What Modern Tech Do You Wish Your Classic Was Equipped With?
A 1964 Pontiac Catalina Four-door hardtop embodied my first foray into classic motoring. I installed an air-ride suspension that, when emptied, would lower the frame rails onto the ground. It looked longer than a supertanker. Not quite tasteful, but I’d like to think it made a statement.
Regardless, it had a single four-barrel Rochester carburetor that made me long for fuel injection. Not because it was poorly tuned or returned meager fuel economy (eight miles-per-gallon, as I recall). Rather, because the choke mechanism had a broken thermostat that I couldn’t be bothered to replace, “it’s no big deal!” Thus, it would remain open after you cranked the engine allowing too much air in on subsequent cranks. So on colder mornings the process for starting the car went like this: I’d go out, pop the hood, remove the air cleaner assembly, close the choke on the carb, get in the car, and crank the engine.
Now, it wouldn’t usually start on the first or even tenth try. So I’d have to get out, reclose the choke (that had now reopened as I pumped the gas pedal to the floor while turning the key) and repeat the starting process. Once in a while, when the engine would finally cough to life, I’d get to see a volcano-esque eruption of lit fuel shooting out of the carburetor through the narrow slit between the base of the windshield and open hood.
If a friend was helping, he’d stand by and re-close the choke when I gestured. Once, the Vesuvius impression nearly cost my friend, Dan, his hair as he was leaning over the carb when I cranked the engine and it decided to fire (pardon the pun).
We laughed about it afterwards, but I remember thinking that my daily driver never tried to immolate my friends. And yes, I could have fixed the thermostat for a couple of dollars but elected to keep messing with it instead. But at the time, I really wished the car was fuel injected. Ironically, now I long for flamethrowers (I know, still not very tasteful). So how about you—what’s one modern technology or convenience you wish your classic car had?