How to part with a classic without trauma and regret


Author: Martin PortPublished:

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.


Col O'Firth

Martin - Do you have any tips for rationalising having spent lots of time and money making a classic a much better car, only to sell it on (in my case perhaps...) for nothing like what you've invested in it?

Martin Port

Col - now unfortunately that is another topic of conversation. If restoration costs transferred onto the final sale price in their entirety, then the classic marketplace would be a very different one than we currently have. Yours is a problem shared by owners and enthusiasts the world over I'm afraid and is never an easy one to come to terms with. But then I guess we do it for love rather than money most of the time!

Art Editor, C&SC


Regarding Col's 'rationalising' dilemma; the easiest way to justify owning, running and spending money on any old car is to compare the costs long term with the equivalent losses accrued from buying new. While the first service may be free, there are always catches to keeping up that five year warranty with yet more regular service expensive bills from your friendly main agent. Then there is depreciation, which at say 25% or more in the first year can wipe out ten grand or more, that is two hundred quid a week down the drain. Lastly there is the 'green' cred. This is something else that has had me thinking for some time now, and this has prompted me to a new post on the forum.


Hi Martin, looking at the way Porsche 912 prices have gone of late, I just wonder whether you are having the teeniest regrets about offloading your lovely Heinz Beanz blue car in such an undignified manner? Maybe SII Landies will go the same way as soon as you sell this tidy looking number?! Buyers, form an orderly queue here!


Martin Port

Zagato - maybe they will. I for one cannot foresee the future of the marketplace and so, as with the Porsche, I will sell now and consider buying another later on when funds allow. I did everything I could to keep the Porsche, but the harsh realities of life could not go ignored forever! The Landie will go to a new home at some point and they will get a chance to enjoy it as I have done - just as the demise of the 912 (lovely indeed, but as rotten as anything as it transpired) went to help keep dozens of other Porsches on the road and their owners happy.

Art Editor, C&SC


For me classic owners seem to fall into two camps. One the equivalent of motoring marriage; where the car becomes a much loved member of the family, a long term partner, and the other a kind of motoring dating; intense relationships with high passion (some good, some bad) but with the inherent danger of having your eye turned by a 'new' model.

I'm afraid I thought I fell in the first camp, but have had to admit I'm a hopeless serial auto-bigamist. Looking back I seem to have gone through six Italian classics in the last decade, usually juggling two at a time. Sometimes I've thought this is the big one, I lavish attention on said car, polish weekly, buy all the books, manuals, etc, etc. But then, two years down the line...


Martin Port

Well put Half Nelson. I also view my purchases as 'keepers' in nearly all instances, but I guess there is always temptation lurking just around the corner! Neither of these approaches is wrong or right though - the important thing for me is to look after your latest love affair to the best of your ability and enjoy using it to the max.

Art Editor, C&SC

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