Robert M. Pirsig once discussed in his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance the importance of really caring about whatever it is you do, whether that be working on a motorcycle or just sitting still. Whatever you choose to do, do it well, and you’ll become a more virtuous person. This can extend to any part of your life, even car ownership, and there's no better type of car to help you improve yourself and make you care more than a classic automobile.

“ Taking care of a classic will help you learn how to take care of yourself. ”

Even if you don’t do all the mechanical work yourself (although that can enhance the experience and reduce the cost of ownership), the act of paying close attention and caring about your vehicle will make you a better person because those habits will extend to other areas of your life. Owning and maintaining a beautiful classic vehicle of any kind will help you learn how to take care of something and in turn, take care of yourself.

Opponents of the classic car will argue that the same could be said of new car ownership, and that’s true. However, taking care of a new car isn’t really all that tough. New cars have sensors that will monitor everything for you. Anyone can take care of a new car with minimal effort simply by watching for warning lights on their dash. With a classic automobile, you really have to know the car and have the ability to tell when something is out of whack.

Here are a few things you can expect to experience if you choose to commit to classic car stewardship:

You’ll learn to Appreciate Modern Automotive Technology

interior classic

Heated seats and steering wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, modern airbags and driver assist technology are all wonderful features. They make the driving experience easier and, in many ways, better. Still, there is something about driving around in a classic automobile – sans all of the technology – that a brand new car can’t capture.

Maybe it’s the lack of sound dampening equipment, maybe it’s the lack of airbags or maybe it’s just the fact that you know you’re driving a piece of history. In many ways it’s so much better, so much more real. Driving a classic is a lesson in minimalism and a reminder of how transportation has evolved over time. It will make you appreciate the technology in a newer car, and because of this perspective, it makes any driving experience more enjoyable.

You’ll learn to Problem Solve

Let’s face it: owning a classic doesn’t come without a few issues. Classic cars are aged and their parts and components more worn from time. Whether you’re driving a Chevy Chevelle, Ford Mustang, BMW 2002 tii, Morris Mini or an old Chevy Bel Air, you’ll probably have several things go wrong at the worst possible time. While that may seem like a disadvantage, it’s actually a virtue.

Classics teach you how to problem solve. Even if you don’t do the work on the car yourself, you still have to figure out how to get your classic – which you’ve probably referred to as a “hunk of junk” at this point – to your mechanic. You have to care enough to work out a way to get the thing back on the road and looking sharp. Sometimes parts are tough to get. Other times you can’t find a mechanic who wants to or even knows how to work on your car, and sometimes you simply don’t have the cash. All of these are difficult obstacles to overcome, but the act of working through them is an exercise in persistence and commitment.

You’ll have a Great Time and Get Noticed


One of the best things about owning a classic car is they’re just fun to drive. Because they lack some of the modern driver assist technologies, you feel more in tune with the car and you’re more attentive to the road. On a dry, sunny Saturday, there is little more enjoyable than driving a classic car to the nearby park or beach for a relaxed afternoon or finding a good curvy highway to drive down. In addition to the fun factor of classic cars, there’s also the fact that they stand out. You’ll get noticed in a classic car. A good looking classic has a tendency to attract a crowd. Everyone will see the effort you make to keep your classic car running and on the road.

Unfortunately, owning a classic car isn’t for everyone, and even if you want to, life often gets in the way. It’s expensive and time and labor intensive. That being said, it’s more rewarding overall. So, if you have the time, money and determination, you can enjoy yourself and improve your life by owning a classic car.