Why does someone collect classic cars? My simple answer is – an appreciation! Let me elaborate. I’m not talking only about appreciation in value, although it’s nice to see the rise in values that has happened over my lifetime. But for me, there is an appreciation of the men and women who designed, tested and brought these machines to the world. The competitive nature amongst auto makers, how and why their car would be better than their rival’s, I have always found interesting.
I have studied the behind scenes of what goes into the engineering process and it boils down to this; there is an element of human spirit, ingenuity, pride, vision and above all, competition to be the best. For a classic car collector, you are curating the sum of all their work, all their reaching for perfection. Everyone will have a different answer, but this is mine.
Lee Iacocca, William Durant, Louis Chevrolet, Walter Chrysler, Dave Brown, Colin Anthony Bruce Chapman, to name a few, all these guys had a vision. They were driven (literally!) to set themselves apart. After all, cars have four wheels, an engine and a steering wheel, right??? But why were they different, what makes them special? Capturing that difference is the essence of why I collect.
Inevitably there will be enthusiasts who are just Ford collectors, Auburn collectors, Chevy collectors etc. But I can tell you having unique cars of different makes creates conversational topics that can often lead to literally hours of discussion (just ask my wife!). You’ll be amazed by what you can learn.
At the end of the day, every classic car lover will give their own unique reasons for collecting, and there is no wrong answer. For me, however, there is one last underlying element to this, to which we collectors I think will all admit; there is a sense of camaraderie when gathered together in a parking lot, at events or shows, that is like nothing else I’ve experienced. These beautiful creations bring out a microcosm of supporters who engage and encourage one another no matter what level of an enthusiast or collector that you are. Speaking of value, this more than anything, is priceless.
Jason Paynter is a classic car appraiser, collector and unabashed enthusiast. He is also author of the new book, Drop, Throttle, Oversteer: Collecting & Investing in Classic Cars, available at Amazon! He lives in Louisville, KY with his beautiful wife and three sons who are (heaven help him) almost all of driving age.