Technology that We Left in Old Cars

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For some, the prospect of owning an old car is too much to handle. Sourcing parts is costly and maintenance is even more expensive. But for some, a car from their childhood is enough to make the extra effort worth it.

Old cars are often referred to as classics, for it to qualify for this name, however, it must be over 25 years old but built before 1930. After 1930 the car can then be classed as a vintage. Cars that predate 1905 are classed as veteran vehicles, these look more like horse-drawn carriages than the cars we’re used to, however.


Starting the engine in an old car isn’t as simple as it is today, many old cars come with what’s known as a choke. This system enables you to manually control the air to fuel mixture when the engine is running. This means the driver can help the car start smoothly by supplying more fuel on cold days, before reducing the fuel content when the engine is warm to reduce fuel consumption.

Ignition timing

This is often found in the vintage category, it allows the driver to alter the point in the engine’s rotation that a spark plug starts to ignite the fuel which in turn pushes down the piston and propels the car. When the engine is cold, the spark plugs must ignite earlier as the mixture takes slightly longer to burn. Once your engine is running it must be changed as advanced ignition timing in a warm engine will prematurely ignite the fuel causing a knocking sound.

Crude brakes

As you can imagine, the brakes in old cars aren’t quite what we’re used to today. ABS and now automatic emergency braking systems are common in our cars, most of the time we won’t realize they’re working. When you begin to drive an old car though, it’s imperative that you plan ahead when you want to stop as well as leaving a decent sized gap between you and the next car. To add more confusion to the mix, the pedal arrangement in old cars isn’t always the same as it is today. Often, you’ll find the accelerator in the middle, as you can imagine this takes some getting used to!

“I’ve always enjoyed seeing old cars, they may seem obsolete now, but in their day, they were revolutionary. People spend huge amounts of money to restore cars to their original glory, big money can be won from showing these cars, however.” Richard Gowing, Finance My Motor Car.

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Articles · Classics

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