A new report says that more and more women are buying classic cars, both as an investment, and as fun and sexy drive. So, is it a good idea for women to buy classic cars? Generally speaking no, or maybe yes.
Classic cars are a much, much, more satisfying buy than any ‘ordinary’ used car, and a financially much better buy than all but a miniscule proportion of new cars. Buy a new car, and as soon as you’ve driven it off the lot you’ve lost a huge proportion of its value, (the exact loss depending on how well you’ve chosen in the first place). In contrast, most classics will at least hold their value in real terms, and may well appreciate in real value over the years, (again depending upon how well you’ve chosen).
There are a couple of problems owning a classic car, and especially for women owning a classic car;
- As an investment a classic car really only offers capital appreciation. It’s not impossible, just very, very difficult to generate an ongoing income from your classic car. However, in most tax regimes there is no tax liability on the gain in capital value of your classic.
- Classic cars are difficult beasts to drive on an everyday basis. A classic car will need regular specialised maintenance, and a more sympathetic driving style than your regular automobile. In my experience, most women are not good at either of those. Some will not even be able to start a classic car.
For example; your classic will likely burn oil, have suspension and drive-train joints that need greasing, carburettors that need tuning and balancing, and an electrical system designed by Heath Robinson on a bad day. It will most likely have manual gearbox, (stick-shift), use more petrol, (gasoline), than a more modern car, it won’t stop as well, and it will most likely leak when it rains.
On the upside; it will be better looking than a ‘modern’ box, have loads more character, be much sexier, (any attractive woman looks even better getting out of a classic car), it will be cheaper to insure, and if it does go wrong a good mechanic will be able to repair anything and everything on it. For example, take the little Austin-Healey Sprite. I can, (and have), rebuilt one of these things from the ground upwards. They’re cute, fun, nice looking, great when the sun is shining, and when properly looked after will keep up with modern traffic and run forever.
At the other end of the scale is the utterly beautiful Jaguar XJ saloon. This gorgeous car re-defined luxury transcontinental motoring. Lovely to look at, comfortable, blisteringly fast, and as reliable as the sunrise if properly looked after. But the XJ is complicated ~ take one of these beasts into your usual garage and they probably wouldn’t have a clue, (if it’s a V12 they definitely won’t have a clue).
Or for something completely different, the ‘proper’ Land Rover is now achieving status as a classic car. If you live out in the country, or need to tow anything, or you live in an area where it snows a lot, or you just want to intimidate other car drivers, then a ‘proper’ Land Rover may be the classic car for you. Once again, these things are very strong and very reliable, if they are properly maintained.
In some ways a classic car is a very good investment, it’s almost certainly a much better home for your savings than any savings account / product offered by any bank. You benefit in other ways too, a classic is a great car to drive every day. But, no real classic car is a plain vanilla, drive it and forget it, eco-box. Classic cars need tender loving care to survive and thrive. This is where a smart woman will find a can-do guy.
Any interesting car can become an appreciating classic, especially if it’s a sports car. My tips for upcoming classics; Land-Rover Defender, Early Mazda MX-5, Toyota MR2, Jaguar XJS and XK8, just about any Saab, And the first generation Ford Ka.
If you’re thinking of buying a classic car then, read the magazines and look at the prices, go to car shows, think about who you are going to get to look after the thing, (because it will need on-going care and maintenance at least every weekend). When you think you’ve made your choice of car, then join the appropriate owners’ club, take specialist advice, and never, ever, wear rose-tinted spectacles. (The Triumph GT6 pictured is a really cute and practical car for any woman to own and drive on a daily basis.)
Personally, I think I’d really like an MGB GT V8, with full length Webasto sunroof. Or any MGB GT really.
When it was introduced in 1968 the Jaguar XJ6 was probably the finest car a gentleman with taste and refinement could buy. Outstandingly beautiful, quiet, comfortable, fast ~ fitted with the glorious, iconic, versatile, powerful, dohc straight six 4.2 litre, (258 cu in), XK engine the big Jaguar saloon could top 120 mph, (which was very quick in 1968), and made the classic Jaguar E-Type look jaded in comparison.
Jaguar and Rolls Royce for sale in Palm Springs
The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, (seen in a dull colour in the background here), was not even in the same league as the Jaguar, being slower, heavier, and with handling like a barge in comparison. The Rolls-Royce was also almost three times the price of the XJ6.
From its launch this was a car for crossing continents in comfort. When the Daimler Double Six came along, Jaguar had produced the most elegant car in the world.
The big downside for Jaguar was that the XJ saloon was just too good. In one form or another the XJ remained in production from 1968 to 1992, after which it was replaced by other Jaguar saloons which were, more or less, the same as the 1968 XJ. All in all, Jaguar made versions of this great car from 1968 until 2009, (in a bewildering number of variants), until it was finally replaced by the Eurobox that is the current XJ, (known by Jaguar as the X351).
Along the way the big Jag came in short and long wheelbase, two and four door, Jaguar and Daimler versions with straight six, V12, V6, and V8 engines of various ilks.
Probably the most desirable of all these magnificent cars is the Daimler Double Six Coupe, of which only 407 were made between 1975 1nd 1977. Fitted with the 5.3 litre, (323 cu in), V12 engine this gorgeous car could do almost 150 mph and sprint to 60 mph in about seven and a half seconds ~ and this in 1975. Even by today’s standards, this is a very fast car. (Daimler is the even more upmarket version of the luxury Jaguar brand.)
Daimler Double Six Coupe
How much should you pay for one of these cars? How much have you got? A friend of mine almost bought a beautiful example of a long wheelbase XK engined XJ6 in Palm Springs which had a sticker price of $9,500 ~ stupidly I talked her out of it, and I don’t think she’s yet forgiven me. If it comes to that, I haven’t yet forgiven me! Want one of these cars? Just you peruse the advertisements on the internet, and don’t even think about anything that needs a lot of work.
Long Wheelbase Jaguar XJ6
These cars are mechanically complex, (your local garage won’t have a clue), and some versions are very prone to rust. The luxury interior would cost you a fortune to restore, and in a Californian summer it will overheat. The V12 will really overheat. The answer is, buy the best you can afford because you will need a mortgage for any repairs or restoration work. Also, it’s a good idea if you know / can find someone who will spend a few hours a week fettling your XJ.
Unless you don’t have to worry about money, you can’t really afford to run a classic version of the XJ, not without scrimping on other things. The V12 will usually only give you somewhere between 5 and 15 mpg, (depending on how you drive and the size of your gallon of petrol / gasoline). The Jaguar independent rear suspension, with its inboard disk brakes, will have the average American mechanic in disbelief and needing therapy. And, even the XK engine, (introduced in 1949 remember), is complex and difficult to maintain and rebuild. (Trust me, I have rebuilt an XK, and I still have the grey hairs). But properly looked after, the big Jaguars / Daimlers are totally bombproof. (The XK engine was so strong it was even used in a tank.)
You know what? I am seriously thinking of driving from Chicago to Santa Monica this year, following the line of the old Route 66. A Jaguar XJ6 would be a great car for that road trip, a v12 coupe even more so. The big Daimler Double Six is Californian spiritual sex on wheels. The downside is the XJ didn’t come as a convertible. Perhaps a Jaguar XJS would be a better choice for my next road trip.