Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
— Lao Tzu
Nostalgia is a funny thing. The distant, sepia-toned past, viewed through the lens filter of sentimental longing, resembles nothing so much as a kind of paradise lost, where life seemed somehow easier, simpler, more beautiful, less tragic—and much less expensive. If you remove the filter, however, and gaze at that past with detached objectivity, it quickly becomes apparent that the “good ol’ days” are almost never quite as good as they’re cracked up to be. The American automobile is a case in point.
If you think about it, U.S. cars made between the turn of the last century right up until the 1960s were really little more than horse buggies with internal combustion engines and an outer skin of painted steel, and maybe a little wood thrown in for old time’s sake. Sure, vintage cars are fun to look at; but does anyone really want to go back to a time when sporty tailfins meant “style” and a speedometer, tachometer, and analog clock in the dashboard were considered the cutting edge of creature comforts?