Classic Cars – A Family Affair

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By Tom Lawrie-Fussey

To all those fortunate enough to call classic cars their passion, I wish to pose a question.

What next? There are vast uncertainties surrounding classic cars right now, with many fearing a continuation of the current slump in values, and potential restrictions on future usage scenarios, so what next? 

Tom Lawrie-Fussey, classic car, retro car, Jaguar, Jaguar E Type, motoring, automotive, family, hobby, holiday, road trip, classic car family, classic car children, Ford, retro car, carandclassic, carandclassic.co.uk

For me, the question of what’s next is not answered by attempting to analyse current and future political, social and economic trends. Instead, I’d rather we simply consider what we’re all doing right now with that rather special lump of metal tucked cosily away in our lockup/garage.  

I have two young kids. I bought a Jaguar E-Type 2+2 a few years ago. Not because I could really afford it. Not because I was convinced it would outperform other investments. But because I wanted my kids to experience growing up with a special car. Not only is it a fast and stylish British icon, but it’s also a remarkably practical family car, one we can all (just about) fit in and embark on adventures together. Whilst I know every time I drive it in the rain it’s probably losing me money, I also know that my kids love it. They plead for us to go for weekend drives in it. I often drop my son off at nursery in it. And I probably still don’t drive it often enough (largely because until recently it didn’t have the best reliability track record, and to be honest, it’s still too early to say if that has really changed!).  

Tom Lawrie-Fussey, classic car, retro car, Jaguar, Jaguar E Type, motoring, automotive, family, hobby, holiday, road trip, classic car family, classic car children, Ford, retro car, carandclassic, carandclassic.co.uk

But drive these cars we must. Yes, some of them may be accumulating in value. Well done you. But so what? What will you do with your newfound wealth? Sell up and buy something else to look at in the garage? It all seems a bit sad if we simply keep these assets as museum pieces. I do like the look of our E-Type, but it is the overall experience that is what I and my kids value. 

The smell when we first open the garage, the startup procedure, the easy-to-understand-and-point-at engine bay bits, the bark as the engine finally fires and spits some unburnt fuel at the garage wall. The smell of the leather once we’re all aboard. The springiness of the seats (it’s like a bouncy castle compared to modern-day cars). The sight of that bonnet lifting slightly as we accelerate away. The sound of air rushing through the exhaust and intake manifolds as it reverberates around the cabin, changing drastically through the revs until we approach 5,500rpm and snick the gear-lever through its gate with a nice mechanical click.

Tom Lawrie-Fussey, classic car, retro car, Jaguar, Jaguar E Type, motoring, automotive, family, hobby, holiday, road trip, classic car family, classic car children, Ford, retro car, carandclassic, carandclassic.co.uk

Yes, the kids are crammed in the back. And yes I’ve had to heavily modify yet more car-seats to get them in there with even a modicum of comfort. And yes with my son behind me I can hardly work the pedals, let alone consider a long drive. But, it doesn’t matter. We are creating memories. Very powerful memories. We are ingraining the fundamentals of these special cars into the hearts and minds of the generation that will have to decide what to do with them.  

Tom Lawrie-Fussey, classic car, retro car, Jaguar, Jaguar E Type, motoring, automotive, family, hobby, holiday, road trip, classic car family, classic car children, Ford, retro car, carandclassic, carandclassic.co.uk

Our Editor’s daughter echoes Tom’s sentiment

So this is a plea to all. I appreciate many of you reading this may have missed the chance to bring your own young families along this journey – particularly, if you were only able to purchase your dream car later in life, with your own children long since upped and left. And I fully appreciate that there are many others that can’t afford this dream machinery. But you can still drag your grandkids into this classic car world. Borrow your little ones for a weekend and treat them to a sensory overload that will have them talking, thinking and dreaming of cars for the rest of their lives. Whether it’s your own car or simply taking them to a classic car show, immerse them in all things classic. 

Take them to Goodwood Revival, take them to Bicester Heritage, chuck them in the back and take them to the local park. Take them to the supermarket! I know not of any child that wouldn’t revel in the experience. Who doesn’t like a drive in a classic? Everyone waves, everyone smiles. Cement these moments of simple, uncomplicated bliss.

Tom Lawrie-Fussey, classic car, retro car, Jaguar, Jaguar E Type, motoring, automotive, family, hobby, holiday, road trip, classic car family, classic car children, Ford, retro car, carandclassic, carandclassic.co.uk

And do it for the car, and for all those people who dedicated their lives, and their careers, to give us arguably THE landmark engineering and design achievement of the 20th Century. Do it to safeguard the car as we know and love it today, as without the next generation living and breathing these things, who knows what the future may hold?

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