Learn to ride a short board..problem solved. You can fit it in your car. Nothing worse then gearing up at your favorite local spot and seeing a bunch of kook cars roll up with long boards on the roof, backwards or forwards!!
It's funny you said that the guys told you fin forward in the 80's. That is how I was taught and it was so ingrained that if we ever saw a board coming down the road fins back you knew it was a kook . I always thought that was a regional thing but whenever I saw an old surf flick the boards were always fin forward. I still tend to size up a surfer at every step to the water. Pull up in your car fin back, jump out white as a ghost with a rash guard hugging your spare tire and you don't stand a chance. I have been proved wrong many times by using that grading method but we don't need to get into that . I do agree a short board is the way to go, my 5'5" board actually fits in the back seat in an fj cruiser.
I finally broke down and bought a Yakima Rocket Box that is 7' long. I can get 4 boards in there and it locks! Of course I don't use it to arrive at my home break but it certainly comes in handy for the I-95 trip to the Outer Banks. I don't have to unload the boards every night at the hotel/camp either. In order to get 4 boards in it, some fins are forward and some are back. Great place for the wet gear, spare leash and fins as well! It may look a little touristy, fortunately I don't give a s**t. It is what you can do in the water that matters!