Classic car buffs resist, don’t reject new technology

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — Shimmy down Route 30, shake down Route 74. The result is a gathering of thousands of classic car enthusiasts at the 44th Street Rod Nationals East at the York Expo Center this weekend.

The show, which runs Friday through Sunday, features more than 3,000 street rods, muscle cars, customs, trucks and specialty vehicles from across the eastern United States and beyond.

“It’s kind of like a disease,” Matt Rifenburg said. “If you have it, you have it. If you don’t, you don’t. There’s not really a lot of in-between when it comes to cars.”

Rifenburg, who drove his 1955 Ford F-100 pickup truck to York from Middletown, Delaware, believes people will always have a passion for classic vehicles. While modern technology points to the emergence of electric and self-driving cars, Rifenburg says there’s no replacement those who grew up with lots of horsepower under the hood.

“It’s not for me,” Rifenburg said of the alternative technology vehicles. “This truck is 60 years old. You actually have to pay attention when you drive it. Look at the road, know where you’re going. You can’t be on your cell phone, jamming out to the radio. You actually have to drive the car.”

Rifenburg jokes that his attitude is likely similar to horse and buggy drivers who had little interest in switching over to gasoline engines, even when the Model T became widely available to the masses. He says it’s nothing personal. Car enthusiasts may be picky, but a car show is nothing if not a melting pot of different tastes.

“You can look around here and see 5,000 people’s different ideas of what’s cool. Just because I’m not into it, doesn’t mean someone else isn’t, and that’s the really great part about cars,” Rifenburg added.

Looking ahead, Rifenburg says he wouldn’t be surprised if in 30 years from now, we’ll see a few ‘classic’ Chevy Volts or Tesla electric vehicles sharing the parking lot with vehicles of of the drive-in movie and milkshake era. “Don’t get me wrong. I fully support the effort, the green movement, but I plan to drive something that runs on gasoline until they don’t sell gasoline anymore.”


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