Hooniverse Asks- What's the Oldest Car You've Ever Driven?


I am very fortunate to know a lot of people with interesting old cars. Because of that, as well as a polished ability to bullshit people, I’ve managed to get behind the wheel of a lot of different iron in my day, if only for a short spin around the block. There’ve been the ’49 Bentley, ’50 Jag, ’32 Ford, and others that I can notch on my bedpost. And each one of them is not only a different driving experience from a perspective of dynamics, but from a basic functional aspect as well. How about you, what’s the oldest thing you’ve driven, and how different was it driving a car of yore?
When I mean different, I don’t mean just that they smelled like an old man’s shoes, I mean different like the way you start that 1949 Bentley. That car requires you first to twist the key though about 720 degrees which unscrews a cylinder and making an electrical connection. You then need to adjust the steering wheel-mounted throttle to the starting position – this is in lieu of a choke – and move the ignition lever to ON, and then finally push the starter button. This of course is all done from the right-hand side of the car, and the shift lever rests between you and the door. Obviously, the life of a chauffeur  was a complicated one.
That’s all nothing when compared to a car without an electric starter. Hand cranking was hard and dangerous, and that’s why I’ve only tried it a couple of times. The brass radiator cars, for which that feature is common, remain an enigma to me, as I have always gravitated to the post-war cars, either for their design or my own slothfulness. Still, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction when you get one chugging to life and haven’t broken an arm.
So what’s the oldest thing you’ve ever been fortunate enough to get behind the wheel of? I’m sure for some your experience only extends to cars of the past two decades. There’s no shame in that, although in comparison to today’s cars there’s not much that would be different, unless you really like single CD players. But some of you, like me, have been privy to cars that maybe older than ourselves, and those carry with them stories, not just of driving, but of what they are like to drive. So let us know, and always remember: when the temp gets above 70, push in the choke!
Image sources: [Wikimedia,  Croplife.com]

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  1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Having an MGB is asking for trouble. 🙂

  2. SirNotAppearing Avatar

    Yes, Austin. You're right of course. Now I look foolish on the Internets…

  3. CaptainZeroCool Avatar

    My Grandfathers (now mine) 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe.

  4. superbadd75 mobile edition Avatar

    The oldest car I’ve ever driven was a friend’s dad’s ’61 Falcon Ranchero. It was an I6 with a 3 on the tree, and was a hell of an experience the first time. It was in heavy traffic, and its stiff clutch and wonky column shifter made it less than simple for someone used to driving a Subaru with a more conventional 5 on the floor. It was cool to drive though and I’m glad I did when I had the chance. That Falcon now sports a 289 and 4 on the floor.

  5. CJinSD Avatar

    [img ]http://www.edsel.com/pages/e58ran2h.gif[/img]
    I drove this particular 1958 Edsel Ranger through Harrisonburg Virginia one rainy night, powersliding every turn and generally ticking off the girl trying to keep up with me in the Jetta that I had at the time. The Edsel's owner was riding with me, and pretty much freaking out. He was a young German guy who'd picked it up for about a fifth of what he expected to get for it when he brought the Edsel back to Germany. When the photo was posted on the Edsel website he was still listed as the owner though.

  6. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    My daily driver is a 1989 Volvo 244… and either it or its identically-aged parts car are the oldest so far.
    This means that the first car I ever drove, as well as the first car I drove alone, the only car I've ever gotten stuck in, the only car I've ever had to jump-start, the only car I've done any real work on, and the car I've put the most miles on… are all tied for 'oldest'.
    At least Vi's older than I am, so that's something.

  7. tristan Avatar

    daily driven a 59 Morris Oxford for 2 years, ive been driven in a 1911 ac scociable

  8. EA11R Avatar

    1953 Chevy sedan. Poverty-spec, and in terrible shape.
    The manual steering was super-light thanks to a collosal-spec steering wheel, but the manual brakes were quite exciting. Three-on-the-tree is sinfully bad, unless that car was just missing a spring or five for the gear lever, but the six-cylinder motor had a feature where it alerted you to going too fast by spewing a greyish mist under the dash.

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