Classic Cars Magazine Review 2020 - Muscle Car

Classic Cars Magazine Review 2020

Car Magazine Reviews


Elise

Written by Elise

11th December 2020

Classic Cars Magazine Review 2020
Blog   >    Car Magazine Reviews   >   Classic Cars Magazine Review 2020

Classic Cars Magazine Review 2020

By Niamh Smith

I remember dragging my parents to the magazine aisle of Tesco’s when I was a kid, to flick through the Volkswagen magazines. I was THAT kid who took Volksworld into secondary school to read on my lunch break (and I distinctly remember doing a slideshow presentation on my parents 1972 campervan, Dorothy, in year 7). 

Thankfully, as I grew up, my taste expanded and I joined the masses of motoring enthusiasts who enjoy a cuppa whilst they sit and have a flick through a classic car publication. There’s something inspiring about flicking through those glossy pages filled with chrome, steel and rubber. It’s comforting to have something tangible on the coffee table that can serve as a source of inspiration; we like to see success stories of people who have built what we want to build. 

In this Classic Cars Magazine Review, we’ll discuss what makes it a great publication for classic car owners, restorers, buyers and admirers alike, as well as assessing how well they’ve kept up with the societal shift towards everything digital. 

Classic Cars Magazine: Britain’s Most Long-established Classic Car Publication

Founded in October 1973, Classic Cars has been the monthly go-to magazine for classic motoring enthusiasts for the last 47 years. It focuses on buying, selling and driving classic cars in the UK, thus appealing to its devoted audience who clearly come back time and time again to this particular magazine on the shelf of their local newsagents. 

Perhaps the fact they’ve been going for so long is the way that they have aged well, like a fine wine or timeless Mercedes SL. In our forever technologically advancing society, for a publication to survive they have to be able to adapt to the times; failure to do so has been the death of so many magazines. 

Luckily, Classic Cars magazine offers several virtual options to keep you up to date on all of their articles, including online subscriptions (with a tempting free issue offer to reel you in), a fortnightly newsletter featuring exclusive articles for the avid reader, as well as featured and market insight articles on their clean and modern website every couple of weeks to make sure you’re not losing out whilst waiting for the next issue to be released. 

They also have an app on which you can use all of these features on the go, with prompting notifications to keep you updated. One thing, however, that may make their website or app more easily navigated is with the use of a search bar so you don’t have to trawl through articles you might not necessarily want to read to find the one you want – although if you’re anything like me you’ll likely get distracted by photos of pretty cars before you even find the search bar.

It would probably also benefit them if they kept up to date on both YouTube and Instagram, having not posted on Instagram since March and YouTube since 2014 (where have you been all this time, Classic Cars?).  

As a ‘millennial’ (yuck), I know how important it is to appeal to the next generation of classic car owners: we rely on our phones a lot. If we want to know how to fix something on a car, it is so easy to find the answer on YouTube nowadays. It’s so easy to fall down a bit of a rabbit hole and find yourself watching FAIL videos on a random channel, which with a bit of clever marketing could be Classic Cars magazine… if only they were up to date on their YouTube channel.

Audience-Drawing Content

It only takes a quick flick through to see why Classic Cars magazine has such a loyal fan base. Each issue is jam-packed with news from the world of classic cars in the UK and abroad. They are separated into sections of ‘the month in cars’, the ‘special section’ (this month it’s a 26 page celebration of the 60th birthday of the E-type Jag, something that anyone would find themselves drooling over), ‘owning’, ‘driving’ and ‘buying’. 

Owning

Included in the owning category are articles on what it’s like to be a classic car owner: restoration missions and challenges, features on real-life collectors—not just those unreachable celebrities with car collections that belong in museums—and stories of the columnists own cars and the pocket money they splash on them. 

It’s also nice to see the realistic cost of upgrading or maintaining classic vehicles laid out in front of you transparently, as sometimes owners dance around the true cost of classic car maintenance.

Driving

The driving category of course has a test drive, which gives you a feel of actually being there. Full commentary is provided by the driver, including both the pros and cons of the driving experience and their thoughts on the car. 

As well as having technical specifications, these articles tell the reader whether or not the car has lived up to their expectations and how they actually felt on the drive, which we all know is the most important part of classic car ownership; whether or not you find yourself grinning ear to ear whilst driving.

Buying

These articles are perfect for the budding dealer or collector who wants to choose the right investment to add to their stable, as well as people who are wanting to pick the right first classic car. It is a handy journal to have by your side when you’re next eyeing up the auction brochures or trawling through eBay looking for your next purchase.

Writers Who Know Their Shi…fters

It always helps to have a writing team who are truly passionate about what they’re writing about. Classic Car magazine ticks all the boxes with their star-studded lineup of writers, including editor Phil Bell who currently owns an E-type and whose classic car ownership CV includes TVRs, Capris and Porsches. 

Quentin Willson of Top Gear fame is included in the lineup, writing with his advice on which vehicles are hot or not on the current tax-exempt car market. In this issue, Willson provides valuable tips for buying the right Morris Minor; as values are creeping up steadily they make a great first classic car (take it from me who bought one as my first car when I was 17, although I wish I had this article 4 years ago so I didn’t choose one that ended up being such a pain in the derriere!). 

Perhaps my favourite columnist in the team, however, is John Fitzpatrick, whose nostalgic tales of racing in the British Saloon Car, Touring Car and GT Championships make me feel like I’m listening to a wise old grandfather telling me crazy things he did in the 60s. I particularly liked his nonchalant story in this month’s issue of squeezing 150mph out of his E-type 2+2 down the M1.

Classic Car Magazine Review Summary

The content in this magazine is appropriate for pretty much anyone who is into cars. As a hot rod and drag racing fan, I’m sure you’re hardly surprised to find out that I was pretty pleased to see cars that aren’t Concours or completely bone stock being written about. If I wanted to see a concourse Austin A35 I could go to a classic car show and see 10 in a row, but it’s nice to read about one that has a bored-out engine with twin SU carbs on every now and again (like the one test-driven on their website by Charlie Calderwood). 

There’s also a nice number of foreign cars chucked in for good measure, as too often I find that UK classic car publications can focus too much on hearing-aid beige British Leyland cars, although it’s all still a bit too European-focused for my liking.

There’s a nice balance of storytelling and technical specs in the magazine, so even if you’re not too technically minded you can still read and learn some basics from the articles. Even the photography is nice to just look at, with a lot of the images looking as if they’ve come straight off of some Top Gear shoot at some obscure mountain road somewhere in Europe. 

So next time you’re browsing the magazine aisle in Tescos, pick up a copy of Classic Car Magazine for some decent reading content that you’ll keep revisiting even if you have read it several times already, and find out why they are Britain’s longest-established classic car magazine, having satisfied the appetites of classic car fans for 47 years.

Author: Niamh Smith


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