Some years ago, both my daughter Alexandra and I had motorcycles. On trails, she rode a Yamaha TT-R125L. For the street, she had a Kawasaki Ninja 250. My choices were a Honda CRF230 for the dirt and a Suzuki SV650 for the highway.

We had some good father-daughter adventures. But as the years passed, we rode less and less.

One day, Arun Sharma, a good friend and then-general manager of the Ducati store in Portland, stopped by the SCM offices to visit. While looking at my Alfas, he saw the bikes tucked in the corner.

He asked how often we rode the street bikes. “Hardly ever,” I replied.

He mentioned that especially with street bikes, if you don’t take them out on a regular basis you dull your riding reflexes, which can be dangerous. With dirt bikes, because the speeds are usually much lower and the trails less complicated than city streets, it’s not such an issue.

Then he said, “I’m going to put a note in my calendar to call you in a year. If you haven’t ridden your Suzuki or the Kawasaki between now and then, I’ll come and get the bikes and sell them for you on consignment.”

And that’s exactly what happened. He called a year later, and we hadn’t taken them out. That day he picked them up and sold them for us.

Is there a similar rule we should apply to our cars?

With my collection at ten cars (give or take, and besides who is counting?) they won’t all get exercised regularly.

The Lotus Elise has belonged to Alexandra for more than two years, but with the pressures and travel of her work for Western Star Trucks she hasn’t found time to drive it. And she loves that car more than any other one I own.

Since it is essentially a modified Toyota drivetrain with a plastic Lotus body wrapped around it, it is by far the most modern and least demanding of my two-seaters.

Its needs pale in comparison to her other favorite, the 1965 Alfa Giulia Spider Veloce. She has been driving it for the past 14 years, since she was 16. It’s a precision timepiece that requires the regular attention of a watchmaker to keep it right.

“Once I get my garage cleaned out, I’ll bring the Lotus over,” she told me.

And after the front and rear yards are landscaped, and the furnace and electrical service at her home upgraded. And she’s not off traveling across the country, I thought to myself.

And that doesn’t include preparing for her upcoming wedding.  I fear despite her best intentions, Lotus-time may be a long-time coming.

All this makes me wonder if I should set an arbitrary timeframe for lack of use resulting in a car being put up for sale.

What would you do to keep your collection trimmed down to just the cars you use the most?

 

4 Comments

  1. Michael Ingelido

    No point in owning a Lotus unless you drive it.

  2. Keith,
    Once again, thanks for a great outlook that I have seemed to overlook. I have unfortunately, ended up with a few cars that have slipped into painters prison, which has made me question my outlook on the hobby. My 69 (427 restromod) corvette which took 10 yrs, my 72 2wd blazer for 5yrs and my 93 pace truck for 3yrs. For many the cream of the cream for what they represent, the blazer will most likely be sold once painted, still trying to decide on the others. But the market is hot on the blazer and I have gone this long with out it, so why keep it. My plan, will be take some pics drive it around the block once or twice and off it goes, since it should pay for my 77 Y82 restoration, have some interesting stories and leave some $ in the bank too.
    I agree with you points on up keep as well, about 4 years ago I was shopping for a 72 Super Cheyanne. But I was blown away by the prices and ended up with a 04 SRT-10 Viper truck with 55k on the clock, for the price of a 72 builder. I love this thing. It reminds me of driving my C4-C5s vettes, but much easier to get in and out of and usually the only one at a show. Although, I still go to the dealer for oil changes and check-ups, I have not had to do anything else for up keep. Well, except something for myself, when I upgraded the stereo. Much different than some of my older cars with the up keep they require.
    This experience has me look at my current lifestyle of work, family and car cash in a different way. Having cars locked up, only makes me want to get things I can enjoy now, even more. Because if nothing else if I decide to go on a 3 hour road trip to see the worlds biggest ball of yarn, I want to do that in something cool. Especially in building and fostering memories of my own with my daughter that will be going to college in 2 years.
    As mentioned in a previous post my 69 corvette has gained some interest over the last few weeks, as it has been in the shop to fix some wiring concerns, so it might be leaving me soon. I have 5 builds going right now and with my current lifestyle limitations, they may take awhile to complete. Because of this, I vow no more builds (until I retire) and I vow due to space and lifestyle, if they are not being enjoyed, then it is time to mark the calendar.
    Thanks again for the prospective,
    J. Parrish

  3. I only have one collector car, a ’65 Healey 3000. I’ve owned it for 35 years. Sometimes I’m thankful I only have a two-car garage. If I had more room I’d probably fill it with cars, & I’d probably end up thinking, “Why do I own this?”

    I took the Healey for a 1000 mile road trip this summer, the car ran great. If I ever get another collector/special-interest car, I need to ask myself, “What am I gonna do with it?”

    I had a mint Alfa Alfetta back in 2012 to 2015. Drove it from Seattle to Marin County for the Alfa convention in 2012, then the Concorso Italiano in 2013. That’s what I bought it for, that’s what I did, then I sold it on Bring A Trailer. Purpose served!

    If I can think of a reason or event I want to participate in with a collector car I might buy another, but at this point it’s hard enough getting in & out of a Healey.

    Maybe I’ll get a truck!

  4. Keith, I know exactly how you feel…Right now the “stable” consists of a 1981 Porsche 928 5 spd, a 99 Jaguar XKR ragtop, a 93 40th Anniversary Corvette Coupe , a 74 Harley Sportster I bought new, an 06 GTO, as well as an unrestored ’56 Nomad, in addition to my 05 Backdraft Cobra SC/427. The daily driver is an 08 BMW 335i coupe.
    The Shelby gets about 500 miles in a year, the 928 about 1,500, the Nomad 250-300 per year, the GTO about 1500, the Jag about 2500, and the Bimmer…175 miles last year.We live in Philly, and since all the cars are insured and accessible, we just adjust our driving to the needs required. Leisurely scootin’?? The Jag with the top down. A long weekend upstate? The 928 gets the call. Shopping (local) the BMW is ready. Going to a friend or relatives ahere parking will not be on the street? GTO …Showin’ off and energy release? the 427 Cobra does both very well. Long drive on the Turnpike? Yank out the Corvette..speed and comfort…and of course, the occasional car show,cars and coffee or day in New Hope or Radnor…the Nomad rises to the occasion.
    So, I guess the point of my response is…USE the calendar to help you plan on how to use your cars, not get rid of them.

    Thanks for SCM..my favorite!

    Art Reilly

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