15 ways to get your classic car fix during the coronavirus lockdown

| 26 Mar 2020
Classic & Sports Car – How to get your classic car fix during the coronavirus lockdown

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With the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting everyone’s daily lives in unprecedented ways, now perhaps more than ever we need rays of sunshine to keep our spirits up.

And here at C&SC, we’re here to help.

The classic car community is a wonderful, supportive place, and while there are no events or meetings to attend and restrictions have been imposed on our movement, that doesn’t mean we can’t stay at home, keep safe and still fuel our passion for classics.

Here we’ve compiled a list of great classic car-related activities you can enjoy, many of which without leaving your sofa, to help entertain and sustain you in the coming weeks and months. So scroll down and get stuck in!

Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list – help us to help you.


1. Virtual classic car museum tours

You can’t visit museums at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ogle row upon row of priceless machinery.

Thanks to a great initiative by the world-famous Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, you can embark on an hour-long digital tour of its evocative vault – for free! Well, nearly, viewers are asked to make a donation to help fund the project during the museum’s closure.

Each tour is themed and live-streamed, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – click here for details.

And the Mullin Automotive Museum has a similar programme, too, broadcasting free, live, themed tours of its collection every Tuesday at 10am PST, exclusively on Instagram Live.

Want more? Here are 50 museums every classic car fan should visit


2. Work on your classic

Staying home is the perfect excuse to shut yourself in your garage and fettle your classic, so it’s ready for action when the moment allows – at least that’s our excuse!

And rest assured, you won’t be alone. C&SC’s Club of the Year 2019, the Gay Classic Car Group, has launched its #gccgfixit weekend on 28 and 29 March, encouraging members and the wider classic community to share photos of their work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #gccgfixit hashtag – there’s even the offer of some friendly, over-the-phone advice. Find out more here.

Need some inspiration? Check out our full list of ‘How to…’ guides


3. Read Classic & Sports Car!

You saw this one coming, didn’t you? And, yes, we are a little biased, but immersing yourself in a copy of C&SC is surely one of the best ways to get your classic car fix from home.

Even better, we’ll deliver it to you, thanks to our special five issues for £5 subscription offer here – our subscription service will run uninterrupted.

We have digital subscriptions, too, either with the magazine, separately here, or on services such as Readly, Exact Editions and Zinio – and catch up with back issues.

Plus, there are our Ferrari, Supercar, Mercedes, American, Aston Martin, Porsche and Jaguar Greatest Hits, glossy special editions to help while away the hours.

We’ve pledged to continue bringing you first-class classic-car content both in our magazine for you to enjoy every month, but also here on our website and across our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, keeping you entertained around the clock.

Working from home? Update your desktop with one of our gorgeous free-to-download wallpapers!

And be sure to sign up for our newsletter, to get a hand-picked dose of C&SC in your inbox twice a week.


4. Tidy your garage

Of course, one assumes that if you’re working on your classic, you can actually reach it…

How long have you been promising yourself that you’ll tidy the garage, work out which parts you have rather than you think you have, and which you need?

Stay home, get tidying and working on your classic will get a whole load easier.


5. Polish your classic

Garage tidy? Spannerwork done? Classic ready for its next adventure? Then there’s just one thing left to do: clean it.

We all know that a thorough clean and polish inside and out can be a time-consuming task, even if you’re not aiming for a concours-grade finish – wire wheels, anyone? – but we also know it’s well worth it and extremely satisfying once done. 


6. Curl up with a good book – and do good

In an effort to support the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, book publisher Porter Press has launched a new Charity Collection initiative.

For the 20 books chosen, Porter has knocked 25% off the price and will donate a further 25% of the retail price of each copy sold to the Response Fund for as long as stocks last.

Books included in the scheme range from titles in the Great Cars and Exceptional Cars series to Stirling Moss: The Definitive Biography.

Use the code ‘CHARITY’ when you order at porterpress.co.uk.


7. Keep calm and colour on

Inspire the next generation of classic-car enthusiasts – and keep them busy while their schools are shut – with some rather cool colouring-in projects.

Talented illustrator Dan Coverdale from finaltenth.com has released some of his drawings as a free colouring book to fuel kids’ imaginations. Who doesn’t love a 6R4, a Maxi R5 Turbo or a Manta? Just click here to download a PDF of 11 designs. Like them? Keep an eye on his Twitter feed for further releases.

And there’s more. Callum, the design firm Ian Callum founded after leaving JLR, has also released some colouring-in designs of the Aston Martin Vanquish 25 that you can download here. Plus, colour them in and post on social media with the hashtag #colourwithcallum so the firm sees them, and the best could win prizes. 

Finally, MotorSport Vision has shared an activity pack featuring a quiz, word search, colouring in, a dot-to-dot and more to help entertain young motorsport fans.

Of course, these might have been crafted with children in mind, but we won’t tell if you enjoy them, too…


8. Movie nights

 

You can’t go out, so stay in and make a night of it with a favourite classic motorsport film. Or even something new, like the above – fortuitously, A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story has recently been released on Netflix.

Other good watches available now on streaming services include the James Hunt vs Niki Lauda epic Rush and The 24 Hour War about the rivalry between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari, both of which are also on Netflix, while modern F1 fans can enjoy series one and two of Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

You can also buy or rent films from Amazon Prime Video, such as Le Mans ’66 and Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans – the latter was recently broadcast on BBC Four, so British viewers can get it on iPlayer for two months.

All that’s before you dive into reruns of Top Gear, The Grand Tour, Wheeler Dealer, Car SOS and so on…

Now, where’s the popcorn?


9. Go rallying

Yes, really! But you won’t need your classic…

Of course, all permits for motorsport in the UK have been suspended until at least 30 June, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go table-top rallying – the perfect indoor, self-isolation rallying fix. It’s great practice for all rally navigators and also good if you’ve wanted to get into the sport, because you can learn the ropes without the added challenge of doing so while on the move.

HERO’s six-week Virtual Table Top Championship is raising funds for NHS Charities Together, while the Historic Rally Car Register’s Sequestration Cup table-top rally is on now until 8 April.


10. Get building

We make no apologies for the fact that here at C&SC we love Lego. But sometimes finding time to construct our classic-car creations is lacking…

Right now, however, Lego is the perfect stay-at-home fun and with plenty of classic-car kits for sale – check out our favourites – you’re spoilt for choice.

The only decision is whether you let the kids loose on them or save them for yourself.


11. Wooden wonders

Fancy having a go at building something more adventurous?

UGears’ fantastic range of mechanical wooden models includes several early motor cars. Inspired by Edwardian racing machinery is the U-9 Grand Prix Car, which features a 16-valve V8 with working internal parts.

Looking like a De Dietrich racer, this ingenious kit consists of 350 press-out wooden parts – using sustainably sourced timber – with rubber-band drive and tyres. Only wax and sandpaper are required for the assembly, which is recommended for those over 14 years old. It’s priced at £41.95.


12. Bid on your next classic

We can’t make unnecessary journeys right now, but we can plan for them. And while many events and some auctions have been cancelled, there are still some sales being held online-only, behind closed doors.

H&H, RM Sotheby’s, MecumClassic Car Auctions, The Market and Collecting Cars are, at the time of writing, among the auction houses still open for business and their catalogues provide plenty of ideas for how to spend your money.

And even if you’re not in the market for a classic, it doesn’t hurt to take a look and dream, does it?


13. Research your classic’s history

Not only can tracing your classic car’s history be a fascinating exercise, having a bulging history file could help you sell it, should that day come.

So, where to begin? Well, if your car is registered in the UK, you can make a request to the DVLA for information about it, which can be a good starting point.

Manufacturers (if they still exist) and car clubs might be able to help supply build details and the like, plus British classics are well served by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust – while the archive is closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Heritage Certificates are still available.

A post on a classic-car forum, on social media or an email to C&SC can be a quick way to ask if anyone recognises or knows more about your classic, potentially reaching a large audience.

And then there’s Google (other search engines are available), which can take you on an absorbing, meandering path that could throw up some interesting leads. 


14. Preserve your classic’s history

With all that research complete, you want to make sure your hard work hasn’t gone to waste.

Which is where Patina might help. If you’re the kind of person who worries you might lose valuable documents relating to your classic car and its provenance, this is a service that lets you create a permanent digital record of your pride and joy, using photographs, videos, documents and invoices, all of which can be securely uploaded, then accessed any time, from any device – what’s more, it’s free.


15. Get racing!

We couldn’t forget Scalextric, could we? An extended amount of time confined indoors is surely more than a good enough excuse to dig out your Scalextric set and reignite old rivalries.

What’s more, it is fun for all the family – and gives everyone a screen-break, too.