While there’s a certain level of badass-ness that comes with daily driving a cool vintage vehicle (your Ford Pinto doesn’t count, sorry dude) there’s also a lot of stuff, and things that completely suck about the entire experience. Especially when the vintage vehicle you've chosen is fairly eccentric. Setting aside the general unreliability of a car that might be older than the person driving it—it's a generally pleasurable experience, as long as people treat you like a normal person. After owning quite a few older cars, and daily driving one all year, I've put together a few thoughts on matter.
1.) “I’M JUST TRYING TO GET COFFEE”
It’s 6:30 in the morning (I was up that early, once) and you’re just trying to get a cup of coffee at your local yuppie coffee establishment before starting your day. You’ve had no caffeine and you’re a bit cranky from getting into a really, really hot (or really, really cold) vehicle—and let’s say you’re also hung-over and late to work, oh, and you just got stung by a bee.
I can assure you that there will be a man with a very large curly mustache who will corner and trap you into a 10-15 minute conversation about his collection of old, equally crappy cars.
It’s a great ego booster the first time it happens, but when you’re just trying to live your life—you’ll be dying for a tan-colored Toyota Corolla, or be required to change your schedule.
2.) When it’s cold, you’re cold. When it’s hot, you’re one step away from death.
Good heat inside of a vehicle is a relatively new luxury, so don’t ask the owner of the vintage vehicle you’re riding in about climate control—they're likely very sensitive to the matter. If it’s cold and you know you’ll be in an old car, think ahead and bring a jacket. On the flip side, if it’s hot outside, there’s pretty much no chance that you’re going to have air-conditioning, so dress appropriately. I get this all the time from people who occupy my Land Rover—after restraining myself from slapping the shit out of them, I politely remind them that this is a “fancy tractor” not the Range Rover they've come to expect from the Land Rover brand these days. It gets even worse when they realize that the window only opens half way. Ever wonder why on almost every famous British expedition that used a Land Rover the members are always at least half-naked? It’s because if they didn’t strip down they’d die.
3.) People will always talk to you at stop lights.
Again, we’re building on the “tan-colored Toyota Corolla” theory here. No one would ever really strike up a conversation about the specifics of a vehicle like that—and if they do we suggest blowing the stop light. Immediately. Even if you're driving an old Ferrari to work every day eventually you'll be wishing for a Toyota Corolla. It's nice to see another motoring enthusiast, it's nice to have your things appreciated, and it's nice to see that there's still friendly people in the world, but after a while it just gets old. A simple nod, or “nice car” is acceptable in passing, but I doubt the driver wants to play a stop light version of “stump the chump” with someone challenging your automotive knowledge by asking about the vulnerable cam-chain tensioner of that specific model year.
Take the hint. It says "Stop" right in front of you.
4.) No, I’m not a tour operator.
Here’s a tip, if you see a guy driving around in a faded blue Land Rover 109 with safari decals on the side—never ask him how much a tour costs, or where you can find out more information about the tour company. He’s not running a tour company, ask me how I know.
I get that it’s my own damn fault for driving a car that literally looks like it just came back from an African safari in a somewhat-touristy down, but please, stop asking me this while I’m driving 55 mph on the highway—I’m already holding up traffic enough. If the decals weren't so perfect on the vehicle, I'd take them off.
5.) Automotive stalking and tailgating
Didn’t anyone tell you that it’s rude to stare at someone?
They’re driving a cool car, yeah, everyone gets that, including you, but stop stalking and tailgating them. You’ll feel really stupid when you run into the back of that vehicle “sorry, I was trying to get a picture to show my facebook friends” will likely not be a sufficient excuse. It’s even worse when people are sitting in your blind spot, thinking that they’re politely staring, preventing you from changing lanes, I can’t accelerate like a modern car, dick.
Vintage car people are just like you, just a little bit more slower, and colder, and hotter. There's no need to treat them any different.