Which set us thinking.
The internet has made the world a very visual medium. Whether you're buying a car or looking to hire one, it's really the photos that grab you. And as this photo proves, a picture tells a thousand lies.
Lets start with the car and the photo. This car was offered to us for hire about 2 years ago by a now ex-colleague whose friend owned it. "It's a great car, ideal for hire," we were told. He sent me some photos. I took his word for it and agreed to put the car onto our Yorkshire classic car hire hire fleet. Meanwhile my thankfully ex-colleague offered to fettle the car ready for hire.
I dread to think what this car was like before it was fettled. Post-fettle it was every imaginable shade of silver, where the bodywork wasn't rust it was full of wavy filler, the engine had more leaks than Severn Trent, the chrome was entirely pitted and the interior could have been described as 'dog eared' if any self-respecting dog would have been prepared to go anywhere near it.
But it looks ok. Sure, you can't see the interior, you can't see the engine. But from this snap it looks to be all there. Which is exactly how the car came to be anywhere near me. Firstly, the owner of the car bought it sight unseen from a classic car dealer advertising on EBay. Secondly I took the photos I was sent as evidence of a good car.
This tale is a salutary lesson in not taking photos of any classic car at face value. Unlike other similarly murky substances, you can polish a car to a gleaming shine. And if you haven't done your research and you don't know what you're looking at, then you'll likely be suckered in.
The same goes for classic car hire. We've finally managed to offload the above clunker. We've fortunately never dared put it on hire, it's just too bad for that, but it does look like someone else plans to. We may display pretty pictures of classic cars to hire on our website. The difference is, I like to think, that at Great Escape Classic Car Hire we really care about how good they are.
Hopefully this photo and tale will prove helpful next time you're looking at classic cars online - all that glitters is not gold. In fact it's probably not even metal.
For more details on Great Escape visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk. Elsewhere on this blog you'll find details of our Top Tips on buying a classic car.