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March 8, 2006

Antique: an item produced in a bygone era.

I was born in 1964. When I look for used cars of that year, I have to look in the "Antique and Classic Car trader." Some people call them classics, while others say antique. I don't mind looking there. I know how old I am, and I like older things.

Old stuff is good, like old surfboards, old comfy clothes, old boats, old dogs, old furniture, old people, etc.

I find that no matter how well someone restores a car of that year, they always treat them gingerly, expect them to be tempermental, and don't use them as their everyday ride. It kind-of sounds like dating advice.

So this begs the question (well, at least to me); Why do they consider cars as old as me antique or classic, but not airplanes? You look at used airplanes nowadays and they talk about one built in 1958 like it's brand new. Yes, I know, constant maintenance, parts replacement according to a scheduled lifespan, blah, blah, blah. Still, there's no getting around the fact it's a small airplane that was built back when they were making Edsels.

Would I fly in a commercial airliner that was over 40? Nope. Would I get into a 40 year old car without thinking "wow, this is an oldie but a goodie?" Probably not. Sure, they're exciting, traditional, sturdy, and make us think of better times, but that's the cars. As for airplanes, all I'm thinking is "I wonder what's changed in metallurgy and engine technology in 48 years, and will the wings stay on? Would I want to use a 40-year old roll of aluminum foil if I found one? Would I be able to?

I would contend that the only older things we should stick to are our parents, older women, and things that stay on the ground. As for airplanes, it's time to call them antiques.

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