✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Classic Era

These days we are hooked on nostalgia. As hopeless escapists, nothing feeds our need better than an old car - a CLASSIC car. After the Second World War, the motorcar came of age. As more and more people around the world took to the road, manufacturers began to stretch the boundaries. The makers set styling, engineering and safety trends in an increasingly competitive market: speeds increased; styling and engineering became more adventurous; and many devices we take for granted today, like disc brakes, four-wheel drive (4-WD) and automatic transmission, became widely used. The 1950's, 1960's and to an extent the 1970's were the most fertile period for the motorcar, a classic era and a perfect breeding ground for the classic car we cherish today, be it limousine or economy runabout, sports car or apparently humdrum saloon.
More than 80 000 Jaguar MK.II's were sold and the model inspired a whole raft of more expensive variations on the same theme : The S-Type, the 420 and even a Daimler with its own special V8 engine. It is the pure original MK.II, however, that has won the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors. The sight of a Jaguar MK.II inspires a misty-eyed emotional response like no other 60's saloon. For a decade from 1959, the year of Britain's first motorway, the compact Jaguar was the bread and butter of Browns Lane, Coventry. It was the last proper sports saloon the company ever made.

Classic Culture 
The first flickerings of interest in classic motor cars made after the Second World War began nearly three decades ago. Now, that interest has grown into an all-consuming passion for millions of men and women all over the world. Some use their classics daily, others just on high days. Some preen them like beauty queens in the concours d'élegance , parades of vehicles to the most elegant, best designed or best turned-out of which prizes are awarded. Many owners are driven by nostalgia, a need to own or recreate a piece of their past; others by simple love of old machinery.

As modern cars become ever more amorphous and as image-conscious individuals wear their classics like designer suits, as a statement, the classic is no longer the preserve of bearded, middle-aged men. To own an old car has become trendy. For some, the word classic has become debased down the years, seeming to embrace any number of awful machines. To them, classics, derided by many in their prime, are now dignified merely by rarity.

The Growth of an Industry
Today the motor industry is essential to the commercial prosperity of almost all the world's industrialized nations, with production dominated by a handful of massive multi-nationals. Hundreds of individual marques have fallen by the wayside sine the first motor cars were hand-built at the turn of the century and the post-war classic period of mergers and take-overs saw the eclipse of many once famous names. It was in 1908 that this process began, when Henry Ford pioneered mass-production, with his Model-T, while over in Europe, a few years later, cars like the Austin Seven and Bullnose Morris began to be produced in sufficient numbers to bring motoring within the reach of the middle classes. Since the late 1970's, robots have replaced some of the manual jobs on the production lines, but there will always be a place for hand-crafted super cars and luxury cars from companies such as Aston Martin and Rolls Royce.

 Mercedes W154 "Silver Arrow GP racer

MOTOR RACING in all forms has been a consuming passion of each successive generation of car enthusiasts since the first organised competition. The pioneers, by pitching car against car and driver against driver, learned not only about their own skills and how well their vehicles performed at the limit, but also about the durability of components. In those days, racing really did improve the breed. In the years after the Second World War, technological discoveries made in competition, including better tyres, oil and fuel, filtered down gradually o the ordinary family saloon.

 Here's to another good motoring season!

"Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears." 
 - Barbara Johnson, best selling writer
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...