With news that all new cars sold in the UK and Europe will be fitted with devices to prevent drivers exceeding the speed limit by 2022, Footman James explains why a classic car gives a welcome break from the aural onslaught of a modern motoring.
The EU 2022 speed limiter ruling is seen by some as a welcome move, because safety on our roads is paramount. Speeding is often a factor in road accidents and there is no justification for breaking limits, but this latest ruling may see more owners using their classics more often – even as daily drivers. For the purist, the pub debate - Is analogue better than digital? - requires little discussion. The constant beeping of a modern car is something of a turn-off and, in this respect, it might just bring more people to enjoy their classic cars.
In practical terms only, this latest announcement will add another warning sound to myriad warnings that exist in modern cars. Seatbelt, fuel low, windscreen wash, tyre pressure low, handbrake-on, door-boot-bonnet open, blindspot detection and countless other bings, bongs and beeps can combine to potentially push an ordinarily patient human being over the edge.
Meanwhile, older vehicles point to an age of innocence and, for those who want a break from the noise of life, a leisurely bank holiday run in a much-loved motor free of safety systems, represents the perfect tonic for modern life.
So, does the proliferation of such systems mean more people will be looking at classic car ownership where they can enjoy ‘purity’ of simple motoring?
We could see a new wave of cars only seen on high days, holidays and events used for more mundane activities. For those who don’t want to use a brand-new car and have a classic in the garage, we could see drivers grabbing the keys to the car they previously only used to save for ‘Sunday best’. With the average household having one car, this could only be a luxury for a few UK residents, but if it means seeing classics being used more regularly on the roads then we’re all for it.
All of these rulings have been designed to keep our motorists and roads safer in the UK, so while some people may want to swap new for old, it’s important to be mindful of other drawbacks of not driving a brand-new car. We’ve covered upgrading classics to be safer and fitted with modern-day safety devices on our blog already.
So older cars aren’t as safe – that’s a given – but classic cars have a certain charm compared to most new cars, and it’s worth remembering that they are not as fast, which is something of a built-in safety system.
When comparing a first-generation Golf GTi to the latest variation, the 0-60mph times are staggeringly different. It takes 8.1 seconds in the older car while it’s 6.5 seconds from a standing start to 60mph in the latest model. Same goes for the BMW M3. The first iteration, otherwise known as the E30 M3, took 6.1 seconds to 60mph while the newest BMW M4 (the coupe variant) does it in 4.1 seconds. Yet it feels faster for most people in the older variant.
Both aren’t slow but, thanks to analogue cars without speed limiters and their characteristics, it feels like you’re going faster than you are. Combine a simple interior with old technology, a naturally aspirated engine as well as skinny tyres, it all adds up to a more involved driving experience.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.