SEPTEMBER 16, 2012: WHAT EXACTLY DETERMINES THE IDEA THAT AN ANTIQUE CAR HAS CURB APPEAL FOR CAR GUYS?

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I die inside a little every time I watch a vintage movie or TV show in which cars or trucks are harmed during the filming of the old shows.

 

I weep openly and try to control feelings of helpless rage and frustration when another one bites the dust.

 

The older I get, the more senseless the destruction of the old iron seems to me, but the issue has to be put in perspective: that was then and this is now.

 

These vehicles had a dime-a-dozen label on them about ten years after they left the factory. They had depreciated in value the second the ink dried on the bill of sale and most of the ten year old cars looked as outmoded as a stage coach in rush hour traffic in an era like the late 50s and 60s when Detroit sheet metal was morphed on a yearly basis.

 

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The biggest trouble with the ten years after they were built concept was the fact that they were only old enough to look out of style for car guys. There was no nostalgia factor that could grow in ten years to save the vehicles, so they became very disposable.

 

In fact they became as disposable as the extras in the original Star Trek series, so they were either crushed or driven in shame by their reluctant owners.

 

This factor diminished their rates of survival, although early T-Birds, ‘Vettes and the Tri-Fivers proved to be the exception to the rule of un-coolness associated with most of their chronological brethren from Detroit.

 

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Maybe this contributed in a major way to all of the murderous anger found in Christine, a 50s survivor that was not to be disrespected or mocked in any way under severe penalty of violent and painful death.

 

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Eventually all old cars become very cool, regardless of race, color, creed or number of doors. They have accomplished something that many of their fallen, crushed or terminally rusted and forgotten comrades have failed to do: they are still on the street and now they draw a lot of attention.

 

All they had to do is stay alive in a real and non-Bee Gee song kind of way. They cheated death and lived long enough to become even more relevant than the first day that they left the dealership and fulfilled somebody’s temporary automotive dream of perfection.

 

They survived long enough to actually become a form of nostalgic perfection to an appreciative owner or admirer at a car show.

 

It is easy to figure out how old cars and trucks become highly desirable objects of affection in their later years. They are old enough to be part of a childhood memory of a granddad’s or dad’s prized set of wheels. In some cases they may even be that very vehicle that captured the imagination and heart of a young kid.

 

So the rule of thumb for the exact point at which old cars and trucks become priceless is the time long ago in a car guy’s life when they were too young to drive or own the vehicles-but somebody important to them did drive or own one.

 

It is actually a pretty simple process to determine what makes them collector cars to the right person.

 

Jim Sutherland

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