Youngtimers, classic cars: the passion for the car will win

“Rallies should be organized in a closed environment. For you to take advantage of your gas yourself, if there is a survivor, he will win the trophy […]. With your car and using an exhaust pipe at the steering wheel, full throttle, participants can film themselves or invite relatives to film from the back seat […].”

These words of rare violence (which I will spare you the heartbreaking typos) were left on our association’s Facebook page, as a comment on a publication announcing our presence at a gathering of youngtimers, these “young” old cars that collectors with often modest budgets love. The “Big Car Show”, to which the Drivers’ Defense League was invited to talk about speed cameras and crackdowns, took place at Le Mans on the penultimate weekend of August. A first edition which succeeded in gathering more than 22,000 enthusiasts, among other things lured by the opportunity to drive their Lancia Delta Integrale or their Peugeot 205 GTI on the famous 24 hour track.

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But if we are to believe ours stalker of social networks cited above who succumb to the eighth deadly sin I called car-loving would deserve nothing less than death by suffocation. Does this modern inquisitor know that he is pointing the finger at the 400,000 collectors listed in France (source)? That every old person drives an average of 1,000 kilometers a year, twelve times less than our everyday cars?

That their impact on the air we breathe is so insignificant that several low-emission zones, and especially the largest (even the most ruthless), that of Greater Paris, have decided to grant dispensation to gray card “collector vehicle” holders, allowing them to circulate freely? In the meantime, we hope so, and the French Federation of Vintage Vehicles (FFVE) has been bravely campaigning in this direction for years, an exception achieved at national level.

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Of course, our online pseudo-ecology vigilantes ignore all this. Just as he ignores that the maintenance, repair and restoration of this million models that are over thirty years old supports 25,000 professionals and generates, still according to the FFVE, 4 billion euros a year in revenue. There is also no chance that he knows that to cope with the French craze for vintage cars – most of the time, popular models, Citroën 2CV and VW Beetle in mind – four schools in France, including Garac , the national school of automobiles based in Argenteuil (Val d’Oise), had to create a professional baccalaureate and BTS sector in 2020 to train future repairers or sheet metal workers who will specialize in “old body work”.

If you read me, Vincent C., who may not even hide behind anonymity to write your miserable contribution to our Facebook page, knows that your curse will not prevent the dozens of gatherings that take place every weekend of the year , gathering the members of a Citroën Traction club here, the members of a friendly Peugeot 204 there, or again gentlemen in Porsche 911. at the Rétromobile exhibition (100,000 visitors in 2022), or at the formidable Le Mans Classic, which welcomes up to 200,000 visitors every two years.

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That our jaw will continue to drop before the dazzling beauty of a Jaguar E-Type or the mythical 12-cylinder Ferrari Testarossa. In a rally at senatorial pace or at full speed on the track, poor (pick your favorite bird name here), know that all of us who love the car and celebrate the technological and aesthetic heritage it represents, we wish you nothing but to keep going to roll, or rather roll…in your own mediocrity.

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