One would perhaps think that classic cars – essentially a celebration of what used to be – would be less susceptible to following trends and fashions. But one would then be wrong.
Classic car owners clearly have an appreciation of history and of heritage, but many of us clearly still have a desire to personalize our chosen classic car. This can of course often be achieved through period-correct modifications right from kitsch little add-ons to rare and now insanely expensive aftermarket steering wheels, period aftermarket wheel upgrades or even full-blown engine tuning executed as one would have done back in the day.
While the self-confessed purists and members of Das Original Polizei may well find themselves having a minor seizure over such obscene behaviour, I’ve always taken the view, that as long as it’s truly period-correct, then it’s absolutely fine by me. After all, the pleasure I get from classic cars is not in any way restricted to experiencing classic cars which present exactly and precisely down to the very smallest detail, as they were delivered new from the factory. No, for me it’s more about the virtual time travel back to a better and simpler era. While a factory-correct early seventies safety colour or a factory fitted mono Blaupunkt radio help me achieve that illusion of time travel, so does a set of chrome-back Carello spotlights on the front of a classic Lancia, a set of aftermarket Cosmic alloys on a Mini, or even plastic rear window louvres on a late seventies Opel Manta. I am in all honesty a real sucker for those period-defining aftermarket add-ons.
But every so often a new trend rudely enters our classic car community. A non-period-compliant fashion statement of sorts, which is bizarrely immediately embraced and spread among certain groups of enthusiasts. The latest one seems to be tinting the inner highbeam headlights yellow on classics with quad headlight set-ups. I’m sure you too will have noticed this modern and utterly pointless trend. In short, the normal and outer headlights are left white, while the inner highbeam is tinted yellow, leaving an odd mix of that classic French look with yellow headlights and the regular white headlight look. But why?
I frankly struggle to answer that question. What precisely is achieved with this latest fashion statement which is now polluting the classic car scene? Personally I’m actually a huge fan of yellow headlights – especially if they adorn a French classic car, where it simply perfects the aura surrounding la voiture trés chic. But then they obviously need to all be yellow, as would have been the case back in the day. I’m even okay with a classic car having regular white headlights, but supplemented with a pair of retro-fitted stand-alone spotlights on the front bumper which have yellow glass in them. That works too. But the headlights – all the headlights – which are an integral part of the bodywork, should also have the same colour glass. Either white or yellow. But never both. This, after all, is the way it has always been, so this is naturally the way it should continue to be!
Do you too have a pet hate, when it comes to modern trends without any period background making their way onto classic cars? Or are you on the other side of the fence, so you would rather try to explain to me why non-period-compliant fads are at all relevant on classic cars?