Some might consider it a mid-life crisis – but I was only 27 when I bought my first classic car.
My true personal crisis was losing my Volvo 244 to a bunch of vandals last spring, so the insurance claim was chunky enough to help me get the car I always promised myself, a Mk 1 Ford Capri.
I must admit, I love getting thumbs-ups from morning drivers, spotting builders admire its sleek shape and students goggling at its retro appeal.
However, my confidence was slightly dampened last week when a stranger at the Shell garage informed me that my ‘street cred’ was about to plummet because Harry Styles has just bought the exact same car.
If you don’t know who Harry Styles is, you may as well be living under a rock – he’s a member of Simon Cowell’s international boy band sensation, One Direction.
I never assumed that I had a ‘street cred’ to uphold let alone one in the first place, but the thought of a pop singer that makes 14-year-old girls scream and claw at the radio does not fill me with self-assurance.
When I got home that evening I Googled the young star and found that not only had he bought a Capri like mine, but he picked up the Mk1 1973 model with the same white paint job and black vinyl roof - admittedly in better nick than mine.
For the non-petrol heads out there, the Capri coupe was in production from 1969 to 1986 - Ford was trying to match the success it had had with the US Mustang. The Capri was marketed as the first affordable sports car in the UK, hense the phrase: ‘the car you always promised yourself’.
Ever since I was a kid, I admired my dad’s stories of owning a Zephyr, 1600e Cortina and Capri (he worked in Ford’s Dagenham plant at the time), so when the opportunity arose on eBay - I snatched it for a good price with little consideration.
One good outcome of this new development is that the value may go up substantially as a result, but the potential downfall is being associated with a pop celebrity, when my preferred choice of music is progressive rock. That’s like locking Justin Bieber and Rick Wakeman in the same room and seeing how long they can go without cracking.
On the other hand, it does validate my choice of vehicle in some small way. If a young teeny-bopper at the height of his career decides to go for a Ford Capri, then my own spontaneous purchase was not the clear sign of an early mid-life crisis, but the ultimate appreciation for true vintage British roadsters.
So, if I ever see Harry on the side of the road trying to repair his ’70s gas-guzzler (sorry, but old Fords are notorious for breaking down), then I’m going to stick my thumbs-up with pride – still not sure I would stop to help him though.
If you own a classic car, why not send pictures to simon.robb@
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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