Don't get me wrong, I think the factory historic collections (i.e., Studebaker, Ford, GM) are cool.
But what value is there really had in holding these if you are Ford or GM aside from running a tourist attraction?
It does not appear like they are training up their designers by deeply studying all those past examples to inform current designs --and if they are studying them it is probably on a computer screen.
You'd get more free publicity selling off a few every year at a big auction. Mercedes had at least 142 million reasons to go down this road it seems.
The reason most keep these cars now is one the value, two the history, then many are pulled out for marketing and in some cases these cars are used in design where they use them to carry over styling to new models that represents the brand.
Case in point GM is doing a display of the Corvette show cars and using it to promote the new C8. They even bought back the mid engine Cerv 2 in anticipation of the C8 marketing.
When they did the 5th Gen Camaro they used the Z/28 as the car to draw upon for the new car. Ford has done the same as well as VW and others.
You will find designers work in 3D and often will have inspirational items or cars in studio to get the shapes right. It is not a new thing as you can see cars from years ago with other models as guides and in some cases even other brands.
It used to be many companies used to keep their archives and history but today most are trashing it. Those that do are at risk of forgetting their past and their own history that can contribute to the future.
For my own company I was trying to dig up history for our 50th anniversary. It was difficult and often the people who knew were gone.
I was able to find and dig up many things from our past and some surprising history. We even now sell shirts, hats and decals based on many of the vintage things I found.
In Benz case they have a extensive collection that is worth the trip to Germany alone and the cars are often used in marketing and taken to shows around the world and displayed or even doing laps to show the heritage of the new products. Many of todays Benz performance models draw from this models and some earlier models in styling and performance.
Even the high dollar value realized here is a drop in the bucket for Benz where billion dollar programs are common. It is not like they are going broke.
It seems a bit a vaporous to me. I agree that Mercedes didn't need the money --bankrupt GM didn't sell of their collection after all.
But I don't think having any old Vettes out helped sell one C8. C8 sold itself and the hype around it in the media. I don't know that dragging out the old stuff even fed that hype.
I agree that knowing your history is important to branding and irreplaceable. But in the specific case of automakers I am not sure that owning a private collection of really valuable examples is a necessary part of that.
That's not the same as throwing your photo archives in the dumpster (Peterson Publishing is one of the only auto magazine empires to not have done this in the takeover era of the past 20 years --such as wasted resource) or some small business trashing all their artifacts.
3D scan every detail, video log and tons of pictures and they could recreate any of the vehicles even if they sold it and it got destroyed (or the new owner refused access 10 years later).
Now if the justification is corporate showing off of "Look at our shiny toy collection" I suppose that is something else.
You evidently miss the marketing aspects most mfgs use at new model introduction and at enthusiast events.
Times like at Woodward GM got Roger Penske and GM own space car collection to drive down the street.
Rolls doing a new car intro at Pebble Beach with the original Silver Ghost sitting near by.
It is not feeding they hype but leveraging your heritage.
Sadly little remains of Cadillacs heritage at GM for them to leverage. I expect the new flagship may appear with a borrowed car. Imagine it with the Worlds Fair V16 coupe?
Even at SEMA many of the GM cars generate excitement. I have seen a number of their Pontiac cars at the Pontiac National over the years it instilled meaning to a brands they never understood.
GM doesn't need to own a collection of the cars themselves to leverage heritage for marketing purposes was part of my point.
Enough collectors of the "iconic" stuff would want there example doing the public appearances (being in that TV ad, whatever) that the advertising people could get 90% of what they wanted at any time.
It's not like people are going to scrap all of these vehicles once they get them out of GM's hands. Sure, a few examples would be hermited away for decades. Selling the collection and paying one person to keep an active inventory (for marketing purposes) of key cars to potentially use for things has to be way cheaper (even with shipping, appearance fees, etc.) than maintaining said collection in driving condition to maybe use.
Questioning the value of said marketing is a reasonable thing to do. Seeing the CERVs out somewhere would be very cool. They are not selling CERVs though --so how does that compel me to buy anything? Orange Gen 1 Camaros with white stripes are great and adverts for a new Camaro with that same package maybe hit a nostalgia button. But if I don't want a new Camaro for what it is, getting that old stripe package probably isn't enough by itself.
How do you measure generating excitement at enthusiast events unless they are taking orders right there on the new cars. Preorders of a new Trans Am at a Pontiac event that probably works, but if they did the same event at a grocery store with no heritage cars there it is likely still busy (if it was the first chance to get something people have been wanting).
I think this (large factory collections) is a remnant of the pre-digital age. Interesting to enthusiasts like us sure. Getting your vehicles into a video game probably has a larger measurable impact on brand identity and future sales.
@audiobycarmineI think there are plenty of events you can take this to. This car would be welcome at pretty much every significant event. Pebble Beach, Villa d'Este, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival, and more. If the owner were so inclined to show it and drive it, the prestigious events that would want it to attend are endless.