RESEARCH PREDICTS END OF CLASSIC CARS COVER
Leading economist’s report recommends a cut in classic usage from 2030
Acontroversial report issued by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) says that classics as we know them could be off our roads within the next 23-28 years.
The report was produced in an effort to tackle Britain’s traffic-choked roads, according to the chairman of the CEBR. But research for How to Abolish TrafficJams has uncovered worrying news for classic car owners.
According to the CEBR, classic cars could be segregated onto different roads from other road users by the 2030s. The report also suggests that the only fossil-fuelled vehicles on the road by the 2040s could be limited-mileage classics.
The CEBR has advised both the Conservative and Labour parties in the past, and its founder and chairman, Professor Douglas McWilliams, was chief economic adviser to the Confederation of British Industry and IBM. McWilliams himself owns a Jaguar XJ- S and an Aston Martin DB6, and will be competing in next year’s Paris to Peking run in his Bentley S1. He says: ‘As a classic enthusiast I’m certainly not enthusing about any of these policies. We will see the end of the car as we know it. But we have to soon start making provisions for classics.
‘Roads are funded by fuel, and once fuel is gone, we will find ourselves in the situation where roads are funded by users. ‘In this study, we’ve made provisions for classic drivers, but haven’t provided a solution. I’d even go as far as to say that in the future, during a time of autonomous cars, interest in classics could go through the roof.
‘The biggest danger to classics is actually fuel-related. By 2040 there might be no fuel sellers. Threat to the classic industry comes from there as I doubt any government will subsidise fossil fuels. In terms of economic interests, fuel companies won’t have fuel for sale unless they’re making money.
‘I predict that between 2030 and 2050 there will be no fuel stations left. This may not affect ultra-high- end collectors who can afford to own their own petrol stations. But something needs to be done for owners of Morrises, Triumphs and MGs.’
The report allows the possibility that there could be occasional ‘classic car days’ when they are allowed to be used on the public road system without road user charge.
The classic world has widely criticised the report. Sir Greg Knight, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group, says: ‘Academics and boffins forget about something that’s essential – public opinion. Unless the public agree, there’s no point. No democratic government will ban people from driving cars.
‘The people who have written this report have taken logic a step too far. Driverless cars should be a supplement, not a replacement.
‘I do not see Parliament taking this up. Any government, no matter what its policies, want to take the public with them.’
FBHVC communications director, Geoff Lancaster, says: ‘I was sitting in my garden reading this report getting more and more depressed at each page I turned. Suddenly in the distance came the unmistakable rumble of multiple Merlin engines and a Lancaster bomber flew over escorted by two Spitfires. This lifted my spirits and I realised that I would be glad not to be around to witness the dawning of this brave new world where heritage is so callously dismissed. I don’t see any clamouring to demolish Windsor castle because it has an unfavourable energy rating.
‘There has been an increasing number of predictive reports and similar statements from politicians. I’d say there’s a lot of grandstanding going on. The author of the report is happy to make predictions far into the future, at a time when he won’t be accountable for what he’s said.’
Classics like this Morris Oxford Series VI could be reduced to being used on special roads by the 2030s.