Doane Yawger: Getting your old-car fix during the off-season can be tough

How do you keep up your enthusiasm for old cars during the off-season?

Like plants, things have seemed dormant on the old car front for quite some time. But there are ways to keep the zeal for collector vehicles at a high level even during winter.

If you have an old vehicle, stoking the fires of auto enthusiasm could be as easy as retreating to the garage, maybe pulling the car cover off the vehicle, stepping back a foot or two and savoring the scene. You can even jump inside the vehicle and make engine sounds if it makes you feel better.

A bit more effort is required if you don’t have a hobby vehicle.

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see at least one vintage car or truck on the street. I never take one of these impromptu sightings for granted. This winter was extra-mild and many vehicles haven’t been closeted-away against the elements like they would be during a normal, wet year.

There are at least a half-dozen television programs featuring old cars and efforts to restore and sell them. That’s an unexpected blessing. Throwing in a few televised high-dollar car collector auctions helps build the old car fervor.

The Internet is chock-full of websites featuring old cars and trucks. It’s certainly the next best thing to being there, but it’s great the car show season is rapidly approaching, especially if you are a hands-on person.

Being a member of a car club also keeps the hobby in the forefront of your consciousness. Sharing the hobby with other like-minded hobbyists adds another dimension to one’s enthusiasm level.

I can retreat into my hobby room and see bunches of miniature examples of my favorite cars in model form. Or I can peruse my stack of car magazines and books for fresh ideas and inspiration anytime I want. I also have a library of car videotapes which are pretty cool substitutes for the real thing.

Thankfully the time is rapidly approaching when the real fun begins, at a car show near you.