I agree that inflation adjusted, new cars are a much better value than in the old days. When I was in high school a 300hp car was really something. Now we have Camrys and Caravans with around 300hp. It would be interesting to see how a new Camry with a 300hp engine would handle in comparison to one of the first older cars with a 300hp engine. The Camry will of course get LOTS better mileage.
The one thing I don’t agree with are the touch screens and such. There are the electronic systems the integrate into everything. You can forget about replacing the stock factory radio without spending a fortune. The problem is you can’t upgrade it easily as the climate control and navigation is also integrated.
Modern rust proofing, machining, metallurgy, and better oils make cars last a lot longer. Sure we have duds every once in a while such as the Chrysler 2.7 or the Ford Split Port but most engines these days last a lot longer.
One thing I have noticed through the years is how you don’t get stuck behind a mosquito fogging oil burner like you used to. I don’t know if it is a combination of factors or not. Maybe engines are just made better. Maybe modern sensors and emissions controls will be fouled so quickly by such oil burning and the car will become essentially impossible to run. Maybe the law gets after people if they are leaving a smoke cloud even in areas where there isn’t emissions controls. Maybe modern lubricants contribute to better engine life even in those that have been neglected.
My dad grew up in the era of old cars and has no romantic memories of them. He views them as junk compared to what he drives today and wouldn’t want to go back.