What is the Best Classic Car to Daily Drive?
Photography by Afshin Behnia and Josh Clason
Many folks think that classic cars are unsuitable for daily driving, and perhaps if you own a Ferrari 625/250 TRC this is true. But isn’t it a joy to drive your classic? And doesn’t it make sense to maximize the feelings and fun you have when cruising or attacking canyons, even if it means putting up with a few inconveniences?
I think it absolutely does. And that’s why ever since 2012 when the lease on my 2009 MINI Cooper JCW came to an end, I’ve been driving vintage cars exclusively. My vintage cars of choice for daily driving are the Alfa Romeo 105 series cars, specifically the 1750 GTV, the 1750 Berlina sedan, and the 2000 GTV. To me, these are the perfect classic “do-it-all” cars. They’re very comfortable in traffic, a blast to drive in the canyons, and make long road trips even more enjoyable. And, of course, they’re gorgeous!
They do require you to forego many modern conveniences, however. For starters, the 98˚F Los Angeles temperature these days does not bode well with vinyl seats and no air conditioning. The windshield wipers are rather lousy in downpours (a problem we don’t have in drought-suffering California). And the headlights are no match for the xenon beams from modern oncoming traffic. So do the positives outweigh the negatives?
This weekend I spent two days driving over 500 miles with my sister in her late-model Mercedes-Benz E class. The A/C was a godsend as we drove through +100˚F temperatures in Central California. It was very comfortable, quiet, uneventful, and rather boring otherwise, especially given its heavy weight, overly-assisted steering, and automatic transmission. The experience was not too different than being a passenger.
Upon returning home and getting back into my GTV, before even starting the car, simply grabbing the properly-sized wooden steering wheel and feeling the low seating position reminded me that I was in a true driving machine again. For me the answer to my previous question is a resounding yes! The positives definitely outweigh the negatives of driving an Alfa Romeo GTV or Berlina on a daily basis.
What has been your experience? Do you daily-drive a vintage car and if so what is it? If not, then why not? And please also tell us what you think the perfect daily driver is.