"Non-Collectible" Old Cars
This is going to be my version of a Car Talk "Rant and Rave" (those of you who don't know what I'm talking about need to spend some time at cartalk.com). The thrust of my rant is the nonchalant way in which people in this topic are always shooting others down for being interested in a "non-collectible" old car. I think anyone who thinks only about the monetary value and exquisiteness when looking for a "classic" car is missing the point. About a year and a half ago, when I made up my mind to purchase my first car (I'm now 18), I chose to buy a rusty, faded blue 1986 Pontiac Parisienne Safari with bad tires, bad brakes and a good-sized dent in the RF fender. Most people would have laughed and walked away when they found out the old geezer who was selling it wouldn't budge below a whopping $3,000. But I saw something in that car and I just had to buy it and fix it up. Over the past 1 1/2 years, I've added new tires, rear brakes, battery, oil, filters, headliner, floor mats, etc. etc. and a Maaco paint job in the original light met blue with dark blue pinstripes (as much as people like to make fun of Maaco, the paint still looks great after over a year). It looks and runs like it's nearly new (a few flaws, but it is a daily driver), and I keep it clean and well-maintained. It has 44,000 original miles and I even have the original window sticker listing it as $14,464 MSRP new in 1986. Talk about obsession, I even know my VIN# by heart (1G2BL35H6GX215808, thank you very much!). Now, by conventional definition, this car is neither classic nor collectible, but I didn't buy based on whether it was 25 model years old or had a certain blue-book value. I bought it because I saw it rusting away in the guy's yard and it was just the right car for me, and I don't regret that. And apparently I'm not the only one who loves it; I've had random people I've never met before tell me what a beautiful car I have. So my conclusion is that we shouldn't be so quick to tell people that a car is not worth renovating. If someone had told me that back in 3/00, I might have bought a nice, boring '92 Corolla with my $3,000, and the Parisienne would still be sitting in that old guy's yard rusting into the ground. And believe me, that would have been a mistake.
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