In these past weeks, there seems to have a push in the promotion of electric cars and how hugely they will benefit the environment — which, in truth, remains to be seen — as well as an amplification of the threat of global warming: how rapidly our environment is deteriorating, how much of the ice shelf is diminishing, and the record summer temperatures that have sizzled the northern hemisphere — although, hasn’t the planet frozen over many times before?
It all makes for a very depressing read, but what saddens me the most is the fact that there seems to be not a single association, club, organization — call it what you want — that is representing the vintage / classic car enthusiasts. There’s almost an impression that we accept that we have destroyed the planet and we are now accepting responsibility — as if we are saying to the policymakers, “Yes, we will go with the flow; have it your way!”
Could this be a reflection of the apathy and lack of vision within these clubs and associations? Are we dealing with committees that have run out of puff, or maybe lack the energy, or are too proud, to unite in one voice to protect and preserve our pastime? Yes, I can see that most of you enthusiasts are nodding your heads in affirmation — I have seen it before!
What are classic car clubs doing, collectively or independently, about our freedom to drive our cars in the future? Will these same clubs tell us that we can’t use our cars once the Zero Carbon Act comes into force, or that we will be allowed to use combustion engine cars only on weekends?
Are clubs, organizations, associations, etc. getting involved in discussions with the government — do car enthusiasts have a voice? Are car enthusiasts being given a fair representation in this maddening rush to save the world from the harm caused by fossil fuels — or so we are made to think! Why is it that only cars are being targeted? Cargo ships, cruise liners, yachts, recreational boats — what about their pollution in the seas and oceans around the globe? What about aircraft — avgas is the largest source of lead in the air, and it has been proven through various health statistics that lead in a person’s bloodstream contributes to learning disabilities and behavioural issues, especially in children! Maybe these industries are very strong-generating fiscal tools that no one dares to touch!
Shouldn’t classic car owners and enthusiasts be subsidized to keep their cars on the road and to maintain them in running order? The ‘planet rescuers’ seem to fail to acknowledge that these cars are not just a set of wheels mounted to a metal body and driven by a motor; they are not just a means of getting from A to B; they are our history, our story, our beginning!
Classic cars will always be bought and classic cars will always be sold — they are an international currency! If conditions are not favourable in New Zealand, they will find a home elsewhere — but, at the same time, New Zealand history will be leaving our shores!
In the scheme of things, our cars are too few in number; they are used too limitedly to represent any environmental threat. In reality, the environment will be more threatened when electric vehicles dominate our roads, if that should ever happen. For this reason, should clubs not be lobbying for their members, to ensure for them that classic and vintage vehicles are excluded from the Zero Carbon Act?
Generations should be working together, not in competition with each other. The whole point of a classic car club is to remain the hub of the classic car community. ‘Selfies’ should be cast aside — self-worth, self-importance, and self-esteem. Clubs can lead the way in driving this popularity by utilizing new digital platforms; by promoting themselves to an even larger number of enthusiasts, with universal social media platforms and digital channels. Most clubs are in desperate need of modern expertise that may not always be found in their established circles. New generation members want to contribute to the present and the future of a club, and that should be the heart of the question for every progressive club: why should new generation members want to join a classic car club in the digital age? When prospective members see an organization that is supportive, open, helpful, and acting expressly in the interests of the cars and the people who own them, they will feel far more convinced of the authority and usefulness of that organization.
This is the way forward; this is the way to ensuring that our ‘ beauties’ can in the future be driven on the road without much fanfare! We must unite and speak together as one, seeking one representation that truly has at heart the classic car movement! There is no room for personal agendas or personal gain — the clock is ticking. If we do not come up with a solid front, classic cars could become mere showpieces — mummified bodies that have been deprived of life purely because the policymakers decided to switch off life support! Are we truly providing the necessary go-to hub to enable the policymakers to make informed decisions about the future of our classic cars? Maybe not!
New Zealand offers great craftsmanship and some truly special classic cars; it is our duty, collectively, to ensure that we preserve them and keep them ticking over for future generations!
Until then, safe driving!