When I were a lad, and all of this were just fields, the honest working man came home from his day of graft in a proper industrial form of labour and on his drive was a Ford Escort or Cortina whatever. It was a proper working man’s car. I realise I am on the verge of going full boomer here and now and I’m only generation X myself.
So as the working man of industry became the working man of the call centre and the Cortinas shifted to Sierras then a oily generation of lads and lasses picked up the cheap Escorts and Cortinas and yes even Capris and so on. We bought them cheap, we had great fun with them and then they probably got scrapped or sold on to someone who maybe restored it in later years. In other lands other automotive staples like Chevelles and Impalas and Torinos and the like had their own cycle.
And then one day we woke up and suddenly a Mk1 Escort Mexico is worth north of £50k. Nobody laughs at the idea of a Hemi Cuda selling for the sort of money previously only really considered for Bugattis. Many people decreed that this was a very bad thing indeed. Well, evidently if you want a buy a genuine Mk1 Lotus Cortina and you don’t fancy selling your house for it, well, that sucks. If you fancy a genuine 6 pack Roadrunner and you are on a “working wage”, well, that’s not going great for you either.
The folk who bought in at the right time obviously see it as a good thing. You should note that “at the right time” is pretty much 2 weeks after you see me sell an example of that make and model, that’s the point they start appreciating…
And objectively, it concerns me that collector car values spiral ever upward. The cars start to attract “investors” more than “enthusiasts” and they become treasured assets, trailer queens and all, and then we get that ugly form of elitism which accompanies the elevation of such cars. I worry there is a long-term issue, as younger enthusiasts are priced out of makes, models and even eras. Who will then care about these cars in the future? If you don’t think that “people not caring about old cars which were previously much in demand” is a thing, have a look at the values of pre-war cars of late. Suddenly some of those old things are really good value. Its market forces. The guys who are into those old things are dying off or getting too old to work on them or even drive them. Even some of the 50s cars values are pretty soft in comparison with those of the late 60s, 70s… The reason young folks aren’t moving in to bolster demand isn’t *just* because they had been priced out of the market for these kinds of cars but it doesn’t help.
But old cars need to have value. Seriously, we get all po-faced and say that folk should restore old cars purely for the joy and satisfaction of a restoration well done. Yeah, this is true to an extent, and I get super frustrated at the attitude that “I spent £50k restoring this so it has to be worth at least £50k” but on the other hand car guys need to be able to get their money back out of a project or they can’t get onto the next. If every classic you restored caused you take a massive loss then you’d quickly wonder what the f’in point of it all was.
If there is no value to an old car, then not only is there no great driver for guys (and gals) to restore them but there is no driver for people to sell, resell, refurbish or remanufacture parts for them – and that is quite vital for not only yours and my convenience but the livelihoods of thousands of folks who run these businesses large and small around the world.
So yeah, it’s great to see value added to classic cars. But try not to see it as some form of birth right, and try not to be an ass about it when you get lucky and find your chosen old tut is suddenly used in a popular movie and the resale goes exponential…