Journal: Why Did You Buy Your Classic Car?

Why Did You Buy Your Classic Car?

By Andrew Golseth
June 24, 2016
22 comments

I’ve only purchased one vehicle that I hadn’t lusted over for an extended period of time. Every other vehicle I own(ed) was in my sights for years, some decades. My “must own before I die” automobile list was almost entirely written before I could legally drive. I’ve wanted a Datsun 620 pickup since I was a boy. I’ve dreamt of a stepnose Alfa since my 7th to 8th grade summer break. And, although not quite a classic—call it a modern classic—I’ve pined for an E36 M3 since my freshman year.

But why these specific oddballs? Well, the Datsun 620 “bulletside” is just cool. Sure, it’s not particularly good at being a truck, it’s certainly not great at being a sporty car despite my attempts to flog it otherwise, and it’s not very desirable to most enthusiasts—I just like it. When 13-year-old me saw a Bertone 105 Alfa for the first time, I thought it was a vintage Ferrari—so astonishingly beautiful, its captivation never left me. When I got to high school, some lucky senior got his father’s hand-me-down black 3 series coupe. He slapped an M3 front bumper and wheels on it, lowered it a tad, and despite the nicer cars in the parking lot, to me, he had the coolest car at school.

My, admittedly weird, preference for cars boils down to one thing: aesthetics. I’m obsessed with proportions and design. Clean understated lines catch my eye while messy, busy, cars with scoops and wings and things couldn’t disinterest me more. There are hundreds of automobiles I’d love to own, but my auto bucket list consists of obtainable vehicles I initially took a liking to for their design—almost always my reason for purchase. Thankfully, they all happen to be fun to drive in their own ways—I suppose there’s a correlation between good design and performance (excluding the pickup)?

I find it hard to relate to enthusiasts who never seem to know what they want. I’ve got this friend who texts me weekly if not daily, forwarding me countless Autotrader and Craigslist links to whatever car he’s most certainly buying this week. Dead set on his latest obsession, he researches his newfound love that’s sure to fill the void. To no avail, a few days later he’s convinced himself not to buy X classic because A-Z reasons, and it’s back to sending me for sale ads. I’ve desired the same cars for so long, it bemuses me when enthusiasts are essentially clueless as to what they really want.

Some choose a car for its performance. Sometimes it’s just a bargain that couldn’t be passed up. Other times, cars seem to find their owners in obscure ways. Many select a classic because they couldn’t afford it when new and they’re finally able to fulfill a childhood dream.

Anyway, I want to know why __________ is parked in your garage… What made you buy your classic? With so many spectacular automobiles produced, how do you choose?

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Jose DelgadilloTony WoodArt HarveymoosesportZach Moulds Recent comment authors
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Jose Delgadillo
Jose Delgadillo

I am always looking for something that I think is special. I rode Harleys for a very long time. I had Fifties Cadillacs and Sixties Buick Rivieras. Had several Datsun Z cars and a ’70 Mustang a couple of years back. Now I’ve got a few old Jaguars. An XJS convertible, a ’97 XJ6, and a ’51 Mark VII. I find that the Jaguars are beautiful and have a lot of mystique. It’s full time job trying to keep up with my fleet of projects. I know I shouldn’t keep looking for something new, but I constantly do.

Tony Wood
Tony Wood

Always wanted one. From when I was 21 years old. Finally was able to find one at 35 years old. That was in ’89. Still own it. She’s had a ground up, baremetal rebuild at extreme cost (never again) and a few customising features just for me – four wheel discs and R&P steering among a few other touches. But the car hasn’t been cut up at all, and could be returned to factory if you wanted. And she’s not for sale. What is she? An Autralian bodied 1964 Ford Falcon hardtop, with the 289 and auto.

Art Harvey
Art Harvey

What a question… Styling, performance and passion! Subjective all of course – The ’67 Plymouth Satellite convertible in 2002 because it’s my personal favorite Mopar design*, flat and scalloped the way Elwood Engels intended and I found one of 96 with the smooth willing thrust of a factory 383 big block (*so sue me that it’s not a ’68 Charger RT). Then the ’65 Satellite hardtop came along in 2006 as a project car offered by a guy who knew I loved Satellites (the cheaper but still V8 powered sibling of the GTX). The hardtop has the reverse C-pillar I… Read more »

moosesport
moosesport

They moved me. All of them. ’67 200D. ’69 Beetle. ’69 911T. ’71 911S. ’72 2002tii. ’83 300D turbodiesel. ’84 GTi. ’86 4000CS quattro. ’87 944S. ’89 200 turbo quattro. To name but a few. All of them captured a part of me.

Zach Moulds
Zach Moulds

Is it cliche to say Top Gear showed me what I had to have? There is a scene during the classic British roadster episode where they show the abandoned old factories that were previously booming car makers. I’m not British but it pulled at my heart strings to think that style of car building has gone away. In America, we see cars shaped to save fuel, not to invoke feelings of lust and that’s where my heart lies. I want cars that are built to be beautiful and fun. So, after months of searching, I happened upon an older man… Read more »

GTRace84 Marra
GTRace84 Marra

I have been lusting after a Stepnose or 69 Alfa GTV1750 for the last ten years ever since seeing them on track via HSR when I worked at Sebring Raceway. It took me the last five years of searching for the right price, condition, and other variables with a number slipping through my fingers. Finally a track friend of mine helped me track down his Cava Beige 69 he had sold five years ago and was able to arrange for its purchase and transport from Seattle to Florida. Car was fully worked over by Group 2 before delivery and has… Read more »

Jan
Jan

Because my clownshoe is freaking hawt. 🙂

z3coupe3.0
z3coupe3.0

Now, is it a classic? I was going to write I had to have one as soon as I saw one on the road, and I held back thinking a 2002 model is not a classic, not even a “youngtimer”. It does feel like a classic though 😉
Starting a debate maybe?

FH944
FH944

Growing up as a kid, my dad had a 1979 924. Not exactly known as a power house, but as a child, it was a 959 in my book. At 13, my car I still have now kinda fell in my lap. Porsche was and is my car of choice. I was at a friend’s and I saw the unmistakable hips of a 944 under a car cover in his neighbors garage. I talked to dad, the next day we went and bought my first car. 1986 944. I’m now 22 and I’m still just as passionate about my 2… Read more »

Dennis White
Dennis White

Had a 74 GTV back in the day and got away from fun cars while having a career and family. Got the bug in 08 attending Pebble for the first time and it cost me an Alfa 2600 Spider. Got a bigger bug 2 years later at the Monterey Historics and it cost me a 67 Alfa GT Junior track car. Last year got another bug for a touring car for rallies and it cost me… So it’s cost me a lot (to say nothing of the fettling) but it’s been an awful lot of fun!

Nicholas Millbrook
Nicholas Millbrook

When I was a child in the early 80s my dad was looking at and running cars from the 70s. Subconsciously cars from this period became my favourite choice. After owning several 80s cars (including a Mk2 Vauxhall Cavalier Convertable for over 9 years) I finally made the decision to sort myself out and go for my favourite car. My dad briefly owned one when I was young and remember getting dragged around the localish area looking at several others over the years. Well the time came back in 2007 when my car came up for sale just as I… Read more »

apprenticeofcool
apprenticeofcool

First got into classic cars at an early age, in the UK in the mid to late 80’s they were a genuine alternative to a regular car. For the price of a small hatch back you could easily get a two seater convertible and most importantly classic car insurance meant you could afford to drive it as a youngster. My first car, bought in 1987 was a Triumph Spitfire MkIII, 1968. I have managed to hang on to it since then (although I confess it now needs a restoration). Since then, I have been fortunate enough to own a number… Read more »

Ray Houghton
Ray Houghton

I’d always loved vintage cars, but raising kids, building a house, and everything else seemed to keep me in practical cars. Then about 16 years ago a new job, recent divorce, I started a long 400 mile commute from my home on the Mendocino coast, to my job in San Francisco. I was buying low mileage used cars, and wearing them out on my commute. I’d gone through an Toyota van (kid hauler), Acura Integra, and finally a Volkswagen Jetta, when I was browsing craigslist looking for the next one, The plan was to get something reliable that might last… Read more »

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

Great cars, the Fiat Spider. My very first classic car was a ’79 spider I bought for a thousand dollars. I really wanted an Alfa spider but couldn’t afford one. Thing is, when I finally did buy an ’80s Alfa spider, I realized it was a step down from the Fiat.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

A great many variety of reasons but looks caused the spark in all of the cases. When I was in college and lacking two pence to rub together, the Porsche 928 was the ultimate desire and dream. But the 944 was potentially achievable and I wanted one so badly it made me sick. When I finally got the 944 some 20 years later, I had emotionally moved on and had gone through a great many cars that were more expensive. But I saw a beautiful early 944 and bought it out of nostalgia, it did not disappoint. My first great… Read more »

Kenneth Hancock
Kenneth Hancock

I currently own an Alfa Milano Verde. Only because I was unable to restore my 1969 Alfa 1750 GTV and after decades had to let it go. The Milano had no value. The GTV did. Not crying over spilt milk. Over the years I have owned a 1959 Porsche 356A 1600S coupe, a Datsun 510 sedan with BRE add ons, a 1963 Alfa 1600 101 Sprint, and a 1967 Alfa 1300 GT Jr. Step nose. I’ve lusted after an E-type Jaguar coupe series 1 3.8 litre or 4.2, just missed out on a Ferrari 250 GTE when they were cheap,… Read more »

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss

64 MGB – Red – I was in college and bought it as practice for someday having a Jag. 31 years later I still have it, and no Jag. 91 MR-2 – Yellow – Midlife crisis, boy-racer, wanted a car I could drive to work that had some form of modern safety features. Plus we had two Previas at the time and I wanted to keep the Toyota mid-engine vibe going. 95 M3 – Yellow – Wanted to own a straight six, the Jag dream was out of reach, and I fell into the best driving car I’ve ever had…… Read more »

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers

It was a hand-me-down. It mostly comes down to sentiment and nostalgia.

I miss being able throw an elbow over the bench seat and steer with one finger while the A/C blows ice cold. No smoking, my car did not have the optional lighter. I should put a power port there during the restomod.

Lacerati
Lacerati

Completely inexperienced, I was – for some reason – determined I needed to learn how to wrench on old cars. I’ve always liked two-seaters, and figured something from the 1960s would be both advanced enough to be fun to drive and simple enough for me to learn how to work on. After seeing an MGA in an auto museum, I was certain that was the answer. Then I thought, “I should get something more ‘practical'”, so I set my sights on an MGB. While researching these cars all over the internet, I came across a post on an MG forum… Read more »

Steven Jepson
Steven Jepson

When I was a master’s student at Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, I drove down a street and saw my first Lancia Zagato. I stopped my car (then a ’70 Pontiac LeMans) and spent at least a half hour staring at it. It was also for sale – but I warned by the local foreign mechanic never to go near one. Years later, I had the opportunity to buy a rusted out Zagato in Wisconsin, then my current ’81 Special Edition. I love the handling, the 80’s blocky look, and the general usefulness of the targa top/convertible variant of the… Read more »

Nate
Nate

I wanted something analog, simplistic, reliable, cheap and enjoyable to drive. Its hard to find modern cars with those personality traits.

HitTheApex
HitTheApex

I bought my Toyota MR2 because I distinctly remember a poster of a yellow Turbo T-top I had as a child. It looks cool, with a design that has aged well, it has decent performance, and has a wonderfully tight-knit online community. That said, I think unconciously it was the poster of the yellow car that did it for me. I just had to have one, so when the opportunity to acquire a fairly clean car that just needed age-related work (bushings, seals, etc.), I knew I’d regret it if I passed it up and every day I am glad… Read more »