How old can a car actually get?

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Old is relative. This morning I heard children's voices singing while walking the dog. They were the children of the neighbors. They sang "He will live long". For their rabbit. For Flappie.

Because of the song Youp van het Hek once sang, that rabbit is called Flappie. And also because of that song, his birthday is celebrated every Boxing Day. Sweet right? But how old can a rabbit get? How old can things get? How old can a car get?

A lot of old stuff

This summer we found another kind of classic recluse in France. Someone who for seventy years had found, bought, scored and towed all kinds of old stuff on wheels.

The scratchy old man still had old restoration work for a few centuries. It argues for him that he made the assessment that he would not quite succeed.

No more time ...

He was therefore cautious in deciding to put the cars, parts of cars and remnants of cars from before 1910 on sale. Not immediately ... But still ... We saw remnants of Really Very Old Cars. Parts, engine blocks, chassis axles ...

Basically all loose stuff. I was reminded of those learned excavators who can effortlessly reconstruct a six with high dino on the basis of a single toenail segment found. To me, projects like this seem a few bridges too far.

Of course nothing is impossible

To reconstruct such a really old classic you need a lot of money, even more money, time and craftsmanship. A Bugatti Royale was built here in the Netherlands on the basis of an enormous amount of research. That battleship may have cost a million.

Now I can imagine that driving a Bugatti Royale is a party. But driving a La Buire from 1905?

Much faded glory

The collector knew a lot about French car history. Brands like Cottin & Desgouttes, Mieusset, Delauney Belleville? Those are not the brands that first come to mind when we think of classic cars. And how 'old' is a veteran reborn based on the front part of the chassis, an incomplete engine, two axles and some small stuff? We find that difficult matter.

Museum material too. Because even in the most rustic French surroundings, a Panhard Levassor is no longer the transport where you can get a fresh baguette from the bakery.

Not our cup of tea. Or "far from fin"

We dreamed away with other cars from the collection, a collection that we only got access to because A) We reported ourselves at the gate with a Citroën BX, B) My Beloved is a pleasant-looking lady (real collectors are always single) and C) because we both speak French well. This helps considerably in finding hidden collections in France.

The remains of the primeval times of the French automobile industry were not interesting to us. The rest of the collection is. But that is not for sale. And not actually visible.



Give a reaction
  1. As long as you continue to maintain, a car can last almost forever. After all, you can replace everything except the chassis number.

    Of course it is quite an art to restore an antique pastry, but it is no art at all to deposit a lot of money at the dealer in classic cars to buy a classic, then put it in a dry garage and put it there three times. drive a bit per year.

    It is a challenge to continue to use a car for which it was made, even if the current value becomes lower than the maintenance costs. Yet that is a sport that I practice. I drive daily with my now almost 33 year-old Mercedes and that is not nearly finished yet, with 575.000 km on the clock. I intend to do it for a few more decades. For sport and for fun and just because it's possible.

    • Tis the age. Tis the hustle and bustle for the turn of the year. I was also at the Turkish neighborhood supermarket here. With my shopping list. But without a wallet. “Well, then you just pay next year”. See, people like that don't make the world any worse. Of course I paid him this afternoon. By the way, tonight it will be baked potatoes, snow peas, homemade apple sauce and a chicken roulade. All from the Yidiz Market in Dieren

  2. My old car mechanic teacher told me in 1960 a car can last a lifetime, if you do good maintenance and now there are certainly still a lot of cars that are 70 years and older.

    • Old teachers often got it right. Mr Buurma - teacher of non-machining subjects - said “If it can't be done as it should, then it should be done as it is possible” I haven't learned anything more important all my life

    • I think it is not so much the question of how long you can keep a car moving. But how long he can still keep up with “contemporary” traffic. My 59 Pontiac drives fine. But you do need power brakes nowadays because of the crowds. And the consumption does not really match the current gasoline price anymore.

  3. Compared to this, my car with 24 years is still quite young, but for a car that is still used for daily transport, it is an old beast.

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