Thursday, 18 January 2018

Here yesteryear, gone tomorrow ...

Now, I'm a 90's kid, so it's nice to see a resurgence of things that I grew up with, such as Blind Date, Nokia reissues, and of course, the revival of the much loved Tamagotchi. It's a shame that the same cannot be said for the cars of this, which are heading the same way as the dinosaurs from that famous 1993 film... 


New research from Honest John Classics shows that the cars we grew up with, that our mums and dads drove us around in, are dying out. To give you an idea, 2613 Rover 400s were taken off the road in 2016 – that's just over a fifth of the total number left. At this rate of decreased use, they will all be gone in five years.

It's a similar story for the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Citroen Saxo. Once beloved of sales reps everywhere, just over 10% of 1990s Cavaliers have been scrapped. While the Saxo, which defined modified motoring for the Max Power generation saw 2505 destroyed – almost a quarter of the total left!

Not even the youngest cars from the 'dot-com' decade are safe. The Ford Focus changed car design forever when it was launched in 1998, but examples are vanishing at the rate of 25% a year – meaning, if they continue to disappear at the current rate, there will be no 1990s Mk1 Focuses left in just four years. It's a similar story for the Ford KA, with 29% of examples disappearing every 12 months.

"Many people think of a classic car as an MGB or and E-type Jag, but the reality is that there's a huge amount of interest in cars from the 1990s. I'm not talking about the supercars that adorned posters on bedroom walls, I'm thinking about the cars that we grew up with. The cars that our dads had – that took us to school, to the cinema, on holiday. These cars were part of our lives every single day – and now they're nearly all gone," said editor of Honest John Classics, Keith Moody.


"The startling survival rates of the cars that you used to see on every street and at every service station means that demand for them is starting to outstrip supply. And while we've seen a lot of 1990s nostalgia in the past few years, with everything from Britpop to Blind Date making a comeback, it's shocking that the cars from this decade in automotive history are on the brink of extinction."

But why are many of the cars our dads used to drive on the endangered species' list? There are several reasons, but one of the biggest is that 2009-10 scrapage scheme. Here, the Government encouraged people to trade-in cars more than ten years old for £2000 off a new car – a discount that you could've got by haggling. In total, 392,227 future classics were taken off the road because of the scrapage scheme.



When does a car become a classic?

While some turn their nose up at 1990s 'bangers', such as the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Cavalier, by saying that they will never be proper classics, research from Honest John Classics shows this simply isn't the case.

Honest John researchers looked at the most recent MoT data to find out when a car made the transformation from cheap runabout to cherished family member. Analysing the data, they were able to see when the rate of cars failing their annual roadworthiness test stopped declining and started to rise again. 

"This is the point at which a car crosses over from a banger that gets run into the ground to something that is appreciated and that the owner wants to invest both time and money in. This is the decisive moment – this is the point where values stop falling and prices start rising," says Keith Moody. 

Currently, cars from the year 2000 have the worst MoT pass rate with just over half failing. After this point, the figure improves for older cars as they find their way into he hands of enthusiastic owners. In fact, cars from 1993 have a better pass rate than cars from 2005, with 56.5% passing the annual roadworthiness test compared to 55.3%. A fact that underlines 1990s cars as emerging classics.

"Petrolheads in their 30s and 40s grew up with these 1990s cars. They learnt to drive in them. They went on family holidays in them. They are the next-generation of classic cars – and they're being bought by enthusiasts who want to be reminded of their connection to times, people, and places who might no longer be with them," adds Keith Moody.

The best selling cars from 25 years ago

A quarter of a century ago, the Mk5 Ford Escort was Britain's best-selling car. It sold 122,002 units that year – but now there are just about 460 of those left on the road. That's a survival rate of 0.37%. It's a similar story with the Mk3 Fiesta, which was second in the best-sellers list with 110,449 finding new homes in 1993. Now just 435 of those are still on the road – a survival rate of 0.39%. In fact, non of the best selling cars from 1993 have a survival rate of more than 1% – that means 99% have been crushed.


Maybe it's time to do your bit for the classic car scene of the future, and start nurturing these soon-to-be-forgotten models! And if any of you want to try your hand at writing an Essential Buyer's Guide to one of these future classics, then get in touch, as we'd love to do our bit to help preserve classic cars! – Siân


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Here's to 2018!

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all of our readers! It's hard to believe that it is already 2018, but there is plenty to look forward to in the motoring world this year – not to mention a fair few milestone anniversaries to celebrate. 

First, let's take a look at some iconic events that will be celebrating big birthdays this year. Goodwood's annual Festival of Speed will be marking its 25th anniversary this July. Over the weekend of the 12th to the 15th, along with the usual incredible displays, the Duke of Richmond (formerly Lord March) will choose his top 25 moments from the event's history.


Next month sees 70 years since the meetings that led to the official formation of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). To celebrate this, Darlington Raceway, in South Carolina, will be celebrating 'Seven Decades of NASCAR' for its 2018 season, with a specific nod to the landmark birthday with the Official Throwback weekend of NASCAR, which will be held from the 31st of August to the 2nd of September. 


This summer's Silverstone Classics show will see a number of birthdays in its midst. The Jaguar XJ and the Jaguar XK120 will be celebrating their 50th and 70th anniversaries respectively, whilst the Austin Healey Sprite will be turning 60. Also, marking their diamond jubilee, will be the MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), with many events taking place over the weekend of the 20th to the 22nd of July. The celebrations for BTCC's 60th birthday kicks off this weekend at Autosport International, with a stand enabling fans to get up close to the drivers and a selection of the latest machinery, as well as a number of historic cars from the championship's distinguished past.  

Car Celebrations

Hot Wheels and Chevrolet – 50 years

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the brands' collaboration, and to commemorate the occasion, Chevrolet is releasing a special edition Hot Wheels Edition Camaro. Since the debut of the custom Camaro back in 1968, every generation, and nigh-on every variation, of this model has been replicated in 1:64 scale by Hot Wheels – one variation is even included in our book Diecast Toy Cars of the 1950s and 1960s. This car looks to be ideal for automobile fans, and avid toy collectors!

Photo from http://www.chevrolet.com/camaro-life/hot-wheels-edition#


The first Lamborghini – 55 years

Marking its first appearance at the Turin Motor Show in October 1963, this year sees the 55th anniversary of the original Lamborghini, the 350GTV. Since then, countless models of the Lamborghini have rolled off the production line, such as the fabulous Urraco and the Murciélago.

Lotus Joins F1 – 60 years

In the Monaco Grand Prix of 1958, Team Lotus made its Formula 1 debut, entering two Type 12s, driven by Cliff Allison and Graham Hill. After placing 6th and 26th respectively, the team took their notes from the race and redesigned the cars based on the success of rival competitors. Two years later, the team entered a Type 18 Lotus, driven by Stirling Moss. Not only is it 60 years since Team Lotus first entered, but it is 55 years since they won their first World Drivers' Championship. Fancy widening your scope of F1 knowledge? Brian Harvey's book Formula One – The Real Score? is just the tome to help you see the sport in a new light. 

Corvette – 65 years

Designed by Harley Earl, this American car was the first all-fibreglass-bodied sports car built in the United States. There have been many changes to the Corvette over the past 65 years, and they are still as popular today as ever. If you're considering purchasing a classic Corvette for yourself, make sure you have to hand a copy of Tom Falconer's Corvette C2 Sting Ray 1963-1967 Essential Buyer's Guide – a model which is, coincidentally, turning 55 this year!

Morris Minor – 70 years

As mentioned back in November, Veloce will be marking the 70th anniversary of the iconic Morris Minor with a new book by Ray Newell, Morris Minor – 70 years on the road, which looks in detail at
the development of the wide range of models during a production run that spanned 22 years in the UK. If you're looking to join those who have a Minor in time to celebrate its platinum anniversary, grab a copy of Morris Minor & 1000 Essential Buyer's Guide, also by Ray Newell, to help you find the perfect example!



Porsche 356 – 70 years

Porsche's first production vehicle will also be turning 70 this year, and Brian Long's The Book of the Porsche 356 will tell you all you need to know about the coupé that helped launch the marque. 

24 Hours Le Mans – 95 years

May marks 95 years since the first 24 hours of Le Mans. Known as the ultimate endurance race, this event is a true test of man and machine, and has been held every year since 1932, except for the war years. 

Ford Model T – 110 years

110 years ago saw a revolutionary event in the motoring world, with the release of the Ford Model T. Generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, and one that helped to get a large number of people on the road, it's not really surprising that it was name the Car of the Century back in 1999. Veloce publishes Ford Model T – The Essential Buyers Guide for those who want to take the plunge today. 



Ford Motor Company – 115 years

Not only will Ford be celebrating the anniversary of the Model T, the company as a whole will also celebrate it's 115th birthday.
On June 16th, 1903, Henry Ford and 12 stockholders met in Detroit, Michigan to sign and notarise the legal documents, which would help to create the Ford Motor Company. We have many great books relating to all things Ford, but a stand out one is Ford Design in the UK, which details the design work undertaken in the UK, with a focus on the Dunton studio in particular. 

For more great facts from motoring days past, make sure you check out This Day in Automotive History. Author Brian Corey has found a fact or two for each day of the year, which will be fascinating for trivia buffs and general motoring fans alike.