs an expensive computer to diagnose the problem and then replace the faulty component, so no need to take things apart fix them and put them back together.
Progress? Surely yes.
As much fun as the satisfaction of you and your mates fixing your car up so that it can again be the scourge of the neighbourhood? Probably not.