Rescue and Renovate A Classic Car

An Ideal Bucket List Project That Will Keep On Giving

Despite what you might think, classic cars don’t just have to be the reserve of petrol heads and millionaires.  As our case study below highlights, owning a classic car can be a surprisingly affordable bucket list item.  For some, it is a financial investment [at least that is how they justify it to their partners!]  But for most, it is an entirely emotional thing; A classic car has its own smell, it’s own sound sound – and if the bond is strong enough with it’s owner – as you will see in a minute when you get to meet Vera, it’s own ‘given’ name too!

So what is a classic car?  In it’s broadest sense, a classic car is a vehicle of sufficient historical or cultural interest to be worth preserving or restoring beyond a car’s normal lifespan.  For some, their dream classic car is filled with the nostalgia of childhood memories.  For others it may be a vehicle associated with a classic film or television series.  The Herbie films made the Volkswagen Beetle an eternal classic, and for those with deeper pockets who have never quite grown up [no bad thing] – boyhood dreams of being James Bond can in some part be realised by the acquisition of an an Aston Martin. It can be purely aesthetic too – some cars truly are things of beauty.

The truth of the matter is that what constitutes a classic car, just like art is entirely subjective.  It is whatever YOU think is classic and gives you happiness and joy to drive on a sunny day.  In most cases [as long as you do your research and avoid buying a lemon] classic car ownership can be a relatively risk free purchase too.  With a good re-sale market – if kept in good condition – older cars frequently hold their value or even appreciate, especially if you have invested time in renovation.   This means that this is one bucket list item where you can probably get your money back if your circumstances change, or your enjoyment wanes.

“My Affair with Vera”

A Case Study by Martin Russ

Ever since I came of age – technically around the time when I passed my driving test – I have had a thing for the older ladies.  In my urban youth, I must admit to being fickle and disloyal.  The objects of my passions were racy, sophisticated, curvaceous and numerous – but always mature.   With the passage of time and a move to the Suffolk countryside, my dreams gradually evolved to the more sturdy old girls, until finally I felt able to commit.  And so it was that I parked my lust for an MG or Triumph sports car and acquired something my townie former self could never have imagined – and I could not be happier.

A Love Affair That Began Online

Buying a car on Ebay adds to the funIt all started around seven years ago when I first became acquainted with my 1981 Land Rover Series 3 [now known as Vera.]  A chance conversation with a friend, who deals in cars on eBay, when I happened to mention I was looking for an old Land Rover, as a project that needed some work and then serve as a local run-around.  Some months later he said he had found one that was quite local.  It was at a ludicrously low price, so there was no time to consider it, just a matter of saying ‘Yes’.

There was nothing sinister or hidden behind the bargain price, it was due to the vendor mistakenly putting ‘reserve’ price the same as the ‘Buy it now’ price. It had been parked in the same spot for a long period and would not start.  As I paid for a transporter to carry her home, I must confess to a few butterflies.  However, after a couple of hours work and a new battery from a local mechanic, she was running well.

Getting To Know Each Other & Making A Few Adjustments

Driving it was a skill. It took me back to when I first learnt to drive 40 years ago! In the meantime I have replaced some of the components and kept it running. It scrapes through its MOT each year, sometimes with a little work, but nothing drastic. In between times it serves as a trusty steed to go to the village for shopping or the local pub, especially on Sunday afternoons. Fellow Land Rover drivers always give a cheery wave. It has given many hours of pleasure, in many ways more than driving a modern car to a business meeting around the M25. It has also been very useful to get around when the lanes have been covered in ice and snow. Just select four-wheel drive and it seems more stable to drive than a modern vehicle without that option.

Next year Vera will be 40 years old and she will be exempt from the Road Fund Licence fee and is the only vehicle I have owned that is worth more now, than when I bought it!

If you have ever fancied the idea of owning a classic vehicle, I can highly recommend adding it to your bucket list.  If you keep an out for a bargain you can be guaranteed of hours of enjoyment. I have also found it to be quite economical to run. It’s not particularly good on fuel efficiency, but the annual insurance is less than £100 and original spares are plentiful, costing far less than the equivalent for a modern vehicle.

But what if your dream car is more Lamborghini than Land Rover?

If your dream drive is something a little more racy, exotic and budget busting, there is another approach to help you get behind the wheel.  Click on this link to find out how to experience the ultimate bucket list driving experience.

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