All of my show cars are no more than nine years old. I considered buying an older restored muscle car from the 1960s or early 1970s, which are beautiful cars, but decided to stick with the newer ones. I really like the dependability, handling, smooth ride, technology and safety features of the newer cars. Plus they are making some great muscle cars these days such as the Mustangs, Challengers, Chargers and Camaros that can be used as show cars. In fact, it seems more than half of the entries in car shows are of the newer variety.
My friend Mike is an “old car” guy. He has some great-looking classic cars from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. But Mike also is a very good mechanic and he can fix most problems he has with these cars to keep them running well. He also does most of the restoration work himself. I, on the other hand, am not a mechanic and am not willing to do any work on my cars other than keeping them clean and polished for shows. If my cars need any work, I go to the local dealership to have it done. I don’t even change their oil.
It’s amazing how much money is paid for some of the rarer, restored older cars at auctions such as Barrett Jackson and Mecum. I have seen some 1950s and 1960s Corvettes and Mustangs sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how rare they are. Obviously these buyers are not average car enthusiasts but wealthy collectors who probably have another dozen cars of similar value at home in their very large garages. However, if you are really into the older cars and can do much of the repair and restoration work yourself, there are some real good deals out there on many beautiful classic cars. Some of the online sites available to find these cars are: www.autotraderclassics.com; www.cars-on-line.com and www.gatewayclassiccars.com. However, if you decide to purchase a car online, I recommend you visit the owner, test drive the car and have it checked by a local mechanic to be sure it is in the condition presented by the seller.
As for me, I prefer to buy newer vehicles from local dealers, particularly because I can get a Carfax report on the history of the vehicle to see if it has been in any serious accidents or has any other major issues such as being affected by flooding. But when I go to car cruise-ins and shows, I always am drawn to the old classic cars as they are beautiful vehicles with their fins, long body lines and unique designs. And, of course, they are the ones that started this great car enthusiast hobby.
♦ Aug. 15: Friday Night Thunder cruise-in at 5 p.m. in Courthouse Square in downtown Inverness.
Ken McNally is a car enthusiast from Citrus County and his Car Corner columns appear twice each month in the Hernando Today. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 341-1165.