Freeze Frame

Old Cars in Focus



I see an old car some kind of GM product probably a Chevrolet defiantly from the late 50’s.It is the kind of car that came with large fins over the tails light. The car has an older red paint job with a white top. The front grill of the car appears to be missing, exposing the radiator, but other than that car appears to be complete. The car is clean enough that it probably runs, because few people would spend that much time keeping something that didn’t work that clean. Old cars are collected for any number of reasons some people like the style of the era, others hope to transform their car into some sort of functional art like a low rider. I don’t know why the owner of the car I’m looking at likes old cars, but I can tell that they are not the type of person that lets good things go to waste. Old cars are not part of our “disposable society” they endure for much longer than their manufacturers intended. In Brenda Bright’s article about Latino culture and low-riders,” Heart Like a Car”: Hispano/ Chicano Culture in Northern New Mexico”, the author says “Cars are used and reused. Dents are repaired. Rust is removed and, metal replaced. If a car is beyond use, then it is used for parts.”  The author highlights the attention older cars like these receive. Old cars are about more than just transportation to their owners.

The car sits in the first spot of an open carport and an older Volkswagen Carmen Ghia is parked behind it. The Carmen Ghia is also red but just doesn’t have the same style as the old American (in my opinion).  It too appears to be in working order. Both cars sit under the carport of an older but seemingly well cared for home. The house has a church and some type of neighborhood center to its back.   

            In many ways these cars are like South Phoenix. Old cars used to be the domain of a dedicated few aficionados and those that couldn’t afford a new car. South Phoenix was the same, it wasn’t the place many people chose to move to because it didn’t have the reputation the new neighborhoods had. Old cars have become a fad so that now many of the people who originally drove them and collected them are no longer able to do so because the prices have driven them into other hobbies (scarcity or price could be reasons as to why such a nice old car is missing its grill).  Just as many of the car collectors have been forced out of their hobby, so are many south phoenix home owners being priced out of their own neighborhoods.  When the groups with money move in the original aficionados or residents find that it becomes harder for them to keep up with the rising prices. The home owners may see that their home is worth more money than it ever has been and so they decide to sell ,only to find that the money they received won’t really buy too much any more. When someone offers the owner of that old car what seems to be a lot of money (and someone will) the owner may take the offer. The owner may also find that what appears to be a lot of money will not buy anything new that has the same style as the old car they sold.

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