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Old Classic Car (OCC) contains a wealth of information about classic and vintage cars in the UK and beyond, plus memorabilia that relates to the nostalgia that many people have for motoring in the olden days. If you own a classic, or plan to buy one, then put the kettle on, pull up a chair, and have a wander down memory lane.
Try the site search if you're looking for something in particular, or else view the sections below. Don't forget to check out the spare parts ads.
Articles about buying, running and selling classic cars. Also advice on rustproofing to keep the tin worm at bay, storing a vehicle, popular choices, preparing for a show appearance, driving, and pointers on starting an engine that hasn't run for years. These and many more subjects are covered in the following sections.
Barn finds There's something about "barn find", "garage find" or "shed find" classics, often an air of mystery surrounds them - how did they end up in this state, and will they be saved? Here, a number of such discoveries that I've been a party to, are described. These include an Austin Mini Mk1, found in an over-grown garage. But what eventually happened to it ...?
Choosing a restorer Selecting an individual or business to restore your pride & joy can be a fraught experience. In this article, a number of factors to consider and tips to help smooth the process are given.
Crumbling classics Casting an eye over online advertisements, looking at some of the restoration projects out there in need of urgent TLC.
Daily drivers Many survivors are simply used for weekend drives to the countryside, and/or shows, but what about the die-hard enthusiast who plans to use his or her retro car on a daily basis? Thoughts on the topic of choosing and maintaining a "daily driver" are given here.
Dealing with rust For every immaculate Austin, Morris or Ford out there, several other neglected examples cling onto life with the weakest of grips, rust being the main culprit responsible for them now falling into disrepair. Even the best examples need looking after to prevent rust taking a hold, this article takes a look at where to find rust, and how to prevent it from forming.
Diary of a young enthusiast Our son's views on the world of collecting, including articles about his collection of 1930s/1940s/1950s Dinky and Crescent die-casts.
Disadvantages Even the most obsessed enthusiast will, if pressed, admit that not everything concerning our favourite four-wheeled steeds is brilliant. Cruising ability, safety, visibility, and marginal spares availability for example can all be downsides to the hobby that owners have to face up to and deal with, as this article explains.
Driving 1950s style Anyone more used to driving a modern four-wheeled appliance will, likely as not, panic at the thought of jumping behind the wheel of, and taking to the road in, anything from the 1950s. The basic theory of driving any powered transport from the 1950s is broadly comparable to its modern equivalent, but this article sheds light on the differences to be expected.
Estates More unusual than a saloon, and arguably more useful - ancient estates (station wagons/shooting brakes). Un-molested examples can he hard to find, but a good one makes for a great choice IMO. Ten varied choices of (mainly) British examples are described.
FAQ Part 1 and Part 2 Based on emails received over the many years that this site has been running, a collection of frequently-asked-questions and suggested responses.
Find my car Visitors to OCC seek help in tracking down long-lost vehicles of a certain age.
Finding spares Tips on how to source spare parts - including thoughts on the merits (or otherwise) of buying a spare parts donor.
Ford-based specials Home-builts based on Ford 8/10 running gear were all the rage throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, utilising fibreglass bodyshells produced by a myriad of firms such as Ashley, Falcon, Buckler and Tornado, all designed to fit the Ford chassis.
How to buy a classic car and Types of classic Advice on seeking out and buying the best example you can. Article two considers the different types of preserved vehicle available. In the dropdown are a number of buyer's guides:
Laying up a car Help with the laying up process, perhaps over the winter or for a longer period of time.
Looking after With a suitable oldie sat in the drive or garage, a few pointers on how best to look after it. This includes how to check the engine oil, dealing with rusted nuts, checking spark plugs, and adjusting SU carburettors.
MOT preparation The MOT is only compulsory for private cars under forty years of age now in the UK, however many motorists with older vehicles continue with an annual MOT inspection. Guidance on what to check for before heading off to the Test (initially known as the "Ten Year Test") is here.
Moving a car and Towing car trailers Suggestions on how to safely move a non-runner. The first article covers the options, ie use of a professional recovery firm, using a trailer, an A-frame, or a wheeled towing dolly. Article two focuses specifically on how to safely tow using a trailer.
Popular choices Old favourites such as the Morris Minor, and the Ford Anglia 105E, described here.
Restored or unrestored? Pondering whether to buy a restored example, or a project that then needs restoring? Read this guide first.
Save money on motoring Whether running an oldie or a modern, no-one wants to waste money. Have a read of this article and maybe pick up a few tips on how to save money while at the wheel.
Security Guidance on how to protect your classic and its contents, including tips on the best place to park at night, and ways to immobilise a vehicle.
Selling classic cars Suggestions on how to go about parting with your beloved, and how to establish a valuation.
Show preparation Various recommendations on how to go about preparing for a show appearance, including tips on concours preparation.
Starting a car's engine The different ways that a reluctant engine can be persuaded to run when the battery is flat. Advice on the correct use of a starting handle, plus bump starting, and jump starting.
Storage and garaging plus Storage in the garage Thoughts on storage, whether at home in the driveway or in a garage, in a rented lock-up, or with a serviced storage facility. In the second article, ideas on how to maximise the space available in a home garage.
Vintage matters Thoughts on the vintage era, and also the post-vintage days leading up to WW2.
Where to buy and Why buy a classic? Firstly, suggested places to look when thinking of buying, followed by a second article giving good reasons for choosing one in the first place.
Winter preparation Whether you plan to drive it throughout the winter, or tuck it up safe, warm and dry in a cosy garage, there are several key jobs to undertake to ensure its wellbeing.
Workshop safety and Asbestos & older cars Dos and don'ts in the workshop are listed in the first article linked to here. The second looks at the issue of asbestos in certain components that might turn up on older vehicles being worked upon.
Your classics Articles submitted by visitors to OCC, describing the four-wheeled gem(s) that they own, ranging from the vintage era right through to the 1970s.
More articles and More sites More articles with a motoring theme to them, including just going out for a drive for the heck of it, an old flame re-surfacing in the classifieds, and a promotion from the 1930s that included use of Austin motor-cars. The second page lists a few of my other sites.
Automobilia and collectables
In this corner of OCC, collectables that relate to the world of motoring ("Automobilia") are covered. For instance, there is a wealth of garage-related paperwork, including old invoices, receipts, sales and promotional items, and lots more. Items relating to specific makes and models, as well as motorsport, can also be found.
Car magazines Here, a wide selection of older motoring magazines are featured, going back to the early years of the 20th Century. British magazines pre-dominate in this section, although rare titles from the USA and elsewhere in Europe are present. A number of trade and owners' club magazines are also described in detail, as are various publications issued by manufacturers themselves.
Children's motor books A great many children's books and annuals were either about transportation, or else featured illustrations of transport-related scenes on their covers. Five pages of book scans have been uploaded to date.
Collectables Several hundred pages of ephemera relating to older vehicles, including AA badges, tax discs, garage paperwork, sales leaflets and more.
Literature Thoughts on collecting related books, magazines, brochures and other similar literature.
Motor racing memorabilia An article that looks at the collecting of memorabilia relating to motor racing in the 1900s to the 1960s, with a few examples.
Motoring games Board games and card games that relate to the automobile have long been produced, and in this area a number of them are described. Magnetic and electrically-operated slot-car games receive coverage too, as do old transport-related jigsaw puzzles.
Motoring humour Books, postcards and cartoons all with a humorous take on the subject.
Old racing programmes Casting an eye over a broad selection of historic racing programmes for events held at venues such as Brooklands, Donington, Goodwood and Shelsley Walsh.
Pedal cars Within this section there are several pages devoted to collectable types from the olden days, including a small archive of original photographs that feature examples from the 1920s-onwards. There is also a section describing Tri-ang's extensive range in the mid-1930s.
Petrol & oil related Discussing petroliana - items relating to petrol and oil companies, including petrol tins, enamel signs, pourers and more.
Records Sound-effects records (33/45/78rpm) from the 1940s-1960s recorded on road and track. One rare example recalls demonstration runs held at Oulton Park in 1958 of the Mercedes-Benz "Silver Arrows".
Road maps Collecting old road maps is one of the more affordable collecting areas, in this article a number of publications from around the world - going back to the 1920s - are shown.
Road signs Surviving examples of early British road signs, and scans from period publications of other signs to look out for.
Tools Original branded toolkit spanners as supplied by motor manufacturers in the 1930s to the 1960s.
Toy cars Many enthusiasts will have a favourite toy they remember from their youth. Here, pages are given over to retro die-cast, tin-plate and plastic toys, also including vans and lorries. Makers such as Dinky, Crescent, JNF, Tri-ang and Chad Valley are all represented, as are a few oddball one-offs.
Trading cards Transport subjects were commonplace within the world of trade card collecting years ago, and here a selection of sets with classic cars in them are presented.
Car accessories and tuning companies
Since the early days of motoring, individuals and companies have sought to modify and improve upon standard production offerings. This section focuses on just some of the period accessories, gadgets and tuning goodies that were made available to motorists from the earliest years of the 20th Century, through to the 1970s.
Gadgets & tools Handy inventions designed to help the motorist and/or garage owner, or improve upon a particular type's specification - including lamps, servicing/diagnostic systems, auxiliary gauges, lifts and more.
Modifying cars Take a look at this article which discusses some of the pro's and con's of modifications, either for fast road use, or competition work.
Period tuning companies In this section, many of the leading British engine tuning companies of the 1950s and 1960s are featured, including Speedwell, Speedex, Aquaplane, Marshall Nordec, Bowden and SAH Triumphtune, to name just a few.
Popular accessories This article walks down memory lane, recalling the optional accessories offered by sales agencies and accessory retailers "back in the day".
Classic lorries, vans and pickup trucks
Ancient vans, lorries and pickups have long been favourites in these parts (see "In the Motor House" on this page for examples at OCC HQ), so here the subject of classic commercial vehicles - whether large or small - falls under the spotlight.
Historic lorries Advice for anyone thinking of buying a preserved lorry. This article considers subjects such as the likely running costs of such a machine, whether to choose a restored or un-restored example, and the oft-sticky issue of storing an over-size vehicle given that so many old farm buildings have been converted into living accommodation. Also a few thoughts on driving licence restrictions on larger vehicles are covered.
Vans and pickups Collecting vans and pickups is a popular pastime for many, partly because they tend to be rarer than their contemporary saloon brothers, and also because even if you have a line-up of similar models at a show, their varied liveries still make for an interesting display. This article considers points to think about when choosing a light van or pickup to buy, and also has pages dedicated to some of the popular British types worthy of consideration.
Thousands of pages at OCC are given over to photographs of veteran, vintage, and classic vehicles. There's a mix of images taken at shows in recent years, and a large collection of in-period, "back in the day", photographs - many of which are in black & white - featuring automotive gems from the 1900s through to the 1970s.
Photo Of The Day: Austin Seven-based racing cars appear in all shapes and sizes, this one at Loton Park.
The image archive has been built up over many years, and now contains several thousand original, period, photographs of road transport in its many forms. These date from the early 20th Century, through to the 1970s. Many are from my own collection, while others have been kindly sent over to me by site visitors since OCC's launch in 2001. The above dropdown offers a quick way to jump to pages within the archive. A number of the photographs have been put into slideshows hosted on Youtube, on the left is one example, available to view here.
In the Motor House
A number of aged motor vehicles clutter the garage here at OCC HQ. They include the Mk1 Austin A40 that has been in the family from new, now needing some restoration, to a couple of lorries, a vintage Dodge tourer, a post-war Volvo PV444, and a pre-war Morris that - like the A40 - needs restoring.
Austin A40. This Mk1 example of Austin's A40 Farina model was built in 1960, and bought new by my (late) great aunt and uncle, from a BMC sales agent in Exeter. He owned and ran the Austin until the late 1980s when it came to ourselves. I took (and passed) my driving test behind the wheel of the A40, and then used it as school transport during my A levels. It was last on the road in the mid-1990s. More history on this it can be found on the Austin A40 Mk1 page.
Commer Superpoise racing car transporter. In 2014 I discovered that this unique vehicle from 1950 was likely to be scrapped, if a home couldn't be found ASAP. It was a genuine "barn find", sat in an open-sided barn since 1970/1972 after its final outing to a race meeting at Crystal Palace. The full history of this unique lorry is now on the Commer racing car transporter page.
1924 Dodge tourer. The Dodge spent most of its life in Australia, although when I bought it in 2012 it had been imported already by a dealer. It needed a lot of fettling to get it something like usable, and has been used regularly for local trips, shows, VSCC meetings and school runs. More details can be found in the Dodge tourer thread, running on the OCC Forum.
1940 Dodge racing car transporter & trailer. I stumbled across this mighty Dodge back in 1995, corroding away and looking very forlorn. Later research uncovered its fascinating history, from its early years as a crewbus serving in the RAF during WW2, to a post-war life as a transporter. Its history, and the story of its restoration, can be found in the Dodge racing car restoration section, here at OCC.
Grey Fergie tractor. Buying this was dad's idea. As kids, my brother and I would often cadge a ride in the tray on the back of a Ferguson tractor, so when this Fergie came up for sale locally, it seemed like a good idea to take it on.
MGB Roadster factory development car. Anything with a traceable history is always of interest, so when this rubber-bumper MGB Roadster turned up for sale, I set my sights on buying it. It has under 20k miles on the clock, and - being a LHD smog-equipped MGB - was destined for the USA before being removed from the production line, and tasked by British Leyland with various development duties at Gaydon etc. The documented history of the MG is on the MGB Roadster page.
Morris Minor two-seater. I've always liked pre-war cars. In 2009 I was able to purchase this 1932 Morris Minor. It had been sat in a brick outbuilding for a few decades, but it didn't take long to get its engine running. Currently it needs more work to see it back on the road. For several years it shared garage space with a 1934 saloon that I ran. More on the '32 Minor on the OCC Forum: Morris Minor.
Volvo PV444. Old Volvos have been a part of my life since I was a child. Dad owned a 121 Amazon and a 144S in the 1970s, so that's probably the reason that I keep returning to the Volvo fold. Over the years I've owned a few Amazons, and a sole PV544 that I miss to this day. Because of this, when an earlier (1953) PV444 turned up in 2019, I grabbed it. More information on the 444 can be found on the OCC Forum: Volvo PV444 thread.
One of the reasons for setting up OCC was to collate and present memories of motoring in byegone times, when today's "classics" were usually just run-of-the-mill sights, background wallpaper to day-to-day lives at the time that they were current. Many visitors to OCC have sent their own memories as part of the Motoring Memories Project.
Dad's motoring memoirs Life on the road, beginning in 1963 with a Raleigh Runabout moped, leading onto such delights as a Bond minicar, a Riley RMA (followed later by a 2.5 Litre Roadster), a Ford 100E Popular ("the worst car of my life"), then a brace of Volvos before moving into more modern times.
Memories of the '50s and '60s A visitor to OCC relates his earliest recollections of life behind the wheel, starting out with a (now rare) Standard 8 of the early 1940s, then through cars such as Ford's 105E Anglia, to more recent times.
Motoring Memories Project A large collection of articles submitted by site visitors, describing their formative years behind the wheel of a wide variety of interesting vehicles. If you can add to this collection of pages with your own experiences, please please get in touch.
Cars wouldn't run for long without a network of garages supplying their owners' needs, and fixing their motors when required. Many keen motorists would also ensure that they had access to a domestic garage at home, not just to store their pride and joy, but also to offer weatherproof accommodation for when a home service was undertaken.
Commercial garage survivors News of older garage buildings and petrol stations that still survive, some still operating as garages, others now re-purposed or left to fade away in derelict condition.
Home garages Photographs and words describing the common types of garage that stood alongside thousands of British homes from the 1940s and 1950s onwards.
Interest in classic cars can often lead to a passing appreciation of other forms of transport and wheeled contraptions. So to recognise this, a few pages on bicycles, caravans, trailers, and other mechanised delights now follow.
Bicycles Two- and three-wheeled pedal-power is the focus for this part of OCC. Old advertisements, and links to related pages elsewhere on OCC, are all to be found.
Historic caravans Photos, owners' stories and period literature all on the subject of historic caravanning. Marvellous.
Trailers A soft spot for ancient trailers has led to a number of them gracing the driveway here at OCC HQ. Photos of surviving trailers can be found here, as can numerous scans of period literature from the likes of Eccles, Dixon-Bate, and Leason.
The ongoing build of the Library section will grow to include pages of reference material, for example on setting up carburettors, spark plug recommendations, and bulb choices, through to more specialised subjects such as Wilson pre-selector gearboxes. There is also a specialists' directory and a clubs' directory.
Researching history is one of my favourite aspects of this hobby. Below are a few sections that should assist anyone planning to document the early life of their car. Records aren't always available, especially for pre-war examples, but it's surprising just how many documents still survive in council-run archives across the UK.
Research its history This article looks at why it can be worth researching the history of an old car, and how to make a start on the quest for its past life.
Registration numbers A list of UK-wide registration numbers, with their regions of issue and - where available - the date period that they apply to.
This free-ads, or online autojumble, section enables anyone to place Wanted or For Sale notices, with no fees and no registration required. It's not designed for selling complete vehicles, unless they are most suitable as a parts donor, just spares and automobilia. Latest ad: 21 June 2020 on the Hillman Minx parts page.
Videos now on the OCC Youtube channel (link). These include various on-board pieces from a few years ago (Ferrari 250 GT, Austin-Healey 100S etc), photo slideshows, and also a number of stop-go animations featuring a variety of die-cast and tin-plate toys put together by our young son.
Mazda car bulbs Memorabilia update, clip featuring rare box of motor-car bulbs