Sunday January 19 2020



Village Features

Chance to look after a classic

Posted on January 31 2019 at 3:03:31


An unusual project is enabling younger drivers to truly experience ‘classic’ motoring.

A car owned by a Rowney Green resident was the catalyst for a scheme giving young people the chance to drive and care for a classic vehicle.

The Classic Car Loan Project aims to encourage a new generation of classic car owners by giving younger drivers the use of a classic car for up to a year – free of charge.

The scheme is the brainchild of classic car enthusiast Bob Wilkinson, and was launched in 2017 when Rowney Green resident Peter Garrett, who owns wedding car hire business Classic Weddings, offered to lend a vehicle from his fleet – a 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton – as the first loan car.

Since then, the project has expanded to include 14 vehicles, ranging from a 1934 Morgan three-wheeler and a 1960 Vauxhall Victor to a 1983 Austin Maestro – and even a 1997 Volvo (yes, 1997 is now officially long enough ago to count as “classic”!)

These have all been lent by generous car owners and classic car clubs around the UK, and are available for hire by people aged 25 years or older, who have some level of interest and aptitude – plus access to a garage to house the car.

Although the scheme is primarily aimed at youngsters, older drivers are not prohibited from applying.

With no hire or loan charges involved, and the necessary insurance in place thanks to sponsorship from Peter James Insurance, successful applicants are just required to look after the car as though it was their own.

Chosen drivers are invited to an annual handover event at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon – which also sponsors the project – where they meet the owners and learn the basics of handling the cars before taking them on the road.

Peter, a member of the Ford Model A Owners’ Club, told The Village: “Many young people would love to experience a classic car but they don’t have the funds to own one – and that also means the skills needed to look after older vehicles are being lost. Modern cars have so many electronics that you can’t tinker with them yourself.

“The only way to understand what classic cars are like is to drive one and have responsibility for it.”

He says that the first person to hire his Model A was unsure about it at first, but soon learned to love it:

“The man was used to using motorways and A-roads to get around, but he discovered that it was much better to use quiet roads through villages, where people would smile and wave and ask questions about the car.

“He realised what classic motoring is all about – taking your time and enjoying the drive.”

He adds that the experience has already “converted” one driver who went on to purchase a classic of their own.

The application “season” usually runs from September to the end of December each year, to allow time for applications to be processed ready for cars to be handed over the following April.

However, Bob has extended this year’s application deadline to accommodate two new cars recently added to the fleet. In addition, applicants may declare an interest at any time and await the next phase.

As well as encouraging people to apply for a loan car, the project is also looking for more owners and car clubs to lend their vehicles.

“You might have a classic in your garage that you don’t get to drive much any more, for whatever reason,” says Peter.

”But if you can’t bear to sell it, maybe you could consider lending it to the scheme so that it can be enjoyed by someone else.”

Cars in the project are normally at least 20 years old to be eligible for Classic Car Insurance cover, and should be generally roadworthy.

Full information, including details of how to apply, can be found at or by emailing Bob at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Pictured: Owners and loanees at the 2018 Gaydon handover

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