The words “car collection” conjures up ideas of affluence, often to extreme and unattainable levels for most people. To some, to call it a luxurious hobby may be an understatement, but here are some strategies that may make such a lifestyle more accessible.
- Make Sure You Have Enough Indoor Space. This is where planning is crucial. Consider how many cars you want to have in your collection, and think about where you want to keep them. Aside protection from the elements, cars need plenty of space around them so you could do more than just open doors and avoid dinging their neighbors. If you’re lucky enough to have a space with high ceilings, you will keep things better organized, and be able to accommodate hydraulic lifts to work on the undersides of your cars.
- Stay Close to Home. Keeping your valuable collection of rare autos as close as possible to where you live is not only convenient, but it helps you keep your peace of mind.
- Decide How Much You Plan to Be Involved. This decision is not only about economics, but also energy and passion. This also depends on where your interests lie—do you see maintenance and upkeep as a chore, or do you achieve a Zen-like peace when you work on a car?
- Know the Market for the Cars You Want to Collect. The value of a car can fluctuate according a lot of factors. Of course, rarity of a particular model, color, engine, are the first things that come to mind. There are other factors at play, however, such as the current state of the economy. Depending on your access to resources, you may be able to get a really good deal on a rare or classic car, or throw your money away.
For example, older air-cooled Porsches from the 1960s have a very well established market for collectors, so it’s very possible to buy a cheaper model at a discount, invest some time, money and elbow grease to restore it, and have it appreciate two- or three-fold in a few years.
- Learn About What Others Are Collecting Around You. Car enthusiasts are a social bunch, and there’s always someone who may have a lot in common with you. Car clubs are full of members who may have technical expertise, leads for spare parts, or professionals who can help you keep your collection in the best shape possible.
- Always Keep a Budget for Maintenance. As a rule, you should expect to pay thousands of dollars on maintenance per year per car, irrespective of other factors. Some cars require auto mechanics that specialize in specific models or engine series, so you’re paying for their expertise. Some auto parts for collector cars may not be readily available, take months for delivery or worse: they need to be fabricated from the ground up.
- Know When It’s Time to Quit. Assets can become liabilities before you know it. Sometimes the cost of a car’s upkeep far exceeds not only the value of the car, but also the enjoyment of owning it in the first place. When it’s time to sell one of the cars in your collection, make sure you’re not letting it go when it’s too late.