Perhaps as we speak, there’s somebody somewhere in the world composing a future collectibles listicle, running down all the various reasons why those Hellcatted Dodges and stormtrooper Camaros and Sasquatch Broncos will inevitably break auction records at Barrett-Jackson’s 2060 Scottsdale auction, just as Z-cars and Seventies off-roaders and RADwood-era rides have become collectible today.
What that article will inevitably fail to mention is that modern electronics, by their very nature, threaten to turn all those future collectibles into very expensive pet rocks.
Those of us with a rudimentary understanding of electronics might scoff at the claims from older car enthusiasts that newer cars are too complicated, too full of gizmos, and ferpetesake what’s wrong with a good ol’ fashioned carburetor. Indeed, those of us handy with a soldering iron, multimeter, and engine tune software on a laptop can figure our way around many of the electrical and electronic issues that beleaguer cars and trucks from the Eighties, Nineties, and even into the Oughts. The same aftermarket that came to the rescue for our forebears swooped in with chips, retuned ECMs, and whatever else owners of those vehicles needed.
Take, for instance, the brake controller circuit board above. We see resistors, capacitors, at least a couple diodes: all easily identifiable and easily replaceable components. With a wiring diagram and a Digikey account, one could feasibly diagnose and repair the brake controller and put it back into service over and over again, just as one could rebuild a carburetor or distributor with access to the correct parts