I find it hard to pinpoint exactly when I became a classic car enthusiast, but I certainly remember a joint holiday, back in 1968, when we in our Ford Cortina MkI and the Greaves family in their white-over-yellow Ford Classic, motored merrily about the Somerset countryside.
I never did get a ride in that Classic, and to this day I still haven’t set foot inside one!
I later developed a passion for buses – but with a twist, I loved to see period footage of them, driving past the street furniture of the time. By 1976, at the age of 12, I realised that my enjoyment of watching Carry On wasn’t based on their dubious comedic content, but on the flashes of old tin in the background. I was hooked, and have been ever since.
The sight of a dilapidated Vauxhall Victor FB with a, pre-suffix registration plate would leave me slack-jawed – and leave most of my girl-obsessed teenage chums taking the Mickey.
My first classic was a 1960 Ford Anglia, bought for the princely sum of £25. I was 15 and full of good intentions, but a few months later I watched Henry Taroni’s truck winch it up and take it away for scrap. Rust had exploded through seemingly solid areas and I learned a sharp lesson in how glassfibre can conceal a multitude of sins.
The real joy of Classic Cars
Having eschewed the pleasures of my mum’s Ford Fiesta MkI, in 1983, at the age of 18, I acquired a 1950 Series I Land Rover, which not only suited my penchant for robust, ancient travelling machines, but also seemed to attract a more interesting type of girl.
Reliability wasn’t an issue – there was very little involved – but I didn’t care. ?I owned LTJ 714 for 11 years, during which time it was only actually on the road for three or four of them. But hey, as far as I’m concerned that’s part of the joy of classic cars.
Driving them is certainly a one-car victory parade, but getting them to that point is an heroic battle of wits, skill and sheer determination. Pure magic.