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Classic cars given a new lease of life with modern mechanicals
Wire wheels, sinuous lines dripping with mirror-polished chrome, a heady cocktail of petrol, wood and distressed leather. Owning a classic car can be intoxicating.
But when it comes to living with an old-timer - actually using and driving a classic car in 2012 - the limitations of decades-old engineering and technology don't take long to surface.
The solution, if you're not in the staunchly purist camp for whom messing with a classic is tantamount to painting over the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, is to get a modernised classic.
In fact, there's a whole cottage industry dedicated to fusing the most evocative designs of yesteryear with bang-up-to-date tech and modern mechanicals to give the best of both worlds.
Intrigued? Then read on...
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I'm intrigued by the comment 'the limitations of decades-old engineering and technology don't take long to surface.' Which of these vehicles did you drive? To which vehicles do you refer exactly? I remember servicing and repairing many of the vehicles you feature well before they became 'classic', 'exotic' or 'old-timers', and I wouldn't necessarily agree at all with what you say.
I'm still involved in repairing cars, ranging in age from those which you describe in your article, to those with up-to-the-minute technology. It's probably no surprise to most that I'd sooner be working on the old stuff - it's generally much easier, simpler and cheaper to repair.
As far as driving classics goes, I own cars which I would drive in preference to my everyday modern vehicle, which I regard as my 'hack'. It does everything very well, but in doing so it has become a boring thing to drive. The only thing that stops me driving classics more often than I do is the crap weather (I don't like taking them out in the rain).
Technology such as power steering, power brakes, ABS, traction control, electronic stabilty programme, etc, make cars easier to drive (i.e. less skill is required to drive them), so driving a classic if you have driven nothing but modern cars might be daunting. Driving a car without the normal preponderance of gadgets, gizmos, and electronic parapherenalia requires slightly different (more) driving skills.
I own a 1968 Jensen Interceptor, and your comment regarding its performance and reliability is totally unfounded. The engine produces huge power and torque (it's an American V-8), and you can smoke the tyres from standstill right through into top gear if you wish. These cars were in the same league as Aston Martins of the time, and would easily out-perform Jaguars. Cruising well in excess of 100 mph is as easy as driving down the high street in rush-hour.
In contrast, I also own a 1975 Triumph Spitfire, which has a 1.5 litre engine and absolutely no electronics. This vehicle easily keeps up with modern traffic (even on motorways), handles like a dream, embarrases many hot-hatch owners, and regularly returns 38 mpg on a 130-mile round trip to work and back (and I don't hang around when driving it).
I would venture to suggest you do a little more research into your articles instead of just throwing them together, so that readers get accurate information and can therefore draw their own conclusions.
A wealthy friend has the very first, and also the very last, RHD Lamborghini Miuras made. Best sports car made then, introduced 'mid engine' to the public road.
Rarely drives them. Says they are hopeless compared to a modern sports car.
Many hatchbacks today could burn off some of yesteryear's sports cars. The Triumph spitfire, for example would struggle to keep up, with a performance that could only be described as lumbering by comparison, whilst a speeding ticket on a motorway would at best, be unlucky and then with a tail wind.
Buying an uprated classic with modern technology on board, is both desirable and safer all round, apart from the obvious thrill of trouncing the boy racer who suddenly realises the old timer next to him at the lights is now that speck in the distance.
I know it's very Birtish focused but what about the American Muscle ones reborn. Mustangs from Classic Recreations and the like.