How’s this for an expedition? 12,000 miles in a Polski Fiat!

Charity StarterMotor have announced their support for Peter Fowden’s 12,000 mile excursion through 20 countries – in the Starter Motor Polski Fiat! Blimey…

StarterMotor, the charity dedicated to enhancing the education experience of students in the maintenance and use of historic vehicles, is supporting one heck of a journey.

Get this – they’re taking a Polski Fiat on a 12,000-mile journey through 20 countries. And you thought your commute was hard work…

The charity acquired a Polski Fiat from Brightwells’ James Hull Jaguar Land Rover auction, and have been hard at work preparing the Polish-derived Fiat over the last two months.

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Peter Fowden, the project’s young mechanic supported by Starter Motor, is undertaking the mammoth journey in aid of funds required for the Bicester Heritage-based charity.

Manufactured between 1967 and 1991, the Polski Fiat was essentially a boiled-down variation of the Fiat 125. Built in Poland by the state owned manufacturer FSO under a license agreement from Fiat, the chunky yet agreeable lines mated to mechanical simplicity should prove to be the perfect combination for long-distance survival.

'Pete came to us and asked how we could help,' David Cox, StarterMotor’s Charity Manager, explained. 'We called in a few favours and Pete now has his trip!'

'It's really important for the younger generations to experience the full circle of classic car ownership, and what better way than allowing them the opportunity of adventure in a car they've done up themselves?'

'There's a danger that those with an interest in classic cars won't have the chance to have their own with the way market prices are going, so we are delighted to support Peter. And we are sure this is the best car for the job. It's going to be great!'

What is Starter Motor?

Operating on the belief that the next generation of classic car enthusiasts shouldn’t be priced out of the market, Starter Motor are devoted to handing over vehicles from its own fleet to work on and drive. Furthermore, we’ll let you in on a little secret – AutoClassics are donating a car, but you’ll need to wait to find out what model it is. Although, we’ll give you a clue; it’s beige and more chiseled than Sylvester Stallone’s jaw line…

Teaming up with Banbury and Bicester College’s revolutionary Historic Vehicle Restoration Apprenticeship Scheme, the charity are steadfast in welcoming students onsite for a detailed course on all things historic motoring, with a direct line to employment.

The best bit? After all the work has been put in, the students get to drive the cars! It’s not all work and no play, akin to so many other schemes out there. Teenagers and young adults are gifted the experience of ownership alongside the opportunity to employ their handiwork in all manner of competitions, events and shows.

By doing so, the charity is ensuring that the new generation of automotive fanatics has the necessary equipment to keep the classic car legacy alive.

Launched as a response to the growing skills gap within the industry, The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs identified that half of the 28,000 employees working in the vehicle renovation industry in 2011 were aged 45 or older. There are now 34,900 working in the industry, with an average age of 42.

Adrian Shooter - Chairman of StarterMotor – said: 'I was lucky enough to be able to persuade my father to buy me an old Morris 8 engine to tinker with when I was 11. That got me started on a lifetime of restoring and driving old cars, which is why I am so enthusiastic about giving young people the chance to experience the excitement for themselves.'

David Cox, StarterMotor’s Charity Manager, added: 'StarterMotor gives students vital access into the historical car market, helping develop valuable skills and engaging with the next generation of enthusiasts.'

Dan Geoghegan, Managing Director of Bicester Heritage and Starter Motor trustee, concluded: 'The learning curve can be transformed with genuine experience, StarterMotor hands over the keys and provides the opportunity both for fun and enhanced skills.'

Businesses are expected to need up to 150 apprentices a year for the next five years in order to protect the future of an industry that is worth an estimated £5.5bn a year – and StarterMotor is providing an essential stepping stone for its future.

You can find out more on the official StarterMotor website.

Images courtesy of Starter Motor and Calum Brown

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