Old cars aren't always classics

If there is a complaint I hear more every day among car enthusiast, it's the price of used cars.

It is not a secret that classic cars have skyrocketed in value over the last couple of years. Of course, most of us understand why the Ferrari 250 GTO or the Mclaren F1 are sold in auction for the money they are being sold for. We also understand why many classic cars cost the same as a brand new car, like the Lancia Delta Integrale, for example.

I think it's common sense, at least for petrolheads, the value of a classic car… The problem comes when people mistake an old car with a classic car. For example, here where I live, if your vehicle is older than 25 years old, it is exempt from taxation because it's classified as a classic car. Now, if you ask me, or any other person, a 1994 front wheel drive Celica it's not a classic, it's an old car, the GT Four, with it's WRC pedigree, would be a classic. The BMW E30 M3 is a classic car… But a 316 E30… Well, you probably can see where I'm going with this.

Before I bought my current car, I thought "I'm going to buy something interesting and old that nobody cars and it will be cheap". Well, I was wrong. Looking on the used car market I tried looking for E30s, no particular trim level, and even for the most significant piece of junk, people asked north 3000 euros "because it is a classic". Nissan S13/180SX? Forget to get one for less than 5000 (but maybe the famous "drift tax" has something to do about it). I mean, I could get a not too bad Porsche 944 for 6000 Euros, and you try to sell me a rust-bucket for 5000?

Sorry but your average, mass-production car is not a classic.

And you can probably find a lot more examples too, and if you read the description on the car ad, it will include the word "classic". No, it is not. Sorry but your average, mass-production car is not a classic. Classic cars earned that status, like the Mazda MX-5 NA but, then again, what is the point of overpricing a vehicle that was sold by the millions.

And I know what are you going to say and you are absolutely right. It is our fault. I've seen the same overpriced old car for sale for months, but I have also seen people who pay those prices. If we are being honest, these prices are based on sentimental value, and not only the seller's, but also de buyer's sentimental value.

The only reason we would pay 50 thousand euros for an Audi Quattro S1 is that we want to feel like we are Walter Rölh making its way through the public on the Group B days. And it is fair enough. I do too… Even though I like the 037 more, but that is a write up for another day.

My point is, I understand that nostalgic reason. I want a 1999 blue Dodge Viper with silver stripes because my parents gave me a scale model of it when I was a kid, and it burnt into my brain… but we have to put a limit. The inflation going on these days with the prices of old cars is insane.

And the consequences are more profound than one might actually think. I can't be the only one who has seen that younger generations care less about cars. Before I keep going, if you are "younger generation" and you are reading this, I'm not talking about you, obviously. Studies and stats say that every year fewer people are getting their driver license. And I can see why.

Not only the environmental reasons or the fact that roads are clogged up with cars and every time you go to work you have to spend a minimum 30 minutes stuck in a traffic jam… But also because you can't get something mildly amusing to work on the weekends for a low price.

I've been lurking the interwebs for the past years looking for a project car to restore and have as a fun weekend car... and is impossible because people tend to think the more rust car it has, the more valuable it is as an "unfinished project". This also means that any kid will spot a car he likes on the street, go to the internet and look for it. That will lead to the disappointing reality that he would have to save a lot of money to, one day, be able to buy a high mileage 30-year-old production car just because someone, at some point, decided that everything old is now "collectable".

I'm interested to see your point of view about this as long as you are respectful so, write it in the comments below!

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Comments (11)
  • Every car is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. While you may not see the value in mass produced old cars, they do have a value. Its important to remember not everyone can afford the expensive cars you've mentioned. Its also important to remember that not everyone thinks of the the cars you've mentioned with the same fondness you have. Common cars appeal to a wider selection of people. You can call it sentimentality if you'd like, but people do have a tendency to stick to what they know.

    13 days ago
    2 Bumps
  • Spot on, I fully agree with everything you wrote here....

    13 days ago
    2 Bumps