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Why Restore A Classic American Car?

Ford Mustang on Felixstowe beach
By: Steve Arnold

I ask the question why?
Why do you want to take the risk and possibly spend more money than the car is thought to be worth? Why spend so much time hunting obsolete parts all over the web? Why break the car down to the nuts and bolts only to find you have more repairs to do? What is the magnetic pull that makes you decide you will restore a piece of the past and present it to the modern world as your baby?
There are many driving forces that keep Vintage and Classic Cars alive. Among them are: The Time Machine, History, “Laboratories” and Connections. Read on…
Time Machine:
We have all been taken by the idea of a time machine. Going back to days when we were young, reckless, excited about life and free. Yes, free to imagine the future and our place in it.
Like the Time Traveler in H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine”, we want to create our own device that is capable of taking us back. We want to create with our own hands a vehicle to transport us to simpler times, our simpler times. You know, times with less clutter, less anxiety. Oh, but of course, we were all much younger then. Families and careers where still in the future or just beginning. But that’s another story.
What is it about 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s American cars that hold such a spell on we humans. You don’t have to be born in those eras to be bitten by the Classic Car bug. So what is it? Why do modern folk, young and old, want to restore or buy a restored classic Chevy, Ford, Cadillac or any other vintage American made car?
We are our memories and they are made through emotion. We feel our remembrance. Whether good or bad, memories are branded into our souls. It only takes the smell of something to trigger a feeling that takes us back in time. Just about anything can hold the power to snap you back to your past, like a taste, a song, a perfume or a picture, but a car? Well now, that is the one machine we all remember and feel in a big way.
If you were a kid in the 60’s and 70’s you share with me the same memories of Dad behind the wheel, hair slicked back with Brylcreem and one of the 40 Lucky Strikes he will smoke that day hanging from his lips. Mom, sitting in the front passenger seat with hair teased up high and sprayed to a crisp with Aqua Net. Us kids, we sat in the big back seat sliding around with no seat belts and the back sides of our thighs sticking to the vinyl on a hot day.
Let’s also remember the summer vacation family trips. Hitting the road on a long trip in a big roomy car was something to look forward to. The 1967 Ford Country Squire with its 9 passenger seat arrangement, electric windows, and Magic Door tailgate was heaven on wheels for the whole family. As kids, we could camp out in the back and ride like royalty. Again, we never used seat belts but such were the times.
The Laboratory:
Like the inventor-scientist, we set up our laboratory in the garage. We gather materials and equipment as we go. We seek hoses and sheet metal, fabric and glass, engine parts, brake assemblies, tools and machinery, manuals, paint, nuts & bolts and everything else we need to assemble our very own time machine.
As we build we feel the energy of the past hovering around. Who drove this before me? What music was playing on the radio? Who revved this engine and tossed cigarette butts out of this very same window while speeding passed the car next to them? What will I feel when I finally sit in this fully restored and shiny “old new car”? When I turn the key and hear the engine roar as it waits for me to release its power, will I cross the time barrier where memories are living things?
A restored classic, either one you build or one you buy completed, compels good feelings and conversation. We talk with one another just a little more even while simply filling the tank. We are a car culture. So why restore that classic car?
Because you can.
Art Pairham’s is a warehouse of original used 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s vintage auto parts now available online at
We are making available millions of original used parts that have been collected and housed for over 30 years in two storage warehouses in the southwest. It’s time to get them out of storage and on your project car. Enjoy your visit at Art Pairham’s and come back often as we add more inventory!

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