Journal: Is There A Classic Car You Never Hope To Drive?

Is There A Classic Car You Never Hope To Drive?

By Michael Banovsky
April 14, 2016

Don’t get me wrong, all vintage cars are amazing. The ones I’d never get behind the wheel of are amazing, too, but lie far outside of my personal comfort zone. You know what I’m not keen on ever driving? A pre-Second World War land speed record car.

A good example of one is the Sunbeam 1000 HP “Slug” that went down in history as the first vehicle to crack 200 mph, albeit in 1926. Apart from being the birth year of both Miles Davis and Marilyn Monroe, Prohibition was also still in full swing, Swing music wasn’t a thing, and Route 66 opened late in the year.

The world could barely dance and drivers were just getting all the way across the U.S., and Henry Segrave was out on Daytona Beach doing 203.79 mph—on tires that lasted just 3 1/2 minutes.

Its speed alone is insane, but when I realized it has more in common with a locomotive than a car, my brain immediately said, “Nope”. At 8,000 lbs, it needed two 22.4-litre V12 engines with a combined 900 horsepower, a three-speed transmission—and a final drive that relied on two heavy-duty metal chains. Segrave rightfully went down in history for conquering this beast.

Slower Pre-War stuff can be fun, too, just a bit terrifying in other ways—if you think replacing obsolete BMW computers can be a pain, imagine repairing a boiler on a steam car…

Which classic cars are you happy to leave to someone else?

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5 years ago

Life is too short to waste any time driving boring cars, and just because a car is interesting historically, or as a piece of styling, that doesn’t mean it’s exciting to drive. So there are actually plenty that I would pass on – too many to list in fact.

Andrew Golseth
Andrew Golseth(@andrew-golseth)
5 years ago

I honestly can’t think of a single automobile I wouldn’t take for a spin. Yet, there are very few motorcycles I’d ride even in the safest environments. Shame, because I really like bikes but I find them terrifying.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay(@christophergay)
5 years ago

That Sunbeam is beautiful: handmade elegance foreshadowing the lines of contemporary LMP1 cars.

I’d rather repair a boiler than deal with a computer anyway of the week. I can diagnose and fix the boiler, while I’d be tossing the computer in the garbage can.

Thanks for sharing.

5 years ago

Anything started with a hand crank. A broken wrist is not worth a drive.

5 years ago

Isn’t the saying, “Never meet your idol; you’ll only be disappointed….”? I’ve heard the same goes for idolized vehicles….if money were no object and I could locate one of my iconic cars, an early-sixties Type 34 Karmann Ghia, at least I feel that my expectations are relatively low… 🙂

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

Anything thats now mistakingly considered a classic from the bowls of the former Soviet Union . And I do mean …. anything because it is all junk ! Other than that ? Nope . Other than that I’m a try it at least once kind of an automotive omnivore always up for a good challenge /learning experience .