Journal: How You Rated Your City's Vintage-Car Friendliness

How You Rated Your City’s Vintage-Car Friendliness

By Petrolicious Productions
May 2, 2013

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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11 years ago

I couldn’t find the survey to fill out–
But here are a few thoughts on the Steel City–
Fun roads to drive–8–when they aren’t filled with potholes that is
condition of roads- 2–pothole capitol of the US
Vintage Race–10–only course on public streets in US
Technicians–8–unless you get verrry exotic
Traffic–8—Everyone thinks their traffic is the worst–but really, here in Pittsburgh, it’s only about an hour on each commute and it’s only about 10 miles around downtown.
Weather –4–Yeah, winter sucks and is too long
Places to go—9– Bunches of places within 30 miles of downtown to either cruise to, eat, or drink or all of the above–
Like the Original Quaker Steak and Lube –yeah it’s Sharon,PA– and more like 50 miles away–but less than a tank of gas there and back
Safety–8—pretty good,

I can’t remember the rest of the questions


Ryan Lopez
Ryan Lopez
11 years ago

keep in mind if you park for more then a minute your car gets stolen or crashed into and the roads are bumpy as hell but other then thats its good

11 years ago

Living in Columbus OH for the past 20 years, I have to disagree that Columbus is the best for vintage car friendliness.

First off, you’ve got the ohio state highway patrol which lives in infamy with every trucker and vacationer who frequents the state as being overly zealous. Secondly, the weather sucks royally. Seriously, you get the 90-100 degree temps in summer (a la Florida on some days) and the horrid winter storms during the first 3 or so months of the year, leaving basically 6 months of ideal driving (assuming your vintage hot rod doesn’t have A/C and you’d rather not turn into a fried egg on your nice drive.

speaking of that drive, it’s going to be pretty boring, because with some exceptions around the northwest side, there is nothing in the way of good driver’s roads here. L.A. (which the article claims to be who we beat out for first) has mountains, we don’t. Pretty much a guarranteed loss right there if you ask me. If you want good driving roads in Ohio you either have to go to the southeast where there are hills, or south of Cincinnati (out of the entire state) where there are, again, hills.

As far as car shows/cruise in’s go, we’ve got good guys and Quaker steak n’ lube and that’s about the extent of it. Sure there are a few localized events, but nothing on the level that Cincy has with their weekly cars and coffee drawing around ~$1 million in exotics and rods on a good Saturday, and definitely nothing on the amount of expensive and rare hunks of steel that reside in sunny cali.

Last time I went to Florida I couldn’t believe the smoothness of the roads. If those are a “10” then our roads range from about a 5 to an 8. If you’ve found a good one, chances are it’s been repaved in the last 6 months and it will be crap again after next winter.

Columbus is a great place and all, and probably in the top 10 or so of the major Midwest car cities, but on the national scale, we’re barely drops in the bucket.

Btw, great piece, keep it up petrolicious.

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