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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Smithology: Notes from the sour middle of the value sandwich | Hagerty Media

It was a $24,000 car with no sound insulation. In the wrong color. The woman who bought it new drove it every day. The dealer brushed her off, wouldn't let her test-drive it, and then she came back with the cash, Hi, Screw You, Don't Judge a Book by the Cover.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/smithology/smithology-notes-from-the-sour-middle-of-the-value-...
19 REPLIES 19
danhise
Intermediate Driver

I'm confused. You say "my father is . . . ."
I'll have to say, I have loved imagining your tooling around the Smokies in the yellow Integra R. Like the flower of the Blue Ridge. Or the terror of Highway 129. (My apologies to the guy who wrote "The Terror of Highway 101". Which makes me recall that Edith Piaf sang that song in French! "Il est le terreur de la region."
Sam, you're the Buck Hipps of car trading. (Faulkner, "The Hamlet". Buck is a crafty mule trader.)
danhise
Intermediate Driver

Sorry. I went back to find, happily, that your father is still very much alive. May he remain so for decades more.
OldRoad
Instructor

The photo indicated almost 7.5k rpm and you were only doing 80?
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

You could be in first gear at 7.5K rpm and doing only 25.
Tsaxman
Detailer

Smitty, the dénouement for every protagonist in every story ends the same way: with a dirt nap.

So, you were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. My advice is to buy a vehicle that makes you reasonably happy every time you drive it, at a price you can afford (think of your budget as spending an amount which still assures that you will NOT be homeless when your actuarial table number comes up).
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

A few years ago, I sold a 340 Challenger, one that (I Was NEVER going to sell!) I'd bought parts for a planned full restoration. I'd stopped driving it due to a transmission leak, and approximately 10-12 years later, it still wasn't any closer to that restoration. Coming to grips with the reality of passing time, I realized that I needed to downsize, and put it up for sale. It was purchased by a real fan of the car. But now, (looking at how prices have risen) I often think, if I'd just held onto to it for a couple more years!! *SIGH* The choices we have to make!! 🙂
Vcdoorco4
Intermediate Driver

I’ve generally been a ‘market maker’. Once I’d sell a car, the values would jump. But, my resources required selling one great car to get the next. The driving experience over 40+ cars offsets some of the financial missed opportunities. And when the music stopped, I am left with an e92 M3 and an AP1 S2000. And a lot of awesome drives to get there. So sell what you need to, when you need to...and enjoy the dream of what one day might replace it.
Billygoat33
Pit Crew

Amen. I recently bought a MB 560SL because I wanted one and this one was priced right and was relatively low miles. Well it is as fun to drive as it is to look at. Now I understand why guys go down to the park and park under the trees to wax their cars. My wife keeps telling me "don't rack up a lot of miles, you'll drive the value down." Well to me, the value is in the joy of driving it (and waxing it under the trees in the park).
Funhogs
Pit Crew

Wow, there are some great clusters of words, still got me thinking about them so much I'm going to re-read it tonight.
albino09
New Driver

This one hit a little too close to home. Having the same equivalent-of-an-existential crisis about the future of my low mile E46 M3. Looming maintenance expectations and the desire for real back doors and suddenly I’m looking at downright sensible cars I could afford with the payout from a sale of this Laguna Seca babe.
OldBird
Pit Crew

Well written! I've had the privilege to own some interesting cars (at least to me). I held onto my first full restoration car ('67 MGB BRG OD) for 22 years before finally realizing that it was time. Not because I didn't love the car, but because I am not a) independently wealthy nor b) getting younger. There are way too many interesting cars out there and too few years on the Earth. So. The MGB gave way to a nicely preserved '72 Citroen SM 5 speed. Long a bucket list car. And just like the 'B, that could easily have been a long, long term keeper. But Time and Money. And so after I had enjoyed it for a while I wistfully sold it to a nice gentleman via BaT, and so it goes. Regrets? Yes, of course. But I can't have the next thing while holding on to the current one so tightly.
drhino
Instructor

I have resigned myself to “whatever I do will be wrong” when it comes to the value of toys. Especially the ones I didn’t buy. Oh, well. Those are always good stories to tell. Remains to be seen what my (very) small motorcycle collection will be worth at some point. I bought because I loved them, if the value increases— good for my wife. I’ve never been able to sell one; they mean too much to me.
bblhed
Detailer

The worst thing about holding onto any "valuable" item is this, if you still own it when you die it made you happy but you are dead and odds are slim that your family will know how to properly market and sell it. I tend to buy cars that are priced well below modest because I have seen this too many times with all kinds of hobbies, I have seen model trains sell for pennies on the dollar, same with furniture, cameras, cars, boats, tools, housewares, and even whole houses. When you buy a car plan to drive it until it stops making you smile and for it to have zero value when you are done with it.
S2kChris22
Pit Crew

I’m “fortunate” that when I bought my S2000, I could only afford to daily drive it. For four years through the Chicago winters. So it’s ratty enough and has enough miles (115k) that it won’t appreciate much. It is probably a $15-18k car as it sits. It won’t go down much. Won’t go up much either. Which means that baring unforeseen financial catastrophe, it won’t have to be sold. Aside from an annual oil change for $30 and the odd set of tires, it costs me nothing but insurance at ~$50/mo. Cheapest entertainment I know.
Rick66
Pit Crew

Ohhh, that yellow ITR!

I think you are now a "Professional" writer. Not that auto journalist are generally hacks but many get a pass because this community is in love with the subject. Thanks for the words that so clearly describe the conflict of a family mans responsibilities. I have for 30 years had to work through several love affairs of the automotive kind.  An MGB whose restoration probably saved my life after an illness. 10 years on I was drawn to another and had to pass her on. I think this one will last. 21 years now and too many miles have made the financial decision an easy one. When I go she will be my sons. I hope he will keep her but if value ever approaches a level and the need is there, gone she should be. 

 

You know that ITR needs to come home to KC. There is a lonely red AP1 S2000 here that needs company.

MATTMERICA
Instructor

Great article/story. This helped my Monday.
psmith
Pit Crew

My pal KirbyDan once said (in a slight different situation but the meaning is still there), "it's just a piece of tin." I, as much as anybody, have a hard time facing that fact (my TC will be among the last possessions I will part with). But, being old enough to have a bagful of fond automotive memories, the desire and memory, before and after the possession, can easily loom larger than the piece of tin itself.


darkbuddha
Pit Crew

A couple of things: Buy what you can when you can and never let go until you can't hold on any longer. And remember, there is essentially no difference between having something you don't use and not having it at all, except if you end up needing/wanting that thing you don't have anymore because you weren't using it.
911rs
New Driver

Sounds like you are considering selling it?
I had a 944 before getting my 911. Always regretted selling it and when a friend was selling is 944 turbo I picked it up. But I found that after fixing it up, it just didn't put the same smile on my face that I remembered. Things change, time goes on, we change. When you find a keeper, you know it. As another friend said to me - "I'll die with a 911 in my garage". Not sure if I'm in that category, but for now I am. But things change ...