If you're struggling to muster enough enthusiasm to get out in your classic car, taking these easy steps can do wonders.
Sometimes life gets in the way. There was nothing wrong with your much-cherished classic car when you last drove it into the garage, or put it further out of mind in a storage facility whose rent you fail to notice as the direct debit slips out of the bank.
It just dropped out of your too-full life. And now you’ve remembered you own it. Perhaps you’ve read about the model in a car magazine, or you want to sell it and raise some cash, or life has presented you with a little me-time. For whatever reason, you’re going to face your car again.
Trouble is, if you just extract it from its lair, wash the dust off and drive it, you’ll remember the little things that irritated you, the way the lustre had gone, the reason why it didn’t merit a backward glance when you last walked away. So both the car and your relationship with it need a service.
You’ll change the oil and filter, of course. Maybe the brake fluid too, a job worryingly easy to put off or forget but it should be done every two years. A new air filter will help those lungs to fill again. Spray WD40 all over the engine bay and wipe it off: it’s amazing what a visual tonic that can be, and it calms down the oxidation that may have occurred during hibernation.
Vacuum the interior, wipe all the surfaces with a damp cloth. If there’s leather, treat it to hide food. Wipe the inside of the glass with a chamois leather or one of those PVA synthetic versions, which actually work better. Polish any dulled cabin chrome.
Now you’re into rediscovering all the nooks and crannies, that loose bit of wiring, that missing trim screw. Fix such snags if you can, otherwise make a note.
Next, the exterior. Wash it, leather it off. Apply polish to the paint, getting into all the corners and right up to the edges of seals and strips. Buff it off. Do the same with chromework (using chrome cleaner only if there’s tarnishing, polish otherwise) and the wheels. Glass cleaner on the glass.
Now stand back and admire. It’s taken on a whole new aura. You have touched it, investigated it, made it better. Now go for a drive; those fresh fluids are circulating, all feels smooth and keen because your mind is attuned to the good things. A lot of how a car feels, and how we feel about a car, is in our own heads. Welcome to your new classic car. You’re not really going to sell it, are you?
Words: John Simister