Cowland on Cars

Six automotive resolutions you’ll want to keep in 2024

by Paul Cowland
5 January 2024 5 min read
Six automotive resolutions you’ll want to keep in 2024

Now that the Quality Street–laden excesses of Christmas have been put to bed, we can all concentrate on the far more important business of the 12 months that lie ahead for our cherished motor cars. And while my Insta ads and non-car friends’ feeds tell me that they’ll be spending their January ‘pumping iron’ with their newly subscribed gym memberships, I fully intend to spend my time and money ‘pushing steel’ instead. After all, shoving a recalcitrant 1982 Mercedes around the yard is the equivalent of 20 minutes on an exercise bike, I’m assured – and guess which one gives you better legs?

Besides, surveys have shown that the average gym membership honeymoon period is around six weeks. After this, all the newbies have cleared out to leave the old stagers behind, meaning the whole thing was a waste of time and money, anyway. So instead, allow me to suggest six alternative things for you to try in 2024 that have a more lasting appeal, and are definitely a more enduring way to spend your cash.

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Use your old car more

Aston Martin DB
(Dean Smith)

If you’re lucky enough to own a classic and a modern motor, start taking the opportunity to use the former more frequently, particularly in the warmer months. I took the decision last year to ditch my modern car, a Volvo S90, and instead spread its mileage around my classics. And while each journey was perhaps a little slower, and used a tiny bit more fuel than the svelte Swede did, I can attest that each one was far more enjoyable.

Using an older car as it was intended can be surprisingly easy, and the enjoyment you’ll get from each mile, the smiles you get at each filling station, and the general sense of bonding with your motor is simply priceless. Don’t forget to agree a few extra miles on your insurance policy – and enjoy the pace of life and driving dynamics from a different decade. Pure bliss!

Save an old motor

scrapyard BMW 5-series

Classic cars are a finite resource, and as a trip to the Festival of the Unexceptional will show you (and hold onto that thought), motors that were once prevalent in the thousands are now down into the kind of numbers that match my fan club meetings. Scant, in other words. This means, that for many rare old birds, their bloodline is about to become extinct, or at the very best, endangered. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. So what can we do?

Well, put simply, try to find an old motor that’s on the brink of being scrapped, and save it from the crusher. The good news is, if you pick something fairly mundane, but not too far gone, the associated bills shouldn’t be too hideous. Say, a few hundred for the project and maybe a grand or so to make it road-legal again. I’m not talking about full restorations or prettification here, merely putting a car back on the road with a valid ticket. Not only is it immensely satisfying, but chances are either you or someone else will want to take it to the next stage and make it beautiful again.

Visit a car show

Redwood Delorean

You’ve got the ride sorted, so where should you go? A plethora of shows in the calendar means that no matter what the cut of your jib, there should be something to suit – from small, cosy ‘cars and coffee’ affairs through to hugely produced spectaculars that take a full day (or more) to cover. Whatever your vibe, or tribe, how about resolving to visit a few more this year? You’ll doubtless make a few new friends along the way, and as for project inspiration? Well, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Naturally, the Hagerty events team has been beavering away creating some utter gems again for 2024, and whether you’re feeling Rad, Unexceptional, or you just want to fly up an iconic hill in the sunshine, we’ve got your back.

Visit a museum

Jim Clark Museum Lotus Esprit
(Nik Berg)

We are truly blessed in the UK to have several world-class car museums to visit – and if you haven’t been to one recently, then you’re definitely missing a trick. Not only do they make the perfect family day out (and are a great way to gently start brainwashing the kids into our world), but they’re also a damned fine run out with your owner’s club or car mates. Choose from leviathans like the comprehensively curated British Motor Museum and Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust at Gaydon, the wonderfully eclectic collection at Beaulieu in Hampshire, or the extensive array at the Haynes Museum in Somerset for starters, and then dive through the many, many smaller and more intimate museums for dessert.

Most allow your ticket to go again for a free re-entry throughout the year, too, so if you’re trying to maximise your day-trip budget, then what’s stopping you?

Learn a skill

(Bo Smeets on Unsplash)

Nothing bonds you to your motor like learning how to do something on it, and whether you hit YouTube for a few pointers or even sign up for a more formal course at the likes of, having a few more tools in your mental roll-cabinet is never a bad thing. If you’re not so handy with the spanners, start small with something like learning to change your own oil or gap your own plugs. Progress through to, say, machine polishing and correcting bodywork, and maybe end up with a cheap welder and a few scraps to play on. I guarantee you’ll have some fun, you’ll save way more than you spend (particularly if you practise and get good), and before you know it, you’ll be bashing a set of sills onto your MGB in a weekend. Nobody was great on their first go, so set a few realistic targets and find what you really enjoy doing.

Buy a magazine

HDC magazine
(Kayla Keenan)

Although you’re clearly no stranger to the delights of a bit of digital reading, there really is something rather magical about seeing your favourite features captured in rich, glorious print. Nothing beats relaxing with a decent magazine, with soaring prose and stunning photography, and if you buy the right ones, they even look good on the coffee table afterward. Masterpieces like Magneto, The Road Rat, and Octane are true ‘cover to cover’ affairs, and whether you splash out on one, or treat yourself to a subscription, you’ll enjoy a veritable feast for the eyes – and doubtless learn something new along the way. It really is the ultimate medium for a relaxing – and enduring – read. If we all make a resolution to support just one print title this year, it would make a HUGE difference to the industry.

Improve the rot, rather than your squats. Press on in your Jimny rather than press-up in your gym. Do burnouts rather than workouts. Follow that set of resolutions, my friends, and always remember that a sporting a six-pot is much sexier than a six-pack. And I bet you’ll be able to stick with any of those past the second week in February, too…

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  • Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

    I run a Skida Rapid 1.2 petrol which I have had from new. This is the last new car i will ever own. From here on in, it is classics all the way. I have a 2003 Discovery 2 which provides sterling service as a communications and rewcue vehicle and a 1990 Discovery 1 which is currently in restoration. It has epic rust all over the body.

    Sadly, I can neither weld nor spray. I also do not have the space. Perhaps my 2024 resolution should be to go to college to learn both. Despite being a pensioner, I am just too busy to do so.

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