Are classic cars the ultimate vintage accessory? Emily Buchanan investigates the allure of classic motors.

For years and years, I’ve lusted over the Nissan Figaro. With its retro design credentials and soft roll roof top, I’ve often imagined myself whizzing around the countryside in one. You know the scene, there’s a picnic hamper on the back seat, a pipe-smoking gentleman in the passenger’s and endless hours of sunshine ahead. I’m wearing a pastel coloured Horrockses dress that matches the leather interior and a neckerchief that chases the breeze. Dreamy.

Historically, I’ve never taken a remote interest in cars. I’m not one to stop in the street and admire a certain model and I would never usually spend a great deal of money on a car. However, there’s something about the design that’s captured my imagination and since falling for the Figaro, I’ve developed an unprecedented thirst for classics.

Alright yes, the Figaro is NOT a classic car. It’s a Japanese make first introduced in 1989 and specifically designed to look like a classic model but still, it’s inspired my curiosity in wheels and steel – which, if you knew me, is quite remarkable. These days, I’ll gasp over an Austin Healey and positively swoon at a rare sighting of a Triumph Spitfire. Anything made after 1970 is mere fodder to my classic fixation – unless, of course, it’s a Figaro.


Naturally, in the online vintage community a lot of attention is given to hairstyles and outfits and home décor. But why is so little said about cars? To me, it doesn’t make sense to agonize over the ideal vintage outfit – only to arrive in a Ford Fiesta. Classic cars complete the look, no?

I was mulling over this thought the other day and having a good old Instagram stalk (don’t pretend like you don’t do it too) when I serendipitously stumbled across Solene, or Frenchie la French to IGers. Solene is a pinup icon in my area (Norwich, UK) known for her flame red hair and tiki twist on rockabilly fashion. What caught my eye was pictures from a vintage car rally that she and fellow pinup Sailor Cherry had recently attended. Modeling in true Bettie Page fashion at the Essex Custom Car & Bike Show in Colchester, these pictures perfectly captured the beauty that can be had when classic cars and vintage girls meet face-to-face.

classic car

Seen with a delicious 1952 Series 62 Cadillac and a mint green 1955 Ford Thunderbird, Solene evidently shares my passion for classic motors, “For me, there’s nothing quite like arriving at a weekender and being greeted by a sea of beautiful cars and hotrods,” she wrote me over email. “I don’t think anyone could think of the Forties or Fifties without immediately associating the era with a Cadillac or Chevy.” Indeed, classic cars illustrate the design and production values of their time, offering us a unique view of the past that’s made all the more valuable when the car is well looked after. Plus, as Solene so artfully demonstrates, “they make the perfect accessory for us pinups to pose with!”

pin up

As I’m sure you’ll agree, these stunning pictures capture the magic of classic cars and the timelessness of vintage style. Sure, owning one might be a little unrealistic for me at the moment, but it’s something to aspire to and who knows, one day I might own a car that’s every bit as vintage as my wardrobe.

Do you own a vintage car and if not, what’s your dream model?

Photographer: Henry Murphy


8 Responses

  1. Megan

    I do, and it is *1* of my ‘dream’ cars. It’s a 1946 international Harvester pickup. I’m not a ‘car nut’ in any way, shape or form. But I am a vintage nut, and I love to restore all things vintage back to their former glory. I have found my appreciation for automobiles has increased since I purchased and restored (by myself!) mine…I love the rounded shape of the vintage 40’s autos and trucks., but my other dream car is a 1965 Lincoln Continental.

  2. Brooksie

    I do have a classic car (Brooksie here Queens of Vintage, Queen number 69) and it is one of my favorites. I have a 1961 Metropolitan Nash Convertible (it is turquoise and white) it is a British American car and is America’s first compact car. I have wanted a classic car my whole life, I have always been into old time cars. I got the car about 6 weeks ago now, we flew down to San Francisco bought it and drove it back home through the Redwoods and home to Oregon (we drove it 750 miles and it ran like a champ!). I have always had a thing for the Art Deco period but now after getting my new little classic car I seem to be more and more drawn to all things mid century because yes the classic car is the “ultimate vintage accessory”.

  3. Sharleen

    I love my classic car (1968 Ford XL fastback!) and I’m only sorry that it doesn’t make the 1963 and earlier cut for the Viva Las Vegas weekend, because I would so take it there for display!!! Love dressing up and driving around town with it!

  4. Janet Fletcher

    Just got a new car- Audi Quattro 1990 in beautiful red so now got to get back to the eighties!!

  5. Janet Fletcher

    To me cars are the necessary accessory- a Porsche 912 is our other car- 1968 but looking to buying something a bit older. Goodwood Revival here we come again next year!

  6. Mrs Lisa Fox

    I love vintage cars and the fact I cannot drive doesn’t stop me always standing next to one for a photo when I can!
    In fact the plan is to start learning just so one day I can get one.

  7. Rebecca

    I am a classic car girl…I own a love a 1955 Chevy. But my car is not the accessory to my vintage love, it is my vintage love. Vintage cars do take a lot of maintenance and money to upkeep. Do I love dressing a bit vintage while driving my car, yes. But please ladies, when you pose next to cars at shows, remember that they are our babies too and please ask before you lay a hand on them. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve wanted to smack a person for touching or leaning on my car.