The classic car movement is bigger than ever, and generates revenue of around £5.5 billion per year. In part, this is because as time goes on, the range of classic cars out there gets larger. After all, if you had told somebody 20 years ago that Austin Allegros and Morris Marinas would one day be appreciating classics with dedicated club support, they would have probably sent for the men in white coats, but that is precisely the situation today.
For every classic car owner, there are two enthusiasts that would love to own one, but can’t justify having a second car just for fun. This raises an interesting question: Is it practical to run a classic car as a daily driver? Plenty of people do just that. Let’s find out more.
Let’s not pretend here, however well maintained your classic, there is more chance of it conking out than a brand new car. Old cars also need more regular care and attention than newer ones, so carry out services regularly, and perform those under bonnet checks every weekend and before long journeys.
You could also consider some subtle after market upgrades that will not overly detract from originality, such as an electronic ignition, which will make the car run far more smoothly and will consign the days of messing around with contact breaker points to the pages of history.
Finally, don’t be a hero. Get breakdown cover for peace of mind. There are plenty of choices out there, so shop around and read up on pages like these reviews for RAC breakdown cover.
If you only do local pootling around, the classic world is your oyster. However, if you plan on doing long motorway journeys, you do not want to be doing them in an Austin A30 or a Ford Prefect that will struggle to cruise comfortably at anything over 50mph. As well as being unfair on the car and uncomfortable for you, it could be downright dangerous with 40 ton trucks hurtling by.
That doesn’t mean a classic is out of the question, however. A 1960s Jaguar will be more than capable of motorway cruising, as long as you can handle the 15mpg fuel economy. Alternatively, a more modern classic such as a Hillman Avenger or a Triumph Dolomite could be just the ticket.
Even if you keep it garaged and clean it every weekend, day to day use will inevitably result in some wear and tear. So while you want your classic to be in good condition, it seems a shame to use something that is absolutely concours and low mileage. Something that is in sound all round condition but has some patina and the odd small battle scar is absolutely perfect, and will mean you will not be crying your eyes out if someone opens a door on it in the supermarket car park.
Enjoy Your Classic
Classic cars are nice to look at, but the real joy is in using and driving them. So don’t be afraid to do so.