Winter is Coming

Woman driving a classic car

It really seems like we were writing about the pleasure of driving in the summer only last week, rolling the covers off your classic car and enjoying some dry roads. Well, now it’s time to start thinking about winter and all the motoring issues surrounding it.

Autumn Goes Fast

While it may only be autumn, it is a season that goes quickly. We are already seeing rain, wind and leaves on the roads and for many classic and historic car owners these are signals to put the car away for the winter. While dry roads in the summer mean grip and fun, these autumnal conditions mean quite the opposite. And while low grip can be fun on a track it is not something you want on public roads in a classic car.

Cold and Ice

As we move through wetter and windier days, we know that frost is on its way. It is a great time to get a service, making sure everything is ship shape and anti-freeze levels are topped up, before putting the covers on for the winter and garaging your car.

Keep on Driving

Of course, while some classic car owners do put their cars to bed over winter, others choose to keep on enjoying them – and we do rather like that. There are some wonderful clear and bright winter days when you can drop the roof and have a blast as long as you wrap up warm! Obviously, the timing is important and heading out when it might sleet or snow might not be wise, but with good planning a classic can be enjoyed during the colder season. It does also depend on the type of car you have. While it is safe to say that most classics do not have traction control to help with low traction conditions, many do have decent heaters and solid roofs.

Enjoy

Whatever you choose to do with your classic, make sure you enjoy it. The act of prepping a car for storage can be, in itself, very satisfying. Winter can be a great time to tinker and fix those little things you didn’t have time to do before. But it can also be a time to get out there and show off your pride and joy!

At FEV, we work with a great deal of classic car owners to make sure they have a suitable fire suppression system installed, so get in touch if you would like to get some professional advice to discuss your car’s needs.

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Bad Roads!

Damaged car of road full of cracked potholes in pavement

In the world of motorsport, we may be used to spending a great deal of our time on tarmac that’s of pretty good quality. That said, we do also drive on normal roads and have many customers who do as well. The fact that we seem to notice more and more potholes really isn’t good news at all. We all know they are uncomfortable and make us wince – but they can pose a real threat to more fragile supercars, classics and road going custom cars too!

RAC Research

It seems that some research done throughout 2017 by the RAC shows there was a 44 percent increase in potholes on our roads in that time. Since then there seems to have been no let up and it feels like things are getting worse. So much so that people have taken to marking the potholes out with paint or creating funny images around them. It is becoming a very British problem but one we tackle with laughter, as always.

Damage

There is no doubt at all that potholes can do some serious damage to wheels but they can also shake other things loose and cause all sort of issues. Compared to 20 years ago, most cars now have alloy wheels and lower profile tyres. Couple this with more potholes and you can see the problem!

But as mentioned above, there is also a real danger of damaging some very precious cars. We all love to see a classic car out on the roads – an E-Type going past, for example, is a sight even non-car fans love. But that car could suffer some serious damage if it hit a pothole at 60mph, not to mention the potential handling issues without any kind of traction control. These cars are important parts of our motoring history and our roads are literally knocking them to bits.

It isn’t just old cars either; new fast cars are equally at risk. We all love the rare spotting of a real supercar and we know a lot of these amazing cars spend most of the time in air-conditioned boxes for various reasons. It is no wonder really because hitting a pothole in a Koenigsegg R1 would be painful, to say the least, and could be eyewateringly expensive to fix. It means that many owners may choose to trailer the cars to shows and may never drive them in public – which would be a crying shame for car fans all over the UK.

Hopefully, as we head towards 2020 we will start to see more work going on to repair potholes and make the roads once again a safe place for rare and exciting (and fragile!) cars so we can all get that tempting glimpse of something special among the sea of mid-sized SUVs!

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Sunshine and Plenty of Grip!

Jaguar E-Type Interior on Vintage Car Parade

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time when all the historic and classic car owners can pull the covers off, open the garage doors and bring their cars out to enjoy. We love the summer!

Spotted

Being fairly close to Goodwood, we do get to see quite a lot of stunning classics and we also get a lot of customers coming to us to have a subtle fire extinguisher fitted. But we still get excited when we spot something on the road and the minute the weather gets hot we get treated to all sorts!

We have already seen two pristine E-Types, which are still as stunning as ever, if not more so. Some very hot looking Caterham 7s, not classics as such but so much fun. We even saw some 80s classics together nearby – a Sierra Sapphire Cosworth, a 205 1.9 GTi and Escort Cosworth. Whatever your taste in cars, it is great to see something older still running and being looked after.

Warm Tarmac

What better way to enjoy a classic than when the roads are warm and grippy? Yes, there is a bit of a worry that some older cars might overheat but the rip roaring fun of a good corner on a dry road far outweighs the worry!

Dry

It is certainly dry most of the time in the summer and that means less rust risk. The days of salt all over the roads is now gone and the more fragile classics can come out to play. Of course, we do get the odd shower, so make sure you know how to put up the roof quickly. There can be some dangers for older cars on dry roads that get a soaking. The surface can get really slippery if it hasn’t rained for a while and in something like an Austin Healey or TR6 the back might well want to come out a bit!

Fire Safety

As always, it is critical that these cars are kept for future generations and installing a fire extinguisher can make the difference between losing a bit of history and cleaning up a few marks and replacing a part or two. The summer does carry with it the risk of fire, especially as we are about to see some very hot days. If you are unsure about what kind of extinguisher you may need or want in your classic car then please get in touch and we can help.

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Summer is on the Way!

Road on a sunny day

Yes, it’s official, the clocks have changed and we can finally look ahead to some warmer weather. While this may be something everyone is pleased about there is a special frisson of excitement for any classic car owner. It is the time when the covers can come off and these wonderful cars can be enjoyed without worrying about salted roads, water ingress or a distinct lack of traction.

Dry Roads

Summer in the UK isn’t exactly arid but classic car drivers can, at least, be hopeful about getting some clear, warm and dry days. We all know a lot of older cars don’t have the traction modern cars do and while this can be fun the thought of having an off in a cherished and valuable classic really isn’t very nice.

Car Shows and Meets

The summer is also the season for car shows and owners club meets. Whether you are taking your classic to the local village fair or to Goodwood it will be fun and something to really look forward too. It is a chance to meet other owners, show off your car and have a good look at all the other cars in display.

Coming Out of Hibernation

As summer looms the excitement is often tempered with the issues surrounding getting a car out from its winter covers and making sure everything is as it should be. It may be time for a good service and a thorough check, and this also includes the fire extinguisher. A lot of classic car owners are having handheld fire extinguishers installed as a method of combating a small fire that could get out of hand. But as with cars, extinguishers also need servicing periodically. If you have one of our extinguishers then please check the date the service is due and get in touch as soon as possible so we can make sure it is all done in time for those summer jaunts.

If you have not thought about getting a fire extinguisher fitted then drop our friendly team a line and find out more. We offer a range of systems from small hand-held units to fully plumbed in options. While the later are primarily for FIA racing a lot of people who do track days and hill climbs also choose them.

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Is the Classic Car Market Slowing Down?

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/824651381742803969/?lp=true

We provide fire extinguishers for a lot of different sections of the motorsport world and one of them is the classic and historic car market. People naturally want to make sure they have the best chance of minimising damage if a fire does break out, even during normal road driving.

We also supply race spec extinguisher systems that are compulsory for historic racing, so we know a thing or two about classic cars. One thing has been certain for a long time: buy a classic and you will make some money. However, we have been reading recently that the market may be slowing down.

2018

A report from last year suggested that out of all the classic car models that were studied only 52% had actually increased in value that year. Now this comes from a market that was able to make the bold claim of prices growing by 192% in a decade – more than fine wines and art! So, it does seem like something is happening.

Did It Peak?

The numbers suggest the growth peaked in 2015 and has been slowing since 2017. The last Hagerty Price Guide showed the market had almost stalled completely. However, these things do go up and down so the word ‘peak’ is perhaps a little strong. For all we know, prices could well jump higher than 2015 next year.

Winners and Losers

Some of the models that seem to be losing out are the stunning Lagonda series Aston Martins, which is very surprising. Some Ferraris that were thought to be a sure thing are also suffering; the mighty Testarossa (see below) is one such model, as is the brilliantly 80s 308 GTB. In more recent years, the MK III Ford Capri saw a big rise but that too has slowed down along with the Mini Cooper.

However, there is one winner that we could have all predicted but most of us never acted on and that is the MK I Mazda MX5. 89-94 1.6 models have seen an 8.5% growth over the last year, which is pretty amazing. The photo above is a British Racing Green beauty from 1990.

Anything British post 1994 has a lower powered engine so is best avoided. This cracking little car seems to be bucking the trend, perhaps because it’s so much fun to drive or maybe it’s just growing into a real classic and people are getting interested.

Whatever is happening is irrelevant for many people, ourselves included. We love classic cars and it really isn’t about the money. If anything, a drop in prices might be a good thing, and many cars that have been whisked away into temperature monitored storage might be sold and come out to play again, so we can all enjoy them!

Ferrari 512B testarossa Car

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Budget Classic Cars

Budget Classic Cars - Image 1Image source

There is no doubt the classic and historic car market is still growing – is it ever going to slow down? As interest rates remain flat, it seems buying even the most budget of classics is almost a sure fire way of turning over a few quid in just a handful of years. However, along with this seemingly fun and easy way to make money comes a whole host of warnings about buying a bad car, driver safety and more.

Under £10K!

Since the really valuable classics are all but unaffordable for anyone other than the super-rich, the minor classics and newer cars are gathering interest but can still be got for under £10,000.

For example, we saw a 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfasud 1.3 Super on sales for under £8,000. While rust is eating its way through most of these little Italian crackers, this one seemed clean and would make for a great modern classic. The best thing was it only had 15,000 miles on the clock!

Budget Classic Cars - Image 2Image source

If you find yourself yearning for a British classic, then the Triumph Dolomite Sprint could be for you. We saw a 1980 model with a 2.0 litre 16 valve engine in yellow for under £8,000. This was the one that did 0-60 in under 8.5 seconds which really wasn’t bad at all for the time. Again, rust and rot are issues for these cars but get a well kept one and you could have a lot of fun!

And what about a Sierra? We found a 1984 XR4i for under £10K. Now this might seem a lot for a Sierra if you are old enough to remember driving one, but this was the 2.8 litre 16v version with 160bhp and 0-60 in 7.8 seconds. It may not be a Cosworth but it’s a great value alternative and as time goes on it will become very rare!

Take Care

While we can all get carried away with the idea of owning something from our childhood (or just something that might make some money at some point!) buying classic or historic cars can be tricky. Doing years’ worth of research is important, knowing which bits rust and the difference between original parts and replacement can make all the difference.

We have a lot of customers who come to us to for a fire extinguisher system or a handheld unit for their classics. These cars are old and things can go wrong. A small electrical fire could easily get out of hand and the materials used back in the 70s and 80s were certainly not as fireproof as what we use today.

If you are thinking about buying a classic or already have one, drop us a line to find out more about how we can help protect you and your car against fire.

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Here Comes the Sun!

Driving a classic convertible car on a sunny day

It’s here… no wait, it’s gone again… now it’s back! This spring may be a bit fickle but the summer is on the way and for many classic car owners that means it’s time to whip off the covers and get out on the road. But as the classic car market gets more and more valuable, have you thought about fire protection?

The Joys of Driving in the Summer

One of the best things about driving a classic car in the summer is the fact the roads aren’t literally shooting mucky salt and water directly into the wheel arches and every other possibly gap in the chassis. It means you can drive and enjoy your car without wincing when you go through a puddle.

Dry roads also bring a smile to most performance classic owners – it’s a time for just a touch more throttle and to really enjoy how good some cars handle, even considering their ages.

Too Hot

The downside to summer driving with classics is sometimes it just gets too hot and some cars do have a habit of overheating. This is fine if you have time to let it cool or a good collection of other owner’s club drivers to help out, but it can be a pain.

Another Year

While summer is certainly welcome, it also marks another year to the age of every classic car on the road. With that comes more responsibility to maintain these cars for future generations. Having a good fire extinguisher system becomes more important than ever.

In many cases, classic cars are not in the least bit fire resistant and can go up in flames very quickly. They are, by their nature, also prone to breakdowns and other issues, some of which can potentially cause fires too.

Handheld fire extinguishersAt FEV, we have worked with 1000s of classic car owners, from people who take part in historic racing to private owners who just want some extra peace of mind when driving. Our systems can be installed in keeping with the car – they do not have to be obvious – and they can prove invaluable in the event of an issue.

Having a good handheld fire extinguisher on board can also be useful if a fellow owner has a problem and is unable to put the fire out.

While we would never suggest tackling a fire alone, one of our systems can be a great first defence and potentially save the car before fire takes hold.

If you are about to get your car out of winter storage, get in touch with us now to discuss how we might be able to fit or provide a suitable fire extinguisher system for road use or racing.

Couple driving on beautiful road at sunset

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Why Do I Need Fire Extinguisher in My Car?

This is a question a lot of people think about and there are many different answers, all of which depend on what sort of driving you are doing, what sort of car you have and how much you care about safety.

Racing

Handheld fire extinguishers imageOK, so there is one time you simply have to have a fire extinguisher in your car and that is if you are doing any kind of racing. All motorsport in the UK is governed by the MSA and if you are competing in any kind of official competition then you will have to have a MSA spec fire suppression system in your car. There is no getting around this and nor should there be. If you are going to be driving at speed in a time trial or with other cars around you then you need to be able to deal with a fire in the event of one.

Historic and Classic Cars

So with the obvious racing stuff out the way, what other situations may you feel you should have a fire extinguisher on board? Well, a lot of classic car owners opt for putting in a small handheld fire extinguisher in the car. The reason for this can be three-fold.

The first is that as a car lover and enthusiast they may want to just gently push the limits on occasion and having a little bit of extra safety back up is not bad thing. The second is that a classic car is a treasured possession, and one that is likely to be worth a lot of money. To this end having a fire extinguisher in the car could help avoid a small fire turning into a big one and destroying the car forever. Repairing the damage from something small is one thing, and stopping any kind of fire getting out of hand is certainly something a classic car owner wants. The third reason is that old cars do have a habit of not working properly….on occasion. If something like an electrical fault or overheating occurs, a fire extinguisher really helps provide a bit of an insurance policy to avoid a catastrophe.

You Simply Love Your Car!

It may not be a classic, it may not even be that amazing in some people’s eyes but you love your car and you want to do everything to keep it safe. If this is the case, why wouldn’t you have a fire extinguisher in the car? Small hand held units can be subtly fitted in the passenger footwell and are there in the event of anything nasty happening to your beloved motor.

You are into Modding

If you love tuning and modifying your car, then you will know that no matter how good you are at doing it there is always a risk of something not working properly. Aftermarket parts, audio kit, induction kits and even turbos and more full-on mods can all have implications. So having a fire extinguisher in the car could well be that extra level of preparedness that could save a small issue becoming a major fire. You never know, it might come in handy at a meet when someone else’s car has a “bit of an issue” and they will be eternally grateful you thought about fire suppression.

Whatever car you drive, there is never a bad time to put in a fire extinguisher. It doesn’t have to be a full-on plumbed-in race system and we offer some great handheld options, so get in touch to find out more.

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Roger Dudding’s Car Collection

Aston Martin Lagona West London

Many people have mixed feelings about the super-rich, some of them are nice and some are not so nice. However, if you ask car fans how they feel about the car collections some people have created all the other feelings fly out the window in favour of wonder and awe and sometimes a little confusion! Millionaire Roger Dudding’s collection has been in the press lately and it’s a corker!

Mr Lock Up

Roger spent a good portion of his life inventing a queuing system that allocated numbers to people rather than giving out physical objects that can be unhygienic. He also happened to be offered some very cheap garages many years ago that sprung into a huge lock up rental business too.

The Beginning

Roger’s first car was certainly something special; a Jenson Interceptor FF, he also then got a Morris Minor Saloon from his Father which is perhaps a little less impressive but a classic nonetheless. What happened after that was something that led to a collection so large that film and TV producers are constantly in touch to get hold of period cars for a huge range of productions. From Peaky Blinders to Brad Pitt films the list is long and will only get longer as news of this collection spreads further.

Finds

As well as buying his own cars Roger also happens to find them too. Seeing as he owns over £100 million pounds worth of garages and lock ups it stands to reason his team have to clear a fair few out. It is during this cleaning they sometimes stumble across a classic car. A 1939 LG6 Lagonda and a Mk6 Bentley both make it onto this list. However Roger is clearly a nice guy because he had acquired these garages from a trust and went on to not only inform the previous owners but also to pay for the cars too!

Cars

The collection is too big to list but it is worth noting Roger has no fewer than 23 Aston Martin Lagondas. This is a car that carries a bit of a Marmite reputation but it’s clear where Roger’s tastes lie because this little part of the collection is worth over £2 million. Among other cars of note there is a rare AC 428, 10 Jensons, and 1918 Hispano Suiza and a lot of Ferraris.

Bikes

Not only does the collection house a mind blowing number of cars but Roger also collects bikes too with over 50 included in the set. From BSA Rocket Gold Stars and Douglas Dragon Flies as well as quite a few Triumphs, Nortons and two Vincents.

You may not have a classic car collection to rival Roger’s but if you do have a classic and would like more information on how we can sympathetically install a fire extinguisher system, get in touch. It may be for historic racing or just for some peace of mind, either way we have the right system to suit your car and your needs.

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Barn Finds and eBay Treasures

Barn find car wreckThe term “barn find” has certainly become quite a big one in car circles these days. This is, in no small part, down to the way people now share images online. 30 years ago a rare car would be found in a lock up and it would go straight to auction and then a collector. These days, while the process is still the same, the images end up all over the internet and this undoubtly plays into the auctioneers hands as the public interest is sparked. As well as the auction house route there is also the mighty eBay as a location for these gems and on a rare quiet moment we we often have a little look around to see what rare classics have popped up.

Bonkers MK1 Cortina – Click Here

OK so this is perhaps not one we would call a gem but the underlying car is certainly a classic. The MK1 Cortina was always the coolest version of this long running family car. This one, however, have been modified to a certain extent. It is labelled as an 80s survivor but it seems more like something from the original Batman series in the 60s. The fins at the back are horrific and the extra lights are not just for show! The wheels are almost acceptable but really this car’s piece de resistance is the exhaust system; it really is quite special.

AMC Gremlin – Click Here

According to some reports this car was one of the worst American cars of all time. By all accounts the Gremlin was hastily created to beat Ford and GM in the race to release a sub-compact car. The designer basically chopped the back end off of an AMC Hornet and that left this car looking odd to say the least. Apprently it was faster than its competitors which was something but the handling and suspension were so awful we are not sure you would want it to go much faster than standing still. This car doesnt have an engine or running gear so it is certainly not one you can drive away. The advert suggests it could make a great drag car; and why not? Maybe tearing down a 1/4 of mile strip with a V8 shoe horned in might make it a bit better than it was originally…you never know.

RX-7 – Click Here

This one really does qualify as a “find”. The RX-7 is fast becoming a true classic. It might not have the style and heritage of some of the British classic cars but it’s rotary engine and rear wheel drive arrangment makes it a very interesting car. These are being used for drifting a great deal but many people are just getting them up to concourse condition with perhaps some mild modifications to the engine. If the mileage is correct at 33,000 then this car makes the perfect project and could turn a solid profit.

 

Whatever your tastes in cars we are able to offer advice and guidance on the right fire suppression systems for you. We do a lot of work with classic and historic car owners from racing set ups to subtle fire extingsuishers for that extra level of safety. For more information get in touch today.

 

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