Old School Cars!

Old School–the term

What does “old school” mean? Whether you are talking about cars or clothing or electric appliances, old school is a slang term applied (usually, or at least initially, by the young) to anything that appears to be either antiquated or of a substantially higher quality than what is currently being produced in the marketplace. Old school cars are therefore cars produced quite a while ago, and because of that, are of a more substantial, durable nature than those manufactured in the 21st century. This is admittedly a rather arbitrary definition of Old School Cars, but it is functional, and until something better comes along, it will do quite nicely.

Old School can be a complimentary or a pejorative term, implying anything from praise to laughable obsolescence. The slang term has been in use since the early 1990s, when it was introduced to differentiate the newer dance style of hip hop from the older break dancing, which became popular a decade earlier. Break dancing was therefore “old school” style, and anything labeled old school became associated with things at least from the previous decade. The term may have originated in English from a Japanese martial arts term, Koryu, which translates as “traditional school,” or “old school,” referring to a specific category of martial arts. When used today the phrase old school cars is almost universally a favorable appraisal–a compliment.

Old School Cars

As the phrase implies, old school cars are from at least a decade or two earlier, and typically refers to vehicles more than 20 years old. How that sense may change when we are clearly more than 20 years into this century remains open to question.

But in that regard, the term is close to synonymous with some of the much looser definitions of antique, ┬ávintage, or even classic. Most formal definitions of these terms for the eras of automotive production do not recognize any such distinctions later than the late 1970s, classing everything made since then as being produced in the “modern era.” But as is the case with most terminology of the young, the frame of reference is far more recent, with “old school” referring to almost any car produced more than just a few years earlier. It would certainly include cars made in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, and probably also the 80s, which to people born in 1990 is a decade somewhat equivalent to “ancient history.”

As a term implying a favorable appreciation for something having proven worth and value, there are few phrases any more appropriate in describing fine old collectable automobiles than “old school cars.” Indeed, words like antique and classic have undergone quite a bit of redefinition in recent decades. The looseness with which they are used today is indicative of their continuing slide toward ultimately being as vague as the word, “nice.” So, employing a more modern phrase, which has not yet had sufficient time to commit such a slide toward ambiguous obscurity, is far more practical when the discussion is centered on fine old cars of no particular era. Some will undoubtedly prefer the general term, collector car. So be it. As some English fellow once penned, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Whatever your taste in collectible automobiles, I am confident you will find something of interest on these pages. Browse at your leisure and see for yourself. We aim to be your portal for information on collectible cars and car collecting.