My classic car: ‘I love the aesthetics of old cars’ – The Guardian

Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016

What does this classic car say about me?

“I love the aesthetics of old cars and their timelessness. But I would never dress up and go to Goodwood festival – my wife would probably divorce me.”

And what it really says

Classic cars are a very expensive habit. They are an extra to your life, a beautiful, wayward, frustrating extra that brings sporadic joy and much wallet-emptying palaver. Still, despite all that, there is a lovely elemental side to classic cars. When you drive them you do a lot of the work yourself. You’re physically connected to a classic car in a way you’re not with a modern car. Classic cars feel alive.

Many people like the idea of classic cars – who wouldn’t want a motor as beautiful as Jeremy’s MG? – but they can’t face what owning one entails. You need a watertight garage (they sprout rust like eczema). You need a reliable car mechanic (the spark plugs stop working, the radiator leaks, the engine floods as soon as you turn the key, the big end goes BANG). You need the eyesight of a hawk (small mirrors) and the arms of Popeye (no power-assisted steering) just to get it out of the driveway. Oh, and you need a warm coat. The wind whistles through every which where.

Do I sound bitter? I’ve owned a couple of classic cars in my time. I loved them, but they broke my heart. Owners of classic cars have to be practically minded and a sucker for beauty. It’s no surprise that Jeremy is a photographer. You have to get everything practical in place – the mechanics, the maintenance, the location, the insurance, all the gear and paperwork – before you can get your elusive beauty to show off its gorgeous lines. You have to charm it into being wonderful and then keep it there through appropriate technology. Photographers know how to manage all this. It’s what they do for a living. And they do it all knowing that the perfect moment will go by in a flash – and they will have caught it.

If you would like Miranda to cast an eye over your favourite possession, email a photograph to


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