How Dare They? On Banning Old Cars in Towns
Of course we want cars which don`t emit noxious gases, yet this does not have to change our lifestyle that much to do so. This brings us neatly to the problem of old cars in towns, what they represent and what I say should be done about them, in order for us not to lose a very important part of what makes the world’s great cities great.
I`m talking about the old bangers you see parked up on sidewalks across Europe’s major cities, all of which have become really posh in the last two decades, even cities in poorer countries now have a ‘certain air’ about them. Recently we posted an article about the idea thought up by the Mayor of Paris to ban all cars which are more than 17 years-old to enter the city.
Can you picture that? Paris with no rusting Citroen 2CV parked on the sidewalk, no spotless Renault 12 Gordini sitting outside an expensive hotel, making bystanders ignore the Ferraris and Lamborghinis parked alongside? This idea is truly outrageous, and it would do a lot more damage to Paris, and other cities which may be planning on introducing similar measures.
I shall elaborate on that. People from all across the world come to Paris to ‘see the sights’ and prove to themselves that the myth about French people not shaving their armpits is just that – a myth. However, while most of them may not realize, a lot of what makes the French capital great has to do with the multitude of diverse old cars which power down its main aventues.
They set the stage for one of the most interesting sights in the automotive world. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have a lawn chair at your disposal and you are in Paris. If you were to place the lawn chair in a position of maximum visibility, near an intersection, and sit on it, you would discover after a very short time that despite the year being 2012, Paris has a lot of classic cars being used as daily drivers.
The people who drive them are heroes, who want to preserve the history of Paris, and while their cars may pollute more than other cars on the road, there are simply not enough old cars per city to really make a difference. Not even Paris has enough old cars to make banning them worthwile, let alone other cities where there are not as many of them.
Now, while this may not be something which we would want, there is a possibility that it will happen, as some smaller European cities have already adopted the measure. So, I must refer to an older editorial, which covers the idea of converting an old classic to run on electricity, thus keeping everybody happy. The engines of these old cars are really not up to modern standards, anyway, and most would truly be better off without them – complete originality may go, but at least we will still get to drive our classics to the pub, or the supermarket.
In the future, we run the risk of becoming shunned, those of us of a petrol-powered inclination, and some boundaries need to be set, in order not to let ‘eco activists’ dictate what we have to do. People are still free to do what they want (sort of) and this should also reflect in the choice of cars they have, as nowadays people are being brainwashed by ad campaigns which are just a little bit smarter than they are, and they buy cars they don`t want or need, yet they must have them because the girl in the commercial had a presentable clevage.
Cars are a part of our history, and they are part of the era when man made more technological advances in two centuries than in the rest of our known history, and we have learnt to live with them, we have adapted our life styles, our cities, our houses, our fast food restaurants, and even our cinemas to accommodate them, and classic cars are our link to the past, and they must never be taken off the road. It would be akin to some large corporation decidin that Westminster Abbey, or Notre Dame are too old and out of place and need to be torn down to be replaced by a gleaming glass and metal office building.