Classic events Car museums Classic car brands

By Tom Endean

When fuel is short, some are more equal than others

Classic Car GarageJay ‘Petrolhead’ Leno has previously said he’s a huge fan of electric cars as they could be the saviour of petrol cars, just as petrol cars were the saviour of the horse. The car turned the horse into a thing of pleasure (not in that way) and largely removed it from the work that was killing so many.

I think there is a huge amount of sense in this. The less oil being burnt by the everyday commuter and those that just want an A-to-B machine can use cars powered by electricity, hydrogen, solar, pixy-dust etc. This leaves more petrol (or diesel if you’re that way inclined) for those of us who go all weak at the knees for roaring V8s and a screaming straight sixes.

I was pondering this the other day and it dawned on me that this is not just a good idea, but pretty much essential. With the rate at which new economies, such as China, are developing, we will be lucky to have any oil left in the next 50 years.

The only option then is various ethanol or vegetable oil substitutes, which are generated from crops - which in turn compete for space against food crops for the growing population - and eat through various parts on classic cars and bikes.

With all of this said (and let’s assume that we find a suitable fuel alternative for new cars), we are still left with a load of existing cars needing petrol or diesel.

I believe that every car ever made should be remembered, with at least one kept in existence for prosperity - for good or for bad. However, that doesn’t mean all should be kept on the road. In nature you don’t see lions handing out bits of zebra to other animals who are hungry. No, the lion is king, so sod the rest of you!

As far as I’m concerned, this can work for cars, not based on strength, speed or value, but on their overall deservedness to live. A Morris 1000 on many modern scales, is not a good car, but I still love it. It has character, it's pretty, a lovable nature and was a practical machine for its day. A Mazda 3 is a perfectly good little car and far better than the Morris in nearly every modern way; but it has no features I love. Therefore, the Morris gets fuel and the Mazda is now just an exhibit to show it once existed. This makes complete sense (to me), as most classic cars and bikes, will, like the horse, only be toys for the high-days and holidays, so their use of fuel will be minimal anyway.

The tricky bit is the process of judgement. Now, it could be down to me, but I feel some may disagree with my decisions, when I start giving loads of fuel to AC Cobras (I love them – they make me feel all gooey), very little for the Ferrari Daytona (I know I will be hated for this, but seriously, I don’t get it – it’s not that pretty) and none to anything that can be classed as a people carrier. Of course, until a better solution is found I’m happy to start putting the list together.

We all just need to find a way of getting everyone else off Petrol and Diesel as quick as possible. So next time you see some funny little hybrid or eco car, don’t scoff; encourage it and hope we will still have some fuel left to keep the classic carburettors wet.


Classic Motorcycles Classic Cars