We ran into a guy with a classic old VW micro-bus earlier this summer.


We spotted him in traffic and tracked him back to a restaurant for his story.


His story was not unusual, but it also contained both reasons for ownership of old rides – financial and emotional.


He was in his early 30s and he had an uncontrollable urge to own a VW microbus ever since he was about 14, a time when other uncontrollable urges begin to appear in adolescent males.


The iconic VW bus has always had a big fan club since its glory days as a slow-moving hippy-hauler in the 60s. This particular VW owner was far too young for the flower power movement, so we assumed that he liked the whole 60s counter-culture idea as a fascinating footnote of ancient history.




Whatever the reason, he finally had an opportunity to buy a blast from the psychedelic past in his early 30s. The only obstacle was to convince his bride that the vehicle was more than a personal emotional investment-it was actually precious metal(his words not ours).


The precious metal label was applied after he proved to his wife that VW vans are a very hot financial investment in 2011. The last televised Barrett-Jackson auction gave him a Perry Mason airtight defense for his case.




The VW microbuses at the Orange County auction went through the roof and flirted with 200k in one case. Our guy had already sealed a deal with a principled seller willing to honor his agreed upon price for the van, despite the stratospheric new prices for the VW buses.


The story has a happy ending for the young guy and his family: he gets to fulfill his young teenaged dream and his wife is the co-owner of a very good financial investment.


This is a quintessential win-win situation from the tired cliché department for the happy couple.




We have found that most car guys invest in cars for emotional reasons and we applaud these guys with an enthusiastic standing ovation. Old vehicles should always be more about the emotional investment and less about the financial investment futures. These kind of investments aren’t pork belly futures


A true car guy’s soul should not be about dollars and cents.


It should always be about the emotional umbilical cord that was never cut between him and his vehicle.


It should never be about one of a kind rare because it has power vent windows and a rare gauge package. It should be about why that vehicle emotionally lassoed you at some point in your life and never let go of you.


We will always lean toward the owner who loves his or her collector car unconditionally and plans to drive it until they pry the steering wheel out of his or her cold dead hands.


These are the people that make stories that we are proud to tell the car world.


Jim Sutherland

More car stories for the right reasons at



TREV: “I love the “why we own old iron” story. I wish I could get it in larger print so I could hang it up in my hall way. A VW Bus??? ok, it’s cool. Don’t tell any one I said that. American Iron RULES! See you guys later this week. Keep up the good work!-Rev”

DENNIS:”I own old iron because I can fix it. These new cars might as well be made on Mars.