My Car Quest

October 22, 2021

Editorial: The Road Not Taken

by Wallace Wyss –

I think it’s the title of a Robert Frost poem about someone in the woods on a trail. The trail divides and he takes one path but then considers what would have happened if he took the alternative route.

What made me think of that when I was at a Porsche 356 Club swap meet the other day. An affable man–a former art student turned mechanical engineer–told me that a few years back he shipped a 356 he owned from the US to Europe and he and his wife went on a “Grand Tour” (European phrase for a vacation trip to several countries, stopping off to sample all the highlights) even driving to where Italy ends.

Then he shipped it back, shipping each way costing $1000 (which is negligible now considering how much 356s have appreciated).

I envied him. In only one of my sports cars did I take a drive anything close to that, only in the Ferrari 365GTC/4 where I drove 500 plus miles each way to Monterey for car week. Decades later, all forgotten except being on Pacific Coast Highway above Malibu, heading home, the 12 cylinder purring away at 3500 rpm.

I talk weekly with a friend who owns a later Ferrari and an ’05-06 Ford GT but doesn’t drive them. Too much to register them. The Ford GT has grown significantly in resale value so at least he can sell it for 33% more than he paid for it. Then I have another friend with a whole lotta Italian GT cars in storage, a half dozen at least, none of which he has driven in decades. Oh he drove them when he first bought them but today drives soulless hybrids, mentioning recently he’s a little wary of how restoration costs have gone to $90/hr. Recently he also mentioned the dreaded possibility that if he took one of his treasures out on the road and cracked a windscreen, where would he get a replacement? (The automaker closed their doors a half century ago but surely the owner group has commissioned more windshields…) Well, sure, a plane could fall out of the sky and hit you too.

By coincidence, both these friends share one thing–they’ve both had heart valve operations. I don’t know much about valves but I can tell you this–having to be rushed to the hospital with a failing heart is God’s way of knocking on your door and saying “Your clock is runnin’, buddy, be ready. Live it up while you can…”

And yet neither of these guys wants to take their fun cars out and head for the coast road in the setting sun. More’s the pity. They bought their dream cars but keep putting off driving them. Eventually after not being driven for years the gasoline in their tanks will turn to jelly. The fuel lines will crack and split. And oh, yeah mice will eat the brake lines or whatever else is tasty (to a mouse).

I say “what’s a heaven for?” I’d rather have far less cars–maybe just one sports car–but drive the bejeesuz out of it, so as to be able to recall later glorious trips to Sedona, or to Monterey. When other 356 Club members were telling me about their mountain meet coming up-where they drive up to the mountains and have lunch outdoors. At that news, I was morose that I sold my 356 Convertible D long ago because I didn’t like the vague shifter. (I sold it long ago and now they’re worth 1000% more).

And so I’m just sayin’. You got that car you wanted. So drive it. At least on the fun trips to the picnics, the mountains, the sea. I know, I know–it’ll be worth more with less miles but hey you can never predict your health down the road, especially if you’ve had that knock on your door from The Man Upstairs. Have fun while you can.

‘Nuff said. Opinion anyone?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Fine artist Wallace Wyss has Porsche art and some historic photos. Write for a list to malibucarart@gmail.com

 
 
 

 

 

Porsche 356 art by Wallace Wyss

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Editorial: The Road Not Taken
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Editorial: The Road Not Taken
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You got that car you wanted. So drive it. At least on the fun trips to the picnics, the mountains, the sea.
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Comments

  1. Jim Van Lenten says

    Yes, we’re reaching the end of the road

  2. Ahh, the Shoe House in York Pa

  3. Robert Feldman says

    If you want to invest in an inanimate object where all you can do is stare at it with your friends, invest in art. Paintings can hang on the wall of a temperature controlled environment for decades with almost no deterioration. Cars were built to be enjoyed, driven, and maintained. They were never designed to be purchased and stored away for decades. Like Wallace said, the fuel systems deteriorate, tires get flat spotted, brakes freeze up, etc. Besides, there are many people that are enthusiastic about seeing collectable cars that can’t afford them. As stewarts of these wonderful cars, in some sense we owe it to the enthusiastic public to unselfishly share them and not keep them out of sight.

  4. wallace wyss says

    I agree with you In a way they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. By “unrestoring” them (allowing them to deteriorate,) they merely provide future
    work for restorers.Once the State starts charging for valuable car license plates based
    on the current year value it will be a real mess because if the car is unrestored
    there will be a lot of wild ass estimates to value. Say you have a 60-yearold Iso Grifo with rusty floorpan
    froze engine, four flat tires, etc. etc. They might say well, the last one sold at auction for $350,000 so to license that for 2021 will be….”

    That will be the death of car collecting, being charged for what’s in your garage even if you don’t use it

  5. lennox mcneely says

    Drove around the world 1n 80 days in a 38 Packard–55 days around South America in 55 mustang –40 days
    Peking to Paris in 1933 Alvis –3 Mille Miglia and 3 1000 Milas in Argentina , Norway to the Red Sea in the mustang
    and 6 other international rallies -still have ichty feet once Covid done–oh forgot 5 months from Whistler to Portillo in a 65 Econoline in 1970 to go skiing-we summited a 15,855 foot pass in Peru and got to the ski hill 2 days after it closed
    Letting a classic in storage seems like a crime to me.

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