Harvey Fox, Apprentice at Autohistoric and charity ambassador at StarterMotor
Anyone with a passion for all things automotive, be it modern or classic, has that one defining memory. The one memory of man and machine that will stick with them for life. Mine being my first experience on a vintage car.
The car in question was a well loved 1912 Buick, it was rough around the edges and wanted love and attention everywhere you looked, but it had a charm about it, the way it shook your bones at every pothole and put a smile on the face of all the passers by. I think the moment that will really stick with me will be laying under the car on the side of a busy road trying to spray the leather cone clutch with oil due to it being so worn out you could only just change gear, usually in a situation like this you get horns honked and fingers raised from angry drivers for disrupting their day but no, there was nothing but smiles and waves at the sight of a car over 100 years old still being used on today’s roads. But what happens to these core memories when we stop having enthusiastic young people to share them with?
Shortly after becoming a student with Heritage Skills Academy, I found my current place of work, Autohistoric Ltd based in East Sussex where we specialise in vintage and veteran cars. I instantly felt at home and knew this was the best place to grow and learn new skills to help me strive in the industry.
After nearly two years with them I have been able to experience countless opportunities associated with our niche industry, from spectating in the 2021 London to Brighton veteran car run and participating in the 2022 run thanks to StarterMotor, to racing some of the earliest bits of machinery in the form of trikes, most dating back to pre-1900, around the Brooklands historic race track.
The latest adventure being bashing around the Oxfordshire countryside for 110 miles in the HERO ERA Rally of the Ages! It’s safe to say I have nothing but thanks for the guys at Autohistoric for welcoming me so warmly into an industry that gets better every day!
In late 2022 I was contacted by StarterMotor Charity to see if I might be interested in joining them for the veteran car run. This I thought must be a rhetorical question as no one in their right mind would refuse! And since I have been working closely with them to try and help promote our amazing industry to the next generation. With the summer car season of 2023 well underway it’s safe to say that life is hectic as an apprentice!
Every spare minute being spent from building my own workshop for the bikes to helping promote the StarterMotor charity’s passion of putting young people in the driving seat of old cars! Having recently completed the HERO ERA Rally of the Ages it was absolutely fantastic to see so many young people involved with cars such as type 35 Bugattis and 3 1/2 Litre Bentleys.
While our vehicle of choice didn’t quite go to plan, we still had a blast in my slightly more modern MX5 although next year we will be aiming for the Alvis TA21 we were meant to be in! While it was so great to see so many youngsters in cars, young people working in the industry is still a pressing matter for everyone with the passion that we share. With the cost of living effecting everyone and the price of even entry level classics skyrocketing it’s getting harder and harder for anyone who might at the early stages of adulthood like to get involved with classics and spark that passion! All of this is before you’ve even looked at insurance! To my knowledge there is one insurance company who will insure an under 21 on a classic policy. I myself owning a 1964 Austin A40 Farina decided to explore this route prior to purchase and for me to insure a 1098cc steel box on wheels would have set me back over £4000 on a classic policy, that’s more than I paid for the car! It’s easy to see why so many people don’t have the determination to stick with our trade or even get involved to start with!
That’s why the likes of the Heritage Skills Academy and StarterMotor charity are so vital to inspire and train the next generation and inevitably stop our fantastic industry from dying out! Having spent a year working with StarterMotor I have begun to see that car clubs in particular are starting to realise that there are very few people to follow in their footsteps and continue the clubs legacy, with the likes of the Alvis Owners Club coming together to donate a car to the charity and most recently the Morgan Sports Car Club, in the hopes of inspiring youngsters to see what fun the older era of cars can be.
I hope to continue to work closely with the charity and industry giants such as the HCVA to hopefully in the years to come experience a change in tides and revitalise the steadily growing industry we’ve all grown to love!