The Classic Car Loan Project – a scheme that encourages first-timers to sample classic motoring via a range of loan cars – has been given a major boost with extra impetus from the club world

Words: Paul Guinness

The success and growth of the Classic Car Loan Project (CCLP) over the past five years has led to fresh interest from classic vehicle clubs around the UK, with a record number now looking to get involved by signing up for the scheme.

CCLP founder and project director, Bob Wilkinson, is delighted with the latest response: “It was felt appropriate to encourage the deeper involvement of classic car clubs. The CCLP has become widely recognised now as an important initiative in encouraging the next generation of younger enthusiasts.”

By the end of June, meetings with around 20 club delegates had taken place, plus telephone discussions with several other enquiring clubs. Discussions with various organisations have led to a plan that ensures continuity for the CCLP, with clubs becoming involved in any cars loaned to participants by private individuals.

The CCLP will remain the focus and central point of contact for the scheme, which Bob Wilkinson has seen succeed despite doubts from some quarters five years ago: “When I originally announced the creation of the CCLP, I was told I was crazy and that it wouldn’t work. Well, they were only half right!”

Participating clubs will be asked to pay an annual membership fee – a nominal figure in the region of £20 – to cover expenses, with a CCLP logo being available to those clubs to show their involvement. The most recent club meeting organised by the CCLP also suggested the appointment of a Brand Ambassador to help publicise the initiative, a role that Sarah Crabtree – well-known for her TV appearances – has accepted.

Sarah Crabtree has joined the CCLP as its Brand Ambassador.

Sarah Crabtree has joined the CCLP as its Brand Ambassador.

Bob Wilkinson is proud of what’s already been achieved during the CCLP’s first five years: “We’ve loaned cars out to around 50 individuals so far, most of them young enthusiasts who wanted to sample a classic car for up to a year without the financial commitment of buying one. Of those 50, however, 15 have gone on to buy classics of their own, proving that the scheme is a great way of getting youngsters hooked on classics and helping to ensure a bright future for our hobby.”

Bob sees the CCLP as one initiative that can help clubs to attract younger enthusiasts and safeguard their own future: “We have clubs involved in the scheme who provide us with cars, while others focus on supporting the cars that are supplied by private owners. It’s very much down to each club how much it wants to be involved – but I’m very pleased with just how much interest there now is in the CCLP from the club world.”

Clubs that have offered to support the scheme include the Pre-War Austin 7 Club, Ford Sidevalve Owners’ Club, Morris Marina Owners’ Club & Ital Register,  Triumph Sports Six Club, Triumph TR Register, Vauxhall Victor Owners’ Club, Alvis Owner Club, Morgan Three Wheeler Club and Wolseley Register.

Clubs keen to support the CCLP can contact Bob via the website (, where any individuals interested in either loaning out a classic car or having one provided to them for up to a year will also find details of how to apply.

Classic cars available via the CCLP vary in age, one of its most recent additions being a 1933 Singer Le Mans on loan from its owner with support from the Singer Owners’ Club. At the other extreme age-wise, there are plans for our own recently acquired 1992 Ford Sierra Sapphire to be entered into the scheme later this summer. To keep up to date with all CCLP activities, check out its Facebook page – simply search Classic Car Loan Project.