There’s been a spike in the interest in classic cars in the last decade. By classic cars, I am referring to vintage, classic and modern classic cars, and if you ask me, it isn’t hard to see why.
Classic cars are considered to be safe toys, whereas sportscars and race cars aren’t. Unlike rallying or track racing, classic car rallies and concours aren’t dangerous to participate in. That said, with a dearth of racetracks around the country and not too many organised motorsport events, especially ones like hill climbs or autocrosses, classic car meets and drives are the only few options for enthusiasts.
Collecting and restoring classic cars can be a lot more exciting than you might imagine. Yes, you do have occasional breakdowns but that’s part of the ownership experience, and it gives you a hands-on course on automobile mechanicals. Informal car forums also play a large role in helping and encouraging rookies.
You wouldn’t burn your fingers with a classic if you go about it sensibly. If you are adventurous, a complete car restoration can be a very rewarding experience, and once you learn the ropes of restoration, preparing a classic car for a concours, though painstakingly expensive and tiring, can get addictive.
The best bit though is that if you restored your classic to a reasonable level and then want to move on and buy something that is more exotic, chances are you won’t lose money. In some cases, you may even make a small profit. Don’t get me wrong though, that shouldn’t be the reason for you to try your hand at classic cars. In fact, once you own and drive a classic car you would only want to expand your collection.
However, it isn’t always smooth sailing and chasing classics has its negatives too. Rising demand and a scarcity of classic cars have almost doubled prices for even common models, like VW Beetles, over the last five years. For example, you can’t buy a decent Beetle for under Rs 7-8 lakh now, and classic coupés and convertibles, in general, demand huge premiums over more conventional body styles, making them almost out of reach. Also, if you only want sheer excitement, classic cars may be a step too far for you.
Then again, when you measure the odds against classic cars, the positives outweigh the negatives, and this largely justifies the momentum the classic car movement has gained in the country.
Truth be told, classics aren’t very practical for long daily commutes. However, since owners work tirelessly to keep their cars in the best possible condition, it would be a fair mandate to allow classics that are lovingly cared for and sparingly driven, to remain on our roads. After all, they represent our history, heritage and a whole lot of passion.
Coming soon: India’s first-ever rally for modern classics
Vintage and classic car enthusiasts can breathe easy with hope over their future