Classification By Quality

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The various age divisions within the VSCC, VMC and VMCC are clearly defined, but Michael Ware, Curator of the National Motor Museum, is concerned that nothing properly defines the cars of the 1930s.

He points out that the VSCC was originally for pre-1931 sportscars, seen as of superior quality to later ones, but that in 1945 a list was drawn up of certain cars made between 1931 and 1940 which would be eligible, to be known as Post-Vintage Thoroughbreds. I think this move was made to ensure continuity should there be a paucity of pre-1931 cars after the war. But at least this avoided letting in undesirable cars of the mass-produced kind.

Laurence Pomeroy once said that at least one of every car made, good, indifferent or bad, should be preserved for posterity. The one-make clubs have since gone some way to encouraging this idea. However, Michael now wants the VSCC, which is revising its PVT list and perhaps other age divisions, to regard all cars manufactured from 1919 to 1940 as qualifying their owners for `driving membership’ of the VSCC.

As a purely personal reaction, I am strongly against this! Do we want the VSCC to open up to cars such as Morris 8s, Avon Standards, Ford Populars, Standards 8s and 10s, etc? Providing kinds can be raised without extending membership, should the interests of owners of such cars not be left to the excellent one-make clubs which already cater for them?

I am aware that the Vintage Motor Cycle Club long ago extended its qualifying period from the purely vintage era to cover machines made up to 1972, and that its membership is some 13,750, against approximately 6800 for the VSCC. But I recall going to a local social meet of the VMCC, and finding a few relatively mundane bikes in the car park which I ignored. After waiting for some time, I asked some chaps at the bar if they expected any old (historic if you like) motorcycles to be arriving? They said, “We are the VMCC chaps…” As Jenks once said, the technical difference between the old and later bikes is more pronounced than that between vintage and more modem cars. It all works well for them; but is the number of members everything?

Michael Ware thinks that the FBHVC, or perhaps one of the classic magazines, should declare 1919-1940 as the vintage dating period, to cover all 1930s cars (which years ago Lord Montagu suggested might be called ‘Milestone’ models) and that if you agree with his proposition you should write to the VSCC at The Old Post Office, West Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon 0X7 SEL. Presumably the name would then have to be changed to the Old Car Club? If you do not, I suggest you also write…