We all know the feeling: Out for a ride in the classic and on our way we meet all smiles, amazement and acceptance of our vehicle. One senses that one’s classic contributes positively to the street scene. But is a completely different spirit lurking around the corner – a future resistance to these smoking relics of the past on 4 wheels?
Sometimes I’m met with the question, ‘Aren’t you enthusiasts voluntarily imprisoned in your own bubble?’ – to which I clearly and without hesitation can answer, ‘But of course’.
viaRETRO and the community around it is my sanctuary and here I cultivate my passion with like-minded. I imagine that it works despite differences in age, political beliefs, preferences in cars and education. In fact, interest in cars is the intersection. It is enough for all to make an effort to make the community work. THAT is viaRETRO in a nutshell. The fact that it also works in the real world is confirmed by the events we have had so far. It has indeed been exceptionally nice, and I suppose these events have linked bonds of friendship that will last for many years – even in the real world. I see a few. Communities are good for the classic car’s future.
Now that it can work, it may seem strange that one experiences places where the spirit isn’t present. I have been on club events and club meetings where self sufficiency was quite excessive for my taste. Nothing is more disappointing than appearing enthusiastically for an event just to be greeted with a half cold shoulder, either because you have the wrong car, or because it is in the wrong condition. I’ve been arriving at a very posh event in a crisp car in the rain, parked in the parking lot which was only half filled with cars. Inside were the owners of the cars at the site, but also plenty of owners who had left their car at home. ‘The Princess is really not coming out in such weather’. The rest of the evening I was to listen to more of these owners’ stories about the Princess’s next upgrade, in order to achieve the best driving properties and the best reliability and durability. All the while the canapés on cocktail sticks got up and walked. The mind easily wanders onto a study which appeared a few years ago; it showed that 60-70% (I think it was) of the owners of classic cars drove less than 1000 kilometers a year.
If it becomes a status owning and not using a classic car, as shown in the statistics, there is no longer any future of the moving vehicles on hold.
Another question I have been asked, ‘What will you do when you can’t buy gas anymore, or it becomes so expensive that you don’t want to pay the price?’ – ‘Well, you know what, it’ll probably take some years yet’ the reply has been. But actually it is a very relevant scenario that even 10 km per liter is too expensive to live with. 2013 is the year the electric car manufacturers expect to get a breakthrough. Now, the announcement I think is an ingenious attempt to kick-start sales. It is certainly not going to happen in 2013 – but it will happen, that’s for sure. In any case, the first advertisements for favorable leasing of electric cars are starting to appear on our TV screens. I see a not so distant future where the roads are summing quietly from electric driven vehicles, and it will be nice. But how will people look upon a roaring De Tomaso Pantera or a raspering Porsche 911? The skeptic in me says that’ll be stopped. Earlier the public feeling has proved to be a freaky cousin.
In Paris they rattle the sabre this year. A proposal has been made for a total ban on cars over 17 years old in the inner city from 2014. Definitely a step to remove the oldest everyday cars that pollute the air. But the rule also cuts out the classic cars. Too bad, as we now know that only 60-70% run their classic cars, thus the total pollution from them is hardly measurable. I’m sure that there is a political lobby trying to exempt veteran and classic cars from the rule. I just so hope that it’s not the ones with the canapés and fancy cars on trailers that move in elevated circles in Brussels and speak their case.
‘So, are your kids then not raving to go to the workshop and work with the old cars?’ – Nope, they are so much not! They have long since chosen very different forms of entertainment. Whether it may be my fault, the lack of inclusion and more than low teaching ability, I shall not refuse. But it’s probably obvious to everyone that the next generation doesn’t have quite the same need for old cars – I can’t even entice my boys to get a moped. They are confident users of public transport. Great for society, but it does look a little bleak for the classic cars of the future. Who on Earth would take over all our fine cars which have major zinc treatments and stainless steel bolts and nuts for a hundred years of life? I have mentioned pre-war cars before: Almost nobody wants anything to do with them, and when our parents’ generation is gone, the market largely disappears. Perhaps the same will happen with our cars if we don’t get the kids to go along with the joke.
These were aphorisms with a slightly pessimistic angle. Do you disagree? Have I turned into an angry, bitter man? Have YOU spoken to your kids today – about old cars? Is the electric car just a scam without a future? Are Parisians just crazy and totally on their own? And has the establishment everything under control with concours cars and the entire Turkish music?