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Is Drive it Day successful in getting the message across?

Published 28 April 2014

I must admit that I am one of those people who has always been a bit dismissive of ventures such as Drive it Day or Drive Your Classic to Work week. Not because I don't think it's a good idea to get your classic out there mixing it with the moderns, but just that if I have a classic on the fleet, I really don't tend to need an excuse to drag it out and use it...

Having spent a lovely day on the Hagerty Drive it Day Run, it was nice to see so many people turn up and really use their classic cars. Driving into Silverstone in my Lancia Delta Integrale, I'd been half expecting to be the owner of the shabbiest car there, and worried I'd be corralled into the naughty corner - but as it was, I was welcomed with open arms and immediately felt at home as I parked alongside a lovely 1990 BMW M3, also in red. Certainly in this grouping, there was no classic car elitism.

Once we were all underway, and on our way to the first stop-off at Bicester Heritage, it was really good to see that most of the guys in the convoy were proper drivers. Okay, so following the M3, I knew we'd crack along at a fair old pace, but catching a Porsche 911 and then a Triumph 2000 didn't slow us down that much at all. Clearly we were all having fun. And this is what Drive it Day is all about - even if it goes much deeper than that, and reflects what classic car ownership as a whole is all about.

It was heartening seeing so many people out and about, too. Not just us on our run, nor the many cars that filed into Gaydon, but those who appeared to be just out and about pottering in their MGs, Jaguars, Triumphs, MGs and Fords. So, all's well in the world, and the classic car scene can hold its head high following the estimated 250,000 old vehicles that trundled out on to the Queen's highway yesterday, then.

Delta Integrale
Should Keith need an excuse like Drive it Day to enjoy his Lancia Delta Integrale? Of course not...

An interesting alternative viewpoint was presented by one of my old muckers, who I'll just leave nameless for the moment. He said, 'Classic car "Drive it day" was yesterday. Should you need the excuse of a "day" to drive your old motor? Perhaps it is a good thing. At least you have fair warning of a day to avoid going on the roads due to the number of appallingly-driven, over-polished turds that somehow escaped the crusher in the '70s.'

Although it was a harsh thing to say, he justified it by the following comment. 'I went to an old car meet in Norfolk. The roads of East Anglia were hell. There were legions of walnut-hindered Midget 1500s doing 40mph.'

I must admit that I do almost want to agree with him on one point. The fact that so many well-maintained, nicely presented classic cars don't get driven quickly enough. That's fine, each to their own, but it really does make my teeth itch seeing classic cars holding up the moderns - when after all, we can pretty much hold our own on the roads. Don't believe me? I was following a 1930s roadster yesterday that was happily capable of bowling along the A-roads quite happily at 60mph. So surely a 1970s MG Midget could more than match that!

But in truth, I won't agree with my friend's rather uncharitable view. Okay, so most of us don't need reason to drive our classic cars - and do so whenever the opportunity presents itself. My Delta has been a bit of a garage queen since I bought it, but having had such a blast in it at the weekend, I now know that's not been the correct cause of action. But kudos to the Federation of British Historic Vehicles Clubs for thinking up Drive it Day, and helping to push it up the agenda ever since.

If you weren't in on it this year - how about next year? It will be great to see you out and about...

Top picture: Hagerty 


Stewart Weller    on 28 April 2014

I dont recall any issues with my '75 midget that made it hold up traffic, seemed happy enough at 80!

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