As a boy of three or four I used to lie in bed in that twilight moment before sleep and listen to the cars passing by my bedroom window.
Certain cars were instantly identifiable, just by their sound, such as MGBs with a muted growl and Morris Minors with a classic, comedy fart rasp on engine overrun. Others could be identified by transmission sounds. Triumph Heralds, demonstrating their lack of synchromesh on 1st gear as they whined into motion being one such example.
Remembering this made me think about the other factors which make certain models of the same car more desirable than others.
Take the ubiquitous Mini, for example. Early, sliding door glass, external hinged versions, often are nowadays aped, using newer cars as the basis for a pastiche of 50s and 60s styling.
Forty years ago, fibreglass Clubman snouts were being added to rotting Mk1 models, by boy racers on a budget, looking to give the impression of having a newer car. Meanwhile, manufacturers warmed over their model ranges by adding nasty plastic trim items and garish paint hues, in the process possibly lessening future values.
Gauges, steering wheels, seat materials, door cards and even windscreen wiper arrangements all play a part in our classic obsessions and affect the reactions of others to our pride and joy.
The mixed, heady aroma of leather and oil, or vinyl and musty carpet can transport us in time and often, that is where our love of Classic Cars starts, at a point at which we lose what was once familiar to us, so really, there are no right or wrong models.
As our enthusiasm grows and we come to appreciate and love of types from an earlier era, unfamiliar machines in our lifetimes, we will acquire a depth of knowledge of the field and with it, a desire to present our cars in a certain way.
So whether they’re deeply patinated oily rags, slammed flip-painted custom jobs, or beige early 80s rep-mobiles, they’re all gorgeous.