Few consumer products have had as much development resources poured into them as the motor car.
It's ironic then that there's so much enthusiasm for those that have been superseded.
The only consumer industry I can think of which may have had more development resources poured into it would be pharmaceuticals.
But I find it difficult to imagine people getting nostalgic about sleeping pills from the 1950s. Given how esoteric some online forums can be, I won't throw that possibility out the window just yet.
Of course, it's precisely that rapid onward march of car technology that makes so many of us want to look back.
The joy of this is that even decades down the track the sustained investment in car technology and production over the past 100 years has left an intricate chronology of classics from which we can choose.
Regardless of which old car that happens to be, it will take us back to the time it was made - and help us appreciate how far we've come.
I love the visceral, physical connection between the driver and the mechanicals of a 40-year-old sports car. It's rare in a modern, electronics-laden car.
But I am constantly astonished at the safety those electronics bring, the extraordinary suspension development and the interior design on some new cars that seems almost telepathic in its intuitiveness.
What I'm trying to say is that all this investment in new-car technology is good because of the diversity of choice it generates, particularly in Australia.
Assuming some of today's cars survive the coming decades, the chronicle of new classics looks set to continue. Another upside to this is that unlike other research and development-intensive industries like defence and space exploration, the relics of eras past are so accessible.
At the Shannons auction in Melbourne on June 4, the red 1971 BMW 2002 that was on offer sold for $1000 less than the lower pre-auction estimate, changing hands for $3000. That doesn't happen often with space shuttles.
The 1989 Jaguar XJ40 TWR went for a measly $4000, while the 1954 Packard Clipper recently shown in this column went for $5000 - very appealing as an unusual and stylish starter classic.
Other good buys in this sale included the 1971 Valiant Charger 770 pictured ($20,000), although the buyer of a Holden FJ ute must have become carried away when he put his hand up to buy it for a whopping $42,000.
I find it difficult to imagine people getting nostalgic about sleeping pills from the 1950s.
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