Last year, I started worrying about classic cars with the new EV laws being passed. Once everyone is in an EV, it’s only a matter of time until gas is no longer available, and without gas, not many people are going to keep classic cars. Then I read this:
The scrappage allowance of 2009 has a lot to answer for, not least the absence of XR3is on our roads. There were around 95,000 in 1994, but today just 450 are road-registered.
Ray, I remember not that long ago when you were saying you didn’t ever think EVs would take off and now it almost seems like you are worried every car before 2030 model year is going to be swept off the streets?
I’m sure there were “horse enthusiasts” that lamented the passing of horseback riding and pined for the romanticism of riding horses everywhere, but the transition to petrol happened. You can still ride a horse, but not on the street.
The massive transition from horse to automobile took time and was uneven, just as this one will, but I think it is exciting to be living through the change! Can you imagine building gas stations across the nation from zero to everywhere? I’m sure it was spotty at first.
While I think it is easy to romanticize manual ICE cars, as a car enthusiast I still look forward to a time with no oil changes, no T belt changes, no spark plug replacements, and barely ever changing brake pads… not to mention a flat torque curve. Until then I’ll enjoy my 6 speed manual
The convertible has 275 k km. (Around 170 k miles (US)
Generally it would be considered “scrap” at this point. But actually we are prepared for the next 150K kilometers for 10 years to happen.
After 2030 it will be interesting to see what price point will be attached to using a conventional car.
Thus the prices of “classics” at “bringatrailer” and the likes seem to be completely out of touch with the rest of useful lifetime these items might have.
This is just one prime example, where market (and politics) stay firmly planted in the past. The “boomer” generation still has their geriatric hands at the weels of fortune for the rest of us and the rearview mirrors have become dangerously bigger than the windscreens.
the OP question of disappearing classics is a question of attrition. And as scarcity drives value up, the most precious cars will make their way to museums and private collections. there will always be a few type-R’s and Fiero’s in the world, we just won’t be able to afford them is all.
Autonomous vehicles will be the disruption, when nobody owns cars anymore, what makes them precious?
I’ll have to scale back and debunk some of what I said above.
That was just a quick google. Apparently mankind has amassed 1.4 Billion cars on this planet. Only a meager 10 Million of those is BEV, already.
The projection is, that in 2030 there will be 120 Million BEV cars. Thus would stil be a vast minority. But even if the ramp of electrification gets steeper it will last well into the 2050ies to put ICE cars next to the horse buggy.
This buggers me. But may be a rather realistic perspective on change as society and infrastructure can cope with it.
If you are only driving those cars 100 km a year, you are killing them. The engine, transmission, differential all need heat cycles in order to keep the seals from hardening. Drive those cars, man, drive 'em - they’ll thank you for it.
I still have doubts about EVs. I did read that EU market share is now 22%. Mind you, I think it’s 3% in the US. I still say, “stay tuned”.
Having said that, if I were in charge of product planning at a big auto make and two of my biggest markets said, “we’re banning gas cars in 9~14 years”, I’d have a hard time pushing the button on a new gas model. Back to the topic though:
Germany has banned certain cars from certain highways or cities. London has its “ultra low emissions” zone. If I had to plan out my trip and be worried about getting a ticket because I turned down the wrong road, I’d take my car to the crusher (it wouldn’t be worth anything at that point). As a designer, I think that’s sad. Cars have been the most designed objects of the 20th century. I like having that history be alive on the roads.
As for EV conversions. 914s have always been a popular one. I find it offensive. You take one of the great chassis of all time, chop it up and drop 600 lbs of batteries in it throwing off the balance. I can kind of see this for a Lincoln Continental or a '59 Impala, but a sportscar? Sacrilege.
Aesthetics are subjective, but the 914 to me was never a beautiful car. It’s unique and quirky, the kind of car you look at and then go on about your day without thinking about it again. Would I stop in my tracks or walk into a sign staring as one passes by? No way.
As the batteries are mounted low and in place of the VW engine (I know the 914-6 exists, but those are rare), it will be heavier but dynamically similar.
Now an EV conversion to an old lead sled like a Continental, that’s one I’d stop and stare at. All the style, none of the gutless vintage V8s or emissions. There are no drawbacks.
why drive when you can fly? aspirational designs for drone taxi’s are everywhere, it’s only a matter of time before the 1% starts avoiding ground travel on a regular basis, eventually it’ll migrate down to anyone who wants to go faster, safer and with no traffic jams anywhere. Cars will be for rough weather or heavy loads, or the very poor.
Excellence in personal transportation design will persist, but the era of classic cars is ending, we are in an time for to plan for obsolescence.
Well, there have been conceptual designs for flying cars for 60+ years. It takes a lot more energy and intelligence to fly. Perhaps surmountable for the 1% rich, but I’m finding that pretty far from aspirational at this point. I’d like to try not to make the movie Elysium a reality. I think “cool flying Bugatti” is not the right take away from cautionary tales like that.
I worked with someone who designed luxury yachts. He told me about a meeting he had once that was an hour away by car. The owner drove an hour the opposite direction to the airport so they could fly in on their helicopter instead. I’m sure the 1% will be flying and enjoying all the benefits. Helicopters probably will be exempt from gas engine bans too.