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Classic Car Fascination

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The allure of vintage cars lies not only in their aesthetic beauty but also in the emotions they evoke. Find out more about why classic cars continue to fascinate enthusiasts.

The Land Transport Authority of Singapore defines classic cars as vehicles “that are at least 35 years old from its original registration date”.

Ask any Singaporean the reason behind naming just one favourite Singaporean dish: it will be challenging and hard to find a consensus.  Likewise when it comes to selecting one favourite classic car.

Coming of Age, Drifting: JDM (Japanese Domestic Market)
Toyota AE86

Initial D started as a manga magazine series, became an anime series, and, eventually, a movie. It was about first love, family, friends, and transition from youth to adulthood. It featured a teenage delivery boy who drove a Toyota AE86, and won the hearts of a generation, drifting the AE86 to legendary status.

Singapore’s Gen X, in the 1980s and 1990s, were reaping the benefits of economic growth. A youthful car culture blossomed with Japanese cars such as the Suzuki Swift, Subaru WRX, and Datsun 120Y. All on full display, racing in Singapore’s car park rallies at the National Stadium. A car culture coming of age.

There’s even an Initial-D-themed café Fujiwara Tofu Concept Shop, located at 169 Sims Avenue. Its storefront is reminiscent of the fictional Fujiwara Tofu Store.

The post Millennial and after were exposed to JDMs through movies like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift(2006), making “drifting” a household name in cars such as the Nissan 350Z, Mitsubishi Evolution, and Mazda RX-7.

Customised Adventure: Muscle Cars

Iconic JDM cars

American muscle cars were conceived by the Baby Boomers generation.  Living through historical events such as the first moon landing and Vietnam and Korean Wars. This generation saw many backyard tuners developing and customising cars.  Pre-global oil crisis, they had a thirst for bigger engine capacities, and popularised the V8s.

Movies that reflected that era include American Graffiti (hot rods), Elvis Presley’s Speedway (1967 Dodge Charger), and Steve McQueen’s Bullitt (1968 Ford Mustang Fastback).  More recently, Ford versus Ferrari, showcasing the Shelby Cobra and Ford GT40.

Following Generations continued to be influenced by American action and adventure shows like The Duke of Hazzard, Knight Rider, Back to the Future, and The Fast and the Furious movie series.  Making the Dodge Charger, Pontiac Trans Am, and DeLorean DMC-12 highly desirable.

Future Past:  Engineering Developments
Ford GT40 with Ford Bullitt Mustang

It is not just about coming of age and adventure. It is also about engineering developments. Initially, developments were used in motor sports, and later adapted by car manufacturers, for massed produced commercial cars.

The 1970s and 1980s saw many such transitions.  One of the most memorable, the introduction of the Audi Quattro, the first four-wheel drive used in rally racing. Today, four-wheel drive is common in everyday cars.

“You can’t be a true petrol-head until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo,” says celebrity motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson.  Such a controversial marque, in the 1960s to 1980s, Alfa Romeo dared to be early adopters and used innovations like twin-cams, variable-valve timing, and fuel injection, making icons of models like the 105-115 GT and Spiders, GTV6 and Alfasud.

Locally, the 1980s post-global oil crisis scene saw the growth of smaller capacity engines, which ushered in the era of the hot hatches. Notable models include the Honda Civic VTi, VW Golf GTi, and Renault 5 Turbo, of which some could be seen racing in the Car Park Rallies.

Money for Nothing: Value
Replica Knight Rider KITT, Pontiac Trans Am

Supercars, like fine dining, are expensive and exclusive. Most, if not all supercars, have the required DNA to be classics. Even so, for some car enthusiasts, supercars may not be as alluring.

The value of classic cars depends on their rarity, originality, and existing numbers. It is big business flipping classic cars. The market has to cater to a wide and diverse range of cars and buyers. Suffice to say, the value varies, so it all boils down to how much a buyer is willing to pay.

Name that one favourite local dish? We are emotionally attached to our favourite local dish; knowingly or otherwise, it gives us comfort. It could bring back memories of what grandma used to cook, with her traditional recipes and “agak-agak” methods, customised to-taste. A meal filled with memories of a significant other and youthful adventure.

Similarly for classic cars, it is about evoking emotional attachments, customisation and engineering evolution. Classic car fascination is different for every individual: it could be a combination of the above, or for only one reason. How much would you pay to own a piece of memory?

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