I saw this question posted on the FB site of Avants – Drive Everything. Avants is a free-wheeling membership group that exults in the fun of being behind the wheel of anything! It’s the brainchild of Adam Cramer. If you have any gearhead in your DNA it is worth exploring.

Prodded by this question, I started thinking about the cars I have owned and whether I really regretted selling any of them.

In short, the answer is no.

In my life, cars have always been inciters, openers-of-new-doors and invitations to embark on new crusades.

For me, each new car is an opportunity to do a “deep-dive” into the peculiarities of a specific year, make and model.

I still surprise myself when I see an MGA 1600 Mk II and recall that the taillights on that car were horizontal rather than vertical like they were on earlier MGAs.

Every car that enters my collection, aka menagerie, is like a 100-level college course. Recently, I have enrolled in “Intro to AMG SL 55” and “928 S4 101.” Each car that is new to me presents its own tribal dialect and secret signs.

I have financial regrets when it comes to cars that I sold that ended up having later substantial gains in value. But I have never been a well-funded collector, so I have often had to sell a car to pay the bills. And for something new to come into the garage, something old had to go.

I am not a long-term collector, nor am I an investor. In the late ’80s, when I was a licensed dealer, I sold 40 or so cars a month to European clients. I didn’t think much about what was passing through my hands. I was only concerned with the profit spread – how little could I pay, and how much could I get.

I recall driving Ferrari Daytonas and Maserati Ghiblis to the port to stuff them into 40-foot-tall shipping containers.

But I left my dealer license behind when I started SCM. From that point on, I have bought cars because they would teach me something. And also because they would be the keys to a magic kingdom. My 911L got me into Porsche tours. My three MGBs were our rides to the MG national convention. Rovers got me off-road into a land I thought only existed in Jurassic Park movies.

With all of these adventures, the best parts were the other enthusiasts I met. While I was just enjoying dipping my toe into the world of the Lotus Elan and Europa, the people I met had the Lotus logo branded on their foreheads.

As I mentioned, the only regrets I have with the cars I have sold have been financial. Otherwise, I have made it a point to use the cars to meet new people and join new clubs.

I will never forget being in my Healey BJ7 and heading south to Reno for a national convention as the sun came up. I was on an Oregon backroad, in a string of 10 other Big Healeys. What a moment.

Or the time that my daughter Alexandra came back from the Oregon Festival of Cars in Bend, OR, in our Boxster S. We had heated seats and a windblocker. We watched the sun come up as we crossed Mt. Hood on Highway 26. A memory for the ages.

So when it comes to classic cars, to paraphrase the Portland Opera, it has always been, “Great passion on the road and no regrets in the morning.”

Has your experience been the same?

9 comments

  1. Keith, I can relate, and I think we are in agreement on almost all points. I’ve owned over 80 cars in my nearly 62 years on the planet, including a dozen or so imported from Europe back in the mid-80’s when the goin’ was good. The first of those was a ‘72 Pantera, which nearly killed me and my father (riding shotgun) when the carburettor stuck open. Next, a ‘80 635 CSi, which was a poignant moment in my car-centric universe: The Pantera was a toy; the Bimmer was a surgical tool.

    Fast forward through multiple ///M-cars, S-series Audis, one Ferrari and Lamborghini, and sundry American iron; then ending up with small-displacement funky Italian and French stuff. I figured I’d either kill myself or end up in jail with the high-horsepower offerings from BMW, M-B, Porsche, etc., or just frustrate myself with not being able to drive them as they’re built for (full disclosure: I’m a certified BMW CCA driving instructor) without risking life or limb.

    No regrets for any of the cars I’ve owned; not a single one. And, as you say, the main thing is that it’s brought me into the lives of so many interesting people. The older I get, the more the machine matters less than the people drawn to the same passion. I’m grateful for the many like-minded enthusiasts who have shown me the way—including you.

  2. Keith, I wish I could say the same, but I can’t. I form attachments to my cars and very rarely sell them. When I do, I have nothing but regret. My first car, a 230SL, I bought when I was 15. I sold it for a 1981 Corvette. I could not sleep at night and went on a quest to find it. I found it, bought it back, restored it, and we have been together ever since. I’m 54 now.

  3. Only one. I loved my first Porsche, a red 1986 911 Turbo that I bought in 1990. Still one of the best looking cars ever and would love to have it back. Later tried to track it down and found the title belonged to an insurance company as an unrecovered theft. I have had a number of other Porsche’s and everything from Citroen’s to Ferrari’s since, including a Carrera and a 996 GT2 now, would love to have another late 80’s 911 Turbo.

  4. Keith.
    My experience has been similar . There are so many great cars and so little time,…
    After owning over 40 different Porsches since 1967, I am Porshed Out !…. variety is the spice of rallying ! Just ordered a Lancia Delta HF Integrale for my stable from London….vroom vroom ,
    now onto this one …Rand

  5. I still miss the hot rod 67 Alfa Duetto, strong 1750 motor with webers. Also, I miss the ultimate restoration that I commissioned – 73 BMW CSL; Turkis from the factory. Won its class at Palo Alto. It was fragile however.

  6. I have to admit, my experience is nothing the same. I am, and always will be, in love with my early 1967 E-Type Series 1 OTS. My first car in 1971, restored in 1985-1987, and still with me today. I have love for no other car, with the exception of the original late 1950s Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. These cars can always be mentioned in the same sentence with no other.

  7. I’d have to say I’m closer to Keith. I form a “fascination” and a curiosity with cars that can only be satisfied by owning them, but I’ve never felt a deeper emotion to a car. Probably because I know there will be the next big thing waiting around the corner and something must go. But it works for me. Full disclosure, I do miss my old 1969 Lotus Elan. For the life of me, I can’t remember exactly what made me sell that one.

  8. I regret selling my ‘72 Datsun 240Z most. Wish I had it back despite owning an ‘05 Ford GT today. Actually, though, I regret more the cars I had a chance to buy but didn’t.

  9. Generally, no. I don’t get that sentimental with my cars. I enjoy variety in cars, so turning them over periodically is a given for me.

    That said, there is one I regret selling, a ’65 Shelby GT350. I sold it because I was at a stage in life with three young kids and juggling the demands of family and two careers, so there was no time for the Shelby. I’d owned it for about 10 years, values had risen dramatically and I saw it as a pile of cash sitting in my garage. So, I sold it.

    That was 20+ years ago and today it’s worth about 8X what I sold it for (my exact Shelby, 5S048, recent sold on BaT for $400k!). Ah well…there’s no guarantee I wouldn’t have sold in later on, anyway, for the same reasons. But I did love that car, had tons of fun with it during my ownership and it provided many great memories I cherish to this day.

Comments are closed.