Owning a classic car may have been a dream of yours ever since you were a little boy and saw your dad driving his Bentley around the estate after his second round of golf on a Saturday morning. If your family wasn’t one to mingle with the landed gentry, then perhaps you have fond memories of your dad squeezing into his Ford Capri on a Sunday morning and giving it a run as your mum began cooking a Sunday roast. Cars are evocative. They make us remember the good times in our lives, and before we know it, we can begin to ache to recapture a feeling.
If you’re tempted to get your hands on a vintage classic, there are some important issues that you’ll need to consider. There’d be nothing worse than forking out thousands from your hard earned cash to realise that you can’t cope with driving on a hot summer’s day without air con. Take a look at this honest account of owning a classic car and decide if it’s a viable option for you.
Money, Money, Money
The initial cost of your vehicle could be anything from a few hundred pounds to simply astronomical amounts. It all depends if you are getting your hands on a doer upper or a pristine restored example.
A car that needs work can be a lifelong project that is forever wallowing in the garage. However, put the effort in, and you could find yourself with your head in a manual every weekend slowly restoring a vintage classic. At the end of your project, you’ll have a classic motor that has been lovingly revived by your own fair hands. The sense of achievement and pride will be immeasurable. If you weren’t blessed with a mechanical mind but still enjoy the beauty of classic cars without any of the engineering knowledge, then opt for a fully restored vehicle. This way, you can enjoy driving your new motor straight away without having to worry about its mechanics just yet.
It’s also vital that you consider how much your pride and joy is going to cost you in the future. You have to remember that these cars that you’re considering purchasing probably haven’t been in production for forty or fifty years, so the chances are that if your vintage motor blows a gasket or the exhaust starts blowing, you have to spend time sourcing the part that you need to fix it. The more scarce the part, the more costly it will be. Add onto that the specialist labour that fitting the old and rare part will cost, and you have yourself a hefty bill. If you can manage your finances astutely and can take on the burden of a classic car, nothing is stopping you from enjoying a vintage motor.
Selecting your vehicle
Your choice of car will make or break your classic experience. If you have been head over heels with a particular car since the moment you began walking and talking, then the choice will be easy. If you just have a penchant for classic cars in general, your selection will be more difficult. Make a list of what you want in your vintage classic. Do you crave speed or style or comfort or a particular make?
The retro Italian Fiat models and Ferrari classics are becoming harder to source but provide exceptional drives and ooze Italian sophistication. If a more regal motor is more your thing, you could plump for the Jaguar E-Type or the Austin-Healey 3000, both of which would be a canny financial investment. In a similar way to art and antiques, you are investing in a valuable item that is becoming rarer as the years go by. When things get rarer, people want them more. As this is the case, you can be optimistic that your vintage classic will retain if not increase its value over the years if you look after it well.
People who own classic cars tend to have a quirkiness about them. The cars and their owners turn heads and get noticed. If you’re keen to be the centre of attention, then there is no better way of achieving this than by driving a classic. If you park up your burnt orange MG with the soft top down on a summer afternoon in the centre of town, you’ll generate a crowd.
Fashion and trends dictate that vintage cars are very much in vogue at the moment. With the rose tinted look back to the past, people crave the simplicity of design to be found in the original Fiat 500, the stunning Alfa Spider or the super retro first generation Toyota Celica.
If you love driving more than life itself, you will want to feel every bump in the road, smell every emission from the exhaust and sense every vibration when you accelerate. Newer cars can’t provide this as they cater for the masses. Most people want to be protected from the fun of a drive and want a smooth, boring and comfortable journey. Vintage cars provide the opposite: a raw adventure.
With your new classic car will come new opportunities to meet like-minded people. If you’re heading to vintage car shows, you’ll begin to see the same faces time and time again doing the circuit. As a newbie, it may take you some time to settle in but get talking to fellow classic car enthusiasts, and they’ll soon accept you as one of their own.
What’s a sat-nav?
If you are a gadget-head, you may want to think again about purchasing a classic car. There’s no way that you’ll be able to hook up a sat-nav system, link your Bluetooth in any way, shape or form and don’t even think about air conditioning. The closest thing you’ll get to air con is possibly opening up the sunroof as the sun is beating down on your head. Buy a classic car, and you are admitting the fact that you’ll be driving around all summer with a sticky back and a change of clothes in the boot.
If the thought of driving without all of the mod cons sends you searching for a brown paper bag, you may have to give the vintage idea a miss. There’ll be no parking sensors or airbags or electric windows. Safety features like side impact bars hadn’t even been invented when your prospective motor was designed. Forfeiting these luxuries will either make you smile with joy or send you running for the latest model of SUV being produced today.
Getting from A to B
If you are a car enthusiast, you will want to share your beautiful vehicle with fellow hobbyists. This means that you’ll be accepting invites to motor shows, classic car events and race days. Often, if they are local, you can enjoy a leisurely drive to the event before parking up your car to be admired all day by a fawning audience.
If the event is a little further away at a distance that would make driving more risky in terms of reliability, fuel consumption, and heat, you may want to consider a car transport company. By employing the services of a professional, you’ll be ensuring that your car will be loaded individually and carefully into a container. It’ll be strapped in securely and protected to ensure no scratches, bumps or any damage whatsoever. Rather than spending your time driving to an event that is hundreds of miles away, you can get your vintage classic transported safely without the need to stress.
The rust problem
If there’s one trait that all classic cars share, it is rust. Rust is the bane of every classic car enthusiast’s life. It can be a tough issue to combat as the cars can be half a century old and their chassis’ are made from heavier steel that is prone to rust. As well as rust, you may find that your vintage motor has many more niggles than your other half’s modern vehicle. You may hear more rattles, ticks, and grumbles from under your bonnet. These could be the natural noises of your car, or they could be something more serious. It’s hard to tell, and you’ll need to develop a sixth sense for spotting niggles before they become major issues.
Classic cars are incredible. They ooze class, provide unique driving experiences and hark back to an era that has almost been forgotten. By owning a classic car, you are doing your bit in preserving the memory of a time that is not dictated by technology and computers but is a time of simplicity. Choosing to invest in a classic car is not without its pitfalls and stresses. However, get it right, and you could be the envy of all of your mates and be enjoying the vintage driving experience for years to come.
** This is a collaborative post