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Answering the top questions about classic cars

BySteve Stones

Feb 14, 2020 #Motoring

There are many misconceptions about classic cars. Despite what some people would lead you to believe, not all older vehicles are instant classics. Additionally, classic cars can be surprisingly hardy, and if cared for properly can bring you years of enjoyment. Here, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding classic car care and maintenance.

1.      How are classic cars taxed?

What constitutes a classic car? In the UK, the definition of a classic is a car which was registered more than 25 years ago. When considering this, it isn’t actually that old — 1994! However, have you ever heard that a classic car exempts you from road tax? In the past, 25 years was deemed an appropriate marker to define ‘classic’ and benefit from road tax exemption. Now, the vehicle must be 40 before a tax exemption comes into play. Although you won’t be able to take advantage of escaping road tax with all classic cars, most companies will offer classic insurance. This can save you from a hefty tariff.

2.      Do all classic cars have a high mileage?

It is a common misconception amid the car buying market that the cliché, ‘less means more’, is particularly worthy. Many potential buyers will often veer away from cars with high mileage as, “it is on its last legs”. We aren’t suggesting that you search the depths of the earth to find a Morris Minor with 350,000 miles to its name. However, often a car with no miles on the clock at all translates into an unknown entity. For example, a used Jaguar F-Pace which has accumulated 30,000 miles has proven its worth, and any potential issues will already have been resolved. On the other hand, a car which has spent the majority of its usable life stored away under a tarpaulin at the back of the garage could quite easily blow a cylinder head on the first ten miles of its trip.

3.      Are classic cars damaging the environment?

It should come as no surprise that older cars are more damaging to the environment. Turbo engines that were squeezed with pressure to emit as much power as possible failed to take into consideration the potential damage to the environment. Before catalytic converters came to vehicles, classic car emissions were 10 times that of their modem day marques. However, using an older car isn’t all doom and gloom. In some respects, it is more environmentally friendly than purchasing a new car, as another car isn’t heading to the scrap yard.

4.      How unique are classic cars?

In most other markets in which collectors get involved, ‘unique’ translates into ‘popular’. Whether it be a one-off batch of celebratory coronation stamps, or an uncut edition of a vinyl record, these items will often hold the most value. For cars, however, although this might in some cases be relevant, a one-off doesn’t often hype demand. The DeLorean, made famous by ‘80s cult movie Back to the Future, only had 9,000 models produced worldwide. But the car failed to replicate the success of the film which saw it climb to international prominence. Most classics have cemented their position thanks to the fact they were once a popular automobile of choice.

5.      Will I be able to drive a classic car in all weather conditions?

If you are going to buy a classic car, you are going to want to drive it. The whole point of parting with the sum of money in the first place was to show it off in front of the neighbours. Many car enthusiasts will suggest that you can’t venture outdoors with your precious piece of history in the winter months as the elements will damage it. Take measures such as replacing worn seals, safe guarding the sump of the car, checking the battery, and regularly washing the body.

Classic cars have achieved their status for a reason. But if you are going to lay your hands on one, this quick guide to quashing methods should go a long way in helping your decision!

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