Motorlicious has a press pass for the New York International Auto Show which begins tomorrow, Friday, April 2 in New York City. While there I’ll also survey the hipster cars of Williamsburg.
Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York is the epicenter of American hipster culture. I’l be there to check out the vintage cars hipsters drive.
I tested an old Plymouth Valiant last night and love the Zen-like experience as I became one with the car and pavement. Old school asbestos drum brakes, windshield wipers that magically change speed as the manifold vacuum fluctuates, lap seatbelts with old school metal buckles, real American steel body, carburetor fuel/air mixing, rotary distributor cap, and leaf springs and torsion bar suspensions result in a more “real” driving experience that’s missing from modern cars with antilock brakes, electronic fuel injection, plastic body panels with crumple zones and airbags, traction control, and all of the other safety and convenience features that make modern driving easier, safer, and more relaxing.
The old style suspension on hipster cars magnifies the feel of every bump, pothole and other pavement imperfection. This feel becomes especially important when you lose the brakes, so you pump frantically to build up pressure and time to swerve around cyclists and pedestrians as you run the stop sign.
The clutch wore out sometime in the 80s; without the clutch you can upshift and downshift for a truly one with the car zen feel, but you cannot shift into gear from neutral. I needed to start the motor with the car in gear, so I learned to time intersection crossings so I never need to stop the car.
Hipster culture has influenced design in other markets, so hopefully the automakers take a cue from the cars hipsters like and go back to creating fun, functional and “real” cars.