Monday, May 10, 2010

Bells and Whistles

My wife and I are planning to restore a 1965 MGB, hence my previous post. For those of you who are in the dark about this particular vehicle, as I was, let me explain the project. MG (which stands for Morris Garages) manufactured several models of small british sports cars. Like many higher end automobiles, MGs are known only by model number (or in this case model letter). The MGB followed the MGA and so on.

What's interesting about the '65 MGB is that we're told it tends to increase in value (appreciate) faster than later cars in its class. Also, the parts for restoration are surprisingly inexpensive, and more importantly, available. Contrast this with the late 30s - early 40s Bentley, which was also in the shop. The Bentley, which is a notoriously expensive, hand built automobile to begin with is apparently very difficult and expensive to find parts for.

The MGB is both more rare and more distinguished than an old Camaro or Mustang (granted those are muscle cars), but a relatively simple and inexpensive undertaking for a beginner (or someone who wants an innovative way to own a car outright without saving up $8000 in the bank). A classic car (especially a sports car) is a good place, in my understanding, to put your money. By all means, do your research!

The lessons that can be learned from a tangible investment like this are numerous, and most of the principles apply to more intangible ventures like building a business. Also, not much is under the hood of those old cars that isn't in our current cars... that is to say, not much is under the hood of those old cars, period. One wonders what all the modern complexity is for, except giving the mechanics at the dealership "job security."

By and large, many of the additions to automobiles since the fifties have been about style and comfort—the "modern conveniences." These things aren't bad, but they served customers in a boom-time when those customers had money to spend on such things. Media continued to hype the status of these luxuries far beyond the boom cycle, to the point that we're really unaware of what "barebones" means. It's a problem because, economically, we as a culture don't know how to scale back except to cut the money we "spend" on investments.

Oops. A true investment (something that gives you more money later) is the last thing you want to stop putting money into, and the first place you ought to start when you carve out anything extra. A classic car—one that's actually an investment—is both a fun and utilitarian solution in tough times.

Why buy junk, when you can buy an classic?
FEATURED MEDIA: The World's Fastest Indian - Based on the true story of Burt Munro, a New Zealander whose dream is to race his restored and modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle on the salt flats of Utah.

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