A while back I was asked to write about classic car restoration. I felt like a dentist asked to perform rectal surgery. I understand the relationship of the body parts, but I wasn’t the right guy for the “operation.” As a classic car collector and enthusiast I understand the combination of mechanical skill and artistic wizardry it takes to bring an old car from near obscurity to a gleaming, smooth running cool car.
I collect based on emotion, style, relative price and availability. For restorations, I recognize my limited time and skills. I rely on the folks who do it best. So rather than write about restoration, I wrote about satisfying urges. When it comes to appreciating cars and their relationship with peoples spirit, this is something I am pretty good at.
Now there are some females, and I married one, who appreciate the beauty of a rusty bumper or the fun of a breakdown, but many do not. Men are different. Our creator blessed us with carburated genes. Its natural: We men lust after cool cars. You can show this to your wife so she understands. Our carburated genes is similar to an overdose of Viagra. When it comes to cool cars, men are totally out of control. So fasten your seat belts and let’s go!
My wife Elaine and I collect and display some of our cool cars, in a replication of a 1930s Texaco gas station hidden in Bella Vista Arkansas. appropriately named Simple Pleasures. www.simplepleasures.us
Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about cool cars.
What is a cool car? A cool car is a great looking car rolling down the road which sparks memories of cars you wished you owned in high school, or one a friend had with trunk big enough to sneak 10 friends into the drive-in movie.
Should I satisfy my urge to take the leap? What is the leap? Yes! The leap is your decision to acquire a cool car.
Where do I start? Start with defining what makes a car cool to you. Most of us lust for cars that made an impression on us when we were young. Our impressions may be the Model A from our family tree, or a fire breathing Chevelle or kick-butt Mustang. It may be the Cadillac the boss drove you to deliver papers…or an old Ford pick up your uncle used on his farm.
Sure we appreciate the art of 1930s Duesenbergs and Bugattis, but during my life time, no one has squared off at a stop light with a Duesenburg. None of my friends are restoring a 250 GT Ferrari because he learned to drive on one in high school. The Point is, the cool car to start with is one that means something to you and you would enjoy driving.
How much should I pay? The answer depends on the model you choose. If you choose a popular model (Mustang, GTO Chevelle convertible, Corvette, etc.), you will pay more than for an old four door Pontiac. As a guideline you can spend $3,500-$10,000 drivable four door cars. For good condition two door hardtops or convertibles expect to spend 10,000-25000. For restored popular cars you can find plenty of examples for $25,000-$60,000. Rare optioned restored or original cars can easily range from a budget busting $60,000 to several hundred thousand. To get specific price information, look in vintage car magazines publications like Hemming’s Motor News www.hemmings.com. One more thing, a high price does not define fun. You can have sky high fun and meet the nicest people in a $3,000 1953 four door Nash.
Should I buy a car that w needs complete restoration? It depends. If you have the restoration ability, enjoy the restoration process (I equate restoring cars to getting wisdom teeth pulled), have a lot of time and patience, and are willing to spend more than you need to, by all means get a clunker and fix it up.
But I believe that the majority of us should buy the best car we can. If you can acquire a fully restored car or an original condition nice car, you are much better off than buying a clunker. By purchasing a completed car you know what you are getting, you can enjoy the car right now and you will know your cost. Usually it cost less to buy a complete car
What can I expect from my cool car? Old cars break down social barriers between genders, ages and classes. Those of us who enjoy autos know it’s not a financial jackpot. It’s about the flow and bends in sheet metal, the roar and power of the engine, the fun of recalling old memories and the fun of creating new memories and friends.
How can I convince my spouse we need a cool car. Set up this perfect excuse: ”Don’t we need another car right now? You know, something to bang around in while the Bentley’s in the shop” For example, if you need a pickup, buy an old one. If you need a car to drive to work, buy an old convertible. Make your priorities safety and reliability, and then use your cool car every day. Later, restore the exterior and interior as time, funds and inclination dictate.
Go ahead. Get your cool car and have fun with the rest of us!
Should you have more questions, or need help, email me at email@example.com.
• • • Ken Miner is the owner and operator of Simple Pleasures an event place in NW Arkansas, hosting group tours, weddings, business events and private parties