As a kid in the late forties and early
fifties, I was more impressed with the few pre-war cars
on the streets, parked at the back of service stations
and owned by collectors, than a new 1949 Ford or 1951
Cadillac (may be a couple hot rods here and there and
the weekend jalopy, stock and midget races at the local
track.). There was a neighbor with a 1937 supercharged
Cord and another with a 1940 Ford. And there was my
grandmother's 1933 Plymouth Coupe. That was the car
I dreamed about owning.
As the pre-war cars left the roads, collectors retrieved
them from farms, backyards, junk yards and barns. Clubs
were formed, swap meets were established and the search
for literature began. To know your car and how to restore
it, collecting sales literature, manuals, handbooks,
dealer albums, paint chips, etc. was essential. Magazines
like 'Motor Trend' and 'Road & Track' showcased
restorations as well as many popular books at that time.
Pre-war cars have not been forgotten. Many collectors
who have grown up in the 1970s and 1980s are now questioning
the wisdom of restoring the cars of their youth. Restoration
of a 1920s or 1930s car can be more fun than a 1979
Cadillac with all of its deteriorating plastic parts
and complicated electrical components. In the long run,
a 1924 Dodge or 1939 Hudson can be cheaper and easier
to work on and more fun to drive. They will also gather
a lot more attention.
So are pre-war cars back? They never went way. The historical
aspect of the hobby is as strong as the nostalgia. Researching
these cars is easy and the literature is available.
Clubs abound and basic mechanical knowledge and inexpensive
tools are sufficient to work on these cars. Save the
cost of a restorer and have some fun and the satisfaction
of doing the work yourself. Most of these older restorations
just need some loving care and maintenance. Go to club
meets and enjoy taking tours. You are going to meet
thousands of vintage and classic car enthusiasts in
a growing hobby.
Now let me give you a few ideas of what might interest