Getting Into the Vintage Car Lifestyle
There are various levels of classic car ownership. Collectors are at the top of the food chain; these are car owners who invest a lot of money into their hobby, and they tend to be members of the Classic Car Club of America. If you have an interest in vintage cars, you do not have to become a collector; if you have previously purchased used cars, you are a good candidate for vintage car ownership.
We already know that buying a car is not an activity that can be considered to be a financial investment. True classic cars restored by collectors can certainly pay off when sold at exclusive auctions, but this is not for everyone. A good introduction to vintage cars would be to look for a model that you would like to transform into a daily driver or at least into a sexy machine you can drive across the Outer Banks Scenic Byway over the weekend.
Making a Commitment to Maintenance and Repair
Let’s say you find a 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible, the kind that looks just like an old British roadster, on sale for less than $4,000. This is a gorgeous and zippy car that is certainly worth restoring into road-worthy shape, which is not the same as turning it into a collectible car. First of all, you would want to set aside a few thousand dollars for parts and repairs before you purchase this Miata; second, do not progress to the negotiation level before consulting with an auto service technician.
Having an auto repair professional by your side as you start your vintage car journey is highly recommended, particularly if you intend to make your classic a daily driver. If your purchase options are in the area, you can ask a technician to inspect the car and give you a full report along with estimates as to how much you will have to spend to get your vintage on the road. This inspection will not cost as much as you think because the technician will likely think of you as a potential long-term customer.
You would be surprised at how resilient some vintage cars have turned out to be. Those boxy Toyota Corolla and Celica AE86 models that were manufactured between 1984 and 1987 are not difficult to keep on the road; their parts may be a bit expensive, but they are often built to last. For some drivers, going vintage is the only way they can get behind the wheel of a luxury sports car such as Porsche 911 models from the 1980s, the ones with Targa tops, or supercharged Ford Mustangs from the same era.
The cost of daily driving a vintage car can be about the same as making payments on a new car, but you will be spending more out of pocket in the beginning. Make repair and maintenance plan with the auto shop manager for the purpose of coming up with reasonable budgets, and be sure to stick to these plans unless you want to be surprised by a thick smoke screen worthy of James Bond vehicle while driving I-40.