My Car Quest

May 17, 2022

Fourteen Reasons Why A Collector Car Is Desirable

by Mike –

Since I spent the day celebrating Thanksgiving I did not put together a new post. I thought you might like to read this one which was originally published in November 2014.

It is related to the recent Wallace Wyss post on the same subject.

We all have different reasons why we like certain car makes and models. We like some cars in a way that we want to own one and we like other cars in a way that we admire the art, the engineering, the shape or maybe the color but have no desire to own one (Duesenberg fits this description for me).

We have many common reasons why we desire certain models and these models are likely to be more valuable than other similar cars.

What drives these desires? It could be a personal connection from childhood or something we saw in a movie or some other random event. It can be the result of an influence from someone close to us or someone we respect.

We may have different cars for different purposes: driving, racing, showing, participating in a special drive such as the Mille Miglia or as an investment – maybe.

There are many motivations for buying a specific collector car. Below is a list of all that I can think of.

Some of these reasons also explain why certain collector cars are more valuable than others.

This list is not in order of priority but is in the order that I thought of them:

1) Looks – design style.

Lamborghini Miura SV

Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful car designs – The Lamborghini Miura

2) Race heritage of the model.

Shelby Cobra Daytona poster

Factory Shelby Cobra Daytona World Champion Poster-1965

3) In period race history of the specific car, especially if it won a famous race and was driven by a famous race driver.

1965 Ferrari 250 LM

This 1965 Ferrari 250 LM is the last Ferrari to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans

4) Technology innovation, especially a feature that is an important “first” in the automotive world.

Porsche 959

Technology innovation on wheels – Porsche 959

5) Performance – related to technology but is measured by speed either in a straight line or on a road race track.

McLaren F1

McLaren F1 – considered by many to be the greatest super car

6) Ownership of the specific car by a famous person, especially a race car driver or the manufacturer (like Carroll Shelby or Enzo Ferrari).

Lamborghini Islero

Lamborghini Islero – Ferruccio Lamborghini‘s Personal Car

7) Special history of a specific car.

Clark Gable's Mercedes

Clark Gable’s Mercedes – his daily driver when he died, now owned by Bruce Meyer

8) Unique features of this model.

Toyota 2000GT

The first Japanese super car – Toyota 2000GT

9) Unique features of this specific car such as options, color, – one of one is the best – American car lovers seem to like a one of one because most American cars had such large production numbers that anything that will distinguish one car from another is good even something as prosaic as color combination.

Lamborghini Miura Roadster

The Only Factory Made Lamborghini Miura Roadster – a true one of one

10) Condition – original is highly valued, restored is often necessary, sympathetically restored is good; some original parts left like the interior, original body panels; crash damage or no crash damage; high quality restoration done to original specifications using original parts, especially if it is restored by a well respected marque specialists.

Hudson Hornet Interior

Original Hudson Hornet Interior – This Is Real Patina!

11) The people who designed or made the car: such as a Giugiaro, Zagatto, Bertone, Pinifarnia design or anything made by Shelby, Ferrari or Bizzarrini and certain others.

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo: designed by Giugiaro of Bertone, chassis by Bizzarrini and made by Renzo Rivolta of Iso

12) An individuals personal experience with the specific car or the model; it was like one Dad drove etc…This is personal and this feature alone will not effect the value of this model except to the person with the personal experience.

1964 Buick Riviera

Buick Riviera – I had a Buick Riviera slot car when I was a kid

13) Something else that cannot be explained. There is sometimes an irrationality in the desire to own a certain collector car.

Spohn Convertible

How does one explain why the Spohn Convertible is sought after by some collectors?

14) Add rarity to the mix of one or more of the attributes above and you have a perfect storm creating a valuable, or soon to be valuable, collector car. Rarity alone, however, does not guarantee desirability or value.

Steve McQueen's Porsche 911S that he drove in the movie "Le Mans"

Steve McQueen’s Porsche 911S that he drove in the movie “Le Mans” – very rare and valuable

Let us know what motivates you to want a specific collector car. Share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments and let me know if I missed anything.



14 Reasons Why A Collector Car Is Desirable
Article Name
14 Reasons Why A Collector Car Is Desirable
Why are certain collector cars more desirable than others?


  1. Re: My 1967 Olds 442 convertible. Back in my high school in Crystal Lake, IL our required Driver’s Training course was both classroom and behind the wheel of a 1967 Olds Cutlass so it was the first car I ever drove legally and I’m now looking at that same basic dashboard on my far better than stock restomod 442. I fell in love with the 442 when a good friend of mine in high school and I in his Mother’s 66′ 442 trounced a buddy of ours, Kenny, in his GTO Judge. The 442 was so far ahead after a quarter mile that Kenny left the scene pouting the rest of that Sat, Sun and didn’t even come to school Monday. Now get this. I planned to ship my 442 in for our 40th high school reunion and even though complications prevented this, Kenny stayed away completely from our 40th and 45th reunions partially because he was still embarrassed (Kenny’s family owned the local Pontiac dealership and Kenny was spoiled)! About 15 years ago with my 15 year old son aboard traffic came to a stop on the freeway and I looked left and there was a beautiful 1967 Olds 442 convertible and I yelled over “Do you want to sell that?” To make a long story short it’s mine now and better than ever!

    Re: My 1974 Fiat 124 Spider. Upon being transferred to California back in 1975 I knew almost no one in the state and was out to lunch alone one day when a 124 Spider pulled into Burger King. I was immediately impressed with it’s timely design (Pininfarina) and it’s similarity to Ferrari so I considered buying one and a friend of mine at work at Intel told me to look for a good used one rather than buy a new 1975 which had to incorporate both a catalytic converter and 5 mile/hr. bumpers both of which did this car no good. So I looked in the paper and found an immaculate midnight blue 1974 124 Spider I’ve had now for 38 years and it too is a far superior restomod to my liking, 2X stock HP, etc..

  2. Back in the early 80ties my mom told me to buy a reliable easy to maintain car, so I ended up with a 1967 Fiat 124AS Spider.
    Guess what…I’m still in the parts business for classic italian cars and if somebody knows a 67 124 Spider for sale…….

  3. Brian Williams says

    I enjoyed the article. I don’t think I have ever seen a similar listing.

  4. “There are many motivations for buying a specific collector car. Below is a list of all that I can think of…”

    I think you might have overlooked:
    15.) Their potential utility as “crumpet collectors”.
    It goes without saying the Spohn wouldn’t be the first vehicle choice that comes to mind for satisfying this motivation.
    All the best..

  5. I see a lot of people buying certain classics because of some personal connection – either their parents or grand parents had a certain make and model, or someone else close.

    It is a great list Mike. I think all of these reasons are right on. Very often to me it looks irrational to spend millions of dollars on a classic. Don’t get me wrong, I like classic cars … they always tell a story, and the story is usually about the good old times…but today I am really not sure how rational it is to spend money on buying restoring and moreover driving a classic car that in most cases is a gas guzzler. I am not sure what to think when it comes to classic cars. As I said I love them, they bring back memories and feelings and we have to appreciate them. But are they for the roads? I don’t know.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Thanks!

  6. Ean McDowell says

    I wonder if you might be interested in an Australian perspective. I have followed classic cars both here and internationally for some 40 years. In Australia there is perhaps a higher level of tolerance by the general public, and a lot of old cars available. We have very favourable permit systems that allow cars over 25 years old to be used, and if you pick the right model, they can be used safely and comfortably outside the peak hour rush in the capital cities. The old car movement is huge. Every weekend there is a range of show or driving events for enthusiasts to attend where you are always welcomed by new or old friends.

    There is no doubt that we seem to gravitate back to the cars we knew when we were growing up. If you don’t need to rush to an appointment, park in a high rise car park, or have surround sound, the feel of an old car on the highway is still a great way to travel. Prices have certainly risen, but there is still the enjoyment of finding, restoring, then using, the best that was available from a by-gone era.

  7. wallace wyss says

    I met a man with a pickup truck that was at least 70 years old the other day. He was an artist and said the old Ford was his grandfather’s pickup that he inherited. He had his art name on the side but writ small and not very noticeable but the truck was as clean as new and still had the flathead V8 albeit with a newer intake manifold and double pumper Holley that looked like it belonged on a 427 Cobra. I had been hoping my uncle would leave me his ’53 Chevy pickup, he didn’t ;but I can understand this man’s pride in keeping the old truck going because it makes him think of family and moments spent with Gramps whenever he drives it. So I’d say nostalgia for the family is as good a reason as any to drive a classic.

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