I’ve been thinking some more about my idea to ‘lay down’ a car and preserve it as a factory-fresh example so I can enjoy it in as-new condition a decade down the line.
Of course, simply not using a car is one of the worst things you can do to it. Leaving it in a garage is terrible for the mechanical components over time. Brake and clutch hydraulics will stick and seize, electrical items will fail, windows stick in their runners and – if left for long enough – the fuel will turn gloopy and gum up the fuel lines and injection systems.
Preserving the car requires a careful regime of care and attention. It needs to be used regularly, sparingly and correctly – and stored in a ‘Carcoon’ to prevent moisture build-up.
In short, that means a well-ventilated, secure garage with a powerpoint. Then there’s the need to extract the car every month to give it a systematic work-out – a drive over 30-50 miles of dry roads to get everything flowing, and to ensure the engine gets hot enough to evaporate moisture that initially builds up inside it.
The brakes also need exercise, with several hard, high-speed stops to clear the crud off the discs and prevent them warping. And the act of doing all this will work the suspension, the steering, and all the other moving parts. Tyres need to be rotated to avoid flat-spots, too. It’s like taking your investment to the gym.