Following two World Wars, with just 21 years between, Great Britain was left after 1945 with a number of critical problems. Debt, coupled to a ruined infrastructure, a need to export everything we made and desperate shortages of raw materials, created an atmosphere of “make-do-and-mend”. This extended to our motor vehicles and laid the foundation for our modern “Historic Motor Vehicle” industry.
Nowhere else in Europe is there such an active and well supported specialist vehicle movement. Ironically the most revered cars of the past are those built during the 21 years of peace between 1918 and 1939. We smile at the sight of such antiques bumbling along our roads on a sunny day while most road users are happy to share the space with them.
However not all is rosy in the State of Denmark, for it is unavoidable that such vehicles, made when hand-building and craftsmanship was inherent in even the most basic of transport, are largely non-compliant with current minimum vehicle restriction and regulation. Many have bodies made of wood, preventing the fitment of seat belts. The front bulkhead on many of these cars is made of wood, a considerable fire hazard! Few can meet emission regulations, yet they are so few as to cause almost no harm however they are used.
An area where they never can be made compliant concerns the use of Smart Motorways and Intelligent cars. The latest vehicles to arrive on our roads have multiple computers, sensors and automation of every kind. Such new vehicles are designed to talk not just to the operator, but to the motorway, the other motorists and eventually directly to a police tracking system. The pleasure of motoring will slowly be subsumed by these mobile computers, leaving the old car to trundle quietly alone, free from any monitoring, but also unable to speak to the smart cars alongside it. Modern computercars will not know what to make of the alien in the next lane, and possibly this might lead to confusions and collisions.
It raises the possibility that one day, such magnificent monuments to a more civilised and gentle past may not be welcome to join the fast and furious roads of England, leaving the curious to visit a museum to find out how their grandparents got about!