Tuesday January 30, 2018
Nostalgia is a powerful driving force in the classic car scene. And that’s why humdrum family motors that aren’t particularly loved by car enthusiasts when new, can end up being adored in the classic car scene.
The car magazines may well have given the likes of the Talbot Solara, Fiat Mirafiori, Renault 18 and Morris Ital a tough time against class leaders like the Alfasud and Volkswagen Golf when new, but today, it’s the former group of cars that are more likely to evoke feelings of nostalgia – as it’s these that most people’s dads owned back in the day.
So, once you’ve decided that you have a yearning to own a car that triggers childhood memories, you need to know where to look. Start combing the ads, and regularly grab a copy of Classic Car Weekly. Check unlikely places, like your newsagent window, your local newspaper, and simply by asking around. Don’t just rely on the usual internet auction sites or classified ads sites, and expect the car to find you.
Join the owners’ clubs, and make sure you get on all of its mailing lists, social media groups, and grab a copy of the newsletter or magazine, if it does one. They will all feature cars for sale. Remember that many of these cars are being sold by true enthusiasts (or their relatives), and they want these cars to go to similarly-motivated individuals. Price, therefore, isn’t always the prime motivator – bargains can be had for the right people.
Once you’ve found the car of your childhood, and it’s right for you, it’s time to get it out there and show it off. Chances are that unless you’re very lucky, it’s going to need work to get it back to tip-top condition. Grab a workshop manual – and we don’t just mean a Haynes manual – because you’ll find most comprehensive documentation is available via owners’ clubs.
With that, give it a full service. Start with the oil, filters and plugs. From there, check the electricals, and make sure it has a nice, new battery on it, and the terminal wiring is clean. Are the tyres good? If they have tread, make sure the rubber isn’t that old. Most manufacturers have online guides to help you decode the date stamps on the sidewalls. If they’re old or undecipherable, then bin them.
Then check the bodywork and underside. It may well have an MoT, but were there advisories? Is there any surface corrosion that should be dealt with? Are the brake and fuel lines clean? If there’s any doubt, get your spanners out and start renewing. Only when you’re confident it’s a good ‘un, is it time to get out there, show it off, and start reliving those childhood memories.