Four months ago, the Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance was established in England “with a mission to protect and promote the sector and secure its long-term future,” it notes in a news release.
“A big part of the job will be making sure the sector has a share of the voice as part of the UK automotive industry and heritage sector,” said the group’s newly appointed head and first chief executive, Garry Wilson.
“I think we need to embrace the environmental challenge and work with legislators to identify solutions – while at the same time demonstrating very clearly the environmental credentials of the classic movement,” Wilson, 58, is quoted in the news release.
“How can we help the sector become environmentally cleaner, whilst highlighting how it is already environmentally friendly?”
The HCVA says it “campaigns on behalf of individuals and companies in the classic vehicle world including specialist restorers, dealers, parts suppliers and a broad cross section of the multi-billion-pound industry.”
Already, it says, it has opened a new dialogue with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) to seek solutions to the problem of issuing of original or age-related registrations and raised awareness of challenges around the recent introduction of E10 fuel in the UK.
“The big challenges are the immediacy of E10, classics registration, the general movement away from fossil fuels and the development of synthetic fuels,” Wilson is quoted. “And, of course the skills challenge (training new automotive technicians) is a huge issue in the UK at the moment, particularly from the perspective of the age demographics.”
As for the potential for electrifying vintage vehicles, Wilson says, “I’m a firm believer in two-way electrification – when you take out an engine and a fuel tank from one of the UK’s heritage vehicles and replace it with an electric power system you should do it in a way that allows an owner to reverse the process later if they need to. It shouldn’t be one way only.”
Wilson worked for Rover Group for more than a decade, and since then has played senior roles in engineering, innovation, manufacturing and supply businesses. Most recently he helped establish the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialization Center and the Advanced Propulsion Center, where low-carbon emission technologies are being developed.
He owns several vintage vehicles, rides motorcycles, and rallies in a 1980s MG Metro 6R4.
“The automotive industry has been my life for more than 35 years,” he said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver positive impact – not short term, but genuinely sustainable impact – for a sector I am passionate about.
“Classics, historics and motorsport are my passion, but I’m no dyed in the wool petrolhead. On electrification I appreciate both sides of the argument and absolutely believe there should be room for both electric and ICE vehicles now and into the future. I want to work with others to ensure a future that allows both to thrive.”