Now, with MGAs and similar cars all more than fifty years old (think TR3s and 4s, Alfa Giuliettas and Giulias, Porsche 356s, Austin-Healey 3000s, etc.), I would posit that the number of “nice” examples on the road is actually far more than in 1987.
As values for these cars has climbed, $50,000 restorations are no long acts of fiscal idiocy. Specialists exist who understand just what it takes to make an old, worn-out car behave like new (and, in many cases, better than new).
Between an increased demand for parts, and the research capabilities of the web, it’s now possible to find nearly anything you are looking for, new or used.
Going forward, chances are that the survival rate of sports cars of the ‘50s and ‘60s will be strong. If a car has already been “saved,” if properly garaged and taken care of – which they all will be, as they are now “investments” – they won’t need to be restored again for at least twenty years.
Prices will continue to climb, especially for the most desirable models, as the costs of restoration keep going up. The thought of a $20,000 bill for paint and chrome for an MGA no longer seems ludicrous – in fact, if nicely done, some might even think it is a bargain.
I believe that we are living in the absolute best of times to own a vintage car. There are no restrictions on where we can drive them, we are not subject to pollution controls, and parts and service are more available now than ever before.
In fact, the only real downside to the past 25 years from a vintage car owner’s point of view is the increasing congestion of our freeways. Old cars and freeways are a poor fit, which is why the number one goal of any sports car tour should be to get away from highways and onto two-lane roads as quickly as possible.
As I look out the window today, it’s a crisp, sunny 55 degree day in Portland. A perfect day to take out the Alfa GTV, crank up the heater and let my Milanese time machine transport me back to 1967.