The Times Journal & Russell County News
Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY —
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Cruisin': What makes a car antique and valuable
In Feb. 21 Issue
Russell County News
By Ron Cowell, Columnist

Here in the United States a car is usually defined as antique when it’s over 25 years old. That is the definition that the Antique Auto Club of America uses. Yet the legal definition for the use of antique vehicle registration varies a lot.

They figure that 25 years is about double the design life of most modern cars. There is even greater increment on those cars now 25 years old; therefore, a car that has reached 25 years old is a rare survivor, and often is not very economical to maintain as regular transportation.

Owning, restoring and collecting antique or classic cars has become a popular hobby that has spread all over this country.

Some consider collecting old cars as an investment. This antique car collector is buying his car primarily in view of a profit in the future sale of the car. This type of collector doesn’t get a lot out of driving an old car or restoring them. They buy the cars sort of like an art collector does taking a chance that he will turn a profit on the vehicle.

The market for antique cars has changed a lot over the years. In the 1980’s we saw a strong increase in price of antique vehicles. Then other periods, like the 1990’s saw declines in the prices.

Many experts in antique cars give the same advice, collect what you can enjoy above all because the future monetary value of any classic car is completely unpredictable.

As with all antique collectibles, current value has everything to do with supply and demand. There are classic cars that are high in demand and either very rare, or fashionable to own and will bring a higher price than a more common old car. Sort of like a “57” Chevy, they are very high in demand and will bring a higher price than a lot of the other 57 models.

The condition of the car also has a lot to do with the value of the car.

A rare car that is highly desired are very expensive. Right now the variation in the purchase price between a car in poor condition and in one that is in good condition is generally much less than the cost of restoring a poor condition car.

According to this way of thinking it is cheaper in the long run to buy a better vehicle. Of course if the person buying the car to restore, is doing the work himself, he is going to come out a lot cheaper than the guy who buys his car and sends it out to be professionally re-done.

When buying an old car for an investment, you might want to remember that most cars go through a period of being considered merely old and undesirable before they become valuable.

A car bought like this may have a better chance of becoming more valuable as time goes on. Such as the Corvette, the early models are bringing a very high price, and the new ones still hold they value. But, if you are looking for a Corvette you might want to check out those years in between where they are not as expensive. You can bet though as time passes the value of these mid year cars will go up as they get older.

If you are thinking of buying an old car for profit you might want to take into consideration that an old car is a rather large object, expensive to store and must be maintained and that can cut into profits.

This is just my opinion but buy a car that you can drive and have fun with. What fun can you have with a car that does nothing but set in storage and never gets driven?

There are a lot of antique car owners today that will say the same thing. As far as having a car that you are afraid to take out because it might get dirty and you might put a few miles on it, what good is it? Unless you have a lot of money buy your car to drive and enjoy. You will have a lot more fun with it.

If your Car Club is having an event and you would like us to tell everyone about it or there is someone who you would like to see featured in this article send all information to, . All information on upcoming events needs to be in at least two weeks before the event.

Or if you know someone who is really a car person and you would like to see them featured drop me an email with the persons name, address and phone number and kind of car he/she has, or is working on. Also your name and number.

If your Club or church or group is having an event and you would like to display some classic cars at that event let me know at least two weeks before the event. I will put you in contact with one of the clubs that will gladly bring their cars out for display.

Until next time … Keep Cruisin!

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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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