If you are a classic car buff, then you likely know a thing or two. You certainly know how to tell your 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra from your 1961 Jaguar E Type. However, we also know that this is a hobby you like to feed, even when you’re not under the hood.
Find out five new surprising things about classic cars and prove to your petrolhead mates that you are the King or Queen of all cars vintage.
#1 Surprising facts about classic cars
Let’s kick off with a few pub pleasers. You can be forgiven for thinking that all classic cars took years of toil on the drawing board.
Actually, the Lamborghini was born as a result of Enzo Ferrari insulting Ferruccio Lamborghini. He responded to the insult by creating the Lamborghini 350 GTV in just 4 months!
This certainly doesn’t mean that vintage cars are shoddily made. In fact, about 65% of all cars made by Rolls Royce are still on the road. How’s that for a show of quality and incredible car maintenance?
Lastly, if you really want to wow your fellow petrolheads, you can drop in to conversation that cruise control was invented by a blind man in 1945.
#2 The most expensive classic car ever sold at auction
Classic cars are funny old things; beauty very much is in the eye of the beholder. This means that their value, or selling price, can vary enormously. Indeed, we see the highest sales occurring at private sales, such as with a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO which went for $70 million.
However, at auction, the most expensive vintage car sold was just last summer where a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO (number 23) went for an astounding $48.4 million (that’s over £35 million!).
#3 Brits love their Minis
Did you know that it is the humble Mini which is, perhaps, the greatest British classic car ever? It’s been rated the top British built car. It is an icon of British culture!
It’s impossible to imagine British motoring culture without the fabulous Mini. It was first manufactured in 1959 and enjoyed a 41-year production run. In fact, a Mini isn’t just a classic car. It’s a fashion statement, a cultural flag and simply mighty good fun to drive. If nothing else, they always raise a smile.
#4 It’s hard to get tyres for vintage cars – with good reason
Have you ever rocked up to a regular tyre supplier needing to replace a tyre on your Ford Model T or Jaguar XKSS, and felt like hitting your head against a brick wall? The reason you have problems sourcing tyres for your lovable wheels is due to the history of tyre brands.
This is because vintage cars didn’t need to comply with any standardisation at the time of their manufacture. Manufacturers designed their own tyres in the same way they designed the chassis.
Now, with modern cars, if you need a new tyre then generic will do. There’s a good degree of standardisation imposed by the car manufacturing industry.
This is simply not the case with classic or vintage cars, especially if you want the authentic look. It’s harder because you have to track down much more specific tyres as designed by the original car manufacturer, without needing to fit any modern steel-belted radial standardisation.
That’s why it’s so much harder and worth finding your nearest specialist classic car garage.
Of course, this begins to give us some insight into why car maintenance costs for classics can be so steep. You’re paying for something unique. However, what’s interesting about classics is that the right level of car maintenance can result in a vehicle which is then worth considerably more. They can even be viewed as a worthwhile investment.
#5 Driving a classic car improves your driving technique
That’s right – drive a vintage car and your driving styles will improve. This is because you have to utilise a higher level of driving skill to simply get a classic car to perform. All those gadgets and wizardry on modern vehicles are designed to make things easier, more uniform.
The power assisted braking on your modern vehicle means you rarely need to consider carefully how to measure braking distances, for example. Similarly, that same modern braking system prevents you from ‘reading the engine’ and adjusting gears accordingly.
Fundamentally, in a classic car you are more at one with the road. You have to become seamlessly connected and truly drive the car.
It’s all about classics
Classic cars are integrally linked to our history, culture and society. Look to our classics to understand not just motoring today, but everything about who we are. Whether you’re tinkering under the hood of your very own Aston Martin V8 Vantage like Rowan Atkinson (A.K.A. Mr Bean), or more likely have to pop to one of the British automotive museums to gaze upon the same, us Brits are spoilt when it comes to the classics.