Meet the 20-somethings keeping the classic car trade alive

Another thing Havenhand’s subjects have in common is that they are all actively involved in restoring and maintaining their cars themselves. ‘I’m by no means a mechanic,’ admits Ellie Grant, 26, when I ask whether it can be off-putting, all the breaking down and waiting by the side of the road.

‘You just get an AA membership,’ she laughs. In fact, she has learned a lot about mechanics and maintenance since buying her first classic BMW, and she is part of a wider community of enthusiasts who meet up online and IRL.

‘There are loads of young people getting into it and everyone is really happy to help each other out. It helps that my boyfriend knows a lot about mechanics. There is always someone who can help you.’

The community aspect was what struck me most when speaking to Havenhand’s portrait subjects, reminding me that the vintage car world is a very friendly place. The arrival of the internet has made car ownership less daunting, with online tutorials and forums available that cover almost every aspect of maintenance.

My own love of cars started when I was a child – inherited from my father, it remains something we bond over. But I recently rekindled my relationship with old motors thanks to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, when he introduced the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, but made any car over 40 years old exempt.


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