Classics on a budget

Collectors Of Low Cost Cars That Will Surely Become Classics Really Soon

4y ago

More precisely, financially incompetent people who collect cheap cars that they have little ability to restore.

This is about identifying affortable cars that provide great fun on a limited budget. I am an excellent example for those whose passion to collect exceeds their resources, abilities and front yard. Basically it's car collecting for the incompetent.

If you know how a working cam shaft should look, then this tribe is probably not for you. We don't really want to encourage discussions on whether a 1985 overhead cam shaft can still fit in the 1987 model. If you know the answer to that question then this tribe is definitely not for you.

If you enjoy your 1986 Alfa Romeo Sprint with a strange vibration and some rust "only in the usual places" then this may be the tribe for you.

If you're serious, you will have become close friends with your mechanic mainly because you put his two kids through school. A trustworthy mechanic is important, a sympathetic one even better. In my case he is an Italian mechanic. This is more important because anyone who served their apprenticeship on Italian cars can keep anything running. Although I will admit that when he diagnosed my 2001 RX7 with 27 faults his face finally gave an expression of complete defeat or sudden diarrhoea . Sometimes it's hard to tell.

The joy is found in both the hunt for that neglected gem and the satisfaction when it finally springs to life. It's in between these two stages that this tribe would offer a mix of camaraderie and ridicule.

There are success stories like the unlikely reliability of my 2006 Alfa GT purchased cheaply after suffering eye watering levels of depreciation by its two former owners. And there are spectacular failures like the 1964 Datsun ute with an engine that was not running, but in reality never had, as it didn't even belong to that make or model.

There's the adventure. The people who sell me these cars. They're usually the weirdest most miserable people you could ever meet, who on reflection often resemble me 12 months later.

The other side for the budget collector is cost. I have no doubt that a $50,000 plus late model Porsche Boxter or BMW coupe would be brilliant. But hardly a challenge. Even if you had accumulated that sort of money to outlay in one hit, the depreciation is going to pretty quickly eat away at your hobby car money. Whats more you're probably using it as your every day car, in which case it's impractical, so indicates that you work in corporate law or investment banking. So probably this isn't the tribe for you.

Our financial competency is not measured by normal means, particularly at home. It involves a complex equation of factoring in the number of non runners currently in the yard, the cost of repairs outstanding, and the perceived value that these will surely be worth one day.

It's about the joy of realising that an affordable 1995 model Jag X300 can be a surprisingly reliable drive, then setting out to find that retired doctor who wants to down size to a new Toyota Carolla. I did. That's what this tribe is about.

Peter Miller

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