My Car Quest

June 13, 2024

Fifteen Reasons Why We Want A Collector Car

by Mike Gulett –

As I have recently wrote about in What’s Next? I am searching for a new collector car, or a modern car that will be a future collector car.

Portions of this article were originally published in November 2014, which means that I have been thinking about this subject for a very long time.

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

15) To meet the girls – when someone asked Willie Nelson why he took up the guitar and joined a band he replied “to get the girls”.

Triumph TR6

Triumph TR6 and Mike Gulett in Dayton, Ohio

I wanted to be this guy below with the Triumph Spitfire so I bought a TR6, above.

Triumph Spitfire Advertisement

Triumph Spitfire Advertisement

Is there some of this Willie Nelson motivation behind why men love cars so much?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

AC Cobra Mk IV

AC Cobra Mk IV

Fifteen Reasons Why We Want A Collector Car
Article Name
Fifteen Reasons Why We Want A Collector Car
Why do we all want certain collector cars?


  1. You forgot it is a good investment. At least that’s what we tell the wife or girlfriend.

  2. wallace wyss says

    What about the “sleeper” category? Where the car nooks nondescript but maybe is fully restored mechanically or even has a much more powerful engine than it did stock .This is in the dress-as-Clark-Kent-but-secretly-be-superman category..

    Sedanca de Villes I put n a category of their own as oh-so-mysterious. you don’t want to be too visible (as you are in a convertible with the top don) but still want some open air. I think the public, since the war, has something against them, maybe identifying them with the super rich, is the only one I remember being in production lately is the Bentley S/C Continental.

    Another category: the car establishes your ecological credentials. I have a friend who owns aTtesla but also leases a Hydrogen car from Honda.He is an engineer, not employed in that area now, but likes to be asked by everybody who notices about his choice of an ecology mobile.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Over the years I’ve talked to hundreds of “Car Guys” and I’ve asked many of them “Do you ever go into your garage at the end of the day to grab another look at your car?” Across the board the response has always been “You bet I do.”

    I think for many it’s a visceral reaction or motivation – something they feel in their gut – that creates this special bond between man/woman & machine. It’s less an intellectual thing (excluding perhaps those flipping collector cars as an investment strategy) but something more fickle – like love – that puts a smile on one’s face and a beat in their heart when they spot, pursue or possess a cool collector car.

    For those of us who have fallen “in love” with a collector car we learn that love requires care – that more likely than not we will spend a considerable amount of time, energy and money taking care of our car’s needs.

    I think I’ll end my comment with this line from literature: “When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness.”

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