The Hobby Of Auto Classic Collecting
by Micah Bleecher
A collection of classic cars
Every year, auto companies make new models of their cars. Every year, the older models, in general, increase in value. Along with that, the auto classic models like the Chevrolet Impala, or the Buick 8, also go up in value. The auto classic models are considered some of the best cars ever made. They are often seen as having captured the spirit of the era they were first produced and possessed a charm that other models after them have failed to possess. Most of these models also have gone past their expected service life and the casual driver finds them too costly to maintain in good enough condition to drive on a regular basis. However, an enthusiast is likely to accept such problems and live with them in exchange for having what some would call a mobile piece of art.
Generally, an auto classic has been around for 25 years or more, which is a large margin when one considers the usual lifespan of an automobile -- around 10 to 15 years. Most cars don't even make it past the five-year mark, so any model that makes it long enough to be considered a classic is one of those tried and true survivors. The classic car can be difficult to maintain since the parts will likely be impossible to get through the common auto-parts dealerships and, in most cases, have totally ceased to be produced by manufacturers. However, for a true collector, a classic car represents something that modern automobile manufacturers, with their SUVs and focus on utility, fail to grasp: over-the-top style. Hardcore car collectors will casually mention that more modern cars don't have the same feel, that same undefined quality that older cars, like the legendary Chevrolet Impala or the 1948 Delahaye, seem to possess in bundles.
Despite that, some people still get a very strong sense of personal satisfaction at having fixed up a machine to the point that it meets the original specifications of the manufacturer. Like restoring a priceless work of art, there is a feeling of having done something worthwhile about restoring an auto classic its glory days, when it was first manufactured. It is similar to having preserved some piece of the past for nostalgic reasons, to be enjoyed by future generations. Aside from the personal gratification, however, there also exists a potential market for these cars that one can take advantage of, if one has the patience.
Make no mistake, the auto classic models do have a market out there. Some people are willing to buy them, even at the most exorbitant prices, if they want it badly enough. Naturally, the car has to be in good physical condition but whether or not it can actually be driven regularly is usually not considered. The rarer and older the car is, the more likely the price will go up annually. Though serious classic car enthusiasts, like art collectors, will tell you that the way the prices fluctuate cannot be predicted and, as such, no particular manufacturer, model, or year really stands out as a perfect investment. In simple terms, you collect these cars because you enjoy having them and maintaining them, not because you're expecting a huge return investment in a few years' time.
To sum it all up, auto classic collectors are, much like art collectors, very passionate about their collections and aren't just in it for the money. Some, on occasion, will sell a part of their collection but for the most part, these auto classic lovers prefer to keep them safe in their garages, maintained with a devotion and care that you rarely see outside of the art world. It may seem ridiculous to some, since the cost of maintaining and storing them is quite disturbing, but in the end, you can't put a dollar value on art. For the serious collector, these cars are just that: art.
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