DriveArchive first went on-line in July of 2002, nearly ten years ago at the time of writing this article. It’s a cliché that “time flies”, but truly it does... it doesn’t feel like ten years at all.
The site started as a blatant attempt to jump on the then very popular FriendsReunited bandwagon. Now largely forgotten, that site was in the headlines nearly as much as Facebook is now. I had been thinking about my old cars – mostly because I was then (and am now darn it) saddled with a boring family car. I had been a sports car fan back in my youth, and had tried out quite a few interesting cars. One of them in particular, a Triumph GT6 (BBH 7K), I’d kept for years before (foolishly) selling it for a song.
“Where was it now?” I wondered, as I’d spent many a long hour rust-proofing it, and hoped it had therefore survived. And the idea for the site was born.
So... as I’d just been made redundant and was kicking around looking for work, I thought I’d ‘keep my eye in’ and make the site. Originally it ran on an Access database and used ASP scripting, for the technically minded. Little has changed but the underlying database now is SQL Server, and the conversion was fraught with difficulty but has reaped rewards in terms of reliability.
The site started slowly, as do most sites; you’ve got to do a lot of leg work to be noticed. Though, admittedly, ten years ago there were a LOT less sites to stand out from. In February of 2003 DriveArchive was chosen as “Website of the Day” on the Steve Wright show on Radio 2. Surprisingly the site did not break despite the huge number of hits it received that day. This kick-started things nicely, and my hopes were high that the site would really take off.
Now, I’ll freely admit that the original reason to make the site was commercial; FriendsReunited ran a model where you had to pay a fiver to get in touch with your friends. I was after the same fiver myself... but of course the internet changed and now everything is (sort of) free. So I soon gave up on the whole idea of DriveArchive making me rich. The site drifted along. It got the occasional mention in a magazine or newspaper, and slowly began to accumulate data.
Today (8th June 2012) it has nearly 9,000 contributors and spookily at this very moment a total of 66,666 vehicles. I wish it were more, I guess I’ll just have to be patient.
And what of my GT6? Well... as with all DriveArchive contributors I have waited over the years for an email saying that someone has more details of the history or the fate of my old car. Sadly nothing so far... but... (fanfare) I have recently discovered out there on the internet some pictures of a GT6 with my number plate... it lives! But boy, is it different now! Someone has turned it into a Dodge Viper look-alike, blue with white stripes, it looks amazing. I feel I’m getting closer to my original goal... (see here!)
So, still a free site, just a bit of fun, hopefully it will stay like that. Many thanks to all my contributors, especially the ones who have added many thousands of records – something I never dreamed would happen. See their names on the (slow but interesting) Stats page. Roll on 2022.
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