We have switched to using a Classic Car as a daily driver. We are blessed as living in Southern Spain gives a nice warm climate most of the year but not always, more of that later. Is it possible or should we say is it practical to use a classic car as a daily driver in todays modern world? We plan to find out over the next 12 months and let you know as we go.
We were using a black Porsche Cayenne Turbo as our daily machine, with its black windows and 22 inch wheels it did look good but everyone else hates you when you drive it. Police love to put tickets on it at the slightest chance and other drivers never ever let you out of a junction. We started to wonder is there more to this driving lark? Can it once again be an enjoyable experience on a daily basis?
So the Porsche has gone and we are 3 days into our challenge.
Classic Car Tyres
So day one, can you guess what happened? Yes the weather changed and it rained for 3 days! Having already decided that as the car has a good coat of wax a little rain will be fine and simply solved by a wash later. We then discovered the real problem.
The tyres on the Jaguar had come with the chrome wheels and look to have done very minimal milage and regular visual inspections showed them to still have tread like a new tyre. It was at the first traffic circle when the car did a 180 at very very low speeds that we thought we might have a problem. First thoughts were using a classic car with no traction control in the rain might simply be a bad idea and that would have ended our challenge but on further inspection it turns out the tyres are 10 years old.
This would explain the lack of wet grip as the rubber compound changed over time and also the slightly crashy ride since these chrome wires went on. So we have ordered a new set of tyres and should be getting them on today. The thing to note here is that in the dry these tyres give excellent grip so if you are taking a classic car out for the first wet run in a while check the manufacture date on the tyres (on the side) before you go out. Don’t do as we did and assume that dry grip alone means your tyres are ok!
So the tyres have been fitted and my word what a difference. The car had always felt very loose on the highway but now that has gone completely. The steering actually feels like it has been changed and a more weighted one fitted. The road noise must be down by 50% at least and the crashing over small bumps and road joints has gone.
Wet grip? Well it’s blue skies and 80 degrees so who knows but lets assume that should be better now as well.
We knew that taking a classic car from irregular gentle use and putting it into daily service would bring to the front any issues that had been quietly hiding and we were right.
The car has always had strong oil pressure, it should as the engine is virtually brand new inside. However after collecting it from Mikes garage with her new boots on we noticed that the oil pressure seemed a little lower and when coming to a stop at lights or traffic it was dropping to zero. A quick blip of the throttle and back up to 40lbs but again to zero at tick over.
An initial look back at the garage showed good pressure using a manual gauge but the problem persisted. So the pressure relief valve was removed and re ground to a perfect fit and a new spring added.
This in the workshop at least seemed to work showing a steady 25 at tick over and 50+ at 200rpm. However on the return drive and with the engine fully warm we are back to zero at tick over.
Now the real kick, we are all sure it is not a big issue and removing the oil filler cap from the rocker covers we can see the oil circulating but to drive a car with a zero reading at tick over? No the tow truck is once again on it’s way.
Our mechanic and resident Jaguar expert thinks a seal might be letting oil past, this would explain why at high revs the pressure is good as the pump is simply passing such sheer volume that a small leak is having no effect but at tick over it is. Well the truck will be here in an hour or so and the spanners await.
So using a classic car as a daily driver has failed already? No these are teething troubles that we expected. For a very small amount the hire car place at the end of the road has us in a new VW polo 1.2 eco something. Having crunched the numbers it seems that to buy a second car as a runabout or emergency car would be the same as having to hire one 2 weeks out of every month. This still seems to be the best way to do it.
What is even more impressive is they have an iPhone app so you can tap the screen a few times and walk down and grab your car. We shall report back tomorrow with the verdict!