How You Rated Your City's Vintage-Car Friendliness

Recently we asked, “How friendly is your city to vintage cars?”, and many of you gave thoughtful and interesting replies—thank you. Here we’ve compiled an expanded look at your two numerically scored worst and best cities in which to own and drive a vintage car. We hope you enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed reading your replies!

Best: Columbus, Ohio—82 points (Submitted by Petrolista Jim Stevenson)

Beating out sunny LA by only 1 point, Columbus scores the highest marks to win the inaugural and prestigious Petrolicious “Vintage Car Friendliest City” award.

Starting off the list, Columbus scores big-time right off the bat with a fun-to-drive rating of 7, with several reportedly spectacular driving roads just outside of the city limits. With cold winters and hot summers, the Midwest freeze/thaw pattern isn’t kind to roads—Ohio must have an inordinately healthy public works budget, though, because road condition is supposedly pretty stellar with a score of 8 out of 10—why sunny SoCal can’t have similar roads is beyond our imagination. With light traffic, which has only recently started to see a small increase from a thriving local economy, Columbus once again ticks a box solidly in the “plusses” column. Jim credits his town with a (rather optimistic, honestly—sorry, Jim!) score of 8 for the weather, citing winters relatively tame compared to the Northeast and summers cooler than in the south. Other positive marks are scored for legislature, taxes & fees, and parking, all scoring nearly-unbeatable 9s.

What really impresses about Columbus, however, is the car culture. A long-established hot rod scene and associated cruise-ins and large scale shows attract a lot of interesting and eclectic metal. In addition, several professional racing teams are based in this part of Ohio, among them IndyCar, Grand Am, American Le Mans and NRHA crews—quite a diverse set! An added benefit of so much motorsport expertise in one place is there are a lot of highly-skilled mechanics—after all if your mechanic can change the oil in an LMP1 car he’s damn sure qualified to rebuild your entire Alfa by nut and bolt. Both round off this unlikely vintage enthusiast’s haven with two more 9s. 

Worst: Seoul, South Korea—46 points (Submitted by Petrolista mmoi)

South Korea’s hi-tech megalopolis capital may be a wonderful place to live, but it’s apparently a much worse place to drive—not mutually exclusive things for the average Petrolista, green tiramisu or not.

With fun-to-drive roads rated a middling 4, there’s not much fun to be had on the roads surrounding the city. Road quality comes in with an identical 4, our reader noting that he may have even been generous with this sad number—If one’s constantly dodging potholes and crumbling infrastructure, it certainly puts a damper on things.

Traffic continues a depressing theme and comes in at an abysmal 3. Other practical considerations include mediocre fuel quality (5) and cold, rainy weather (3) for much of the year—he adds that you can only take your hat off maybe four out of 12 months. Surprisingly, parking is said to be pretty decent, provided you’re not afraid to let someone more accustomed to parking automatic Kias maneuver your Fulvia, as valet is almost de-rigueur, though relatively inexpensive.

Perhaps worst of all automotive culture in Seoul gets a big fat 0, with absolutely no vintage scene to speak of—surprising when one thinks of the vibrant and thriving car scenes in other South-East Asian cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei, and Manilla. We remember reading somewhere that South Koreans are incredibly patriotic when it comes to car purchases, with imports representing less than 5% of the market share—perhaps this has something to do with that imbalance?

Overall, Seoul sounds like a rather bleak place to be if you’ve got petrol in your veins.

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If your city wasn’t included in the list, or if it was but you feel it was misrepresented, please let us know! We’d love to hear from more of you, and get a clearer idea of what driving and vintage ownership looks like in your neck of the woods.

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