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Homepage. This page: An introduction to the world of classic cars, and a brief tour of this growing website.

An introduction to Classic Cars.

Probably the most discussed question raised by people with a new found interest in older cars, is 'What is a Classic Car?'. Finding an answer to this question ranks with establishing the meaning of life (well almost), as there can be no other debate likely to raise the hackles of one group of enthusiasts or another. This is what I'll try to discuss here, with key links included to other pertinent areas of my website including along the way.

Older cars can be grouped more or less by the year they were made, such as with vintage and veteran cars for instance, vintage cars (as defined by the Vintage Sports Car Club I think) are anything built pre-1930. A car built between 1930 and WW2 is generally classed as being a Post Vintage Thoroughbred, quite a grand moniker for many cars that fall into this group, which at the time were less than grand. After this time things get significantly less clear, with the term 'Classic Car' being applied by various quarters to any car from the 1940s right through in some cases to the 1980s even.

Confusing things even more, for the UK enthusiast of classic cars, is the zero rated road tax, and the new DVLA classification of historic car (formerly PLG, which remains for later cars). The zero rate road tax was introduced by the Conservative Government back in the early 1990s, the idea being that the cutoff would be on a rolling 25 year basis. However when Tony's cronies got in a few years back, they froze this rolling arrangement, and ever since the zero rated roadtax applies to any car *built* prior to 1/1/1973, so even if your BMW 2002 was registered in '73, if the build date on the V5 is a '72 date, you should be ok. In my mind therefore any car that qualifies for the free road tax is by and large a 'Classic' merely by its age, though there is no doubt that later examples of certain cars are correctly also classed as Classic Cars by the initiated fan.

A visit to your local classic & vintage car show will do little to clear up the situation. Amongst the many displays of accepted classics, such as MGBs, Rileys, old Jags, Triumphs and so on, there will be displays by enthusiasts of much later cars such as the Toyota MR2, Opel Manta, Ford Granada and other fairly recent cars. These later cars now have their own following of enthusiasts, which is great, although I must admit to balking at paying to enter a car show and being presented with (admittedly very shiny) examples of cars that you often still see propped up in 2nd rate car dealer forecourts and Tesco car parks. A local show costs around 3 to enter the grounds of the country estate that it is hosted at, then a further 5 - 6 per person to get into the show area itself, so thats 8+ before I get into the show.

But back to the main point. An alternative idea may be to pop down the local newsagent and buy a copy of a magazine devoted to classic cars. A quick flick through certain magazines will do little to help - alongside (say) a serialised restoration of an Austin A40 you stand a very good chance of seeing a buyers guide for a Peugeot 205GTi. Even insurance companies who specialise in older car's are now taking on board the fact that as many not-that-old cars now attract a strong following (witness the Pug GTi and MR2s again), branding cars over 10 years old as 'modern classics', which may be a satisfactory way of classifying things, with pre-1980 cars usually approaching the full 'classic' status. But, as I say, any true definition of what is a classic car cannot really be given, and much depends on who you speak to .. ask an owner of an Opel Senator whether his sparkling 3.0E is a classic and he/she will be in no doubt, however address the same question re the Opel to an owner of an established classic such as a P4 Rover and the reply may be somewhat different.

At the end of the day, the term 'classic car' is now accepted as applying to any car over say 15 years of age that has some fan base to draw upon, with one or two exceptions for truly interesting more recent automobiles.

I have made no mention of so-called 'Modern Classics' simply because these are cars that motoring pundits predict will attract the true full-on fanatical following of older car fans in the not-too-distant future.

Becoming a classic car owner involves as much or as little fanaticism for the subject as you wish to take on. Many classic car owners are content to fiddle with their old classic Morris in their spare time, with the car rarely ever seeing the light of day. There are others however who acquire multiple examples of various old cars, a bit like I do in fact! Some join owners clubs, some of whom then fully immerse themselves with the running of the club and/or its events throughout the rally season. Many owners are content to display their prized historic vehicle at shows up and down the country, whereas others get a taste for historic motor racing and prepare their cars for battle (such as at Goodwood here), whether it be side to side full-contact sports such as saloon car racing, or the more gentlemanly (though no less competitive) attraction of speed hillclimbing.

For some only absolute perfection will do, the concours arena being their natural habitat, where the ultimate spotless condition of a classic can often mean more than the driving experience of that car, many being trailered in cocooned transporters to avoid flies meeting their maker on the paintwork. At the other end of the scale are those for whom originality is best, and a damp shammy leather over faded but original chromework and an oily rag carefully wiped over the mechanicals is favoured - not for them an old car resurrected with 80% or more of new parts, with the resulting car having a historical link with the past in name only.

Then there are those diehard owners for whom owning one or more old cars is not yet enough, and invest yet more of their money in old car memorabilia (often called automobilia), with period tins, petrol cans, enamel signs and so on gracing their garage, or in the case of those as-yet unmarried, living rooms, kitchens and so on. To read up on this subject, see my Automobilia page, or a page dedicated to Motor racing Memorabilia

Often once an interest for classic autos has set in, further pleasure can be found by widening the scope of the interest to include classic aircraft, vintage motorcycles such as from Norton, AJS, Matchless, Harley Davidson and others, old commercial vehicles (ranging from pocket size delivery vehicles through to classic fire engines, municipal trucks and army lorries), or even obscure machines such as vintage lawnmowers, elderly bicycles, mopeds, go-karts, scooters and mopeds.

Running a classic needn't become too much of a headache either, so long as the new owner is willing to take some time out and learn about how their particular classic actually works, and undertake routine maintenance to keep things working as intended. I've gone into greater detail on this subject the article available by clicking the link here for Running a Classic Car.

If you're looking to buy a classic, but not quite sure how to go about it, I've rattled on in lengthy fashion on this page (How to Buy a Classic Car) , as it pays to do your homework before ploughing through the classic car adverts, so as you minimise the chance of buying a lemon. Selling a classic, or maybe an old car that you've inherited but have no use for, can be an equally puzzling process but oneon which I've raised some points on a sister article page, accessible by clicking on my How to Sell a Classic Car link.

Many people have an interest in buying a classic car, but when asked about what old car they are thinking of purchasing, draw a blank. If you're not quite sure what vehicle you'd like to own, one starting place could be my ever growing image archive, stuffed as it is with photographs I've taken of older cars over the last few years. The images are now grouped by Manufacturer, so navigating the page is dead easy. Also on this page (click here to view my Images Archive) are some suggested books, which relate to the cars listed alongside, so if you'd like to read up more on the subject, these could be just the thing for your Christmas or Birthday list!

Scattered across www.oldclassiccar.co.uk you'll find lots of other articles which will appeal to different readers depending on their particular interest(s) and situations. All of these can be found on the homepage (click here for the old classic car homepage), or alternatively I have provided some quick links here, such as to the Rust Spotters Guide, an article discussing Types of Classic Car, or the Car Security Advice article, details on how to maintain Safety in the Workshop, and first in a series of articles suggesting which cars will become Classics of the Future?.

There are also a number of articles relating to old car subjects such as the collecting of automobilia, and the delights of historic motor racing, all of which can be found on the home page. Two pages of questions relating to old cars have been discussed in some length recently, the first of which can be accessed on the FAQ Pt1 page.

Finally, in case you're wondering just how bad I've got the old car hobby, most of my old motors are featured on the My Classics page.

If you're based in the UK (ideally within travelling distance of the Wirral), and are stuck for storage of your latest double decker bus / microlight / amphibious vehicle, or maybe just a car, then the Storage solutions information page may just come in useful!

If you have any suggestion for new pages, or if you are a wannabee journalist and are willing to contribute an article that could be added to this site in future, by all means drop me a line using the contact me link on the home page. More the merrier!
Old truck
A classic pickup truck from the 1950s
Old car
A rare 1960s Gordon Keeble sports GT
Old racing car
Camaro SS race car from the 1960s
Old sports car
Pre-war BMW 328 from the 1930s
Old estate car
A 1960s Ford 105E Estate car
Old Cadillac
1940s Cadillac road racing car
Early Crossley
A 1930s streamlined Crossley
1950s Cadillac Station Wagon
A 1950s Cadillac 'woodie'
Works Toyota rally car
Works Toyota Celica from the 1980s
Vintage Austin + Caravan
1920s Austin 6 with period caravan
A Classic Bus
A restored half-cab double decker bus

Feedback.

Below is a sample of feedback that visitors to the site have been kind enough to send over.
"Found the site via the Goodwood website. And what a find. Forced my wife to read the Living with a hoarder feature. This could have been describing us. Maybe now she will realise that I am not an oddity. I loved your Goodwood screensaver and photo's section. Will certainly be coming back again."(Steve,UK)

"Not many people bother to do this but - I have just visited your website and had to put finger to keyboard to say 'What a good one' .. keep up the good work spreading the word of immortalising these beloved and much sworn at machines.." (Chris, UK)

"I have just found your site on the Internet, I am not a car enthusiast but I do like seeing pictures of yesterday's cars, they bring back a lot of memories and good times, I have downloaded some of your photos for my screen savers, I hope you don't mind. Thank you for a wonderful site, and lovely photos, much appreciated." (Brian, UK)

"I think your website is really great as it covers all aspects of motoring nostalgia.." (Paul, UK)

"Great site, been on it many a time ... planned to go to bed an hour ago, but then found your site again and was reading through it. THANKS, its great stuff and very interesting even though I dont have a classic" (Nik, UK)

"Dear Rick, I have had a great time looking at your website. I do like the internet when it is so well presented, and indeed is a terrific resource for the ignorant like me ! " (Serge, UK)

"Bloody BRILLIANT" (Sir Mike)

"Firstly may I say how much I've enjoyed looking at your website and particularly the old postcard views." (Rob)

"Firstly what a great site! loads of info and easy to navigate (even for me).." (Scott, UK)

"I have just visited your www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/toys.htm website and I am wowed by your collection of toy racecars. I am slowly working at getting everyone of them myself .. " (Paul, Canada)

I've also started visit your vast main site. Lots of great info! "Just wanted to say what a refreshing change your site made to so many of the poorly done and out of date sites I have seen lately - well done. My Alfa 164 even got a mention :)" (Mike)

"What an unbelievable site, I cant get my head round the graft you have put into it -Keep up the good work" (David)

"Congratulation's what a good site, you must have spent a lot of hour's on this, it was worth it, I have forwarded it to friend's, I have been checking out for well over an hour and will be back lot's, well done" (Terry)

"A great site. brings back many memories of the days (late '50s) when I and my friends could only afford a decrepit old sports car and try to do it up." (Tony)

"Your site is simply awesome. Something i must show my dad. He's vintage car crazy. So am I. I don't own one.. but I have 3 vintage beemers." (Nigel)

"I came across your website, and had it added to my "favourites" almost immediately. Even now, half an hour later, I am drooling at the sight of the vintage/period caravans and motorhomes ... especially the VIKING c'van, an example of which I owned not many years ago." (Arthur)

"I felt I must put fingers to keyboard to say how much I like your site, I like the way you keep updating it I keep finding myself going back to it more and more to see the updates, I have really enjoyed it over the winter when I have not been able to get outside and work on my own cars (Austin A60 and Morris Oxford VI) due to bad weather and not having a garage it is nice to read about someone like myself who loves old cars, keep up the good work". (George)

"Love your website - it has given me many hours of relaxing reading at the end of a stressful working day. As an early baby boomer from one of the outer colonies I was brought up on 40's & 50's little English cars, & have retained a great affection for them. I have never quite got round to owning one, unless you count my prized collection of die cast models. (I particularly like 40's & 50's Dinky toys, but these are getting a bit scarce & pricey these days !)". (Hugh)

"Hi my name is Phill, I love the web site, one of the best I could find. I particularly love the scrapyard pictures, as walking around old car/truck/plane graveyards is a particular interest of mine. Keep it up.". (Phill)

"Would just like to say how much i am enjoying browsing your fine website, I had been recommended to it by a friend. It has obviously taken you a large amount of time and effort, congratulations on the result." (Pete)

"What a glorious site! Congratulations, I have never come across any other car related site which has so much information set out in such a readable fashion. Just one moan, though. Apart from one or two photos the big Triumphs (TRs 4 to 6) have been ignored, even though you ran a Standard yourself (which reminds me, I used to have an 8 with a 1200 Herald Coupe engine in it - the brakes and handling let it down!)" (Andrew) (will have to see what I can do ... ed.)

"Just a short email to say thanks for a brilliant site which I just found. I've recently acquired a 1969 Mk3 Spitfire and have been building up my "favourites" list of anything to do with Triumphs and/or Spitfires. Needless to say your site is now at the top of my list. I really appreciate the time and effort you have obviously spent creating this site and giving pleasure to classic car enthusiasts the world over. Well done - and please keep up the good work." (Keith)

"Ive been on your website a few times now, reading a little bit more every time, and find it very enjoyable. I was wondering if maybe you could add a kind of "readers write" part. If I buy a magazine these are always the pages that I personally find most interesting, if somewhat controversial at times..." (Barrie) (if anyone would like to submit their own article about cars, motoring etc, I'll happily feature it so long as it applies to old cars and isn't libelous!!)

 
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