Why Did You Buy a Classic Car?
Most classic car fans begin that way out of necessity; new cars aren’t cheap and so they go out and buy something ten to twenty years old because it’s affordable. But in today’s crazy classic car market when most clean, cared-for, turn-of-the-millenium sports cars are already commanding a premium, this may not be an option. And so the ever-present questions for fans of classic cars come to mind: how much does it cost and how much is it worth? Legitimate questions indeed as most people spend as much as they can afford (or perhaps justify to themselves or spouses). So how much are you willing to spend on that perfect early ’70s Datsun 240Z? You know you can get a pristine Nissan 370Z, only a year or two old, for about the same price right? Or how about a Porsche 911? A brand-spanking-new one will cost about the same as some late ’60s/early ’70s vintages.
Not only are the prices similar but a new one will be more economical (in terms of fuel), more reliable, faster, safer, and a better handler, too. Obviously, scarcity plays a factor in the economics of classic cars. But some people think running out to purchase a new Ferrari is too garish, yet wouldn’t give a second thought to plunking down equal money for a car someone else’s grandfather bought new, which will be unreliable at best and relegated to short drives in the country every third weekend.
Yes, the stories and the life that the car has lived must count for something, but if you’re not the original owner, should you still get the benefit of the car’s patina? I suspect that most people, like me, buy cars to enjoy them and don’t really care about a particular car’s history (unless it’s a truly special history), but that begs the question–why buy a classic when new cars are pound-for-pound better in every quantifiable way? I’ll share my answer later this week.
So, what are you paying for with a classic and how do you justify paying an equal sum (equal to, or in excess of, a comparable modern day car) for a car that delivers less? It can’t just be scarcity, can it?