Journal: When Does Your Car Become Too Valuable to Drive?

When Does Your Car Become Too Valuable to Drive?

By
April 16, 2013
25 comments

When you drive off a dealer’s lot with a brand new car, depreciation immediately starts chipping away at your new car’s value. In three years, you’ll be lucky if the car is worth half what it cost new. Buy a classic car, especially one of a certain pedigree, and you’ll have the opposite “problem”. I’ve known at least a handful of car enthusiasts who have felt compelled to stop driving and in some cases sell their prized possessions, simply because the market values of the cars shot up too much. I’m talking about situations in which guys paid under a couple hundred thousand dollars for a nice Ferrari 250 SWB or a Lusso in good condition, only to wake up one day to realize they’re driving around in a car worth more than a house.

I personally haven’t experienced this first hand, but I suppose if my Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale, for example, was to continue to appreciate in value the way it has since I bought it, I will eventually feel uneasy taking the car for a night out.

What about you? At what point would you stop driving your car because of appreciation?

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Vetbuilder
Vetbuilder
5 years ago

I would drive it. If I can afford to own one…Im going to drive the shit out of it.
A Ferrari GTO is A Ferrari GTO the day after you drive it like you stole it. The value is going to be there and I would prefer a car that regularly stretches its legs over a trailer queen.

Chuck Goolsbee
Chuck Goolsbee
5 years ago

My father had a 1957 300sl Roadster for a while after he retired. LOVED the car and he drove it in vintage rallies often. But over the time of his ownership it increased in value fourfold. Towards the end he feared driving it as he saw so many inattentive drivers in giant SUVs that often never saw him.

He sold the car rather than keep driving it. I told him he was selling it too early, and sure enough about a year later they doubled to over $1mil

Art Harvey
Art Harvey
5 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Goolsbee

That happened to anyone who sold around 2010 and on. An acquaintance sold his Euro-spec 5-spd Khamsin for $60k, and another long term owner sold his Bora for $75k. And even then, both of them came away happy with their profit. I was in the market for a Series 1 E-Type FHC in early 2015, and their value went up by the week and ran away from me. Had I only committed to one a month or week earlier…

Jon
Jon
5 years ago

Just having a car as an investment and not driving it is like owning a piece of art and never looking at it. It’s a pity that the roads are more busy and SUV-filled then ever, but if you want zero risk driving get a PlayStation. Besides, getting up early on a weekend to get out on some beautiful clear roads is always worth it. We’ve had plenty of great road trips in our DBiii and are now getting some safety seats made so the kids can come too!

Art Harvey
Art Harvey
5 years ago

Too valuable to drive is when I can’t afford the insurance.

Chuck Goolsbee
Chuck Goolsbee
5 years ago
Reply to  Art Harvey

Agreed value insurance on vintage cars is actually very inexpensive, compared to regular car insurance at least. They expect light usage.

Art Harvey
Art Harvey
5 years ago
Reply to  Art Harvey

Chuck, I totally agree. Hence, there will unlikely come a day when I will no longer drive the snot out of any of my classics.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son
9 years ago

When it doesn’t become feasible to keep it, whether it be parts or insurance or anything else. Honestly, I’d sell to someone who appreciates that car as much as I do and has the money to do so. My GTX definitely went to someone with the money, the other part I’m not sure, I’ve never even spoken to the new owner.

Boxerman
Boxerman
9 years ago

I think there is a value to enviroment equation. I have a 512BBI still driven in fury with 17 in wheels and ps2’s to keep it on the road, so I am not acollector more a driver. But with value appreciating(although nowhere near what i have put into the car over the years) and todays distracted drivers I use it more on select roads at select times. Whereas years ago was happy to take the kids to school in it, today I am worried about some text reading parent in an suv not noticing and just driving over the car to get their spot in the pickup line.

So as value and road conditions change the nature of use becomes more limited. On the other hand, now that there are more rallies out in the hinterland the possibility for serious road use increses.

Pity though, when you get used to these older cars they make great and fun runarounds, its just that the fixing cost now exceeds the value return, and the “other” drivers inattention increases the damage risk as well as personal damge risk.

Lets face it the crash tested airbag proteceted driver out there has far less of an aversion to a minor shunt than in days gone by, and a minor shunt in a suv can be fatal to the recipient in a classic.

shervinator
shervinator
9 years ago

Well, I won’t ever have that problem in my lifetime, seeing as I drive a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle…

felino carunungan jr
felino carunungan jr
9 years ago

I have a 1990 TR which has hardly given me any problem. I do my own maintainance. The first owner had it for 20 years and put 14000 miles on it. I have had it for 3 years and has put 8000 miles on it. That is why I have little problem with it because I use it for what it was meant to do. If it ever appreciates in value, only my kids would benefit from it. The true benefit I have is the the pleasure of driving a Ferrari Icon. If I don’t drive it because it has become to valuable, then it is no different than buying a Queen Ann chair.

Deep Gill
Deep Gill
9 years ago

Never. Affording a car isn’t about being able to pay the purchase amount, its being able to afford insurance, fuel, repairs, etc. When those become so expensive you’re afraid to drive you can no longer afford the car and don’t deserve to own it. I have absolutely no respect for anyone that owns something like a 250 GTO and keeps it in a climate controlled garage, they aren’t car people and aren’t worthy of the car.

Jim Whitehead
Jim Whitehead
9 years ago

A friend of mine just sold both of her 289-powered AC Cobras, because they were too valuable to risk having someone hit them. She picked up a Ferrari 360 because it is replaceable. Fly Yellow, Hard Top, gated 6 speed, factory racing exhaust, black interior w/ yellow stitching. She’s cool as hell.

caprigls
caprigls
9 years ago

Never, end of story… The minute you stop driving a car because it’s too valuable is the very minute you need to sell it and let someone else steward it

Paul Steel
Paul Steel
9 years ago

That great Mercedes 300SL gullwing video from last year comes to mind, regular use is the best way to maintain a car, any serious petrol head will want to drive there cars, but I have no idea of the insurance premiums, I imagine that is a major factor.

paulmose
paulmose
9 years ago

I grew up with British cars, so did my wife, that’s how we met. So we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary by buying a great, solid and straight MGA roadster – twenty years ago. A super ten-ten car (looks great at ten feet and ten miles an hour). We hauled kids, yard plants, went on date nights and my wife loved bringing the Christmas tree home sticking out of the cockpit with the dog barking at anyone within range. I started it with the crank for the kids. I dropped the leaf blower on it three, yes three times.

So one year ago I found IT, a 49k mile Porsche 911 Carrera, one owner, every shred of paperwork, tools, yada yada yada and not a mark on it inside or out. The wife cried when the MGA left, the daughters REALLY cried and I did too….

The PO of the 911 kept it in the garage its entire life, in the rain only twice. So the 911 is not a high dollar car (sorta) and seems to be increasing in value quickly, but I am kinda panicky about parking lots, puddles in the street and birds on limbs in the front yard over the drive. Am glad we have it but if I dropped the leaf blower on it you would hear the cries of anguish on both coasts, but I am determined to add my own patina and drive it like is should be!

Not so sure about the Christmas tree thing though.

Rip Curl
Rip Curl
9 years ago

To my mind there is no car in the world so valuable that it cannot be used. On that premise I believe that when a car’s value begins to dictate your ability to use it then you can no longer ‘afford’ to have it. The car begins to own you rather than you own the car and this is a totally relative thing. As an example I may see a $30K car as ‘disposable’ while for someone else that amount of money buys a car that is stored away for nice weather and special occasions. With million plus dollar cars the thinking is the same but merely the numbers are bigger and if the market outruns your wallet or comfort level then the car is no longer something you can afford in the full sense of the word.

Kevin Kisling
Kevin Kisling
9 years ago

for me, i’d keep driving it and enjoying it. that’d be a great problem to have. use the car for however you get pleasure out of it.

James Chen
James Chen
9 years ago

when you worry too much about driving it, and no longer enjoy the drive !

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer
9 years ago

Never. A car that is not used for the purpose it was created becomes worthless in my opinion.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason
9 years ago
Reply to  Sid Widmer

What about when insurance becomes so high or doesn’t allow you to drive it? Do you sell it? Keep it in the garage?

Inigo Loy Colmenar
Inigo Loy Colmenar
9 years ago

L.A is a jungle and a place where you can feel the rat race on the freeways and streets. Drivers have no respect and will cut in front of you without any warning. You may love your car and want to drive it as much as you can but drivers around you just don’t care and will run you over if they want to.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
9 years ago

My Daytona is probably worth three times what it was when it came into my possession but I’ve probably used it more in the last few years than when I first got it. One of the advantages of the increase in value is that it is far less likely to be declared a write off if something should befall it as it’s appreciating faster than the rebuild costs.
Having said that one of the curious downsides is that as cars appreciate the insurance becomes more restrictive (at least in the UK). One of the reasons my Dad sold his 250SWB was it was becoming difficult to find adequate cover for anything other than the car sitting in the garage.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
9 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

P.S. love the Ferrari 330GTC in the pictures above one of the best (and certainly most under-ratted sixties Ferraris 🙂

mattdogg02
mattdogg02
9 years ago

Never?