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I realize that these are out of order, but to get these in sequence will require starting over on the posting so that is work for February.

Human Kind -Who drives old cars?

If you haven’t noticed, old cars rule here on the streets of Put-in-bay. I love seeing the 65 ‘Vette, a 29 Ford, a completely restored 32 Chevy, and even a cherry 64 Olds Dynamic 88 all cruising our streets. All we need is Mel’s diner and it would be “happy days” again. And when they all get together at 2pm on Sunday afternoon down at the Twine Shanty they form an impressive chain, we call the “old car parade”. And you can count on seeing Art Boyle in his vintage Dodge hemi police car leading the way.

Last Sunday as I sat with my guests, while they watched in fascination as the cars paraded by, I realized that having an old car is not just a hobby here on SBI it is a way of life. I remember first coming here to PIB with my parents back in the late 60’s and remarking to my Dad that all the cars were “really old!” As a boy I did not really appreciate the fact that these cars were classics in the making.

In 1973, my first car was a 62 VW Bug. I painted it GM silver because it made it look fast. Back then an eleven-year old car actually qualified as being “old”. Today a 1984 Chevy Monte Carlo with those ugly squared off bumpers and rectangular headlights will technically qualify as a bonnified antique. That is a scary reality.

Now Jack Whelan, a charter member of the Skip Duggan Antique Car Club tells me we have more Model A and Model T’s per capita here on South Bass Island than any where in the world. What Skip got started has become a summer time passion for the club members. And the beauty of that is that today young Mark Burr whose family has a beautiful Model T pick-up is the next generation of car guys that continue to fuel our local enthusiasts. His joy of driving the old cars is infectious. Mark might even give you lessons on how to drive one of those old cars if you ask him nicely.

But that is not why I am writing this story. Every day I see folks like Mr. Ray Traverso in his 68 GMC pick-up truck driving down to the post office and it reminds me that old cars are really a good way to save the planet. Yup, it’s true. In an article by Matt Power in the May 08 issue of “Wired” magazine he proclaimed “Ditching your gas guzzler is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but if you really want to do something about global warming, get a used car….” He goes on to explain “hybrids get great gas mileage but it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. The Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt.”
The best way we can avoid that debt is by buying and driving a used car. And you know that most islanders are often seen driving older cars here on the island. It is part of the fabric of living here. And Matt’s point is echoed in recent articles about buying green used cars in the Times-Herald, NY Times and blogs like the Green Car Congress (www.greencarcongress) and the Green Car Club (http://www.nesea.org/greencarclub/choose.html). As a matter of fact if you are interested in saving the planet by buying a used car, you can go to the EPA web site (www.epa.gov/greenvehicles) to see a chart of the greenest cars from the last 20 years.

Now I’m not saying that the ‘Vette or Dodge Hemi are green vehicles but they have long since paid their carbon debt and when well cared for they contribute to a better world with less new carbon fuels being consumed than a recently purchased SUV or Sedan. So I like to think that in a weird and twisted way we are doing our part here on PIB to reduce the global warming impact on the world and we didn’t even realize it. Keep on cruisin’ and we’ll save the planet one used car at a time.

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