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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.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.