My Drive it Day quandary

| 20 Apr 2011

You won't find a bigger fan of Drive it Day than me. It's an incredibly simple and sensible idea that does the world of good for enthusiasts, their cause and, of course, the punters who have their day brightened by seeing a load of machinery that is normally locked away and unseen. And that is where I start to have issues with it. The "normally locked away and unseen" part. Now, it is certainly not my place to tell other people how and when they should use their classics, but it just strikes me as a little sad that the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs needs to set aside a special occasion to encourage people to actually use their classics.

This Drive it Day, rather than being out in that glorious spring sunshine enjoying – and sharing the enjoyment of - a classic, I was locked away in the house decorating. Obviously the panic to get the jobs done that I might have already intimated were complete, before my family came back from a two week break in France was a big factor, but I also realised that I simply didn't feel beholden to take part in Drive it Day. Sad, but true. I drive a classic every day, so it doesn't apply to me. That's the thinking anyway. Thinking that is fundamentally flawed, admittedly, but I am just being honest about how I feel about it. And that is that the very existence of Drive it Day creates a perception that the event is for the fair-weather fans only. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that is the way it seems.

While agonising over this, I discussed it with C&SC's other full-time classic commuter Martin Port and found that he felt exactly the same about it. He went to the tip in his Landie on Drive it Day, but not because it was Drive it Day, he just needed to go to the tip.

So, despite all the good it does – and I do feel dutibound to take part when there isn't 14 hours of glossing to do – a little bit of me wonders whether the concept of Drive it Day might actually create a tiny schism in our hobby just as much as it cements it together. And it does this by creating at the very least a vague  sense of a two-tier system between those of us who use classics so regularly that Drive it Day is unnecessary, and those who need to be coerced into using their cars as they could and should. So what do we do to eradicate this perception? Well, obviously, Drive it Day must continue and must continue to thrive, too, and, obviously, people like myself must dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly instead of picturing ourselves as some sort of aloof elite to whom it doesn't apply, and, obviously, nothing is every my fault and everything is everyone else's responsibility, so I have decided upon a solution: unless we want classic owners to separate into league tables based on their dedication, everyone must use their classic every day. SImple.