Don't keep it to yourself!
No matter which car club you belong to, I bet you hear the same cry. “We are all getting older, what do we do to attract young members?” And as much as I hate to say it, but many older car types have brought this sorry situation upon themselves.
Encouraged by my father, I joined the VCC when I was 14 years old and was probably the youngest member in the club. By the time I was 16 I had the 1924 Chevrolet on the road and at that stage I think the Haycocks were the first family to have three active motoring generations in the club. The sad fact is that 30 years later, I am still one of the youngest members! And much of the blame can be laid firmly at the feet of the older generation.
While I was always encouraged to use my father’s cars, for many of his fellow members, the thought of allowing someone... anyone else, to drive their precious car was absolutely unthinkable! Drive it? Don’t even touch it! So now as they reach the age where they are thinking of what is going to happen to their treasured car, the rest of the family couldn’t give a hoot about the thing, just as long as it is disposed of ASAP and turned into something more appealing, i.e. money.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Seven of us went to Bendigo a couple of weeks ago. My brother and I got to enjoy a weekend with our father, sharing a joint passion. Nigel Fraser, considerably younger than me, has his father’s 1923 Chevrolet in his shed, alongside his own cars from the 1920s to 1950s. Neil Carter had his son Nick along for the trip as well, not just tagging along, Nick has a couple of early Morris’s and he spent more than all of us at the swapmeet.
At the Chelsea hillclimb, four teenagers were competing, three of them not old enough to hold road licences, encouraged all the way by their parents and grandparents. Here is the future of the classic/vintage/ collectors/call it what you want movement. The solution is a lot closer to home than you might think.
The wisdom of this can be seen with the three cars featured in this issue of Classic Driver. The Riley DHC has been in the same family since the 1950s and as the owner’s daughter works alongside him in the family car dismantling business, it would seem certain that it will remain in family ownership for the foreseeable future.
Then we come to the VW Kombi. Now owned by the son of the original owner, he has a nephew who is a keen Kombi enthusiast and is looking for one of his own, so the future of this family car seems assured as well.
And the Falcon Cobra? That came about because the owner was looking for a classic Chevrolet for his son, another old car fanatic, so here again we have a father and son combination actively involved in the old car world.
So, when it comes to looking at the future of the classic/vintage/collector, call it what you want movement, have a good look within before looking outside! The good thing about this pastime of ours is that it is one which can be shared, be it with friends or family, a day’s motoring in your old car, or a day at the track, is something best enjoyed with company.
By the time you are reading this, we will all be preparing for the arrival of the red-suited fat bloke powered by fresh venison to arrive on the roof and leave us goodies. Always a social time of the year anyway, why not try sharing your old car with your kids, grandkids or even the neighbour’s kids? You just might be surprised by the response you get.
So all that remains is for me to thank all our readers for their loyalty over the year, the owners of the cars who have been generous enough to allow me to experience their vehicles and tell me their stories and the rest of the Classic Driver team and contributors for their unending support and friendship as we all work tirelessly to ensure everyone gets the quality Classic Driver they deserve.
Merry Christmas and happy and safe motoring into the New Year!