Classics looking younger

Published: 03:31PM Jul 6th, 2012
By: Web Editor
Three items in the July issue – a classified ad, Jerry Thurston’s page and that lovely G3L – got me thinking (yet again) about the nature of this ‘classic’ thing. I agree very much with Jerry’s musings on the hoary old subject of what makes for a classic… surely it’s not just age... but then again?
Classics looking younger

In 1974, aged 17, I spent £70 on exactly the same model Matchless. Built in 1950, AEN73 was like a huge number of old Brits then, worn out in every department! Painted matt black all over, saddle replaced by plywood and foam, extinct lighting system etc. It was a heap, but it took me everywhere and I loved it.

But here’s a thing; despite the ‘Teledraulic’ forks, it wouldn’t have looked too futuristic in 1930 and by 1974, even a layman could tell it was almost an antique. Alongside a H1 Kawasaki, it could have been from another planet and yet it was only 24 years old!

Now, back to that classified ad, a cooking 250cc Yamaha from 1980, perhaps to many readers not even old but at 32, it makes my Matchy look like a youngster! I suspect it goes and stops much as it did 32 years ago, and our layman would probably not recognise it as being particularly old. A classic? Who’s to say. Was my Matchless one in 1974?

Hmmnnn. Perhaps, as with us humans, 60 is now the new 40!

Mark Brett, via email

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