It can be difficult enough to picture a 10-year old driving a brand new car with all the mod cons – but how about a car from 90 years ago? Teens can now experience what it’s like to be behind the wheel of three classic cars from decades gone by, thanks to the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school Young Driver.
Young Driver, which usually offers lessons in brand new Vauxhall Corsa SE Premiums, has recently added three classic British cars to its fleet. Now 10 to 17-year olds will also be able to get behind the wheel of a Vauxhall VX490, Morris Minor or Austin 7 - with adults keen to reminisce also welcome!
Working with the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire Young Driver will be running events at the Museum once or twice a month. Eventually the classic cars will also be available at some of the other 70 venues Young Driver operates at.
The scheme, which has delivered over 800,000 lessons, will be offering 15-minute driving experiences in the three classic cars, accompanied by fully qualified driving instructors.
The shiny red 1963 VX490 HB is one of only 10 currently registered with the DVLA. With just 21,000 miles on the clock, it is in near perfect condition and as a luxury car in its day, it has a wood dash, sports gearbox and six ancillary gauges.
Young Driver is also introducing a 1934 Austin 7 Ulster Replica. The Austin 7 was introduced to the British public just after the end of WW1. The motivation for the “Baby Austin” as it became known, was the introduction of a horsepower tax in 1921 which led Herbert Austin to try to develop a smaller car. He hired 18-year-old draughtsman Stanley Edge from the Austin factory at Longbridge in Birmingham to aid in the drawing of detailed plans - work undertaken in the billiard room of Austin's home. By the start of WW2, some 290,000 Austin 7s were in use around the world. Young Driver’s two-seater Austin 7 Ulster has its original 750cc engine, gravity fed fuel tank and cable brakes on all four wheels.
The Morris Minor is a two-door Tourer model in Old English White with a red interior. An iconic British car that made its debut in 1948, the Morris Minor was designed by motoring legend Alec Issigonis (who went on to design the Mini) and it was the first British car to sell over a million units.
Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “We’ve been looking for the right classic cars to join our fleet for some time. Although the majority of our lessons are given in our brand new fleet of Vauxhall Corsas, we have been offering lessons in Bentley Flying Spurs for a few years, which is very popular, giving a taste of a different driving experience. These three ‘new’ cars will give a completely different experience again – and we’re sure there will be lots of parents and grandparents looking at them nostalgically and remembering their own learning to drive journey and the cars of their childhood!”
Jeff Coope, Managing Director at the British Motor Museum, said: “The Museum is delighted that Young Driver have chosen the British Motor Museum as the venue for its new classic experiences. The mission of the Museum as an Educational charity is to inform and inspire future generations and the addition of these experiences helps to bring the history we share to life. Anyone who books with Young Driver gets discounted admission to the Museum on the day of their experience and can see for themselves how the car they were driving fits into the history of British motoring. Amongst its extensive collections the Museum holds, for example, the first Morris Minor ever produced!”
Car expert and enthusiast Quentin Willson, who is a patron of Young Driver, added: ‘Kids driving classics isn’t just fun, it will teach young drivers special skills. Being extra delicate with steering, clutch and brakes, listening to the rise and fall of the engine and getting used to large turning circles will make them more patient and mechanically sympathetic. I think it’s a great idea.'
Driving experiences in Young Driver’s Classic Car range will be available from 4th October 2020 and will cost £25.
Young Driver was established in 2009 with the aim of revolutionising the learning to drive journey, helping to reduce the high accident rate for newly qualified drivers by extending the learning period. Research shows that early driver tuition can halve the likelihood of an accident in those dangerous first six months after passing their test.
For more information or to book a lesson visit www.youngdriver.com or call 0333 577 9010.