My Car Quest

June 24, 2024

Why Do Collectors Collect?

by Mike –

Probably everyone reading this is a collector of some kind. Many of you are car collectors, either serial collectors, or mass quantity collectors.

Perhaps you collect other artifacts relating to classic cars such as hood ornaments, old car dealership signs, posters or hub caps. In addition to cars and factory posters I also like steering wheels, although I only have two that are not attached to a car at the moment.

In his book, “Collecting: An Unruly Passion: Psychological Perspectives,” Dr. Werner Muensterberger writes,

Observing collectors, one soon discovers an unrelenting need, even hunger, for acquisitions. This ongoing search is a core element of their personality. It is linked to far deeper roots. It turns out to be a tendency which derives from a not immediately discernible sense memory of deprivation or loss or vulnerability and a subsequent longing for substitution, closely allied with moodiness and depressive leanings.

This doesn’t sound very good for the mind set of a collector. Maybe he was primarily referring to the obsessive compulsive collector? We all have seen this type of collector where the garage, other buildings and open land are filled with cars that were bought with the full intention of restoring. But a tree or natural elements got to many of them first.

Car Collection

But by the end of his book Dr. Muensterberger comes to a conclusion about collecting,

… it is by no means an unhealthy ego defense. It is a device to tolerate frustration and a way of converting a sense of passive irritation, if not anger, into challenge and accomplishment.

I like that last part – “challenge and accomplishment”. That is needed to keep the human ego going. I am on the hunt for a steering wheel and another cool car – how about you?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Car Collection

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  1. Hi Mike,
    if you like steering wheels I have something on the wall in my office which might be interesting for you. 🙂
    I’ll send a picture by email

  2. As Briggs Cunningham said: “Anyone with money can amass what interests him but it is the discerning and knowledgeable collector whose choice creates a valuable repository”

  3. This is an apt description of most of my friends, in fact I resemble several of these remarks. Good article Mike. Thanks for sharing.

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