This is a plea to the casual classic car enthusiast. More than 1.5 million Austin Metros were built between 1980 and 1991. Now fewer than 500 survive on our roads.
It’s not just the humble Austin Metro that’s on the verge of extinction. Ford Cortinas, Morris Marinas and Vauxhall Chevettes are all in decline – and you could prevent any of these disappearing entirely.
As part of its new Save our Classics campaign, ClassicLine insurance has released a list of eight ways you could prevent an endangered car driving its last mile.
1: Buy one
Yes, it might seem obvious. Not all of us are in a position to give an Austin Metro a good home. But if you can, you might find it a worthwhile exercise. For example, you can pick up a Morris Ital in excellent condition for around £5,000. That’s so much cheaper than more exotic classics – and it could be a sound investment. For just £1,000 you could pick up a Metro or Triumph Acclaim in reasonable condition. Imagine how good you’d feel, seeing it tucked up in your garage.
2: Join a club
Whether you’ve bought an unloved classic or are just enthusiastic about their plight, there’s a club out there for everyone – from the Allegro Club International to the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register. It could get you a discount on insurance, too. Plus, you’ll get to attend some great events.
3: Store your car correctly
An Austin Maestro that has survived this long doesn’t deserve to be left out in all elements. Classic cars can be fragile and hard work to maintain. They’ll be easier to live with if looked after properly – ideally stored in a dry barn, or a wood- or brick-built garage. If you haven’t got a barn or garage to hand, consider an inflatable plastic tent, using fans to keep air moving inside.
4: Use a specialist garage
If you look, there are a surprising amount of specialist garages and part suppliers out there for all manner of cars. Support these – they’ll be able to provide expert advice on, say, the correct thermostat to fit to your Austin Maxi. And they’ll probably charge you considerably less than franchised companies.
5: Petition the Government
The Government’s recent decision to introduce a rolling MOT test exemption for cars over 40 years old is proving to be controversial. It’s good to see the Government giving subjects like this some consideration, though. Whatever your views, if you feel strongly about anything related to road tax, MOTs or similar, petition the Government. Your local MP is a good way of doing this.
6: Petition the Government some more
While it’s great to have a local mechanic who’s old enough to have been around when your car was new, ClassicLine warns that 43% of the 22,000 people working in the classic car industry are more than 45 years old. A large number of the workforce could be retiring in the near future – so enthusiasts need to petition the Government to promote the IMI Diploma in Classic Vehicle Restoration. Doing so could get more younger people interested in old cars, and give them the skills to keep them on the road.
7: Use it
Cars like to be driven – and a vehicle that’s left in the garage for years will seize up, rubbers will harden and bodywork will corrode. Not only is regular use better for them, it’ll also help spread enthusiasm and promote the cause.