Classic move

Hannah changes gear this month, and looks at the technical challenges represented by classic cars

Published:  10 January, 2019

All my recent writing has involved modern cars and techniques, but this month I have decided to write about my main passion of classic cars. The classic car market is huge and people are now seeing a lot of classic cars as an investment.

All my recent writing has involved modern cars and techniques, but this month I have decided to write about my main passion of classic cars. The classic car market is huge and people are now seeing a lot of classic cars as an investment.

Recently I set about scouring eBay and Gumtree for a restoration project or ‘barn find’ as people like to classify anything that has stood unused for a length of time. The reason for the project is that it is my Dad’s 70th birthday was just before Christmas and what better present than a dusty and rusty old MGB GT? The British classic is top of my shopping list. Dad used to have a white MGB GT and I have always wanted an affordable classic so I have come to the conclusion that the MGB fits the bill perfectly.

Luckily I have found the perfect car. A lot of money can be lost due to poor bodywork issues. Welding is definitely not my forte, but luckily this particular MGB is solid underneath. That said, the interior needs a good clean and some repair and the engine requires a good service and tune up. The previous owner hadn’t used the car for over seven years but the little 1.8 litre engine ignited just fine. Admittedly it was running slightly lumpily, but it was drivable and solid for well under £1,000. In my eyes it was an absolute bargain.

As I write this I haven’t yet unveiled the car to Dad but I have ordered the parts catalogues with a view to what this ‘blank canvas’ can become. I am keen on a Sebring kit and Minilites. While getting a complete respray, the exterior paint is as dull as a wet February day. However, I keep having to remember that it is a present and not my car. I will certainly push what I think is best for the car.

Connection
Over the years I have restored and re-commissioned plenty of vehicles.  It is something I thoroughly enjoy doing and means you can really implement simple engineering techniques such as turning the mixture screw on a carburettor. I always feel that when a classic car comes in for work that the owner has a closer connection with this vehicle rather than their everyday one. I enjoy communicating with the owner in how they would like to restore the car, cars such as the iconic British Mini and MGB can be customised without losing their vintage style. Parts are so plentiful for most classics that there isn’t that time delay when restoring.
    
The MGB GT I have purchased comes with a thorough and plentiful file full of receipts mounting up to tens of thousands of pounds, and this certainly is not uncommon. Classic cars are a great chance for escapism in this modern world where an OBD port is the most commonly used part of the car. Instead I get to  enjoy being able to tune an engine with just a flat head screwdriver.





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  • Classic move 

    All my recent writing has involved modern cars and techniques, but this month I have decided to write about my main passion of classic cars. The classic car market is huge and people are now seeing a lot of classic cars as an investment.
        
    Recently I set about scouring eBay and Gumtree for a restoration project or ‘barn find’ as people like to classify anything that has stood unused for a length of time. The reason for the project is that it is my Dad’s 70th birthday was just before Christmas and what better present than a dusty and rusty old MGB GT? The British classic is top of my shopping list. Dad used to have a white MGB GT and I have always wanted an affordable classic so I have come to the conclusion that the MGB fits the bill perfectly.

    Bargin
    Luckily I have found the perfect car. A lot of money can be lost due to poor bodywork issues. Welding is definitely not my forte, but luckily this particular MGB is solid underneath. That said, the interior needs a good clean and some repair and the engine requires a good service and tune up. The previous owner hadn’t used the car for over seven years but the little 1.8 litre engine ignited just fine. Admittedly it was running slightly lumpily, but it was drivable and solid for well under £1,000. In my eyes it was an absolute bargain.
        
    As I write this I haven’t yet unveiled the car to Dad but I have ordered the parts catalogues with a view to what this ‘blank canvas’ can become. I am keen on a Sebring kit and Minilites. While getting a complete respray, the exterior paint is as dull as a wet February day. However, I keep having to remember that it is a present and not my car. I will certainly push what I think is best for the car.

    Connection
    Over the years I have restored and re-commissioned plenty of vehicles. It is something I thoroughly enjoy doing and means you can really implement simple engineering techniques such as turning the mixture screw on a carburettor. I always feel that when a classic car comes in for work that the owner has a closer connection with this vehicle rather than their everyday one. I enjoy communicating with the owner in how they would like to restore the car, cars such as the iconic British Mini and MGB can be customised without losing their vintage style. Parts are so plentiful for most classics that there isn’t that time delay when restoring.

    Escapism
    The MGB GT I have purchased comes with a thorough and plentiful file full of receipts mounting up to tens of thousands of pounds, and this certainly is not uncommon. Classic cars are a great chance for escapism in this modern world where an OBD port is the most commonly used part of the car. Instead I get to  enjoy being able to tune an engine with just a flat head screwdriver.



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  • Don’t join the gold rush, sell shovels  

    Futurologists have predicted it for years, but now, it’s actually starting to happen. The impact of the sharing economy on the automotive industry has upended the status quo and companies are scrambling to gain first-mover advantage within a radically reconfigured marketplace.

    In the US, in March 2018 alone, an Ohio dealership launched a monthly subscription package that allows customers to switch between different brands of luxury cars, and GM announced a plan to allow their customers to rent their cars directly to each other. Meanwhile, ride-hailing is rapidly taking share from traditional car rental in Certify customers’ business travel expenses.
    In the UK, a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) App called Whim is in trial in the Midlands, offering unlimited public transport, hire cars and short taxi rides for a fixed monthly payment of £440. Meanwhile, personal contract purchase (PCP) deals – essentially car rental, with the option to pay off the rest of the car’s value after three years – have already become the preferred method of new vehicle purchase.
        
    The problem is that hundreds of companies in the automotive world have set their sights on the same goal: To be the go-to choice for consumers. That’s fine if you have billions to invest in marketing, but if you’re not at the level of Ford, Uber or Google, that fight is going to get ugly. Rental agencies, dealerships, and business leasing providers – all of whom are used to owning customer relationships in the pre-mobility world – are among those who are going to be out-gunned.

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  • Mot-ivating basic checks  

    The one thing you can guarantee in life is that you will have to wait nervously for your car to go through its MOT, unless you are lucky enough to get a new car every three years.
        
    I am not a qualified MOT tester but I know what I am looking for on a check-over.  After I have checked my car over with a fine-tooth comb, there is always that nail-biting wait to see if it has passed.
        
    The Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) recently released figures that went through the main causes of cars failing their MOTs. In 2017 alone, 7.3 million cars failed their MOT. Going through the top 10 there certainly aren’t major faults with the cars. What is there looks more like the result of poor maintenance by the owner.
        
    From the top 10 reasons to refuse a MOT certificate, four were to do with bulbs or headlight aim, two were to do with defective wipers and there was also a common reason of no washer fluid present and insufficient tyre tread depth. The only reasons in the top 10 that customers wouldn’t really be able to identify would be poor brake performance and a broken coil spring.

    Simple maintenance
    As much as I don’t want to do myself out of a job, it’s shocking how many people don’t do simple maintenance checks on their cars. Blown bulbs are a big one. When I tell a customer that their bulb is gone they often had no idea, even if it was a dipped beam headlight bulb. With modern cars there is now often a message that pops up to alert the driver to a blown bulb, which should help people realise.
        
    With modern car technology progressing at rampant speed I think people are unsure as to whether they can lift the bonnet up, unsure as to where the washer fluid goes or how they change a bulb with all that plastic covering the engine bay. Maybe as a nation we have got lazy with simple and basic checks of our vehicles. Instead we are relying on a yearly test to check that the car we are transporting family and friends in is going to remain road legal in that time. This is a dangerous approach.

    Reminder
    It is obviously great to tie in a service and MOT together and does make sense as the owner    normally only has to be without the car for a day. I aim to keep both six months apart. I inform customers when the MOT is due with a gentle reminder then get a service booked in six months down the line to make sure that the car is still roadworthy and free from trouble.
        
    It is so important a yearly schedule is kept to MOT cars. On the other hand, in May 2018 the government brought in the rule that cars over 40 years old don’t require an MOT. The less I say about that the better…



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