Of course, Paris isn’t the first and only European city to ban older vehicles driving around its centre. This draconian law was introduced in Rome a few years ago, with any classic car – with the exception of the Italian icon, the original Fiat 500 – being barred during the working week. The Fiat was given special exemption as the most Italian of all cars, which supposedly foreign tourists would expect to see on the streets of Rome, rather in the same way that old AEC Routemaster double-decker buses still serve the clichéd tourist routes of London to keep the overseas visitors happy.
And talking of our own British capital city, what of older vehicles in London? Any regular car, old or new, is currently subject to the Congestion Charge (unless it is an exempt low emission vehicle), but plans are now being seriously considered by London mayor Sadiq Khan to introduce an additional £10 top-rate ‘T-Charge’ Congestion Charge fee for any vehicle registered before 2005, with implementation from 2017 onwards.
This will have a harsh impact on the owners of older pre-2005 cars, many of which struggle already to be able to afford and run a more modern everyday ‘clean’ family car. Such discrimination against older vehicles is very troubling, and yet another step on the road to restricting the use of these often prized and well-maintained machines.
'Photography' by Gary Axon.