Behind the wheel of some of the great cars of the 20th century
Owning a classic car is an aspiration of many a petrolhead, but the cost and effort involved can be so substantial that few of us are lucky enough to be able to do so.
For slightly less money, however, and significantly less trouble, there are clubs that can provide the occasional joy of taking a classic ride out for a spin. The Classic Car Club has collections in London and New York, and both garages are brimming with some of the best cars the 20th century had to offer.
I tagged along on one of the London Night Drives and got to experience a wide variety of cars. From the '60s cool of a Volvo P1800S to the 1970's roar of a V8 Vantage (or from "The Saint" to James Bond, if you prefer), and more. Each car was a completely different experience and gave its own unique thrill. It will never compare with the pride of owning one of these stunning machines, but the privilege of being able to sample such a wide variety of cars is not something to be underestimated.
Car manufacturing has changed so much over the decades. Technology has moved on, and safety regulations and emissions legislation have driven car designs in an ever more converging direction of compromise and homology. The benefits that have come with that are self evident, but we have had to lose something in return. That something is embodied in these classic cars -- the diversity of character, a freedom of design, and a connection between driver and machine.
Cars like this will never be made again, and those that survive won't be around forever. While it is still possible to experience the best of what the 20th century had to offer, I urge you to seek out those opportunities and experience, even for a short time, what these cars were like to drive. I'm privileged to have been able to get my hands on such great rides, and I know that I will not be able to stay away from the Classic Car Club for long.