The Classic Cars Committee
The VDA’s “Classic Cars” section indicates the growing importance of traditional work among its member companies. German motor manufacturers and some suppliers are increasingly using their history to improve their brand values and set themselves apart from their competitors. The committee’s activities are mainly focused on the survival of classic cars. Above all, the political conditions in Germany and Europe should be set up in such a way that our automotive heritage receives widespread acceptance from the general public.
The maintenance of classic vehicles requires expert technical care and attention. The initiatives started with the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs are now starting to bear fruit – over the last few years around 600 classic car workshops have been identified and the offer of an additional qualification for classic and new cars certified. Six institutes at chambers of trade are now offering this extended training for motor mechatronics specialists.
Activities to supply spare parts for these vehicles, some of which are very rare, are being expanded. The manufacturers, together with the suppliers, are striving to find suitable methods to secure the availability of components for the most common vehicle series by securing stocks for the long term or manufacturing equivalent new products. In any event, the original condition of the vehicles should be maintained. The condition of the original serves as the template for all repair and restoration work.
Another major aspect is to maintain vehicle safety. The production of the parts required for this purpose is becoming ever-more complex and in some cases cannot be carried out by suppliers on the free market. While in the past, the challenges have been the production of drop-forged, sheet metal or cast parts for classic cars, in the future the new materials and techniques used of the past few years for car production will see the traditional sectors of motor manufacturers face a whole new series of problems. This is why the subject of electronics in classic cars was the focal point at the committee meetings last year. The current supply guarantee of 15 years after the end of series for components could result in the roadworthiness of classic cars with a minimum age of 30 being jeopardized due to the lack of nationwide supply coverage. It was discovered that there is no simple, quick solution to ensure the long-term availability of these components. The VDA Aftersales Committee has therefore formed a working party to look into possible solutions with manufacturers and suppliers while giving due consideration to the special features of the problem.
Another subject for the committee relates to safety at classic car events. The organizers of these events attempt to increase the attractiveness of their rallies by staging them on more and more demanding routes and including various tests. The safety standards of classic cars are by no means equal to the standards of modern vehicles, however. Often these events include vehicles from a motor sport background that are particularly difficult to handle compared to modern cars with their wide-ranging assistance systems. In contrast to all motor sport events, however, there are no special requirements for classic car rallies such as a health certificate or a driver’s license. This development and the resulting potential dangers are already causing concern in the media. The member companies of the Classic Cars Committee are often participants or sponsors of these events and want to contribute to ensuring maximum safety for spectators and drivers. This subject has therefore been taken up with representatives of the German Motorsport Federation (DMSB) and the German Sports Drivers Club (DSK) with the aim of developing the appropriate measures. The results are due to be presented by the end of the year.