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?