We’ve all seen cars sell at auctions in the million-dollar + range and my immediate question is simple.

What do you do with a multi-million-dollar car?

The first point is the massive buy-in cost gap between a 1.7-million-dollar Cobra and a driver quality four-door sedan. I’ve highlighted 4-doors for 15 years because they’ve always been affordable—even in today’s inflato-world for project cars.

The reason is based a simple economic principle—supply and demand. In other words, nobody wants Aunt Edna’s old more-door sedan, so it gets sold for peanuts at an estate sale or auction. You’ll find these cars in the back 40 of many auctions for under 5000—that number won’t even get you a down payment on a high-end paint job.

The second point follows the logic of the first point for buying a driver-quality classic.

The low buy-in cost means you have a little fiscal room for doing stuff on your car like new tires, brakes, suspension, electrical, detailing—stuff that you’ll see in older cars.  Aunt Edna’s old sedan may have been stored in a garage and routinely maintained, but parts get old and less functional over the decades—so does oil and antifreeze.   

The third point ties in with the second point.

Old four-doors are based on simple technology so you can work on them with basic knowledge and good coaching. You’ll find guys will jump in there and help you sort out a problem, plus you’ll learn more about your car.

There’s another bonus—most vital engine parts like water pumps and fuel pumps are still available and many of them can also be found at your local parts store. 

The fourth point is critical, and it too is linked to the third point about cost.

You’ll never risk your 7-figure classic on an extended road trip because it’s a one-of-one, million-dollar car—far removed from the day when dealers couldn’t give it away in 1973 because OPEC decided to hold the world hostage on gas prices.

That car has priced itself out of the real world, so it will never see 8-12 hour days on a highway again—just like you’ll never see the Mona Lisa when it’s not behind bulletproof glass.

Your less-than-5K Aunt Edna four-door sedan faces no such risk. You can pound it down any road and never miss a beat for one good reason—it’s worth 5000 bucks—not 2-million bucks.

The fifth point ties in–again with the fourth point.

You’re having fun with your low-end classic sedan because you bought it for fun.  You bought it because nobody wanted a more-door, but everybody loves it when you stop for gas.

Trust me—I know from experience that a humble sedan turns into a rock star on the road. Nobody sees a 7-figure car tucked in a garage–but everyone sees an old sedan on a pubic highway.

You’re going to be more popular than free beer on St. Paddy’s Day simple because you popped on an unloved, 5000-dollar car at an estate sale or auction. The guy who hides his million-dollar muscle car in a shop will never know that feeling.

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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