Classic and Vintage Cars
Classic Cars For Pleasure and Gifts
Classic and vintage cars have proven to be great investments and good for pleasure plus being passionate presents. This lens explains the history and fun they provide.
Who does not like the lines and look of a classic car? Perhaps you know someone who would like one and is searching for the exact car for a purpose, or you may want it for yourself. Whatever the case you will probably get pleasure from reading this lens. To own such a vehicle is like having a wonderful painting or enjoying an opera in that the lines are memorable, the colors fantastic, the smell unique and the drive in it is unforgettable. Who do you know that is longing to have one in his driveway or is even more keen to restore one from scratch. Knowing the amount of work ahead of him he may just prefer to have one delivered to his door and this lens will help you to find one for him.
Classic Car Models
Date of Manufacture
For those who may not know it a classic car is simply an older car that has gone out of manufacture, probably some time ago. It could be of any age but the traditional vintage label applies to cars built between the end of World War 1 and the start of World War 2, but officially as between 1919 to 1930.
There are hundreds of models of classic cars around the world and many are still stored in old sheds or even barns to be uncovered, treasured and restored by the enthusiast lucky enough to come across one. Many have been reproduced into great examples of the original with fine workmanship and a new production.
The value of an original find can be extremely high, occasionally getting into the 6 figure mark. That makes any old car in reasonable condition a sound investment. The very best of them are now extrmely rare making an original even more valuable. They are great treasures for some as this lens shows.
Many a classic was built during the Second World War or just after and the lines of them are rather heavy and more square than their later models that arrived when streamlining and speed were essential factors. The 2 pictured are typical of European models and this photo was taken in Milan, Italy, during a rally in 2009.
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Classic Car Rallies
Its Dress Up Time
You see them every now and again driving in a steady stream down major highways or through your local town or village. The drivers invariably dress for the part with berets and special coats or gear that spells out the period in which the car was manufactured.
The pride they display when interest is shown by those who group around a car and admire its shape and beauty is something to see. One would think they had given birth to it, and in a sense some have. They probably took it from some old shed when it was full of rust and rats and lovingly brought it back to life. This is a hobby with many an enthusiast.
Of course the ladies also take pride in the vehicles and they may dress up and some of their costumes are as interesting as the cars themselves. They fit right in as it would have been mainly husbands and wives in the days of their early marriage who would have owned them in the first place.
But some classic cars are raced and this is probably the best thing for owners prepared to take the risk. Its another way of displaying their pride and joy to the world while engaging in some friendly competition. Of course they don't do donuts or wheelies. Neither the cars nor the owners are up to that kind of thing for the most part.
A Great Hobby
For Both Partners
While tinkering all night in the garage might not sound romantic many a husband and wife team do just that. The wife is as involved and keen on the outcome of perfecting the car as her partner and takes great pride in her role as assistant. There is a lot of detailing required on all cars and women are probably more into the refining of the interior than the engine. So there is a role for both.
Children also love to be involved in their parents hobbies and often will follow in their footsteps later in life. As a family the vintage and classic car owners are often seen picnicking on river banks and in great sea side locations just about every week-end. There is no doubt that the pleasure of driving leisurely in the country side and enjoying the thrill of 'real' motoring, as it used to be known, is making a comeback. That's if it ever faded from popularity in the first place.
There are hundreds of movies made on the subject as well. They never stop thrilling their audiences in either the comic or dramatic scenes in which they are involved. This Ford Woody, a recent copy made in 2003, shows the beautiful lines, wonderful appearance and the extent of detail that manufacturers of such cars went to in their finished products.
What do you think of Classic cars?
Would you like to own one
History of Cars Part A
Steam Era - information provided by Classic Cars Global
Steam Era (1700's - 1900)
"Steam-powered self-propelled vehicles were devised in the late 17th century. A Flemish priest, Ferdinand Verbiest, was thought to have demonstrated in 1678 a small (24 inch / 61 cm long) steam 'car' to the Chinese emperor, yet there is no solid evidence for this event.
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot demonstrated his fardier vapeur, an experimental steam-driven artillery tractor in 1770 and 1771. Cugnot's design proved to be impractical and his invention was not developed in his native France - the centre of innovation then passed over to the United Kingdom. By 1784 William Murdoch had built a working model of a steam carriage in Redruth, and in 1801 Richard Trevithick was running a full-sized vehicle on the road in Camborne.
Walter Hancock the builder and operator of London steam buses, in 1838 built a four-seat steam phaeton. Also in 1838, Scotsman Robert Davidson built an electric locomotive that attained a speed of four miles (6 km) an hour. In England a patent was granted in 1840 for the use of rails as conductors of electric current, and similar American patents were issued to Lilley and Colten in 1847. Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells."
History of Cars Part B
Veteran Era - information provided by Classic Cars Global
Veteran Era (1888 - 1904)
"The first production of automobiles was by Karl Benz in 1888 in Germany and under license to Benz, in France by Emile Roger. By 1900 mass production of automobiles had begun in France and the United States. The first company to form exclusively to build automobiles was Panhard et Levassor in France. Formed in 1889, they were quickly followed by Peugeot two years later. In the United States, brothers Charles and Frank Duryea founded the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in 1893, becoming the first American automobile manufacturing company. However, it was Ransom E. Olds, and his Olds Motor Vehicle Company (later known as Oldsmobile) who would dominate this era of automobile production. Its large scale production line was running in 1902. Within a year, Cadillac, Winton, and Ford were producing cars in the thousands (formed from the Henry Ford Company).
"Within a few years dizzying assortments of technologies were being produced by hundreds of producers all over the western world. Steam, electricity, and gasoline-powered autos competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. Dual and even quad-engine cars were designed, and engine displacement ranged to more than a dozen liters. Many modern advances, including gas / electric hybrids, multi-valve engines, overhead camshafts, and four-wheel drive, were attempted and discarded at this time."
In 1895 a patent was granted to a USA manufacturer, Sheldon, but it may have hindered the industry in that country rather than helped it. By granting a license to successive car manufacturers afterward he collected a fee on every car produced. Well, that was probably a good business outcome for him.
There were great handicaps to motoring in those times. The roads were bad, fuel was scarce, breakdowns were frequent, and the noise of a horseless carriage frightened the hacks pulling buggies around.
Restoring one of these vehicles is fraught with difficulties. Parts are not available and usually must be hand made or located with great effort. But that has not stopped collectors from coveting them and many are restored to their former glory. At one stage there were over a thousand manufacturers in the USA alone making the task even harder.
The picture above is of a Chrysler Race Car Vintage modelthat is a replica of the original. Built more than 50 years ago it is for sale in Uruguay and can be transported to any country
History of Cars part C
Antique or Brass - information provided by Vlassic Cars Global
Antique or Brass Era (1905 - 1914)
"The antique or brass era lasted from roughly 1905 through to the beginning of World War I in 1914. This era saw the first mass produced vehicles with gasoline engines, immortalized by Henry Ford's model T. The brass era was named for the widespread use of the fancy brass fittings and brass lanterns that adorned the new 'horseless carriage'.1905 was a signal year in the development of the automobile, marking the point when the majority of sales shifted from the hobbyist and enthusiast to the average user. Brass began to be phased out about 1914 in favor of nickel, which was eventually abandoned in favor of chrome.
Within the 15 years of this era, the various experimental designs and alternate power systems would be marginalized. Steam power proved too cumbersome and electric motors were limited by battery technology (as they still are today), but gasoline was cheap and plentiful, encouraging both two-stroke and four-stroke development."
Far from luxurious these vehicles were mainly owned by the rich. With no doors, windscreen wipers or heaters and with the inconvenience of headlights lit by a match, they must have been an encumbrance to drive around. The engine was started with a crank and in wet and windy weather it was a real horror.
My grandmother bought a car of a later type in which we motored many a happy mile. But by that time they were second hand and almost giveaways as the newer more streamlined limousines came into being. The one she purchased had doors but it started only with a crank and was very high off the ground. It had a running board on either side of the vehicle on which you first stepped to enter it. As a teenager I also had great fun as with some friends we motored around Sydney in a similar vehicle, usually laughing our head off and freezing in the drafts coming through the perspex side windows, or blinds.
They made great jalopies for the young and it is probably in that context that most people would remember them. If not physically at least through movies and television shows. The were a real thrill and it is probably why the original owners flocked to get one. As they had never seen anything better they probably did not mind the inconveniences.
"The early Model T Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with the introduction of assembly-line production, which in turn made it possible for Ford to offer their car for sale at a much more affordable price. Prior to the introduction of the Model T, automobiles were built by hand, one at a time, and usually sold for anywhere from twice the average worker's salary to several times that amount."
Photo top right is of a 1928 Sunbeam Sixteen Tourer available now from South Australia. It is remarkably similar to the one my grandmother bought.
History of Cars Part D
Vintage Era 1919-1929 - Information provided by Classic Cars Global
Vintage Era (1919 - 1929)
"A vintage car is usually defined as built between the start of 1919 and through to the stock market crash at the end of 1929. There is some debate about the start date of the Vintage period-the end of World War I is a nicely defined marker there-but the end date is a matter of a little more debate.
While some American sources prefer 1925 since it is the pre-classic car period as defined by the Classic Car Club of America, the British definition is strict about 1930 being the cut-off. Others see the Classic period as overlapping the Vintage period, especially since the Vintage designation covers all vehicles produced in the period while the official Classic definition does not, only including high-end vehicles of the period. Some consider the start of World War II to be the end date of the Vintage period.
After the war, military plants were quick to retool for automobile production and the lack of government regulations for safety, the environment or employees gave it a sense of the wild Wild West. Industrial accidents were all too common and compensation was at the discretion of the employer. As such there were no vehicle requirements like windshields, doors, lights, turn signals or seat belts."
It was after the war that some famous name automobile manufactures started producing their innovative designs. Henry Ford started it with his assembly line production of the T Model Ford. As cars increased in popularity tarred roads were built by governments throughout the various countries. In Australia, however, as in many other nations, dirt roads were to persist in most places until well after the Second World War. They were gradually replaced as money allowed and even today there are many secondary roads that will not be tarred for some time. Still they are pleasant enough to drive on.
The other major factor in the success of the motor vehicle at that time was the availability of gasoline. Thousands of oil wells were springing up in USA, Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Technology was catching up as well. and during the Second World War the motor vehicle was a major defense weapon. Its speed and ability got personnel around the countryside and to their ships or planes, and so on, with little effort. The motor vehicle proved a godsend in many ways and every major nation was now heavily involved in motor vehicle production and ownership.
By that time as well as powering ground based vehicles the petrol engine was flying planes, driving boats, powering ships and allowing tanks and other such things to be manufactured. Steam was on the way out as diesel gradually replaced it.
If those early pioneers had not persisted with their dreams none of those innovations would have been possible.
Pictured top right is an origial 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloudin immaculate condition, 2 tone and original tool kit included. Only 2555 were produced.
Still images from Dreamstime - click here
To make you laugh
The driver of an old T Model Ford had breakdown problems on a busy highway. A thoughtful Porsche driver stopped to give assistance. When they could not get the vehicle to start he offered to tow it to the nearest town, some 40 kms away.
No sooner were they in motion when the latest sports car, with all its flashy dooda's flew past tooting its horn like mad at the slow pace of the Porsche. Not to be outdone the driver of the latter instantly hit the accelerator in an effort to catch up and perhaps pass it. With the increased speed the driver in the Ford was somewhat frantic and decided he had had enough. So he blew his horn repeatedly to the driver of the towing vehicle to slow down. "Hooonk, hoonk, hoonk" the old horn was echoing his frustration.
As they flew up the highway they passed a traffic cop on the side of the road. He scratched his head and immediately radioed for assistance. "You won't believe this" he said to the operator. I just witnessed a sports car doing about 200 kilometers per hour with a Porsche in hot pursuit and an old guy in a T Model Ford blowing his horn like mad trying to pass them. You better send a squad out to catch them.
© 2009 norma-holt