The Classic Date: Our favorite romantic excursions and the cars that go with them

As long as there are classic cars, romance isn’t dead. Anybody can pick up a date in a new silver Porsche or a shining black Escalade. And part of what makes a great date is making it special. Special can mean the timing, the destination, the presentation (think surprise or even flowers) and how you get there. From personal experience I can tell you that an old car can make a date truly memorable, whether it’s coming out of that romantic little Italian place and discovering that it is pouring and you’ve left the top down on the MG, or whether it’s the midnight candlelight picnic at a roadside rest area.

Here are our favorite classic dates and two ways to get to each of them:

  1. When it comes to old fashion romance, it’s really hard to beat a drive-in movie on a beautiful summer night. Drive-in theaters aren’t exactly thick on the ground, but you’ll find one if you do your homework. Be sure to pick a movie that you know your date will enjoy. Guys, forget action adventure flicks and give anything with a rating beyond R a miss. What to drive:

    Domestic Bliss: 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarrritz Convertible. This car typifies pure American exuberance; to many other movie goers your car will be the show.

    Foreign Intrigue: 1960 Nash Metropolitan Convertible. Cute, cheeky and fun — you’ll make the statement that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

  2. It’s hard to get more old-fashioned and relax than a picnic. They’re difficult to beat for a first date, and prove that you can be somewhat domestic — prepare it yourself every time — and that you don’t throw money at every problem. What to drive:

    Domestic Bliss: Any 1964½-1966 Mustang is terrific and the convertibles top (pun intended) them all. They are fun and without pretence.

    Foreign Intrigue: 1950-1953 MG TD; a TD is traditional looking, loads of fun and looks incredibly sweet with a wicker picnic hamper on the back. And if you’re really surprising your date, a gift of a large silk scarf is perfect for that 1950s Grace Kelly, keep-the-hair-in place look.

  3. Wow your date with a night at the theater or opera. This evening calls for absolute elegance and incredible style. What to drive:

    Domestic Bliss: 1963 Buick Riviera. Few American cars have more style and elegance than this timeless classic, though a 1956 Continental Mk II is a good stand-in.

    Foreign Intrigue: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600, maybe even with a chauffer to make the evening extra special.

  4. Think French food and you’re talking escargot; if it’s Italian, it’s got to be pasta or veal, but if you want a classic American meal, you’ve got to go for burgers and fries and a drive-in restaurant with curb service, and it takes the right car to pull it off. What to drive:

    Domestic Bliss: 1957 Chevy. The perfect car for any drive-in, even if it’s a new Sonic. Hardtop, four-door, convertible wagon — it doesn’t matter.

    Foreign Intrigue: 1960 Porsche 356B coupe, though any 356 coupe will work perfectly. If you’re going to invade a bastion of Americana, you might as well do it all the way with a tiny engine in the rear. Leave the Speedster at home as it has no windows on which to hang the tray.

  5. Sometimes you just have to pull out all the stops and brush off your best suit and pick the finest restaurant you can find, regardless of the cost. This is where flowers on the seat and, possibly, a ring in your pocket come into play. What to drive:

    Domestic Bliss: 1963 Studebaker Avanti. Not only does this car prove you’re unique, it shows you have a fantastic sense of style and it is easy to get in and out of for an elegantly dressed lady.

    Foreign Intrigue: 1972 BMW 3.0CS. Few cars of the 1970s are this elegant and truly beautiful without being ostentatious in any way.

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