Bringing back the classics

Some things just need to stay in the time period in which they were born. Example, well. Hmm.

(Insert “Perfect Way” by Scritti Politti here)

Now, before I go all nostalgic about the previous era, let’s talk about things that should stay in their time period. 1985 new wave synthpop should stay there, or should it not? Maybe, I kinda like it.

Cars. Cars should not stay in their time period, and here’s the reason: Older cars in modern times are still a decent viable option if you don’t expect them to meet the standards of brand new cars in our time. For example, I drive a 1991 Ford Escort (there’s going to be a long-term review coming). It’s 25 years old, and it has a lot of “stuck-in-the-90s” parts, and parts of it that can still be widely accepted today. Also, older cars can be marketed well, as a cheaper alternative to newer cars.

One example is the darn automatic seat belts, they should stay in 1991. If you don’t know what they are, it’s the shoulder belt being moved back and forth with a motor activated by the door latch and ignition switch. Mine doesn’t work, and even in Canada, you won’t see them because they are weaker than regular belts. All this was for making people wear belts, in a time when people didn’t wear them. Just swap them out, boom, cheaper and more simple.

Also, the only really annoying thing about my car being pre-1996 is OBD1. It’s annoying. No way to interface with modern scan tools and monitoring systems at all. Just flashing codes on the instrument cluster, if you can figure out how to get them. Simple fix, add OBD2. Adding OBD2 is just more pins, and have to program in more data channels into the firmware, shouldn’t be too hard for an OEM to do.

Once you remove the old-era parts, ones that would annoy people, don’t add anything else. I don’t have airbags, I really don’t want them. More weight and more price in a cheap car. Although regulations now are ever more stringent due to emissions and safety, in which an old car cannot be produced and marketed in 2016, but there’s a catch.

Loosen the regulation for vehicles in which are brought back in 2016 as a remanufactured vehicle from yesteryear.

It’s simple. Take a look at the Nissan Tsuru, a Mexican Nissan Sentra that is still sold in Mexico as a 2016 car, but the B13 Sentra was replaced in the US in 1995. It’s still sold in Mexico in 2016, with just a better radio and rims on it. Mexican regulations haven’t budged since the 90’s really, so it’s still being sold along Jukes and Altimas, but it’s a 1992 Sentra just with a bit of lipstick. I want this.

Us car enthusiasts pine for something that is lighter, more nimble, and more efficient. My 25-year-old car weighs only about 2200 pounds curb, compared to a modern compact car that can easily reach 3000 or more. More weight needs more power to go the same speed, so a lighter car is faster. My car gets 35MPG average, even with a rather large 1.9 liter engine, which also isn’t the most fuel-efficient design out there. Drop in a lighter, more efficient engine, and with the less weight, will get more fuel efficiency. Simple math. Also, it’s more nimble than a bigger car, because less weight is thrown around in the corners. Lighter is always better, and having 10 airbags and computers out the wazoo adds a lot of weight, which makes cars slower and less efficient.

Also, emissions regulations are getting tighter and tighter (thanks, VW), and I think an older car can meet them at least. My car, the Escort with the 1.9, can pass an emissions test easily. It has rudimentary early emissions control systems, like EGR, and catalytic converters, and it still can pass an emissions test in 2016, so why is it not allowed on the emissions note?

So, once we loosen regulations for older cars rebranded as 2016s, eliminate automatic seat belts and OBD1, and don’t really touch anything else besides maybe adding Bluetooth, people will snap up old cars like hotcakes ……maybe.

People want a cheap car that runs a long time, it doesn’t matter if it looks like crap or is boring to drive. This is the target market for older cars, mainly. I personally want my cars to be all stuck in a time warp. I want a 2016 Cadillac Allante, just a rebadged 1993, which is sold with a warranty and everything. I want to be able to rebuy my Escort, just before previous owners abused it. I want an older car, with no legal issues, brand new. No restoring or anything, just dig out the old tooling, and call back the workers who built them back in the day.

I would love to see a 2016 Ford Escort next to a Focus RS. I would love to see a 2016 Cadillac Allante right next to a CTS-V. I want the car world to be 2 parts, reselling the old as new, and making the new newer. More people can own a car as the old cars with a bit of work can be sold much cheaper. I bet a 2016 Escort with just a bit of modification to get rid of the annoying 90’s “features” and just a bit more modernization, a la Tsuru, would cost about $3,995, out the door and on the road. Not too bad, a lot more people would buy cars on a tight budget, and even though if it’s old and yet new, it doesn’t matter. It’s a cheap car that has a warranty. That’s why the base Nissan Versa is selling like crazy. It's because people just want a cheap car.

So three 2016 Escorts for the price of one base Versa, who wouldn’t buy one? Or three?

I mean, hell, who wouldn’t buy an older car (if it isn’t even brand new), it can be more efficient, it’s cheaper, and for the car enthusiasts, it’s pure awesome. Why not?