With the Woodward Dream Cruise just ahead of us this Saturday there are many car owners who are anticipating two common questions:
- How much do you have invested in you car?
- How much is it worth?
Both are very rude questions but that does not ebb peoples curiosity. It is not uncommon for a classic car holder to invest more in parts, accessories and improvements than they initially invested in the purchase of the car. Luckily there is a growing after-market out there to satisfy that growing desire.
From my own experience it takes a lot of work to keep a classic running; along with a solid network of supporters. My 1970 Mustang requires constant attention and probably averages a 5-month “running good” cycle a year. The rest of the year is spent figuring out why she is not “running good” and who I can recruit to assist with the latest problem. Adding fuel to my lust for parts or repairs are a number of accessory and replacement part suppliers who magically sent me catalogs shortly after I registered my car.
The after-market parts suppliers know how to find and lure their spellbound clientele in with great parts catalogs and online ordering. In the past 10 years there has been a steady 7% growth in the after-market industry that have lead to impressive revenue numbers. “Last year, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, a collective of 7,000 companies, after-market parts and accessories sales totaled $36.7 billion.” When you consider the number of classics on the road that is a considerable client base who are all looking to make their beloved auto better, faster and more reliable.
The question for a car owner, whether they truly love their car or it is just the latest project, is “how much would it take to get you to sell your car?” While to the common insurance estimator your classic may have a limited value, to the car owner that dream car could be of limitless value. Others may have an exact dollar amount in their head and may or may no be willing to share it.
Each car owner is different and possesses a varied amount of love and frustration with their coveted classic and if you want to snatch it out from under them it is all a matter of timing. But once you have wrestled away your own classic auto do not think that you will be free from the joys and pitfalls that come with maintaining a classic. Just be thankful that there is a large consortium of part suppliers out there who are prepared to provide for you along the way.