I have recently been involved in getting a 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider restored and as you might expect, this involved a lot of dirt, grinding, welding, filling, cleaning, skinned knuckles and all the skills & activities we all associate with classic cars. We had a lot of help – specialists who live and breathe these cars, club members who have previously done exactly what we are doing and comparing our car with others at shows and meets. But we also got some help from less traditional sources which simply did not exist even a few years ago.

I sometimes wonder what we did before the verb ‘to Google’ entered our vocabulary. When we needed to check if our Alfa should have a cam cover breather or when we wanted to check where certain decals should be placed. These days, typing a few words and pressing enter gives us 100s of pictures, all making the answer perfectly clear. With specialist forums, a host of YouTube videos, Wikipedia and countless private websites, we are not short of places to look for information and the speed with which we get many of our answers is really incredible.

Similarly, when we needed an awkwardly shaped plastic piece from the speedo and none were to be found anywhere in the world, I popped round the corner (OK, so I was in Shoreditch at the time!) and had a 3-D printing shop make one for me for a few pounds using the broken one as a template. It was done within a few hours. Back in the 1990’s when I worked for Rolls-Royce aerospace, 3-D printing was absolutely state of the art. They only had one or two incredibly slow machines and only a few employees even got to see them.
This progress, although it doesn’t eliminate the hours of rubbing and skinned knuckles, has made a serious difference to our industry and most of us would now be sad to see it go.

These new technologies offer some exciting opportunities for the clubs that support these vehicles, as well as changing the way clubs work and interact with their members. But it also opens up enough questions to fill a Rolls-Royce shooting brake. Where do we start? What should we do with Facebook? Can we keep our Magazine? What is Instagram?

Through this newsletter we will take some of these questions and opportunities and do our best to remove the mystery, offer practical advice on how to start and answer any questions you raise.

We are debating going digital with our magazine but members love the print version. What should we do?

Electronic, paper, spoken word, video – these are all simply different media for getting information across in the same way as we digest news in different ways every day. And as with the news, people have their own preference of how they receive this information. These preferences are fuelled in part by what they know, and by what is convenient at the time and it’s rare that someone uses only one.

These differing media lend themselves to expressing different types of information. Video helps to bring alive the rapid and noisy progress of a Ferrari around Goodwood or a single cylinder race at Donington Park in a dimension that print cannot. Beautiful photography printed a luscious paper stock can capture the sleek lines of a Bugatti Type 57 in just the right light. Finally no medium can replace the detail and insight that the printed word offers for exploring the detailed history of a specific marque, such as a potted history of Ducati for example.

The advent of digital media simply presents us with more ways to get our message across and I would strongly argue that its not about choosing one or the other but about offering a mix which works for your members.

  • Video brings content to life online, viewable via a simple click from an e-Newsletter
  • E-mail & texts can be timely and remind people of an imminent event
  • Social media is a chance to highlight what is happening and engage with people beyond the club

Similarly, one media will not please everyone. Some will wish to unsubscribe from e-mails, others won’t wish to have a paper magazine and that’s all fine. By tuning each channel to those who use it, you will create a rich and exciting way of talking to your audience.