28 May 2018

sgclassicrides turns 1!

Over the past year, this journey of car spotting and blogging has been a refreshing one for me. It felt like only yesterday when I started to create this blog to document the vintage and classic cars in Singapore.
This is a throwback to the very first picture I took of an old car, back in 2011. I didn't even know about this picture until I was looking through my old photos on Facebook! However, I did not do any spotting only until in 2014, and sometimes I regret not car-spotting back in 2011...who knows what other oldies I might have seen? This is quite a pertinent issue for me, as the Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV above for example doesn't seem to exist here anymore sadly...

Ever since I was young, I was somehow fascinated by old cars as I was attracted by their boxy shape. My first exposure was actually from Malaysian cars: back then I tried to look out for non-Singapore plates and I noticed that most Malaysian cars were of the older variety. This sparked a love for classic cars in general, but I was hampered by not having a camera phone at that time. In 2013, I began my journey of spotting, first by chancing upon a Jaguar that had been parked near my school for quite some time. It exploded the next year when I went for my first classic car display [2014 Heritage Day at the Bosch building here]. Gradually, I began to research more about potential places to find them, and this has led me to discover that certain car workshops are the best places to find them. However, quite a fair bit has come from random spots when I am on the road, thus it takes some luck and observation skills too!

Through my years of spotting, I have observed that most people prefer to fawn over luxury cars and supercars, which is perfectly normal. Even I will make concessions to take a picture of a Pagani or a Koenigsegg simply because they are not your typical supercar. However, I started this blog when I realised that not many people were giving much attention to old cars here, where some of them are even older than your parents! Also, with the glut of supercar spotting accounts popping out, I figured it would be easier to focus on this niche area.

Initially, this blog was just a photo dump with only a brief caption of the car. It was only in 2017 when my friend suggested writing more about the car, in such a way that he (as a non-car person) could understand. I proceeded to revamp my blog and elaborated more about the old car in question, and at the same time I started an Instagram account since it is pretty popular with many people today.

I chose "sgclassicrides" as my username as I wasn't keen on including the word 'photography', and it was concise enough. Previously, I had also searched Instagram to see whether there had been anyone from Singapore who had started something similar. I would say I was fortunate to leverage on the first-mover advantage. I was conscious of the audience I wanted to target, which is basically the general public: thus I cut down on technical data and focused more of the car's origins.

I didn't experience instant success as it took time for people to discover my content. The number of followers even fell when I did not post anything during my exam period. After the exams ended, I started discovering classic car spotters from all over the world, and I was happy that there were other people who shared my interests. I also began to "advertise" my website by encouraging people to check out my page, but I did not buy any form of advertising. Neither did I spam my friends to like my page: if someone is interested in old cars in Singapore, he/she would discover my page sooner or later. I did not want to attract people who were uninterested in my content in the first place.

I felt that this blog really took off from last year until now, as I began to be more active in generating content and utilising Instagram to increase awareness. A Facebook page came later as I realised some users would not have Instagram, so I did not want them to miss out. It has been a exciting journey so far as I saw cars that I did not expect to see here eg a Corvette and a Citroen DS! Sometimes, my followers share places where they have found these old cars, which I take note for future visits.

Currently, I also use this platform as a way to increase awareness about Singapore's unique car culture: despite being known as an infamous place to own cars, it is really impressive that there are people who continue to hold on to these oldies! I also joined a local retro car group and the users sometimes post about even cooler cars that existed on our roads before I was born. It is really interesting to hear things from the older generation who have seen more than I do.

I hope to keep this going for as long as possible. The past year has been fantastic, and I hope it will be more amazing for you all in the years to come! Although the appreciation for classic cars has been growing over the years, they would become obsolete in the near future with the advent of self-driving cars. It is quite therapeutic to write about old cars that I have seen, because it is interesting to read up on how the cars came about and disappeared as time went by. I continue doing this in the hope that future generations will have a glimpse of cars in our past, which they would never find again. I am merely doing my part to preserve a piece of history that is less discussed, and I hope you readers will continue to appreciate and spot them on the road!

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