March 23

Were the "Good Old Days" Really That Good?

Auto Repair, Car Maintenance, Cars and the Environment, Mechanic


I had to think about comments that I frequently hear from some people about the good old days, especially as it relates to cars. Mostly these comments come from either the over 40 crowd or folks who fancy themselves as handy, and it stems from the complexity of today’s cars and how they long for them to be simpler; that somehow these older cars were better. In some limited respects it’s a true sentiment, but for the most part I would say that it’s not.

What prompted me to write this was a recent drive from Surrey to New Westminster where I followed an old, rather attractive looking 1960’s vintage Ford Pickup truck.

Problem was that I could barely breathe due to the horrific pollutants coming out the tailpipe. My drive was punctuated by odors of raw gasoline and extremely noxious exhaust almost to the point of burning my eyes. In all fairness this truck was not likely running as well as it should and a tune up or other repairs may have alleviated some of the toxins, but overall this is what the good old days included. Before the 1970’s when pollution controls came into being, car exhaust was a horrific blend of stinky pollutants. So much has been done to create clean burning engines that this stenchy Ford truck stuck out like a sore thumb.

For those who reminisce about the good old days, I wonder whether they are prepared to live with these toxic odors just for the sake of simplicity and the ability to tinker?

Ford truck from "the good old days"
A beautiful truck from "the good old days"

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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