Daily Classic – Drive It Don’t Hide It!

Jaguar 3.6 XJR
Rainy Classic Jaguar 3.6 XJR

Writing this now I am concerned that I, and many others like me, have a problem. Possibly psychological, certainly incurable. That problem is the Insistence of using a daily classic.

A ‘daily classic’ as the name implies is a classic car which we use on a daily basis, commuting to work, popping into town etc. I’m lucky enough to have a few classic cars and I try to use them as often as I can but they are not all daily’s.

I would not park my Jaguar MK2 on the roadside in town because it would take me 3 hours to parallel park it and as a recent incident in my Mondeo proved I could return to find someone had removed the rear corner of the car and driven off without mentioning it.

I have two suitable daily’s, the Jaguar XJR 3.6 and the RMB Gentry, affectionately known in the family as just ‘the TF’. The TF was my dad’s daily, it’s the only car I remember him happily spending money on having the whole car re-wired at a cost of £800, I still can’t believe that to this day. 

Classic Daily - Jaguar XJR 3.6
The Jaguar XJR 3.6

Classic in the rain

First item in the agenda when using a daily: weather. I’m not afraid of using cars in the rain, it’s annoying to keep them clean of course but overall if you regularly look after an old car there’s no reason to keep it away from the rain. But what I do have a problem with is being wet and cold myself! Which is why the TF is usually my summer daily, but we’ve been having some lovely weather so I decide to drive her to work. 

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Plan sorted, next step is to leave the house slightly earlier. The TF isn’t a modern car that you can start on the button and drive off. She can be a pain. And she insists on warming up. Part of this is the snapped choke cable which is item 147 on Henry’s car to do list (you know how it is). So I open the garage and I pop the bonnet, manually pull on the choke on the carbs and fire her up. Usually she does go first turn and today is no exception.

Drive her out the garage and let her warm up for a bit. Revs are very high as the choke is on full. Have to manually adjust it down. Too much she’s stalled. Start again. Just about get her passable with a little bit of choke but I don’t have enough time to wait to turn it off fully but I usually have a good plan for this. I’ve worked out that as I drive to work there’s a bump in the road at just the point the engine is up to temperature and the bump manages to knock the choke off, perfect! 

Gentry MGTF
Gentry MGTF

Drive off all fine, sun in the sky and roof down. Not too cold at all. Hit the bump and all is well. Stop at the traffic lights, all is not well! I’m only a few minutes from work so I carry on, as I turn into the estate the sky turns grey and the rain falls out of no where. Park up and quickly get the roof and side panels up (the side panels don’t fit properly because they’ve shrunk over the years!) but she’s water tight, sort of.

Come lunch time it’s stopped raining so I go out and pop the bonnet to see what the problem is, the bump turned off the choke on the rear carb but the front one was still on full (choke cable increases to job 1 on Henry’s car to do list). Fire her up and she’s running like a dream.. except a loud grinding noise… ah there’s sparks coming from the dynamo! (The 6 month old dynamo). I remove it for inspection and it’s totally ruined. Luckily the motor factors next door have one and she’s perfect again. No more dramas for the rest of the day running around earning her keep, the sun even comes back out. 

Enjoy your daily classic

It would have been so easy to just hop in the Mondeo this morning and have a standard day with nothing amazing happening, but then you get no stories to tell!

You’re here for a good time not a long time and I’m sure I’ll do it all again tomorrow!

Note: I did the same thing the next day, sunny morning why not? It rained again. The TF didn’t give me any issues and I didn’t get wet as the roof was already up. Success!

Story to tell?

Send it to info@classiccarcuration.co.uk and get it on CCC!