Classic cars are not a thing of the past
PURISTS like to debate what makes a classic car. Must it be a glamorous sports model? Does it have to worth thousands? Should it be rare, vintage or even veteran?
Enthusiast Mike Millard knows one thing: tinkering about with old motors has given him a lifetime of pleasure.
Mike, who lives at Thornbury, near Bristol, and his wife Pam are members of the Leyhill Classic Motor Club and go to shows within a 50-mile or so radius of their home most weekends during the summer.
Mike, a retired lorry driver, owns a 1968 Vandenplas 4 litre Princess R, with a Rolls-Royce engine.
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“There are not many about, They didn't sell because they were twice the price of a normal car like that,” he explains.
Mike, 76, also has a very rare 1950s Mercedes, which he bought about 15 years ago and restored, while Pam drives an MGB.
The couple say their hobby enables them to meet a wide range of people and enjoy trips out and about.
The cost of fuel and the continual 2012 early summer rain caused some shows to be cancelled but the appeal of the classic car endures.
These days, it is not just the veteran vehicle favourites we remember from old movies that are defined as classics.
Even some models from two or three decades ago can be labelled special. And at classic car shows, younger visitors are as keen to see the Capris and the Triumph Spitfires as they are the Rileys and Austins of yesteryear.
The most popular classic car still on the road, according to the website MoneySupermarket is the VW Beetle.
People especially favour pre-1973 models, as these are not liable for road tax. The VW Beetles makes up 70 per cent of tax exempt vehicles still on the road.
Scores of them were seen in Bristol this summer when the city staged its 20th Volks Fest.
Its successor, the Golf, is the most common 1980s and early-1990s car still being driven.
The last Labour Government tried to take some older models off the road to be replaced by more eco-friendly models.
Its scrappage scheme, also designed to kick-start the beleaguered motor industry, ran from May 2009 to March 2010 and was a voluntary scheme for motor dealers who would give car buyers £2,000 off the price of a new vehicle if you let them scrap your old one.
But for many trading up was still not a financially viable option, even with the cash incentive.
This is why all those veteran vehicles remain on the road, kept running through a combination of regular servicing, considerate driving and probably a little TLC every now and then.
The study, which looked at 34 million inquiries that passed through the MoneySupermarket car insurance channel during the 12-month period up to the end of March this year, showed that Volkswagens top the list of older vehicles still being driven but, if you have any of the vehicles in the table below, you could possibly have a car for life.
| Top 10 surviving
|Top 10 surviving
|Top 10 surviving early 1990s
|1. Volkswagen Beetle||1. Volkswagen Golf||1. Volkswagen Golf|
|2. MGB||2. Austin Rover Mini||2. Nissan Micra|
|3. Austin Mini||3. Ford Escort||3. Vauxhall Corsa|
|4. Land Rover 88||4. Land Rover 90||4. Vauxhall Astra|
|5. Morris Minor||5. Ford Fiesta||5. Ford Fiesta|
|6. MG Midget||6. Peugeot 205||6. Honda Civic|
|7. Ford Escort||7. Ford Capri||7. Volkswagen Polo|
|8. Triumph Spitfire||8. Volkswagen Polo||8. Peugeot 106|
|9. Triumph Stag||9. Porsche 944||9. Ford Escort|
|10. Triumph Herald||10. Ford Sierra||10. Land Rover Discovery|
A wide range of vehicles made the list, from 4X4s to sporty two-seaters, which suggests all sorts of people from all walks of life are keeping older cars on the road.
Getting the right cover for your classic car
Classic cars are often quoted cheaper premiums because they are considered to be better maintained and driven less than other cars, but there are a number of things you need to consider when looking for classic car insurance.
Although HMRC defines a classic car as one that is over 20 years old and has an agreed value of £15,000 or more, there is no standard definition for insurance purposes so you should always check the insurers' thresholds before getting a quote to ensure that you get the right level of cover.
You should also get an agreed valuation on your vehicle as, without one, many insurers will only pay out the 'market value' should your car be written off and this could leave you with an insurance shortfall.
In addition, you should check whether your insurer offers genuine or after-market replacement parts. Although it may be the case that you get a cheaper quote from insurers that use non-genuine replacement parts, you may want authentic replacements, particularly if you have a valuable classic in stock condition.
It may also be worth joining a classic car owners' club as this could net you a discount of up to 15% on your policy price and, if you decide to attend any rallies or shows, then you should be covered for this under the terms of your classic policy.
Insurers will also often stipulate that you can only cover a limited number of miles under the terms of your classic car policy and so you may find that, if you are going to cover more than 7,500 miles in any one year, then your policy price may increase or you may have to take out a standard insurance policy.
If you do have an agreed mileage limit then you must make sure that you do not exceed this as this may invalidate your cover.
Also, as with any type of insurance policy, you should shop around for the best quote and also get quotes from companies that offer specialist classic car insurance as these can often work out cheaper than those offered by mainstream insurers.
One of the quickest and most convenient ways of doing this is to use MoneySupermarket's insurance comparison tool where you can get quotes from more than 100 companies in less than five minutes .
You are what you drive?
But what does your car say about you? Are other peoples' perceptions of you driven by the car you drive? MoneySupermarket has looked into this too, so let's look at the findings.
We may not like to admit it but we are often judged on our appearance, and the MoneySupermarket research found that the type of car you drive certainly has an effect on how you are treated by other road users.
The study of 2,500 drivers found that over a third claimed they are more likely to be polite and courteous to people who own the same make of car as they do.
Other findings indicated that Ford drivers are the most polite on the roads - they are most likely to indicate and let other drivers out at junctions. They're closely followed by drivers of Audis, Citroens, Vauxhalls and Peugeots.
On the flipside, white van drivers admitted to being the least polite on the road along with Porsche, Range Rover, Land Rover and Mercedes drivers.
However, despite the fact that a quarter of them admitted parking without considering whether others can use the spaces next to them and half admitting that they fail to stop at zebra crossings, BMW drivers do not consider themselves among the top 10 rudest drivers.