Think of classic American cars and you’re instantly transported back to the golden age of Americana Caddys cruising Route 66, drive-through cinema, waitresses on roller skates and The King’s honeyed tones playing from the jukebox.
The call of the American dream was a strong one for HIC customer Nigel Day, 37, from Derbyshire, who has started up his own American classic collection. Always keen to find out more about the motoring habits of our customers, and dig out some interesting stories, we got in touch with Nigel to chat about his penchant for Plymouths and Chevys.
“American cars were just cooler”
“It all started when I was younger,” Nigel explains. “I grew up watching shows like The Dukes of Hazard and Starsky and Hutch, and I remember thinking that American cars were just cooler than ours somehow.
“Americans had the Firebird, the Mustang, the Cobra, but all we had were Escorts and Novas and other boring named things. I pretty much fell in love with American cars back then, and I’ve looked to get my hands on some ever since.”
In the past few years, Nigel has started to fill his garage with some of those cool American classics taking receipt of a 70 Plymouth Duster, a 63 Chevrolet C10 and a 1940 Plymouth Road King. Being simply in the “right place at the right time” to take hold of the two Plymouths, Nigel added the C10 to his burgeoning fleet when he needed a pickup for work and decided to stick with the American theme.
“I think Plymouths appealed to me because they’re something different – they still have all the American style and swagger, but without some of the cliche that comes with cars like Mustangs,” Nigel explains.
“My worst nightmare would be to pull up into a car park and be surrounded by cars the same as mine, 10 or 20 identical modern cars. With the cars I drive I know they stand out, that people notice they’re a little out of the ordinary, the only problem is that I don’t get to enjoy that sight from the driving seat.”
The Cost Of A Classic
The glamour of driving such royalty as a 1940 Road King notwithstanding, classics do often come with a downside. The work involved in restoration and care hasn’t fazed Nigel. In fact itâs something he enjoys, having recently put an order in for two more down-on-their-luck classics. The real price comes in running costs, with Nigel estimating only around 10-12mpg in his cars, making them about as economical as the wildest supercars of today.
Regardless of costs, Nigel is adamant that his collection will continue to grow. With the new pair on their way, he has already started to set his sights on even bigger targets.
“My dream car would be a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda. Only about 12 were made I think, and one recently sold for $3.5million, so I’ve got a bit of saving up to do. I’d settle for a replica one in years to come though, so that’s my ultimate goal.”
Despite the prices involved in his collection, for Nigel it’s all worth it when he gets in the driving seat. “Every time I turn the key, my cars put a smile on my face. I own these cars for their style and for just how entertaining they are to live with, and I couldn’t now go back to anything less.”