How to part with a classic without trauma and regret

| 23 Feb 2012

I’ve always found moving classics on rather difficult and I know from chat in the office that I’m not the only one. Oddly, though, it is something that has got easier as the years have gone by.

I blubbed when my first Morris went to pastures new, yet here I am once more, faced with the prospect of waving farewell to another of my classics and my heart strings remain intact.

That isn’t to say that I don’t care. The thing about owning multiple classics is that there is almost always going to be some kind of rotation. Different cars have different benefits and there comes a time when one is sat on the driveway too long without moving. This time it’s the Land-Rover that has remained static for too long and is subsequently faced with the prospect of a new owner. 

Instead of getting upset though, I am being terribly pragmatic about the decision and looking at the reason why the SIIA has been sitting there making a dent in the gravel.

I bought the Landie as an antidote to the Porsche 912. Parts for pennies and something that could never draw parallels with the Stuttgart 2+2. In that way, it succeeded, but where it also excelled was the ‘throw it at me’ attitude, which was to say the least refreshing after the pains of keeping and maintaining something a little more ‘prissy’.

Only weeks after buying it, I drove the Landie to Le Mans and back without a murmur. It was fantastic… if a little slow. Canvas tilt rolled up. Door tops removed. Wonderful.

Winter was, for the first time, greeted with open arms and enthusiasm. Snow meant a chance to go where others couldn’t (or shouldn’t), and it proved invaluable when our latest addition was born, as snow covered the south east for days and the midwives refused to come out on house calls.

It has also been a commuting success, eating up the miles without a second glance and always getting me to my destination only minutes after the rest of those on the road.

So why has it not turned a wheel of late? Simple: some glassfibre upstart has usurped its position as prime-mover. Unfortunately for the Land-Rover, the Scimitar is faster, better on fuel (despite the 3-litre V6), quieter (even with the noisy diff), and a tiny bit more comfortable (but only by a bit).

As a commuter car the GTE is winning hands down and, even though I am well aware that it will quite possibly overheat where the Landie never would, and is rubbish at going over anything bumpier than a gravel driveway, it has to stay – especially with its shiny new paint. This means the Landie will shortly be appearing in the classifieds.

Of course, that will bring the Port fleet down to just two classics, and one of those is a long way off being roadworthy. It’s been a long time since my classic insurance policy has seen that few registration numbers on the document so while most of the money raised will go to paying off the fuel bill racked up by the Landie while the Scimitar was in the bodyshop, a little will probably end up going on another classic acquisition.

Temptation is all too easy it would seem, yet I see this as the reason for my balanced decision-making where it comes to the Land-Rover’s fate. If you can always view one classic’s departure as simply making garage space for trying out something different, then you can keep the tissues at bay, remember the good times and rack up another ownership experience to tell the grandchildren about.

So, anyone looking for a 1969 Land-Rover? One lady owner and never been out in the wet. Kind of.