The day C&SC's earth stood still

| 16 May 2012

Yesterday was a dark day in C&SC history. Why? Curiously, it’s not because of the machinery that was in the car park. Instead it’s because of what wasn’t there.

Yes folks, on Tuesday 15 May, uniquely, there was a complete and utter absence of classics (apart from a couple that are in long term ‘static residence’ of course).

So why is this big news? Because it is for perhaps the first time in living memory (although our memories are a bit rubbish) that the Classic & Sports Car parking spaces don’t have at least two classic cars in them. Cue the sound of jaws hitting the floor the world over.

You see, here at the offices in South West London, the C&SC bays almost always boast a respectable complement.

There are the usual suspects that appear day after day (usually made up of something from Elliott’s stable and from my Scimitar/Beetle/whatever I currently own combo).

Then there are those that often sneak in: Evans’ BMW or GSA (although those can often be seen lurking, unannounced on a nearby side road without the office knowing), and then there is Clements’ MG Magnette, which he heroically tries to battle through the commuter-hell that is Surrey at least once a week.

Yesterday, however, the bays boasted the following selection of ‘has-been’ modern machinery (or Youngtimers as we like to call them!): Elliott’s £1k Mercedes (good for trips to the dump), James Page’s  Citroën Xantia Diesel (good for the slog from Bristol), Clements’ Ford Focus (good for sitting stationary in traffic for an hour), and my nine-year-old Peugeot 307 SW (good for carrying engines and surfboards, although the carpet doesn’t appear to resist battery acid – clearly proof that ‘new’ cars are indeed rubbish).

In fact, the most interesting things in the car park yesterday appeared to be a motley modern trio consisting of an evil-grinning Ferrari FF, a pimped-up Bentley with cherry red wheels and a Fanta-orange new Ginetta.

Of course, in our defence, the appearance of so many moderns, sorry Youngtimers, all on the same day was purely coincidental and the fact that it constituted such a noteworthy event was an encouraging reflection of our usual classic usage.

Page is trying to limit the mileage on his MkI MX-5, Elliott’s garage door has seized in the closed position, thus trapping the Elan in darkness, and I needed to try and plug a hole in the Pug’s blowing exhaust at lunchtime – a job left over after spending the weekend indulging myself with old cars instead.

Oddly though, despite this line-up being such a rare sight, there was still a wave of guilt washing across the office and, as soon as we arrived, everyone was keen to reel off the excuses for arriving in modern ‘luxury’ and promising that it was a one-off.

Even one of the on-site maintenance engineers asked what was going on, nodding towards our spaces with a concerned look on his face – probably expecting to hear that London has now banned anything that can’t be charged from an extension lead hung from a downstairs window.

Oh well, at least the car park had 24 hours without suffering the constant drip of EP80 and 20w/50 – the tarmac might even have hardened again by this morning when, I am relieved to say, normal service was resumed.