CLASSIC CONUNDRUM

DOES A NICELY-PRESERVED SIGMA DESERVE HISTORIC PLATES?

IN THE SHED WITH GLENN TORRENS

reading this, I reckon you値l understand the appeal of cool old cars.

You値l understand the passion and the commitment and the fun and the mateship surrounding them.

You値l probably own something nice as a Sunday cruiser and enjoy going to car shows and events.

Maybe you値l go to the pub with a bunch of people who are linked by owning and enjoying classic cars or street machines.

You値l also understand that not all people enjoy classic cars. Some people think they池e just old pieces of crap.

Which brings me in a round-about way to a conversation I had at a service station recently. I was there in my 創ew 1983 Mitsubishi Sigma getting some petrol on a Tuesday afternoon when some bloke wandered over and took a good look at my car. It痴 not the first time that痴 happened; with its glorious beige paint and an old-school black Aunger louvre on the back window, car nuts often give it the thumbs-up.

But this bloke didn稚. He sort-of accused me of being a cheat.

Ol Mate痴 accusation was loosely based on the fact that my Sigma wears NSW Historic plates and it was Tuesday, not Sunday. So, because I obviously wasn稚 going to a weekend car show and Historic plates cost less than $100 per year, I was somehow ripping-off the good citizens of NSW.

Well, umm, no. I was perfectly entitled to be standing in a big Shell servo pumping petrol into my Historic-plated Sigma on a sunny Tuesday. What Ol Mate didn稚 know was that in October 2015 there was an amendment to the Historic car club permit scheme in NSW that allows enthusiast members of recognised car clubs to drive an historic car for 60 days per year for general use. It痴 a great logbook based scheme (similar to the Victorian permit scheme introduced five or six years ago) and I encourage our NSW readers to use it to enjoy their classic cars more often.

I very calmly and clearly explained the new 60-day scheme to Ol Mate and after he umm弾d and ahh壇 for a bit, he nodded a begrudging apology and wandered off.

But you know what? Maybe Ol Mate had a point. I live in NSW but also spend time in Melbourne where there痴 a healthy classic car scene: near the Unique Cars office, I see cool old Mustangs and Commodores and Vals and Falcons and Camaros and Jags, all being used and cruised on weekdays. It痴 great.

However, sometimes I see things like paint-spattered mid-80s Camry wagons loaded with (for instance) ladders on the roof or towing a box trailer with a concrete mixer wearing the red Historic plates. The word on the street is, some people are buying several old cars and using them, in turn, as daily drivers to avoid the cost of one full-fee registration. It痴 a loophole but it痴 obviously not the intention of the Historic permit scheme.

Yes, I own more than one classic car rolling on Historic plates and, yes, I occasionally drive these cars to work (to photo shoots for Unique Cars or Street Machine magazine) as it痴 more fun to arrive in a classic beige Sigma than my boring white late-model Hilux that is, of course, on full rego.

But, I知 thinking that as well as the required car club membership, us real car enthusiasts should have to pay full-whack rego on at least one vehicle before being entitled to cut-price or prorata historic rego.

That will prevent shonky tradies rorting the historic rego scheme with two or three old bombs being passed-off as classicsso non-enthusiasts like Ol Mate I met in the servo can piss off and worry about other things. What do you reckon? g