Why do we do it? Why do sensible, intelligent men and women who otherwise display great maturity and common sense fall for old cars? Of course, beautiful old vehicles exhibit a certain charm, but let’s be honest, they are an impractical and – quite frankly – ridiculous undertaking, not to mention a money pit.
My journey began with the acquisition of a real beauty: a 1977 Jaguar XJC. For the layman, this was the gloriously styled two-door version of the venerable XJ6, believed by many to be the best car of its type at the time.
Mine was purchased for a pittance – literally a few pounds – and it was an apparent bargain. Except it wasn’t, not in any way, shape, or form.
It needed a new floor and a new rear wing. Neither were readily available and even joining the Jaguar Owners Club and putting the word out yielded just one rear wing in the whole country. It was priced at five times the cost of the car and was for the wrong side.
A friend – a former panel beater for Aston Martin – helped me fabricate the parts needing to be replaced, and we found a scrap sedan and cut down its floor. My pride and joy was ready. I soon found that, with fuel consumption at around 8mpg, I couldn’t afford to run it. It sold to a young man in Scotland who I believe still has it.
What was the appeal? In truth, it was the lure of owning something that, when new, would have cost the equivalent of a few years salary, the joy of traveling in luxury, and the sheer nostalgia value. All of that, and more, infects all of us who love classics.
I thought I had been ‘cured’ when I began driving a modern car, one with electronics that worked (well, sometimes, it was a FIAT!) and that didn’t break down all the time.
But it wasn’t to be. On a garage forecourt where I was helping buy a car for my mother, I spotted a bright red, Mitsubishi GTO, of 1993 vintage and simply sensational. The price was less than four figures, and I simply had to have it. Me, owning a 280bhp, twin-turbocharged 160mph supercar – I had to have it.
In fact, I still have it: it’s a pain in the backside, costs a fortune in repairs, and is unreliable and impractical. It’s also brilliant, and I can’t see myself ever selling it. That’s what classic cars do: they get under your skin, they grab ahold of you and simply won’t let you go. Try one for size – you’ll be hooked before you know it.
Photos: Google Images