Monday, July 14, 2008

Chapter 2 $30k Collection


No matter what style of transport inspires you buying a collection of true classic or used specialty vehicles is a viable option. By collection, I mean at least three vehicles. Two vehicles is two vehicles. Three and up is a collection. Over 50 an obsession. Don’t worry, you can’t buy 50 vehicles with $30,000. Really, I’ve tried.

One of the most often bandied about negatives of non new cars is that they are unreliable. That is patently false. Remember, in their day(whether that was 3 years or 30 years ago) these vehicles were designed to be used daily. Well maintained, and this is different than restoration and is actually very affordable, vehicles rarely leave one down. Just like a squeaky wheel gets the oil we all hear about the old cars that break down and leave you stranded to hitchike, not the thousands of others that keep on rolling. And in the case that one of your vehicles decides to show its “character” by not performing that is why you need a collection. You just shrug your shoulders and pull another arrow out of your quiver.

The other negative the uninformed love to throw out that maintaining an older vehicle or collection of vehicles is expensive. To that I say that is not nearly as expensive as throwing away over $300 a month on depreciation. You can perform a whole lot of maintenance for the average three year loss of $14,000. Heck you could maintain a brace of new Ferraris at the highest level for this kind of money. Maintenance is affordable, restoration is not. That is why I suggest buying well-maintained cars that have already been restored either fully or partially. Let the pervious owner take the financial pain. This is common sense and knowledge. I just don’t know why more people don’t follow it.

And one of the worst things of new car ownership the depreciation turns into a positive, in most cases, with the cars I recommend you look at. Most will be at the bottom of their depreciation cycle. They won’t go down. And a few will go up in value by a couple percent a year if kept in good shape. Wow, you’re investing in a stable or appreciating asset and not a depreciating one.

Then there are the other savings involved with owning older vehicles: taxes and insurance. Property taxes will be lower for sure. Then when it comes to insuring your collection you have lots of options to save money. If one vehicle is a motorcycle these are very affordable to insure even with ridiculously high bodily damage limits of a half million dollars. For regular vehicles you can drive one daily and insure the others as classics for a fraction the cost of regular insurance through a company like Hagerty. Or, you could have a seasonal collection where you insure the coupe in the winter and the convertible in summer. And this sort of rotation will keep the relationship fresh to boot.

And the final and most important reason owning a collection of classics is better than a brand new car is that it is much, much more enjoyable. You’ll meet new people through enthusiast clubs or just on the street. You’ll become more confident after tackling basic maintenance like filter and light bulb changes that our overweight over indulged society has to have the dealership do for them. And any day you’re not in a car dealership is a day worthy of Champagne. Or at least sparkling wine.

The positives continue. You can choose a vehicle like you choose an outfit. Is it a sporty weekend or a dirty errand? You will have a vehicle that is better suited to the task. Or you can pick a vehicle by your mood. Feeling adventurous grab the old Triumph Trophy or Ford Bronco. Feeling a bit flashy, drop into the drop top. Every combustion engine powered dream is reachable within a $30,000 collection. Just break free from the new car lemmings and follow the sent of oil and leather to the promised land.

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