Updated: Aug 1, 2019
As we head into summertime, the roads are steadily sporting more and more classic and vintage vehicles again. It's wonderful. There's something about them that makes the heart a little lighter. Is it that they're less commonplace than their modern cousins, perhaps? Or maybe it's that they hearken nostalgically back to days we see through a rose-tinted haze, imagining a time that was simpler, friendlier and fuller of sunny days.
Talking of sunny days, we've had a fair few of those recently (by Great British Spring standards, at least) and I suspect that helps to encourage more classic vehicles and their owners to emerge from the quiet security of their garages to enjoy the finer weather and the start of the show season.
During our record-breaking British summer heat last year, I was racking up miles by the many hundreds on our glorious motorway network and was surprised by the number of modern car breakdowns, their owners sitting embarassed and furious on the hard shoulder. Overheated cars on summer roads are something from my childhood, not nowadays. I suppose I should be ashamed to admit to a chuckle or two when I saw yet another modern car parked ignominiously on the hard shoulder as a fifty, sixty or even seventy year old car breezed past without missing a beat.
I really ought to be more sympathetic. After all, I do have a modern car that I use extensively for those long, tedious trips when I just want to get there and back again. It has luxuries that I quite like, such as voice control, air-conditioning and cruise control. I enjoy its power and comfort, but my little old lady has infinitely more personality
My old lady is older than I am and I wouldn't dream of taking the liberties with her that I might with my modern youngster. I plan those corners well ahead and think more about braking. When planning routes I consider the minor issue of brake fade on long downhill stretches. I check the fluids far more regularly. I wear something warmer in winter. She has her little quirks and I absolutely never, ever take her compliance for granted. It all adds spice to our relationship. I enjoy a modern car. I love my classic car.
If friends or family tease me about my little old lady's lack of apparent refinements I point out that not only do I not need to splash on on road tax for her, but she also has 2x60 Armstrong air-con and an adaptive central control system. Lacking my mechanical prowess (*blush*) and sheer brass face, that tends to shut them up quite promptly.
Unless pressed for details, I omit to explain the 2x60 refers to two squeaky windows wielded with a firm hand at a rare 60 mph (downhill with the wind behind her), or that I am the control system and that the need to think further ahead enhances my mental processing speed more than somewhat.
I don't believe that either old or new cars and motorbikes are better or worse than the other. They're simply gloriously, wonderfully, crazily different. Horses for courses, as they say. Whatever your horse (or its horsepower), have a great riding, driving spring into summer.