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With a new national lockdown in place across most of the UK and many other regions around the world also still struggling with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we all need rays of sunshine to keep our spirits up.
And here at C&SC, we’re here to help.
The classic car community is a wonderful, friendly and supportive place, and while once again there are no events or meetings to attend and restrictions have been imposed on our movement, that doesn’t mean we can’t stay at home, keep safe and still fuel our passion for classics.
Here we’ve compiled a list of great classic car-related activities you can enjoy, many of which without leaving your sofa, to help entertain and sustain you.
We’ve been here before and together, once more, we can get through it. So scroll down and get stuck in!
Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list – help us, help you.
1. Virtual classic car museum tours
You can’t visit museums at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ogle row upon row of priceless machinery.
How about the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles? Sit back and enjoy its virtual tour here. And staying in California, the Mullin Automotive Museum has also produced some behind-the-scenes videos.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart offers virtual and 360-degree tours, and you can visit Audi’s online, too. In addition, thanks to Google Street View you can look around sites including Lamborghini’s museum, Ferrari’s Maranello and Modena showcases, and Toyota’s, Volvo’s, Ford’s and Honda’s museums.
Want more? Here are 49 museums every classic car fan should visit.
2. Work on your classic car
Staying home is the perfect excuse to shut yourself in your garage and fettle your classic, so it’s ready for action when the moment allows – at least that’s our excuse!
It should be noted that unlike in the lockdown that started in March 2020, there is no MoT exemption in place. Car garages and workshops can remain open for servicing and MoTs, although car showrooms have closed to physical sales.
We know that some classics more than 40 years old no longer require an MoT, but all cars to be driven on the road should be maintained responsibly in a safe and roadworthy condition, and asking a professional to cast their eyes over your pride and joy once a year to get an MoT is good for peace of mind, whatever age your car is.
Alternatively, if lack of use during lockdown means you’re thinking of storing your classic, here’s how to do so safely.
Need some inspiration? Check out our full list of ‘How to…’ guides.
3. Read Classic & Sports Car!
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? And, yes, we are a little biased, but immersing yourself in a copy of C&SC is surely one of the best ways to get your classic car fix from home – and our subscription service will run uninterrupted, meaning you can enjoy the magazine without leaving home.
Even better, right now we have a super offer of three issues for just £3!
We’ve pledged to continue bringing you first-class classic car content both in our magazine for you to enjoy every month, but also here on our website and across our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, keeping you entertained around the clock.
Working from home? Update your desktop with one of our gorgeous free-to-download wallpapers!
And be sure to sign up for our newsletter, to get a hand-picked dose of C&SC in your inbox twice a week.
4. Tidy your garage
Of course, one assumes that if you’re working on your classic, you can actually get to it…
How long have you been promising yourself that you’ll tidy the garage, work out which parts you have rather than you think you have, and which you need?
Stay home and get tidying – then working on your classic will be a whole load easier.
5. Polish your classic
Garage tidy? Spannerwork done? Classic ready for its next post-lockdown adventure? Then there’s just one thing left to do: clean it.
We all know that a thorough clean and polish inside and out can be a time-consuming task, even if you’re not aiming for a concours-grade finish – wire wheels, anyone? – but we also know it’s well worth it and extremely satisfying once done.
6. Refresh your wardrobe
It’s cold outside, Christmas jumper season is over and you’re still stuck at home… So why not treat yourself to an automotive-themed wardrobe refresh?
Even better, you can do this while supporting small, independent businesses when they really need it.
7. Keep calm and colour on
Inspire the next generation of classic-car enthusiasts – and keep them busy while their schools are shut – with some rather cool colouring-in projects.
Many of these began in lockdown one, but lockdown three has seen these and more spring up.
Auction house RM Sotheby’s has shared a downloadable book of car-themed activities to keep your little ones amused during lockdown – get it here.
MotorSport Vision has shared an activity pack featuring a quiz, word search, colouring in, a dot-to-dot and more to help entertain young motorsport fans.
Bicester Heritage chaplain and founder of REVS events Revd Adam Gompertz is sharing images on his Twitter feed that users can print out and colour in – get involved with #doodlegaragegallery.
Of course, these might have been crafted with children in mind, but we won’t tell if you enjoy them, too…
8. Movie nights
You can’t go out, so stay in and make a night of it with a favourite classic motorsport film – or maybe a classic car TV show.
How about A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story (above) on Netflix? Other titles on this service include The 24 Hour War about the rivalry between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari, and Shelby American.
You can also buy or rent films from Amazon Prime Video, such as Le Mans ’66 and TV shows like Restoration Garage, while Stirling is available on Sky Documentaries, and James May’s Cars of the People is on Apple TV and on Amazon Prime. And these are really just the tip of the iceberg.
And all that’s before you dive into reruns of Top Gear, The Grand Tour, Wheeler Dealer, Car SOS, Salvage Hunter Classic Cars and so on…
9. Go rallying
Yes, really! But you won’t need your classic car…
While table-top rallying has been around for decades, the passion for it was reignited during the first lockdown last spring – and it’s back.
Table-top rallying is the perfect indoor, self-isolation rallying fix. It’s great practice for all rally navigators and also good if you’ve wanted to get into the sport, because you can learn the ropes without the added challenge of doing so while on the move.
Check out HERO’s event, which also raises money for charity, here.
10. Break out the Lego
We make no apologies for the fact that here at C&SC we love Lego. But sometimes finding time to construct our classic-car creations is lacking…
Right now, however, Lego is the perfect stay-at-home fun and with plenty of classic-car kits for sale – check out our favourites – you’re spoilt for choice.
The only decision is whether you let the kids loose on them or save them for yourself.
11. Another approach to building…
Fancy having a go at building something more adventurous?
UGears’ fantastic range of mechanical wooden models includes several early motor cars. Inspired by Edwardian racing machinery is the U-9 Grand Prix Car, which features a 16-valve V8 with working internal parts.
Looking like a De Dietrich racer, this ingenious kit consists of 350 press-out wooden parts – using sustainably sourced timber – with rubber-band drive and tyres. Only wax and sandpaper are required for the assembly, which is recommended for those over 14 years old. It’s priced at £41.95.
Or how about some free fun? Moss has released a range of downloadable PDFs of car cut-outs, so you can build your own classics in paper perfection. How about an MGB Roadster or a Triumph TR6? These are just two of the options. Get them here.
12. Bid on your next classic
We can’t make unnecessary journeys right now, but we can plan for them. And since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, auction houses around the world have been rising to the challenge with online offerings to keep cars changing hands in the digital world, with the odd in-person sale, too, when safe to do so.
And even if you’re not in the market for a classic, it doesn’t hurt to take a look and dream, does it?
13. Online racing
Online gaming is another activity that’s nothing new – yet another that grew in prominence during lockdown one, especially when competition-starved F1 drivers entered the fray.
But it can be for anyone and clubs including the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club UK (above), C&SC’s Club of the Year at our Club Awards 2020, have embraced it as a way to bring owners together in a fun, digital setting – find out about the club’s online racing community here.
14. Old-school rules
For a more traditional approach to stay-at-home motorsport, we couldn’t forget Scalextric, could we? And an extended amount of time confined indoors is surely more than a good enough excuse to dig out your set and reignite old rivalries.
What’s more, it is fun for all the family – and gives everyone a screen-break, too.
15. Preserve your classic’s history
If you’re the kind of person who worries you might lose valuable documents relating to your classic car and its provenance, Patina might help – and now is an ideal time to get it sorted.
It is a service that lets you create a permanent digital record of your pride and joy, using photographs, videos, documents and invoices, all of which can be securely uploaded, then accessed any time, from any device – what’s more, it’s free.
16. Listen to a podcast
Plugging in to a captivating podcast is another great way to immerse yourself in a new world, fresh debate and entertaining chatter, and there are loads out there for classic car fans.
In fact, the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club’s series (above), launched during the first lockdown, saw the club recognised with a Highly Commended nod in the Social Media Award category at our Club Awards 2020, and has included guests such as Win Percy and Martin Brundle.
Outside the car club world, you’re spoilt for choice, with Collecting Cars, DrivenChat, Absolute Rally and so many more out there. Head to your device’s podcast provider and take a look. Escapism awaits.
17. Attend a virtual event
If you’d told someone just a year ago that you were going to an online event, they might not have understood what you mean. But the last 12 months have forced a change in how we socialise and prompted an innovative explosion of virtual meets.
The Facebook-based REVS series, which took home the Social Media Award at our Club Awards 2020 thanks to Revd Adam Gompertz and the team’s efforts to provide friendship and support through a shared love of cars, has created a wide-reaching, varied and inclusive community. The events have featured industry leaders, TV stars, specialists and members of the public – and they’ve all been free to view on Facebook. Plus, the next event, REVS Origins, is just around the corner on 23 January, celebrating how people’s automotive passions, or love affairs with particular cars and models, began. And you can be part of it.
Many car clubs have also risen to the challenge and run virtual meets, a vital dose of something approaching normality during lockdown.
18. Offset your classic’s carbon emissions
We understand that this might not tick the ‘classic car fix’ box, what with there being no petrol fumes or tyre smoke involved.
However, in a world that’s turning towards alternative-fuel solutions, ensuring the sustainability of our hobby is crucial both for our enjoyment of it and to safeguard it for future generations.
Plus, in these stay-at-home times, many of us have had more opportunity than usual in the great outdoors and have rekindled a love of it, so it makes sense to consider the future of our planet more urgently than ever.
As well as reuse, restoration and repair (rather than buying new), classic car owners can help up their green credentials by offsetting their car’s carbon emissions – and with lots of websites out there, it’s not hard or necessarily expensive, either. ClimateCare is one where you can calculate your emissions, or how about Carbon Footprint or the automotive-specific Chrome Carbon?