BLOG: Old cars aren’t the devil…

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Here at Not2Grand we normally don’t get too involved with current affairs. There are other sites out there for that. We just want to be a little corner of the internet for car-based fun. However, over the last week or so the news has been awash with motoring related headlines. Namely the Government’s proposed ban on sales of all ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles come 2040. Fair enough, saves the polar bears and all that. Good stuff.

It only takes 30 seconds on Google to find an article lamenting this ban, and you might think that’s what we’re doing here. But we’re not. In fact, quite the opposite. We’re all for pure EV technology. For us, it was exciting when the likes of Nissan and Tesla showed the world that pure EV vehicles can work. Not only that, they showed us that they can work when hindered by infrastructure geared solely toward vehicles that run on liquefied dinosaurs. Bring it on, we say.

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Instead, we want to use our little digital soapbox to talk about old cars. Why? Because old cars are not the devil. They’re not the tree-chopping, ozone depleting environmental disasters that the suits in Downing Street would like you to think they are. Think about it, since news of this 2040 bad came about, has your Ford Focus started a tyre fire or poured petrol into the local reservoir while laughing manically? No, it hasn’t. That’s because it’s still, probably, a good car.

If you own a car that was built in the last ten years (an era that a lot of our featured cars are from) then well done. You’re part of the most environmentally friendly period of motoring that man has known (Volkswagen notwithstanding). Modern cars are not power stations from the 1970s. They’re actually – in the grand scheme of things that are killing off critters Sir David Attenborough likes to talk about – not that bad. Something the Government is keen to have you forget. Because cars are evil, remember. Karl Benz and Henry Ford are comparable to Hitler in environmental terms. Or so No. 10 would have you think.

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Before we go any further, we know there are some old cars that are awful and have no good reason to be on the road. We’re not advocating the survival of those cars. What we are advocating are the cars that are built, running and driving, perfectly serviceable and probably parked outside your house right now. For the best part, there is nothing wrong with these cars. They’re safe, they’re economical and they’re not too hard on the eye. Unless you’ve bought a Ssanyong Rexton.

They’re also still making use of the environmental efforts that went into building them. And that’s something the Government seems to conveniently forget when it comes to cars. It takes a lot of effort to build just one car. Steel has to be refined, plastics moulded, glass shaped, cows skinned, the list goes on. As such, a ten year-old car, say, a MINI Cooper, that is still passing MOTs and still bimbling about happily is, on paper, more economical than a shiny new Tesla. Cheaper for mere mortals to buy, too.

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Electric cars are brilliant. We’ve had a play in a Nissan leaf and while it wasn’t exactly thrilling, it was a good car. We welcome the EV revolution. It’ll leave more fuel for the old guard (but we’re not getting into classic cars here, that’s an entirely different post). However, EV cars aren’t accessible to the masses yet. This very site exists as proof that there are people out there who only have a couple of grand to throw at a car. Many don’t even have that.

Yes, driving is a privilege, not a right. However, punishing those who can’t afford to be at the cutting edge would be a huge step back. Not only would it cause untold issues for families up and down the country, it would also further drive a wedge between ‘the people’ and the government. Though given who we’ve got in power at the moment, they won’t care.

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These motorists are getting the most bang for the environment and manufacturing process’s buck, rather than chopping in perfectly serviceable items because something new and shiny has come along. Then there’s the manufacturing effort that goes into an EV or hybrid vehicle. Batteries do not grow on trees. It’s a huge chemical and mechanical effort to make batteries. Presumably, the environmental cost of building a Leaf is greater than that of a Micra.

By all means, tougher MOTs would be welcome to get rid of of the worst ICE polluters – we’re not blinkered, we know they’re out there. But that’s all that really needs to happen. The change to mass EV motoring needs to be organic, not forced. What we have now is not killing the globe. Decades past did the bulk of the damage. Since then we have learned, and we have adapted for the better. We welcome EV motoring, but only if we can slip into it gently at at our pace. Twenty-three years is probably more than enough, but let us just get there. Don’t hold that date over our head. Don’t use that to devalue what we have now. What we have is perfectly serviceable and, in terms of lifespan against manufacturing effort, is extremely economical.

Thank about it, if you take a bite out of an apple, do you then throw it away and grab a fresh one for the second bite? No, you don’t.