Curse of the com­puter

Octane - - IGNITION - Steve Tay­lor, by email

Com­put­ers are be­com­ing faster, smaller, and more en­ergy ef­fi­cient. W hat does that mean for clas­sic car en­thu­si­asts? Which cars of to­day – with so much em­bed­ded elec­tronic gad­getry – will become the clas­sics of to­mor­row, giv­ing own­ers of the fu­ture the same plea­sure we al­ready de­rive from cars of 50 or more years ago?

To­day’s touch­screens will not last as long as a sim­ple knob or switch. And en­gine man­age­ment sys­tems are so so­phis­ti­cated that it will take a brave re­storer to tear out a mod­ern wir­ing loom and ECU.

For­mula 1 cars from the mid-1990s re­quire a whole team of folk to start them. As time ad­vances those cars will only ever be static di­nosaurs, as no-one will have the abil­ity or equip­ment to op­er­ate them. En­thu­si­asts will not be able to drive them as folk do with Lo­tus 49s and Shadow DN5s from the 1960s and ’70s.

To­day’s F1 cars are the most ac­cu­rate in­di­ca­tor of the fate that will be­fall many cur­rent road cars. As tech­nol­ogy ad­vances, ob­so­les­cence will set in much ear­lier, mak­ing our cher­ished cars un­us­able much ear­lier. The cur­rent crop of elec­tric ve­hi­cles will become ob­so­lete very quickly as bat­tery tech­nol­ogy im­proves. This will have a dra­matic ef­fect on re­sale val­ues. Would you want to go back to a com­puter that you were us­ing 10, 15 years ago?

Tech­nol­ogy is a won­der­ful thing and has en­riched all our lives. But it will not en­hance the clas­sic car world. In 20 years’ time no-one will know how to fix a 2016 Range Rover Evoque, or a cur­rent Jaguar F-Pace should it re­quire a new touch­screen, ECU, or sus­pen­sion con­trol sys­tem.

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