Today, foreclosures and foreclosures are becoming commonplace in a flagging economy. Some are giving up their vintage and collector cars to pay their bills. And for those car owners who get through tough times, one man’s loss is another man’s gain.
Since 2007, America’s love affair with cars has been fading. With the rise in gas prices and exponential job losses, our cars have become more difficult to maintain and afford. Many drivers have opted for more fuel-efficient hybrids and economical cars. But what about the classic car owner who spoils his pristine 1965 Mustang or 1972 Gran Torino? Scan your local newspaper classifieds and subject to find classic or antique cars in mint condition that are selling out in droves. Many have viewed collecting vintage cars as both an investment and a hobby. But when it comes to dwindling retirement savings or losing the money you saved for a college education, cashing in on that classic car becomes all the more appealing. Classic car sales lovers who never dreamed of selling their cherries are beginning to make their peace and are giving up their cars.
In places like the Inland Empire, a vast populated suburban desert east of Los Angeles, vintage car sales culture is a way of life. Each year, many collectors and enthusiasts travel historic Route 66 from Riverside to Pasadena, Glendale and Eagle Rock. Car traditions like cruising have been part of American culture since Ford invented the Model T. In films like George Lucas’ American Graffiti, driving is portrayed as the pentagram of weekend entertainment. Having your car washed and waxed, the top down and driving from one end of a long road to the other might seem like a waste of money and gas today, but during the golden age of the automobile it was an experience many Americans looked forward to on.
The image of the American car has changed from gold to burden. Most classic cars produced in the United States are labeled gas guzzlers and bad investments that don’t last as long as their European or Asian counterparts. But even the collector’s car now meets the same fate as its modern descendants. The most recent trend is the burning or sinking of highly insured classic cars. The federal government reports an increase in the destruction of private property for insurance benefit. Classic cars that were once prized are now gas soaked and burned in sparsely populated areas or driven and abandoned in Mexico, only to be later reported stolen.
But for those classic car sales enthusiasts who have never been able to afford their dream cars, now may be the time to make the first purchase. Many owners, desperate to sell, price their classic cars to move and move quickly. In fact, if you decide to pay cash you might be able to walk away with a bargain…if you can afford it.