My Car Quest

December 16, 2017

Ten Reasons To Buy That Collector Car

by Wallace Wyss –

Sometimes it’s hard to muster up the reason why you want a certain collector car. Here’s some reasons, with examples from my own life and that of my friends.

1.) A MOBILE ICE BREAKER

I think if you are a person with great interest in certain subjects, and like to talk to people about it—architecture, music, etc. it’s nice to have a conversation starter, which could be your car.

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo

I have owned a number of interesting cars, but once, when I was driving an Iso Grifo, a lady came up to me at Malibu Beach and said “I don’t know what it is but I like it.” So that was a conversation starter. It breaks the ice so to speak, and somewhat justifies the extra expense you have in order to find parts, have parts made, etc.

2.) A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT DESIGNER

Now true you could live in a Frank Lloyd Wright house, and that’s always a lot to talk about, owning a house designed by one of the giants of the architecture world, but if you admire a certain car, it’s fun to drive around in a car designed by a designer or engineer you talked to. For instance, I like Panteras because they were designed by Tom Tjaarda, who I knew for 40 plus years, so driving something he designed is a tribute to Tom. I even would like to own something designed by a designer I didn’t meet like a Loewy-designed car because he was the first industrial designer I ever heard of. Another designer I didn’t meet was Virgil Exner, but I have met his son and have great respect for the work they both did.

Studebaker Avanti

Studebaker Avanti

3.) GET IT WHILE IT’S LAST

Yes, the old they’ll-never-make-cars-like-this-again argument. Sometimes a car company announces that they are dropping a certain model, (and sometimes even make a special last year edition like Cadillac did with the Allante) and that’s a good argument for getting it because you realize that company is never going to revisit that design. This is particularly important as a body style is phased out forever like four door convertibles and Sedanca de Villes. Or even convertibles with outside landau bars (actually giant hinges). I say if you like design and history, this is a good choice, getting a car of which they don’t make that kind anymore.

sofiaLoren with 300SL Scott Grundfor archives

I have never made a painting of either of the Gullwings I bought and sold but they were bought as tributes to engineering and styling, (but damned hard to keep running!) This one was owned by Sophia Loren (Scott Grundfor archives).

I still remember Lee (formally known as Liberace) cruising by me in West Hollywood in that James Young bodied Phantom V Sedanca de Ville). Just today I talked to a gal with a Mini Cooper two seater roadster and though she didn’t know how many they made, she was glad she chose it. I think it will always attract more attention than the four seater convertible because it’s so…dare I say selfish?

4.) WAVING THE COUNTRY FLAG

Now I know an Italian, who immigrated to America some decades ago, but he has at least one Alfa Romeo socked away he’s going to get to in time. Of course his thick Italian accent lets you know he’s from Italy by the first words, but he wants to own something that, wherever he goes, says “I’m Italian. This is what we create.”

5.) TRAINING THE KID

The other day I had a painting commission from a man who owned a new Porsche 911 targa who I met at a Malibu Cars ’n Coffee. His son was a subteen but I could tell his son took this car thing seriously, dusting off the car at every stop, but meanwhile educating himself on Ferraris, Lambos and what-not. I thought “That kid’s gonna have great tales to tell in future years of all the early morning car shows he attended with his father.” I know there’s two daughters in the family and they probably go do girl things with Mom at the same time but I’m glad for my new friend that he and his son got to do guy things in a splendorific Porsche.

6.) A CAR AS DESIGN STATEMENT

When I went to the Best of France and Italy car show I saw a pink Citroen 2CV arriving and bet, if I could have talked to the owner, I’d find they were a 100% Francophile and loved everything French or maybe an industrial design buff who thinks the 2CV was one of the great industrial designs of the 20th Century and that person would also have a lot to say about Charles Eames chairs as well.

7. BUY ONE TO ENTERTAIN YOUR FELLOW WORKERS

I remember Roy Jackson, back in Detroit, who had an old Jaguar Mk V that looked like a prewar Bentley. At lunch hours on a nice summer day he would take fellow workers (come to think of it, only the pretty secretaries) for a ride in it. And I remember when I was in the US Army, I borrowed a Lincoln four door convertible and took other soldiers for rides around Georgetown feeling like Kings!

8.) BUY ONE BEFORE AUTONOMOUS CARS TAKE OVER, I.E., ENJOY THE LAST GREAT DRIVE

I have a radio show on KUCR FM Riverside. Every show there’s news of the steady march of autonomous cars. Eventually the Greenies will win and cars with steering wheels and brake pedals will go the way of the typewriter and film camera. I say get a performance car that goes like hell and drive the living bejeesus out of it.

Wallace Wyss Art-Shelby AC Cobra

Al Axelrod, who owned a Pantera for over 25 years, told me from his hospital room, his ambition, even as he was dying, was to own a 427 Cobra

I remember a pal, Al Axelrod, on his deathbed, saying “When I get out of here I‘m buying a 427 Cobra.” So even on the edge of this here life, you want to take a drive like you never did before…

9. ) BUY ONE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO A RACING EFFORT

The purest example of this reason is to buy an all-out race car, and convert it for the street so it’s barely legal, like a Renault Alpine. It’s even better if it raced once, anywhere, officially and when someone asks you “Hey, did that every race” you can walk by and answer that question by dropping a line “LeMans, ’65, first in class,” etc.

Ferrari 250 GTO

When I started working in Newport Beach in 1969, a car writer for Road & Track offered me a scuzzy Ferrari that smoked like a chimney for $14,000.. I wasn’t schooled enough to know it was a GTO!

10. BUY ONE AS YOUR OWN GOAL-REACHED TROPHY

I remember once being passed on Pacific Coast Highway by Lyle Tanner in his restored Ferrari 355GTC/4, thinking “Someday I’ll own one of those” and only 2-3 years later I found one. I owned it for four years, long enough to appreciate everything Italian about it. Now I want a Silver Cloud III dhc, but the prices keep going up so I might have to settle for rebodying something more prosaic, like say, a Chevy S10 pickup, in that body style…which will no doubt have Messers. Rolls and Royce achieving high rotational speeds in their respective graves…

Ferrari 365 GTC/4

The GTC/4 was bought as a personal “goal reached” car

I am sure there’s more reasons to collect cars (send your’s in!) but these give you a basis. Remember the competition is your wife that wants only to build a new kitchen (one guy told me his wife told him he could get the car he wanted when she was “ done with the kitchen.” He’s spent $25,000 on the kitchen so far….).

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: Wallace Wyss portrayed some of the cars shown here. For a list of all his available prints, send a text message to 213-344-6496 with your e-mail address.

 
 
 
 

 

 

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Ten Reasons To Buy That Collector Car
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Ten Reasons To Buy That Collector Car
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How to justify that collector car? Here are ten reasons to buy it.
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Comments

  1. Chris Lackner says:

    For some reason, I’m drawn to cars that I had experience of earlier in life. That’s the reason I’m now on my second XK120. I still hanker after a late ’40s Citroen Light 15, Austin Gipsy 4WD, Jaguar Mk IV, TVR Tuscan, Lancia Fulvia Zagato S1, and Jensen CV8 Mk III. And, because my father talked in hushed tones of the Vincent 1000cc motorcycle, I have a hankering for one of those, too! One of my school principals had a late ’30s Rolls 25/30 swept-tail saloon, and another had a ’67 Humber Imperial Mk IV, so I want those as well!

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