Practical Classics January 2020

Practical Classics magazine has a 30-year tradition of delivering the very best, hands-on classic car experiences to its readers. Every staff writer and contributor works on and restores their own classics. Each issue is packed with: * Rigorous buying advice * Real-world product tests * Inspirational classic driving features * Fascinating historical insight Practical Classics is also a campaigning title, taking the concerns of classic car owners to Parliament and keeping its readers' classics where they belong - on the road. So come and join PC in the workshop - the kettle's on.

United Kingdom
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
welcome to the workshop

I spoke at the Houses of Parliament a couple of weeks ago, at the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group’s annual dinner, and it was a bit of a ‘do’. APPHVG members come from all parties, they love and own their own classics and they try their best to keep the rest of us on the road without hindrance. Good guys. The meal was also attended by the Minister of Transport, and his underlings, so I used the opportunity to hammer home the value of classic cars to UK plc (£5.5 billion) and the importance of our hobby as classless, ageless social phenomena that transcends religion, race and political belief. I also gave the minister the opportunity to think about how valuable older cars are in engaging young people in…

1 min
an e-type in a weekend!

More than 71,000 car enthusiasts descended on the NEC for the biggest ever Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, many of them witnessing the most ambitious live on-stage mission ever – attempting to build a 1974 E-type in a weekend. Owned by Andy Waters of CBR Classic Restorations, his dream car had been sat in the corner of the CBR workshop gathering dust for more than a decade and, according to Andy, would have most likely remained there for another ten years. ‘You spend all your time working for other people, it’s pretty much impossible to restore your own car!’ Practical Classics editor Danny Hopkins invited Andy to bring the E-type to the NEC event and it arrived on stage on Friday morning as a painted shell surrounded by boxes of parts.…

1 min
the show in 5 pictures

Rev Colin Corke and his recently imported Innocenti Regent 1300 on the Allegro Club International stand. The only one in Britain, this was its first UK show. Designer Oliver Winterbottom posed with the Lotus Elite – the car he penned. This and the Eclat were celebrating 45 years since production began. The newly-completed replica of Percy Riley’s 1898 Voiturette, built by the Riley Motor Club and Riley Register, was on display on the club stand. Just restored and the first time an example has ever been exhibited in the UK – a 1927 OV4 was unveiled on the Volvo Owners’ Club stand by its resto team. The oldest car to drive to the show? A 100-year-old Wolseley C7 16/20 drove 200 miles to Birmingham and back with the kids in sleeping bags in the…

2 min
starting handle

Since it was launched in London in April 2019, more than 3,000,000 drivers have paid the ULEZ daily charge, and over 300,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) have been handed out to drivers for nonpayment of that charge. Back in in October, one of the offenders was me. I was visiting the Imperial War Museum for a weekend event and I was carrying costumes and kit, so I used my 1998 Toyota Avensis estate. Now, I’m not complaining about the charge, but there are grounds for having a gripe about its implementation. Because I was simply not aware that the Imperial War Museum was inside the ULEZ zone, I didn’t know my car wasn’t ULEZ compliant and I thought, like the congestion charge, that ULEZ didn’t operate at weekends. All wrong and…

1 min
electric nightmares

Car clubs and makers of EV conversions have recently countered an assertion by the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA), that classic vehicles modified to run on electricity cannot be classed as ‘historic’. FIVA has released a statement saying that although it acknowledges the environmental benefits of electric cars, the replacement of original engines with batteries and an electric units mean a car would no longer comply with its definition of a historic vehicle or ‘support the goal of preserving historic vehicles and their related culture.’ According to FIVA’s Vice President Tiddo Bresters, classics should only be subject to ‘in period’ changes and the modification to electric power rules this out. ‘It is not the shape of the vehicle that makes it historic. It’s the way in which the entire vehicle…

1 min
this month we love...

From time to time, we’re sent a product to try that gets the whole team excited. This is one of those times. Having struggled for to bleed the brakes on Danny’s Mazda 626 coupé conventionally, we hooked up this pneumatic brake bleeder (part no: VSO215) to suck fluid from each nipple and, within 15 minutes, we had a firm pedal. Had we desired, we could have used it to pressurise the master cylinder instead – and the safety valve which lifts at 20psi makes the whole process that much safer. We could even have used it on an ABS-equipped system. The in-built reservoir holds three litres, sufficent to flush a whole system without the risk of running dry, plus the tool feels like it was made to last. It’s one…