Automotive Blog

Joyriding

Joyriding _image V1

It was like stealing a car! I waived the City Car Club membership card over the reader behind the windscreen and we were in. Once inside, I entered my pin number which released the car key. We drove a few miles to the Black Country Living Museum, a celebration of the industrial past of Birmingham, where we travelled by electric trolley bus into the past. At the end of a wide open square was an early 1930s car dealership. Inside were several exotic machines made locally by long-extinct brands, (Sunbeam, Clyno, AJS, Bean and Star), all cars that hail from an age when owning a car was a passport to luxurious and carefree travel unimaginable only decades earlier.

It’s clear that across Europe and North America, fewer younger people are learning to drive and owning a car than in the past, for a variety of reasons. As a teenager myself, which was, let’s be honest, some considerable time ago, I was not interested either. Running a car seemed such an avoidable drain on scarce resources earned through part-time jobs, funds which were wholly dedicated to more important uses, namely music, clothes and going out. My freedom wasn’t reliant on driving in the slightest, (although if I’m honest I must admit there is a fairly long list of people to whom I probably owe a lift!). Later, when I did drive, owning a car in London was a burden and the car was only used to leave the city. Now I do enjoy driving, when I choose to. Car clubs are liberating many who don’t want the financial burden of ownership, but still want a relatively spontaneous and flexible way of accessing motoring; by removing the hassles of ownership, a new generation could rediscover the joy of driving.

Written by Ben Waller

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