Talking Classics With Bob Wilkinson

Picture of By Rob Harvey
By Rob Harvey

Marketing Manager - Bridge Classic Cars

Bob Wilkinson created the Classic Car Loan Project (CCLP) which is proving itself to be very successful at bringing younger generations into the world of classic cars. We recently asked Bob some questions about his love of cars and the project.

This is how our conversation went:

What is the Classic Car Loan Project?

The CCLP is a scheme which loans out classic cars for a whole year, with support, to budding classic car enthusiasts. This is designed to give a supported and realistic experience of classic car ownership in the hope that this will lead to classic car ownership. It works!

Where did your love of cars begin?

Mine began as a teenager … Austin 7 (in need of a lot of TLC ) infected me for life! As a teenager, it also bonded me with my father…I learned much from him which has lasted a lifetime.
Years later I am still restoring and enjoying classic cars.

What are the goals of the project?

Through the supported experience the hope is that the recipients will become classic car owners to carry forward the classic heritage and tradition. This is more likely to happen if the experience is positive and enjoyed through interacting with the classic club scene and sensing the achievement of successfully meeting the challenge of driving a car from a different era.

About 20 of the almost 100 participants have bought their own classic as a direct result of an enjoyable, shared, experience in the CCLP.

Many of the participants have developed basic mechanical skills and knowledge (some applicable to their modern car) and also report that they have better driving skills too. 

What car would you most like to see enter the project?

We have cars from the 1930’s to the 1990’s….saloons, sports and even 3-wheelers! Currently, I would like to see more of the traditional family cars of the 1950’/60’s, eg. Austin Cambridge, Morris Oxford and some of the inexpensive (of the day) sports cars = Sprites, Midgets and MGB’s. Starter classics would help to acheive our goals too. For various reasons, I prefer to not have high value or high performance cars on offer.

How do you see the project growing in the future?

We have grown from 1 car to around 25 cars currently ….with more in the pipeline. Several classic car clubs, having been involved, have gone on to run their own “in-house” schemes…..a trend I would support.

The CCLP started as a project to test whether loaning out classics would work…it has; hence clubs following our blueprint would enable greater numbers to be involved.   

Do you think classic cars have a place in the future of the automotive industry?

There will always be an interest in classic cars ….how this develops is unknown. Steam trains still command an interest.

Currently, according to FBHVC research, the classic industry contributes around £8 billion annually to the UK economy and employs around 40,000. This vested interest, along with the growth of apprenticeship schemes, will maintain a presence in the automotive industry for some years.  

How can people get involved with the CCLP?

Respond to posts on website, social media and classic magazines. Offer a car, apply to have one on loan, become a sponsor …….become a support mentor.

Enjoyed Talking Classics With Bob Wilkinson?

Take a look at the entire Talking Classics series for more interviews with other influential people.

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