20. February 2009 03:04
The retro car scene encapsulates a wide range of eras and types of car. Yet there are many people enthusiastic about their retro cars who find reasons to own and drive a “modern” on a daily basis. This has always bemused me. I have, in the past, reliably commuted quite high mileages in old cars and found it a great way to relax after a long day at work, piloting something that I cared about and was different from the rest of the traffic around me.
To my mind there is a rough cut off date that cars designed or manufactured before which do take true dedication to drive on such a regular basis. It may seem earlier than many would consider but I think the advent and rapid expansion of the motorway system in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s resulted in the majority of cars soon being made to cope with long periods at sustained high speeds.
So, almost anything made after that date is daily driver fodder then? Well maybe not but there is certainly a huge range of cars available that would cope perfectly well with regular use. The water cooled VW scene is a mainstay of the retro car scene and these are cars that were promoted for their reliability* and have a huge support network. There are also numerous traditional British classics with great parts and service availability that could be turned into ultra cool mile munchers with a change of ride height and wheels.
I understand that a regularly used car may deteriorate to a certain extent and so a show winning paintjob is not likely to last but then anyone preserving a potential show winner is going to have a different car for daily use anyway. A solid car is not going to suddenly fall to pieces if it’s suitably protected from the elements and occasional maintenance (as any modern also needs) should maintain reliability. Even if you accounted for professional servicing an older car is likely to be much cheaper to run than a modern once interest and depreciation is taken into account.
Most car people need one to use all the time. Why not make it a retro?