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Five environmentally friendly ways to use your car

13 May, 2015

In today’s increasingly environmentally conscious world, keeping an old classic car on the road is a genuinely responsible activity. You’re extending the usable life of the car — as classic car enthusiasts, we know that we can keep a good car on the road for at least a century-plus, as long as we look after it and treat it to a refurbishment every few decades or so.  

By running a classic car for a long period of time — let’s say 20 years or thereabouts — we won’t be requiring as many modern cars. Remembering that over 20 years, an average motorist will ‘consume’ a car every two to three years. Even if the classic car of your choice is a thunderous, gas-guzzling, big block V8-engined muscle car, your environmental footprint will still be smaller than the bloke who whistles through up to 10 fuel-efficient modern cars over that same two-decade period.

However, there comes a time when some cars are simply way past their sell-by date; they’re too rusty, too expensive, or simply not worth the effort to restore. Such cars are inevitably scrapyard-bound, destined to end their days slowly rusting away in a landfill or, if they’re lucky, being processed and eventually recycled.

But it doesn’t have to be that way — help save the planet by adopting one of these DIY uses for that old rusty car sitting in the lean-to alongside your home garage.

1. Cook off

Of course, a car BBQ is an absolute must-have for the classic car chef. Cook up a storm for your mates and fellow car club members. Another bonus: you can hitch this one up to your classic car and take it to your next show. Chuck another prawn on the barbie, mate!

2. Flower power

You just can’t beat that old classic car back up — bunging in a few shrubs and flowers will turn any beat-up old car into a joy to behold.

3. A good night’s sleep 

That’s guaranteed when you convert your favourite US cruiser into a stylish bed, especially when your bedroom’s been themed to match. Just make sure you get the nod from your partner before going ahead — otherwise you’ll be planning this one for your bachelor pad!  

4. Shoot-’em-up 

Tired of looking at the rusty old Mustang that you simply can’t afford to restore. Well, drag it out of your lock-up, get the gas axe out and convert it into a pool table. That’ll put the balls back into this pony car … right down one of the pockets!

5. Trailblazer 

Finally, chopping off the rear end of that old Morrie cut any restoration work down by a big margin — no engine, gearbox, interior, or electric to work on. Result: a cool trailer to pull with your traveller.

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.