When artwork and classic cars become assets, we’re missing the point

Auctions are necessary asset-conversion devices, I know that. Like gilded wood chippers, they swallow up possessions and spit out cash at whatever rate the market will bear (minus the auction company’s fees, of course). But I have never understood why the crowd cheers at a classic-car auction when a car gavels at a particularly high figure. Is the applause for the seller’s good fortune or the buyer’s profligacy? Or is it for the car itself, because its moment has come? Maybe it’s for the auction house and the fine circus of dancing dollar bills it’s putting on, or perhaps all of the above. Either way, we don’t otherwise tend to clap for inflation. When was the last time you cheered at a bill from your health-care provider? “Yay! Somebody is getting rich today!”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/12/classic-cars-as-assets-missing-the-point

I couldn’t agree more.
Rick Carey

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Ironic, pandering article for a company who exists solely to insure people’s prized collectible cars …

Everyone who says “HELLS YEAH!” are the same people willing to spend an extra hundred grand on a rando special edition Porsche 911, hoping it will appreciate in value.

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Physician, Heal thyself! One of the staples of the articles Hagerty post and includes in the magazine, in fact one appears adjacent to this article, is the “Next best investment cars” or “Here’s what is bringing the Big Bucks at auction” or “Mega million dollar cars at Scottsdale (or Monterey, or Amelia)”

How about more stories of those who use their cars as, well, cars? Travel in a classic car inevitably means adventures that become memories…good or bad. Isn’t THAT worth preserving?


Buy it because you like it and use it like it was meant to be driven. Don’t buy it for investment and look at it on a pedestal.


Or, do whatever with it that you desire.

Cue the next “Why I Drive” video. :grinning:


Considering the collector media is as much to blame as anyone for trumpeting stupid prices and sales of vehicles, I am not particularly sympathetic, since the higher the value, the more they make on insurance.
I would rather see an article on how 5 cars disappeared from Charlotte hotels during the recent Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, and what the consequences are. You know, news you can use!

I believe there is middle ground in this issue. I have been buying and selling Classic cars, mostly old Corvettes, since 1976. For the most part, I only buy cars I would be content to own forever. This has allowed me to enjoy each car until someone wants it more than I want to keep it. It has been entirely satisfying and has allowed me to drive a variety of exciting cars over the years. i am almost 80 and this hobby of mine keeps me active and involved in life.


I am re-doing the very car I first bought in 1/68 the night before I went to Viet Nam the second time. I just want the memory revisited – the car is just a way to get there.
Not a discussion goes by when some Expert tells me one of two things:

  • A 1966 Corvair Corsa convertible isn’t a good enough car, and
  • I’ll never get my money back from it.
    First: I’ll decide whether it’s a good car – not someone else. To be honest, I’ve never wanted a muscle car, or something so rare it can’t be driven.
    Second: I really don’t care.
    I still vividly recall the first drive I had in it when i got back in 8/68. That drive may have prevented PTSD from taking hold. All of a sudden, I was back in my actual life once again. That memory matters.
    At this stage of my life, having That car again is a rare treat that most car guys never get to experience. A pizza chain mogul spent a million to get his high school Camaro back again. I won’t spend that. The experience is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
    I plan to enter it in four concourse shows the first year, so it will be in a trailer for a while. I intend to have it be that good.
    After that, I will drive it on cruises, to local shows and just for enjoyable short drives with my wife – who will be retiring at the end of this year.
    That’ll be what it’s “worth” to me.
    When I’m so old I can’t or shouldn’t drive it any more, I may donate it to the Corvair museum in Illinois. I hope to keep it in condition to where they would want to have it.
    The opinion of mere bean counters just doesn’t matter.

Is this a re-run? I swear I read this exact same piece a while back.

It seems obvious to me that society is infatuated with celebrity status, and utterly in love with money. Watch the gushing, screaming adoration directed at celebrities on Good Morning America any morning for one example. It’s not even an appreciation for talent, but merely for fame…or idolatry. Likewise, the trappings - be it wall-hangings, furniture, rare/collectible items such as cars - become objects of worship quite aside from their merits as icons of design or performance or suitability for purpose.
I owned a Hemi Road Runner for 33 years, and would take it to car shows to essentially share it with people who’d enjoy seeing it; far too often, rather than asking a mechanically-pertinent question or inquiring about some facet of its restoration, someone was only interested in what it was “worth”. Perhaps they merely needed a ride with both carbs wide open and a full-frontal sensory assault to understand its real value wasn’t in what it was “worth”, but more like what it was capable of. That was, and is, worth more than money.
Sure, in some way, everything can be quantified by how much cash another person is willing to hand over for the experience. But to not really experience the thing is rather a pitiful misuse of it, no?


I say in with the old out with the new…:hammer_and_wrench::gear::nut_and_bolt::wrench::checkered_flag::vertical_traffic_light::motorway:…That’s just me saying :thinking:

I am a collector, so I understand collecting. I collect coins and glass, not cars. A) I have never had the money to collect and store cars, and B) I don’t understand the principle of collecting cars (cars are meant to be driven, once it isn’t, it ceases to be a car). Coins have gone through a similar scenario. I started collecting coins before they were placed into plastic cases. Now you no longer handle the coins, you just hold the case. It ceases to be a coin. It is no longer meant to be spent, there is near zero chance that you are going to find one in your change, etc. Similarly, I started enjoying classic cars before they were purchased and put into storage - back when one could be purchased through “Auto Trader” for a couple months wages. To me, this is a shame.

YES! I vote for “user vehicles”… cars, boats, scooters…Having fun…

To each his own. For me, I buy the car because I love it, and enjoy becoming part of the it’s story. Making memories with my family and friends on back roads, tracks or ice cream stand parking lots are what I enjoy. Someday, it’ll be someone else’s turn to add to the story. Appreciation, if it happens, is just a bonus.

@gwoods - This article first appeared in the Hagerty Magazine, which arrives on Hagerty Drivers Club member’s doorsteps quarterly.

How ironic. One week we have Hagerty talking about 25 cars losing steam and another article about buy, sell, and hold. Sure seems like Hagerty is very guilty of treating said cars as assets which I have said before. Now we may have one writer, Hagerty associated or not, who argues the opposite which I have argued. Nice that someone has some brains versus the many Hagerty click bait writers on the financial rise and fall of cars. Rise and fall it seems every week when it would be better, if they have nothing related to care of cars, to just keep their mouths shut.

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How is that pandering? I think it is a breath of fresh air. Too many people have lost the point. We need to talk more about how the investment mentality and speculation is bad for the average collector.

If not Hagerty saying it, who should?

I own my car because it makes me happy, not to make money. Some people collect baseball cards, I don’t find the artwork on them appealing, the stats interesting, or the game of flipping them fun. I own a car that just appreciated by almost $2,000 in the last year, I didn’t adjust the coverage, if I crash it that’s my problem, and I have no qualms about red lining it through most of the gears. One of the things that Hagerty covers you for is driving the car for the enjoyment of it, once I start thinking of the car as an investment I will no longer be able to do that and when that day comes I will have to cash in on the investment because it will no longer bring me joy as a car. Honestly I wish I could buy any old beater and insure it with Hagerty because those cars make me happy because I do so enjoy the act of keeping them running and driving them, not buying and selling them.