My Car Quest

October 1, 2022

Editorial: Trying to Fathom the Lure of Not Driving Your Low Mileage Future Classic

by Wallace Wyss –

I have a hard time understanding the reasons people buy an expensive car and not use it. Maybe it’s like a savings bond or stock investment wise but who is going to say it will go up? Most cars depreciate. Some, you drive around the block and they’re worth less. The car that astounded me lately was a 2006 Ford GT on Bring a Trailer.

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From Bring a Trailer

The BaT listing says, This 2006 Ford GT is one of 2,011 examples built for the model year, and it was purchased new by its current owner and now has 650 miles. Power is from a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and a helical limited-slip differential, and the car is finished in Mark IV Red over Ebony leather upholstery. Equipment includes all four factory options, which consist of forged aluminum BBS wheels, red-finished brake calipers, a McIntosh CD stereo, and white racing stripes.

The car was, amazingly, a re-list after it was previously sold on BaT in February 2022 and the winning bidder failed to follow through with their commitment to purchase.

The digital odometer indicates 650 miles, and a video demonstration of the gauges is provided in the ad. One-Owner 650-Mile 2006 Ford GT – the window sticker lists all four factory options as well as colors and a total MSRP of $166,945. It sold for over $500,000.

Now my questions are: why didn’t the original owner drive the beejeesuz out of it? Gas was probably $2.50 a gallon back then, he could have had a ball. Why didn’t he track it and drive like he was at Le Mans in ’66? He probably won’t answer–or at least the subsequent owners won’t because they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

I coincidentally have a friend who owns a mint condition ’06 Ford GT with a similar amount of miles. He bought it new. Now for his particular case, I have one excuse why he doesn’t drive it. He perceived early on that, with such a low production number–less than 4,500 units–it could appreciate if demand for it continues past the new car availability date. Or the fact he owns a Ferrari 360 coupe might be enough to satisfy his driving desire. Actually he’s sort of a new technology guy so always driving a Tesla or some hydrogen car or electric car so the Ferrari sits too.

I asked him for his rationale before writing this, and he had a lot of reasons not to drive it. He didn’t want to use it to go to the grocery store. He had three or four puddle jumpers for that. And there’ no luggage room for instance. Plus he hit a gold mine in finding a profit in low mileage used cards, writing back to me: “Other cars have been low milers, too. For example I got a 2000 Ford Excursion V10 4X4, and only used it to tow a car trailer, bring tire sets to the swap meet, or bring 9 people to my wife’s dads wedding. It had 800 miles on it when the low mileage car dealer tempted me to sell it with a stunning check. No stupid miles for that Excursion, as my cars use way less gasoline. A low mile collector gave me $76,500 for it. More than double MSRP. I also sold my 2000 Chevy Metro with 300 miles on it to him for $14,000. He got $18,200 for it on Bring a Trailer.”

But then I thought, what about the golden memories? I had my V12 Ferrari for three years. Before I bought it I remember following a guy in a GTC/4 from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, none other than Lyle Tanner, who sold Ferrari parts. But here I was a couple of years later me driving my own identical Ferrari down the very same highway. So I have a few golden memories. I don’t know how many miles it had–it never ran on all 12 cylinders but it was a 4-cam six-carb V12. So that’s where we differ most–him not caring about great driving memories, me cherishing them, like the time Jayne Mansfield sat on my shoulder (but that’s another story).

Now I’m older than my friend–I have a longer view of life. I say “ya never know what’s gonna happen. You could get hit by lightning, as three people were in Washington D.C recently”. So, it was me and I owned a 200-mph car, I’d drive it.

But he’s got enough entertainment in life, he’s willing to trade the appreciation potential for the thrill of driving it. In fact he recently rebought the kind of car he had in high school, an old Corvair. Take that, Ralph Nader!

So basically I’m not understanding the type of owner who buys and then hermetically preserves a car. You could be preserving a car that will set records for depreciation, like the Bentley Azure convertible. They could cost over $370,095 in 2010 when bought new. Now they’re below $150,000–hurt by the general knowledge of how badly the tops were designed.

So there’s your choice, you buy new–it’s worth putting it into your garage, and not registering it because you see early signs it will go up? So I realize my friend is an oddball but hey it’s working for him. What say you?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of 18 car histories. He has owned a Porsche, two Ferraris, two Mercedes Gullwings and yes, admittedly, two Alfa Sprint Speciales that never turned a wheel under his ownership.

 
 
 
 

I think we have all seen cars like this up for sale. Many of them are American muscle cars including examples like the Ford GT discussed here.

The owners of these low mileage cars are expecting to make a profit by holding a new car without using it for many years. Maybe this works sometimes like with this Ford GT but I suspect it does not work most of the time. It depends on what the owner could have done with his money as an alternative. Money invested in the stock market will likely result in a better return than buying and holding a new car for a couple of decades, especially when all of the expenses are taken into account (storage, insurance, maintenance).

I found this 2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S with only 127 miles coming up for auction in Monterey at Gooding.

The MSRP is $224,844 (according to the window sticker) and the auction estimate is $175,000 – $225,000. Factor in the cost of transportation to Monterey and the auction company seller fees and this does not look like a good investment for the seller but it could be good for a buyer who wants a new 2017 Aston Martin.

Mike Gulett, Editor

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Photo by Gooding

Summary
Editorial: Trying to Fathom the Lure of Not Driving Your Low Mileage Future Classic
Article Name
Editorial: Trying to Fathom the Lure of Not Driving Your Low Mileage Future Classic
Description
I have a hard time understanding the reason people buy an expensive car and not use it. I say drive it!
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Comments

  1. As a Dealer, I understand the low mileage un-driven modern cars. There are sellers and enthusiastic buyers. As a collector/driver/racer/enthusiast, I don’t subscribe. These cars were meant to be driven. When modern cars sit for a decade, they have complicated needs that are primarily performed by dealers. With classics, they will also have needs but can be accomplished by the trained owner or Marque resto shop. For me? Drive and enjoy. Stop sitting around parking lots with the hood up or just hang a fish on the wall.

  2. Max Katz DVM says

    As one friend said not driving your exotic in the wrapper is like having the most beautiful model girlfriend that you don’t have sex with, save her for the next guy?

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