Editors Letter from issue 125

Eds letter
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Welcome to another busy issue of Irish Vintage Scene. This month I’m going to write about something that I am sure many of you will have an opinion on, and just like me you should have your say. If you agree with me, or indeed if you disagree, then why not put pen to paper or email us your thoughts for publication? This subject has been on my mind for a good while, and I have listened to many speak about it too so it’s certainly a hot topic.

The topic regards modern classics or future classics. Currently a general rule of thumb is that a vehicle over thirty years old is classed as a “vintage” vehicle, so many see younger vehicles as not being part of our hobby. After a lot of thought, I personally feel that we need to bring these what I call ‘future classics’ into the hobby. In other countries these are called “youngtimers”, another name I really like, and I’m talking about vehicles in the 1986 to 1996 age bracket – there are so many of these that will eventually be very desirable “vintage” cars, but if they are not now recognised, then people won’t save them. Another aspect of this discussion is the demographic of the person that collects these future classics – they are more often than not younger enthusiasts, and they have to be encouraged and welcomed into our hobby. In fact we, nearly more importantly than the vehicles, urgently need young people in our hobby. I challenge you to look around at shows to see how many twenty- or even thirty-year-olds you see involved in committees, or displaying old vehicles from, let’s say, the sixties? You won’t, because they’re not there. In the last week alone I have been approached by two individuals from two different clubs in Ireland to see if a modern classic car show would work, so this proves that there is certainly interest in this. I am also currently following a great Facebook post by one of our readers on the subject, and it is getting brilliant feedback both for and against these younger vehicles at shows and events, I have shared this on our Facebook page, and will put a link to it from our website.

If we are to bring new blood into the hobby, we will have to seriously look at the emerging classics of the eighties and nineties.

A quick example of what I feel our hobby can gain from this can be found in my own first-hand experience. In 2000 I bought my Ford Escort, a Mk1 1300E, and to me it was a “vintage” car. However, it’s a ’74, so at that stage it was only 26 years old. In fact I had to NCT it, and did so twice before it reached thirty years old. At the first event I turned up to with the car, the organiser told me that it wasn’t a “vintage” car but a modern car, but still let me take part in the event. At the next event I had to pay to go in because the car wasn’t thirty years old – I didn’t care, and paid. Today I still own that car; it’s now 42 years old, and means the same to me now as it did in 2000, so what was wrong with it then? The reasons I bought this car were twofold: firstly it was the type, era and model of car I was interested in, and secondly it was as much as I could afford. Now, a short sixteen years on, I have seen more of the hobby from being part of it, and my interests have changed. I would love to be able to buy a pre-war car and a steam engine, whereas back in 2000 if someone offered me a 1915 steam engine or a 1915 Model T for the same price as the Escort, I would have said no. The point I’m making is that I have grown with the hobby. If we don’t bring in the future classics, and the youngtimers that love them, into our hobby, then it has no future. Imagine if I had been turned away from events or turned off the hobby because of the attitude I experienced towards my car sixteen years ago – for one, there would be no Irish Vintage Scene Magazine!

Now, how do I propose to do this? Well, to be honest I’m not sure, and that’s why I would love to hear from you. I think for sure that a future classics parking section at shows will work; this is not segregation, but a matter of creating an area for cars not yet thirty years old – but older than, let’s say twenty – and have the potential to become desirable and collectable. I think the owners of such future classics would have no problem in throwing on a hi-viz and helping organise this, and maybe have a future classics committee in the club to organise events for these guys and girls. There has to be a way to reach a happy medium. What do you think? Have your say, and email me at [email protected] or post a letter to our office.

A quick final word; there is still lots on in the hobby even though we are late in the year, so check out events advertised in this issue and in the Diary Dates pages. Please support your club and as many events as possible please, as the hobby needs all the support it can get.

Happy motoring,

Tom Heavey,

Managing Editor.