I think if you’re here reading my crap then we probably share opinions on the negative impact of “investment” values on old cars before enough for you all to know where I’m coming from. I also have espoused my opinions on the generation shifts of what is or isn’t nostalgia and how that affects what is a “collectable” whether that’s a car or an object d’art or whatever. But there’s more to this than that.
There’s also more to this than the instinctive reaction many of us have to reject the popular things which the masses are jumping on and hyping up.
But think about it – cheap old cars are fun.
For those of us of a certain age, the cheap old cars we grew up with are now the expensive toys of the wealthy enthusiasts. Or investors. Or whatever. So many of us of a certain age either scrimp and save (or borrow) to buy what was once cheap at a high price. Or some of us gave up. Those guys are the ones buying the old car magazines, or sitting on the old car forums or socials and bitching about this and that while driving a 2-year-old transport-appliance on a lease.
But cheap cars are still out there and Godamnit they are still fun. You can’t buy a Mk1 Escort Mexico or a first-generation Camaro for £1500 and blitz it round like it ain’t no thing anymore. But there’s other stuff out there that is fun. And fun is what you make it. Some time ago I was custodian of a mate’s ’69 Camaro for a summer. It should have been the most fun ever but unfortunately, I just couldn’t divorce my experience of the car from the fear of the value of it.
I have a collection of classic cars from 1956 and up. I bought a 1994 Ford Fiesta 1.3 with the CVT transmission for less than the cost of a set of new tyres for my ’92 Town Car. I’ve spent more on a night in a posh hotel. Its scruffy, its not my era of nostalgia, its not even my type of car. But somehow the cheapness, simplicity and the fact nobody else wanted it are absolutely the appeal.
I am an automotive deviant, and I love it.
I have started researching the mk3 Fiesta. I didn’t care before I owned this one. But now I have a reason to learn and there’s some really interesting and surprisingly diverse stuff. If you put your (open) mind to it, almost any crappy old car can be a source of interest and new learning. And it doesn’t have to cost £20k to buy in. I have projects. I am working on a couple of ‘60s Americans right now. Somehow the little Fiesta seems just more “fun” though and I’m totally enjoying just playing with it. And that’s what counts, right?
I’m not going to give up on my big ass V8s. That’s “who I am”. But having a laugh with a cheap old POS I got for buttons on a local free ad (or Marketplace) is also “who I am”. Once one car did the same trick. Now its 2 cars to cover the same ground. I guess we call that “Diversity”