You’re a classic car virgin, I hear you say? Don’t worry, I knew that already.
How? Let me explain…
You drive the car in traffic
This is unwise.
A classic car owner makes this foolish mistake of driving in rush hour traffic once or twice at most. Not only do taxis become even more terrifying than normal, but 4-door classic cars are tiny compared to even the smallest modern hatchback.
It’s like the motoring equivalent of walking with dinosaurs.
Many times, I’ve asked myself how on earth our parents did it without constantly landing up on the side of the road with steam pouring out the radiator. I’ve questioned whether the world of the ’60s and ’70s was full of people with left calves that would make Usain Bolt jealous.
The only plausible explanation is that there simply weren’t traffic jams in those days. I suggest that you fondly recreate this period in history by avoiding them yourself.
Your right arm is horribly sunburnt
Modern cars are extremely good at reflecting the sun. Classic cars, on the other hand, welcome the sun’s rays into the car with a smile.
This might work for Mediterranean drivers of ’60s Alfa Romeos who wear their olive skin with pride like a tribal tattoo. Sadly, it really doesn’t work for my pasty skin. I struggle if I just think about the sun, let alone sit in it.
My Sunday drive usually ends with a red right arm and a matching right cheek.
Top tip – keep suncream in the car at all times.
Speaking of cheeks (ahem), you’ve discovered entirely new sweat glands
Before classic car ownership, you may naively believe that you have sweated before. Perhaps you were the top sportsman in high school, or you’ve become a fitness enthusiast since turning 30 to show what a well-balanced young professional you are.
Regardless of your prior experience, I can guarantee that you haven’t sweated like a classic car driver at midday in an African summer.
The car becomes a mobile microwave. You can feel yourself cooking from the inside out. As you stick to the seat, you realise there are unspeakable places where you didn’t even realise you have sweat glands.
Breakfast runs in the car burn more calories than the 5km run you used to attempt on a Sunday morning, back when you were bored in your pre-classic life and didn’t know what else to do with your time.
How do you avoid this?
Much like on a beach holiday, you stay indoors between 10am and 3pm. Eat your eggs quickly and get home before the sun is too high in the sky. Basically, pretend you’re a vampire.
Speaking of indoors, you believe your car doesn’t need a garage
This one is going to hurt, son.
Modern cars clearly have sophisticated paint designed to withstand the elements. A classic car is a myriad of swirl marks and stone chips, perfectly complementing the paint that is rapidly fading in the sun.
If your car lives in the sun, your pride and joy will soon look like it belongs in the wrong end of a classifieds search that has been sorted by value. If it lives under a tree, good luck selling it to anyone other than a paintball business for marketing purposes, because that’s what the paint will look like once the birds are done with it.
Then there is the biggest fear of all – rust. The brown colour matches your underpants when you look under the sills and realise that you can see into the cabin. A classic car that sits in the rain with dodgy rubber seals that let the water in everywhere WILL rust to pieces.
Your investment will end up as little more than a pile of brown sprinkles.
No garage? Laugh it off.
Buy yourself a modern classic and save up for a better house instead, or accept that you have to store the car somewhere else.
On the topic of saving, you have no more disposable income
The reason you could afford a classic car in the first place is because you are good with your money. You can’t finance the damn things, so you had no choice but to save up until you could throw an EFT at your problems.
That was then and this is now.
What happened to the dinner dates? Why are you finding yourself at a cheaper supermarket every weekend? When last did you take a family holiday?
The answer can be found on your credit card transaction history. Classic cars cost money constantly. Literally.
Even when they don’t break, but especially when they don’t brake, you find yourself justifying every possible upgrade, improvement or associated collectible item.
You spend hours on YouTube getting angry at “stupid YouTubers who know nothing about cars” yet you watch the entire video anyway, hoping to figure out what engine upgrade has been done. Your Google search history has moved on from new houses and investment products to “replica wheels” and “reconditioned brake boosters” – nobody knows what this means except you.
Almost nobody. Who are all these new friends?!?
Also, when did you become so cool?
The braai discussions (or barbeque if you’re reading this somewhere else in the world) have thankfully moved on from cycling. Instead, your friends want to hear about your latest antics in your car or how the restoration is going.
Your status around the fire has been elevated to one of Man. You may even get to hold the tongs even when the braai isn’t at your house.
There are a few new faces around the fire, too. They wear unusual t-shirts. They smell faintly of petrol and brake cleaner. They have a garage at home that actually houses a proper set of tools. You met most of them awkwardly through social media groups, like Automotive Tinder.
These people are pretty great. They are your new friends, made possible by your excellent decision to drive something special.
Welcome to your new life. I promise your wife will forgive you. In fact, I can guarantee that as she suffers through yet another story of someone’s cycle on Chapman’s Peak that morning in pants that are too tight, she smiles to herself as she thinks of you hammering your 60s sports car through a mountain pass.
The classic car looks better on your than those awful lycra shorts you used to wear on a Sunday morning anyway.
Why? Because classic cars are damn cool.