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Using A Classic Car As A Daily Driver – The Verdict

A couple of months ago we began a challenge to see if we could use our 1961 Jaguar Mk2 as our sole vehicle. Has it been possible? The short answer is no. Now understand that this is not because the Jag is unreliable or cannot cope with modern driving but more a case of the modern world being just a little harsh for her.

For example arriving at a supermarket car park in a freshly waxed classic car means the old choice of risk someone banging it with their door or be totally rude and take 2 parking spaces and park in the middle of them.

We knew from day one that pressing her into daily use after being a “use now and then” car would quickly highlight any issues and accelerate them into actual problems. To be fair the only couple of issues we have had have been keeping the triple carbs balanced and the constant failing of the electrical oil pressure sender.

The latter problem has been so bad with new sender after new sender failing we have plumbed in a mechanical gauge instead with the oil pipe feeding directly to the back of the gauge. If you have a similar issue with failing senders do yourself a favour and do not even try and find one that works, just change to mechanical.

The carb issue has hopefully now been sorted with a full rebuild of all three carbs. The car is now doing exactly what it should which is 15.6 MPG. That is not too excessive for a classic car with a 4.2 engine but figure in that the change to IRS has used up a lot of room under the rear end the resulting smaller fuel tank does not last long at all. Even less if like me you never go below quarter full for fear of stirring up all the rubbish in the bottom!

With the few exceptions above the Jag has been running well so why conclude she cannot be used everyday? Honestly it is a decision based on love for the car. We simply cannot bear to leave to her parked in that supermarket car park. We still drive her hard and a blast up the mountain roads is still a very regular occurrence but she has been given a reprieve by a new addition.

The new addition. This was a dilemma as a normal car simply won’t do. A flash car won’t do either as that just leaves us back in that same car park looking for double spaces.

Land Rover Discovery 1Having a family that comprises of twin teenage boys and living in southern Spain with all the beaches and inland national parks and mountains the answer was simple, We have a Land Rover discovery 1 with a 3 inch lift kit and big tyres! Yes this could never be considered a classic car but let me ask you this, How would you define what you want out of a classic car?

For us it is not standing back and admiring it, although we do. It is not entering it in shows, as we do not. It is for us about making going out in the vehicle an event. Not simply about the destination but making the whole experience an event. This is certainly what we get with the Land Rover. After a full days trekking through the mountains last week and not seeing a paved road for 60 or 70 kilometres it could be described as nothing other than an event!

As for the car park at the supermarket, go on bash the door… I doubt I would know anyway.

About Tim Johnson

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