I've got an unhealthy obsession with restored SUVs
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a company in Lisbon who restores classic Land Rovers, now I can't stop looking at classic restored SUVs.
Restored classic cars in general are a money pit. They're stupidly expensive to buy, they stop functioning frequently, they're expensive and time consuming to maintain and normally thanks to neanderthallic engineering and design they're ridiculously impractical as well. Thing is, none of that matters, most petrol heads will sell their soul and multiple limbs just to own, drive and store their own classic car.
I've always loved classic and restored vehicles. But recently and for whatever reason I've developed an unhealthy obsession with classic restored trucks and SUVs. I've written about this obsession a couple of times, about my near need to take on a project Ford F150 and spend all of my god willing time on nurturing that heap of metal back to life.
I wanted to have a think today, though, on why I have this ridiculous obsession in the hope that I might be able to pull myself out of the abyss. And I say that because my most recent aesthetically pleasing hobby has been looking at $225,000USD restored Ford Bronco beach trucks. That and the Cool N Vintage Land Rover's I was posting about a couple of weeks ago.
Worse still, my partner (who is normally the voice of reason in our family) is all for the idea. She loves imagining a 30C degree day in Noosa, QLD rolling up to the main street in sunlight developing her tan listening to Taylor Swift (I get little choice over what I listen to when she's in the car). So she's no hope of stopping me from importing and paying to store one of these stupidly impractical vehicles. She's even suggested we start buying a developing land for commercial property so we can put a garage on that land and store my ever developing collection of cars.
It's ridiculous, we're only in our late 20s, we should be starting businesses and expanding our property empire. But the moment I start searching for houses I somehow get distracted and my mind goes "oh look, that Bronco is only $190,000USD that's a pretty good price".
So it's at this point that we've pretty much accepted the inevitability of spending the majority of what remains of our our families life savings on a car. A car that will gain value (thankfully) but an expensive one none the less. That will give me headaches in transport and will probably fall off a container ship or get infested with stink bugs. But once it's here it won't matter, it will be the pinnacle of our lifestyle.
I'm actually surprised these vehicles aren't more popular. There was a similar EV conversion company from Los Angeles floating around previously who specialised in converting Bronco's and other older trucks to electric powered motors.
Let's reflect on that point for a minute as well, because I honestly think that converting an original classic vehicle to EV isn't just the pinnacle of the future of car collecting. But I believe it's the future of sustainability as well. Like a shining light in a world of single-use materials where we have a chance to re-use nearly 100% of a eaten up and used old vehicle. How good is that?
Sure they might be slightly unsafe compared to modern standards but as with most classic cars you aren't exactly going to be driving it day to day. It's also worth mentioning that an EV conversion for said classic vehicle would actually make servicing and maintaining the vehicle a hell-of-a lot cheaper and easier as well.
Maybe that's the solution? Maybe I need to be talking to one of these conversion companies and instead spending $400,000USD on a converted and restored classic Land Rover or Ford Bronco.
That sentence alone just tells you how manic this obsession of mine has become. I'm trying to justify doubling a price tag on one of these vehicles with sustainability. Something which while I feel passionately about, am not prepared to ruin my own and my families lives over in 6 months flat.
It does make me question why the craze isn't far more popular though? I mean let's be honest, SUVs were at their prime in their pre-1990 state. Newer vehicles, while still nice, are far too mass-produced to ever truly be all that cool. Even special editions like the Range Rover Sport can be bought near instantly in any specification from a Land Rover dealership. A pre-1990 SUV was rare, people were buying up station wagons back then so SUVs were produced in very low numbers.
They were also so much better looking than they were today. We still hail the original Land Rover Series I as the pinnacle of SUV design today. But even the original Range Rover Velar concept, the Ford F150, the Ford Bronco, Willys Jeep and Land Cruiser Troop Carrier looked absolutely beautiful. If you see a fully restored, painted and modified version of any one of those vehicles on the road today they all turn heads.
They also come from a time of freedom in lifestyle. The 70s, 80s and 90s were pre-dystopian surveillance states where you could genuinely have fun with life (at times illegally) without fear that someone would be watching and ready to pounce. And maybe that's the appeal behind these vehicles. They're the 80s lifestyle with technology of today. Like a cyberpunk film or one of the earlier James Bond films. They almost represent science fiction.
Whatever the motivation, talking about it here, today hasn't really done anything to cure my obsession. In fact right now I'm looking at a Bronco which has been dubbed the "Seattle". The fact that the company I'm researching (Classic Ford Broncos in the US in case you were wondering) has named their individual vehicles is equally exciting as the vehicle itself. I think the solution to this massive obsession is I'm just going to have to buy one and see if I like it. And if I do? Well I suppose I don't need a family, house, food or really water to live. I've got a classic restored SUV and that's all I need.