The greenest car?

January 5, 2009

On an icy but sunny Sunday morning we drove from Nash Hall, a mediaeval farmhouse near the Welsh town of Presteigne, to Ludlow in a 100-year-old open car. The 20-mile trip through the border country was about as exhilarating as a short car journey can be.

Despite being wrapped up like Edwardian motorists, we were still freezing cold. Our pleasure in the stark winter landscape was tinged with a slight worry about how the old car’s brakes (rear wheels only) would handle an emergency stop at its rather sporting pace of around 45 mph.

At the wheel was Roger “Wilkie” Collings, formerly in charge of the Gilbern sports car company and currently the owner of two sporting Bentleys from the 1920s. Cars like these are worth a fortune and most owners keep them spotless in heated garages. Collings’ cars live in a barn, spattered with mud from their last competition outing.

But for the trip to Ludlow, we were in a Zuest, a car built in Italy by a Swiss engineer and of which only a couple are thought to survive. Collings told me he has owned his for half its life. He took it to Italy once, to the museum where the other Zuest resides, and received a hero’s welcome.

This all raises a question. Could this Zuest be one of the greenest cars on the planet? Its carbon footprint should be almost invisible by now, since the energy used to build it was expended 100 years ago.

Of course we can’t all drive around in century-old automotive rarities. But maybe one way of being a more eco-conscious driver would be to nurture an old classic¬†rather than simply trade our cars in every few years.


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the only issue i have is the cover up when dealing with electric cars and cars that are powered by WATER yes there is such a thing and people don’t realize that car companies are being fueled by oil which is deteriorating our environment at a rapid pace. Its unfortunate that the realizations will come about once there is no chance left for change. Watch who killed the electric car just to see what change could have taken place if the automotive industry people weren’t as greedy as they have become!

Posted by shawn | Report as abusive

I was much pleased to see the posting about Wilkie Collings and his car. It’s green credentials were well established many years ago when Mr Collings and the car were based near Bath. The car was then used as everyday transport and I well remember the smell of old sprouts when being overtaken on the A4. This was, I believe, because the petrol was mixed with a vegetable oil additive. Others thought it could be to do with Wilkie’s old socks. Either way, a smaller carbon footprint was presented in comparison with the modern counterparts.
My wife and I will try a night or two at Nash Hall and see if we, too, can get a lift into town with the hundred year old marvel. (the car).

Posted by Geoff Thomas | Report as abusive