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London's Classic Car Club Lets You Drive a Fleet of Cool Cars

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author photo by Graham McCormick April 2017

Taste is not a prerequisite to buy a modern sports car. This is evident in London neighborhoods such as Mayfair and Knightsbridge, where the streets are littered with high-end luxury models seemingly purchased as status symbols. For those who value tasteful motoring in the London area, I suggest a visit to The Classic Car Club in Hoxton -- as I recently did.

The Classic Car Club was a simple yet groundbreaking concept when it first launched 1995, as it provides members with access to a fleet of rare and iconic classic cars to use at their disposal. Using credits associated with their desired membership level, members can drive anywhere they want -- with storage, insurance and maintenance costs taken care of by the club and its team.

You'll find the club tucked under an apartment complex, inside an underground parking garage. Most of the cars are from the 1960s and 1970s and, not surprisingly, there's a strong focus on British manufacturers like Jaguar, Daimler and Triumph. Standouts during my tour included a BMW 3.0 CSi, a pair of Mercedes-Benz "Pagoda" SLs and a Porsche 911 SC -- all cars that have, over the last few years, increased in value to the point where they have moved out well beyond the budgets of most enthusiasts.

I met with Sean Jones, the club's membership and events coordinator, who explained that the club has started to expand the fleet to include modern classics from the 2000s, like a BMW M3 and an Audi TT to accommodate the membership's evolving tastes. Sean also walked me through the membership process, explaining that a year-long membership costs £4,200 and comes with 700 points. There's no initiation fee, and all members receive full comprehensive insurance and coverage in case of a breakdown.

The points system is fairly straightforward. Cars are categorized into different bands from two to six, and those bands have an associated number of points they require to rent. To calculate how many points a weekday will use, simply multiply the band number by five. For example, a weekday in their Austin Healy 'Frogeye' Sprite (Band Two) is 10 points, and their top band Jaguar E-Type Series 1 (Band Six) will use 30 points. Weekends are calculated the same way, but they take place over a four-day period starting Friday morning and running until Monday afternoon -- multiplying the band by 20 instead.

Bookings are managed by the logistics team -- and, to ensure cars are regularly available for bookings, the club maintains a ratio of four members to one car. Each vehicle is given a full safety check by the in-house team of mechanics prior to collection, and all bookings include unlimited mileage.

The Classic Car Club also has a franchise location in New York, located on Manhattan's Pier 76. The London and Manhattan clubs have a reciprocal arrangement, allowing members who travel frequently between the two cities access to both fleets.

The Classic Car Club isn't an alternative car sharing or a peer-to-peer rental company. Rather, it's a service for car enthusiasts, by car enthusiasts -- and it takes care of the headaches associated with classic car motoring so the only thing you need to worry about is where you're going to go.

Graham McCormick is an automobile fanatic and model car collector. He suspects that after an incident involving a tunnel and an average speed camera he is no longer welcome in Switzerland. He lives in Canada, Eh.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
London's Classic Car Club Lets You Drive a Fleet of Cool Cars - Autotrader