As summer draws out we thought it time to reflect on the great times at the many shows and events we have been at this year (so far).
With the 'classic season' starting in the spring, we have met many people who share our passion for classic cars. Some are fellow owners, some are keen observers and some used to own what is now considered a 'classic' back when they were common place.
It is always nice to hear stories of classics being used as intended - when we went on our 'bottom gear' challenge this was brought to life with our modern classics. For those who missed it, it was a three day tour from Essex to Wales with an Alfa Romeo 156, a Rover 95, a Ford Puma and (although we are still not sure if this is a classic...) a Peugeot 206 cabriolet!
No doubt we will be heading out again next year so we are looking at ideas for routes. It has been suggested we head further afield - maybe France? As for vehicles it has been suggested that we need a vehicle that we can each sleep in - and cook in - for less than £1000. What would you choose?
If anyone out there is keen to get involved do let us know - last time we had a number of calls so with some forward planning we could get a large group together and maybe even raise some money for charity!
We have found this year that taking a blanket and picnic is a lovely way to spend a day at a classic car show and there is something for all the family to do - usually for less than £10 which in this day and age is a bargain!
So why not invest in a classic - the values can only go up if they are treated correctly -and then get involved in the shows here in Essex (and further afield). We are sure you will also meet some lovely people and the day will breeze away with stories and memories of yesteryear.
With many vehicles from the 1990's (which seems like last week to us...) and before now gaining 'classic' status there is something for everyone out there so we look forward to chatting with you soon.
Happy motoring and remember - a heated garage is a very special place for both classic cars and those who like to tinker with them!
The hunt is always on! During our recent family trip to Portugal we were spotting many classics hiding away from the summer sun! In one dealership on the way from Faro airport we came across a Triumph Herald and a Triumph Spitfire. On the same journey we saw many many Renault 4's - question is now is whether there is a big enough demand for these in the UK? We are lucky enough to know someone who lives in Portugal so finding decent classics there and shipping them would not be a problem. This got us thinking - are classic cars the same in every country? In Portugal the Renault and the Beetle are everywhere so can they be counted as a classic? The Mercedes W123 is in everyday use - although usually fairly beat up diesel examples - so does this count? According to Philippa they are not classics but I think they are - how many do you see in this country? Does a classic have to be in mint condition?
We also had the discussion of whether it Is it a good idea to have a well built 'classic' as an everyday driver? If you look at the sums it adds up (I am accused of some man maths here...). Buy a w123 Mercedes for £1500. Have it serviced and checked. Replace anything that needs doing. Probably you will have invested £2500 all told. Get classic insurance for £100 a year. Pay lowest rate road tax of around £200 a year. In a diesel you should get around 30 - 40 mpg.
So to add it up you have invested £2800 and when you fancy a change on a few years trade it in with us or sell it and you should see most of your money back. Compare this to the leasing offers on new cars. Pay £2000 up front, £250 a month and then after three years (and a limited mileage of 6000 a year on a basic deal) you have spent £9000 and then you hand the car back and have nothing to show for your money. Why would you sit in a euro box - maybe even with a three cylinder motor like our hire car had - when you could cruise in a classic Merc? As someone once said YOLO (which apparently means You Only Live Once!)
So onto the hire car -also known as the fastest car in the world! We picked up a nearly new (less than 3k) VW 'Up' from the airport. With the three of us and five cases squeezed in we set of into the Portugal sun using a rather snazzy app on the phone and found our way to our hotel. The 3 cylinder VW strained its way up the hills and putted around finding its happy point at about 75 mph. To be fair it is a pretty decent little car - well built and with excellent air con - but again how much is one of these new? Could you really drive one everyday? Which brings us back to the Mercedes - trusted the world over! So I guess the ideal solution is to have a hire company at the airport which provides a range of 'classics' or 'used vehicle solutions' depending on the budget. If we could have hired a 1985 Mercedes that had been freshly serviced for £40 a day I know what I would have picked.... How about you? Anyone interested in setting up a hire fleet??
Chris Barnes - a Classic Car hunter that has bought and sold for twenty years bringing you the inside track and discoveries as they happen
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