Journal: What’s The Best Classic Car Sound That’s Not An Engine?

What’s The Best Classic Car Sound That’s Not An Engine?

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
January 21, 2016
40 comments

One of the things I love about Porsches is the way the frunk—er, “front trunk”—sounds when it latches into place on a classic 911, 912, 914…you get the idea.

First, it sort of thunks into place, and you hear and feel a bit of reverb from the curved hood hitting another point of contact up front, as it pops back up a smidge against the catch—Germans do seem to enjoy fitting tightly-wound springs to their machines. A gentle, firm push will lock it down into place with a satisfying, muffled latch. Push down when it’s fully open

It’s been the same sound on pretty much every Porsche frunk I’ve closed, from the ’60s ‘til today, and one of those little things I appreciate and—admittedly—look forward to hearing again.

What’s the best classic car sound that’s not an engine?

Photography by: Christian Baumann, Yoav Gilad, Afshin Behnia, Christer Lundem, & Federico Bajetti

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Lionel GanAtakan ObuzDavid ToddRadu GabrielBimbo Recent comment authors
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Lionel Gan
Lionel Gan

1. The door close of a Merc W124
2. The rear hatch close of an Alfa Romeo Mito
3. The porsche boxer turn signals (hated how a previous gen merc s class indicators have a coarse sound)

Atakan Obuz
Atakan Obuz

..

David Todd

Ī the smell of the leather and the old school plastic or is it bakelite?

Radu Gabriel
Radu Gabriel

The sound of an old Mercedes door is fantastic , and so is the sound that the steering wheel of the Citroën CX makes when you turn it.

Bimbo
Bimbo

The giggling sound girls make, when I ask them if they want to take a ride …

Kendrick
Kendrick

The sound of an 80s Ford truck door opening and closing

Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith

The super satisfying “clunk” of a classic Mercedes door closing!

Niels van Dijk
Niels van Dijk

The ticking sound the fuel pump makes before starting must be the best for me.

Brenton Alan Rahn

I love the ratcheting sound of an old-fashioned key sliding into a ignition switch and the following click that you get from turning the key. What a wonderful sound that is.

August Montgomery Norman

I absolutely loved the sound of ht starter on my 750iL, it sounds like an exotic car shile cranking. The one thing I love more is the sound of a very solid closing door…

James Guy

Not a missed shift, but not a perfect one either. A slow shift. I would be holding halfway down the shifter in my old Wrangler and it would, tick tick cuck.
You could feel and hear the first couple of teeth it skipped past as you finished moving the stick. Forget dual clutches, even the triple synchro manuals of today have smoothed this out.

Alejandro Armendano
Alejandro Armendano

The Ferrari air horn pre 80s
Glorious!

Ian Rosen
Ian Rosen

I have a thing for doors especially pre964 911’s

Ken
Ken

The pfssstch sound from the pneumatic ventilation​ system of a Saab 900 as you adjust flow direction.

stradale
stradale

my red triple air horns (dual switch) on my Alfa. They sound sweet, melodic and loud. A definite safety feature.

jean-yves tabourot
jean-yves tabourot

ther carbutators links and butterflies when you pump the throttle before you start a ferrari V12

Romain Beaulieu
Romain Beaulieu

The clicketi-clac of an open gate shifter. The only one that gets close is the now discontinued manual first-gen Audi R8…

Pedro Macedo
Pedro Macedo

Generally speaking, I love the sound of doors in classic cars. But I’m especially fond of the sound of both opening and closing the hood on my BMW E30 — when you pull the lever under the dash, you hear the click of the lock releasing the hood, and then it pops up and slides a bit forward with a loud “whoomp”. To close it, you have to quickly and firmly push down on the BMW hood emblem so that it slides backwards and down until the lock catches it again. I’ve listened to that sound so many times that… Read more »

Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba
Takudzwa Munyaradzi Maramba

The Mercedes W126 door make a solid Whump-Thud-click sound on closing and a kinda snap-clickety when opening. They’re marvelous over-engineered ‘You can’t break me’ kind of sounds; I love them. Opening and closing these big, fat, heavy, thick steel doors on these cars feel like operating a damn bank vault.

Saiful Azzam Khairummuzammil

Trully. The solid thud of the W126 doors is like closing a bank vault. It is so distinct that even people can recognise the sound from a distance.

Landroving
Landroving

A lot of my favorites have been covered but I will add the dual note trumpet horns of most classic Italian cars.

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt

My favourite noise on a classic was the mechanical whirr of the starter motor building to a crescendo before it gave way to the thunder of the V8 engine on my 1984 TVR 350i.
I deeply regret ever selling that car. I’m just so glad I recorded it on my phone. Occaisionally I will play it through the Hi Fi with the volume turned up to 11. It goes some way towards cheering me up, but not like going in to the garage just to start it up for the hell of it.

cois
cois

1989 Jaguar XJ made a great buzzing before starting the ignition.

Christian Peta
Christian Peta

I’ve always loved the click of opening, and thunk of closing old Porsche doors. There’s just something about that sound that no modern car can ever recreate. The bank vault door close of Mercedes G’s are a close number 2.

Mars Rhodes
Mars Rhodes

I would have to say all the classic door ajar chimes and even the buzzers in the 80’s. They really draw out feelings of nostalgia even if you were not alive in that era.

CJ David
CJ David

The “ding” an e28 5 series BMW door makes when it’s shut. They all make the same noise, and for some reason it’s always been so reassuring to me.

Jim Bair
Jim Bair

This is exactly what I had in mind as soon as I read the Petrolicious question! The E28’s door has this harmonic sound that resonates inside the door, like a well engineered piano note. 🙂

Edwin Fabro
Edwin Fabro

The different sounds and speeds of the turn signal relays that varied from car to car from the 60’s & 70’s….

dsgruntld
dsgruntld

My ’73 240Z had a *whoosh* from the carbs whenever you stomped on the gas. It doesn’t sound the same in an FI car.

anocsc
anocsc

The very fact that they make “noises” – whether it be the door, the “frunk”, the hand brake, the crash of gears when changing down on a “three on the tree”… etc etc. The silence of new cars today is unnerving. There is no noise inside or out.
In a similar vein, if you are looking after kids and it gets too quiet, you know something is wrong. When it comes to cars: if you can hear it, you know the sound it’s supposed to make and you know it’s working properly! Bring the noise!!!

Bruniep
Bruniep

The ticking of the exhaust after a “spirited” drive in the hills nearby

JB21
JB21

I like the sounds that a car used to make just before the engine starts up. Like that click click noise and slight whine of fuel pump, and a starter motor, especially. I once fell in love with the sound of the starter motor on E-type.

Sam Person
Sam Person

The lovely little clink of a gated manual. Or the nostalgic sound of oil flowing out onto the road at an alarming rate.

Chris Gonzalez

loooooove the sound of pulling the e brake.

Craig Glazzy Glazbrook
Craig Glazzy Glazbrook

I always enjoyed the solid thunk my door made when I closed it on my ’83 Prelude

Brent
Brent

The sound of the gears in a Series Land Rover transfer case at slow speeds- I believe the sound is distinctive because they are straight cut.

Nate
Nate

Pop up headlights, although Im not sure if its just the sound or the mixture of watching and hearing them pop up.

Shane Elliott
Shane Elliott

Was just going to post this 🙂

Craig Glazzy Glazbrook
Craig Glazzy Glazbrook

As a 2x Honda prelude owner, I agree

caprigls
caprigls

Growing up my dad had a 1972 Corvette, I think is it was LeMans blue – whatever the dark blue color was that year – and the best sound was the door closing. Reaching for that flush mount handle on top of the door, then that sound of that mechanical clunk when it closed. It was almost like you could hear the door working for you to close.