When a Great Escape car needs repair work our Workshop Manager Julian has a bench full of spanners at his disposal. Fixing one of our fleet of classic hire cars is mental as well as physical job.
As we search for the modern classics of tomorrow we have begun to wonder whether this might have to change. Because to fix a modern car you plug it in to something called Diagnostic Equipment. This stuff tells you what's wrong and what to fix. Increasingly it's some sort of hideously expensive electrical gremlin.
All of which assumes that we will be adding lots of modern classics over the next few years. The problem is, we can't really think of any. In the 70s, 80s and even 90s there were lots of everyday cars that small boys coveted. Sure, I am a long way from being small or a boy but it can't just be age that makes me feel that in the 00s and teenies there seem to be rather less future classics. I'd genuinely love to be proved wrong. There are a few possible candidates - BMW Mini mk1. Maybe, but we're over-run with them. Golf GTI? An endless rehash of the original.
The sad fact is that even if you we can between us muster a half-decent list the chances of any of them surviving long enough to become classics seem extremely low. Classics become bangers before they become cherished and to survive that stage they need to be maintainable at low cost. Cars that need to be plugged in to be diagnosed aren't. Car makers have ensured that you need to get your car diagnosed at a dealer, who can charge £100 just to plug in and tell you there's a problem. Once diagnosed finding and fitting parts isn't as easy as it once was. Because there is so much more to go wrong on modern cars. The MOT test has also been tightened to ensure that errant warning lights, that might otherwise have been ignored, can now take a car off the road.
Sorry to sound a note of doom and gloom but at Great Escape we don't think the chances for modern classics look very promising. What this will do for the classic car scene is not clear but hopefully the simpler, older stuff will continue to survive and prove popular.
We'll continue our search for modern classics and keep the flame alive for these old crocks. Leave the hassle of maintenance and repair to us and just enjoy some of the best cars of the last 50 years.