In­ter­est in clas­sic cars is stronger than ever – but the move­ment needs fresh blood if it is to flour­ish long-term, a na­tion­wide sur­vey dis­cov­ers

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

Anew sur­vey con­ducted by the Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs (FBHVC) has re­vealed the dif­fi­cul­ties that clubs con­tinue to have in re­cruit­ing young fans.

Ac­cord­ing to its data, fewer young­sters than be­fore are keen to share the preser­va­tion mes­sage – and are less likely to keep older ve­hi­cles on mod­ern roads.

Com­pounded with a still-grow­ing mar­ket (capped at just over one per cent by the Hagerty Price Guide Sur­vey 2018), younger mo­torists are less likely to be able to af­ford a clas­sic, even if they show an in­ter­est in his­toric ve­hi­cles, the Fed­er­a­tion’s sur­vey found.

The FBHVC’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ge­off Lan­caster, said: ‘It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to keep an eye on the shift in de­mo­graph­ics – this in­forms us of any loom­ing is­sues be­fore they be­come ma­jor prob­lems.

‘ We weren’t sur­prised to see strong di­vi­sions in the data by age – it’s an age­ing pop­u­la­tion when it comes to his­toric ve­hi­cles – but so too re­gion­al­ity.

‘There’s a big gap in the per­cep­tions of af­ford­abil­ity from north to south, which re­flects the eco­nomic dif­fer­ences be­tween

the ar­eas.

‘One thing we have been con­cerned about is the idea that young peo­ple in ur­ban ar­eas aren’t be­com­ing in­ter­ested in ve­hi­cles new or old.

‘I per­son­ally feel this is more a trend of talk­ing than re­al­ity, likely only to be the case in the most cen­tral ar­eas of cities, but we need to look into things more here.’

The con­trast be­tween the age groups came de­spite an up­turn in those sur­veyed declar­ing an in­ter­est in his­toric ve­hi­cles; from the last time peo­ple were can­vassed (for the Na­tional His­toric Ve­hi­cle Sur­vey in 2016), UK par­tic­i­pants who wanted to see clas­sic cars kept on the road in orig­i­nal con­di­tion rose steeply from 8 mil­lion to ten mil­lion.

More in­ter­vie­wees claim to own a his­toric ve­hi­cle, too; the FBHVC found 2.5 mil­lion reg­u­larly read about them and the num­ber who know some­one who owns such a ve­hi­cle has grown by half a mil­lion to al­most eight mil­lion.

Ge­off said: ‘ We were sur­prised how rapidly gen­eral in­ter­est in his­toric ve­hi­cles is grow­ing. How­ever, it’s safe to say that there is an up­ward trend of in­ter­est.’

Re­search is con­tin­u­ing, with a fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the im­por­tance of spe­cial­ists to be re­vealed later in the year.

Younger clas­sic car en­thu­si­asts are still needed, says the FBHVC.

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