Re­mem­ber that beau­ti­ful car from your favourite movie? Now’s the time to buy it.


Maybe it’s that red Porsche from 16 Can­dles. Or maybe it’s the lit­tle Alfa Romeo con­vert­ible Dustin Hoff­man drove in The Grad­u­ate. The Ferrari 308 from Mag­num P.I.? Ev­ery­body’s got that car from a movie or a tele­vi­sion show. A car that was beau­ti­ful and per­fect and seemed so out of reach.

Well, good news: now’s the time to buy your vin­tage dream car. The con­cept of an in­vest­ment piece is fa­mil­iar: an ob­ject that ages grace­fully, some­thing to cher­ish, some­thing to pass along to a son or daugh­ter. Usu­ally such things are very small. You keep them in a jew­ellery box, maybe in a safe. A di­a­mond ring from Boucheron, pearl Cartier ear­rings, a Louis Vuit­ton Speedy bag. But cer­tain cars from the ’60s, ’70s, and now even ’80s are be­com­ing col­lectible.

Un­like most valu­able heir­looms, the right vin­tage cars come with some def­i­nite perks. You could spend a week driv­ing the Pa­cific Coast High­way or through the Cana­dian Rock­ies.

The mar­ket for clas­sic cars ex­ploded in the early half of this decade. Ac­cord­ing to Hagerty—a clas­sic car in­sur­ance com­pany that keeps track of these things—notes the price of vin­tage Fer­raris rose 70 per cent in that time. Post-2008 mar­ket crash, a vin­tage car sud­denly seemed like a safe place to put money.

In 2014, the world took no­tice when an old Ferrari sold at an auc­tion in Mon­terey for a ham­mer price of $34,650,000 (plus an­other $4-ish mil­lion for the buyer’s pre­mium). The car in ques­tion was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.

A large price to pay for a car, yes, but a very rea­son­able price to pay for a gen­uine work of art by one of the masters. Cer­tainly, a GTO is more af­ford­able than a Modigliani.

Of course, this is an ex­treme ex­am­ple. The red Porsche 944 from 16 Can­dles? That car could be yours for around $20,000. Good news: the car has aged just as nicely as the film.

The Grad­u­ate’s Alfa Romeo? It’s around $15,000. Not a lot of money to pay for a gen­uine de­sign icon. And Thomas Mag­num of Mag­num P.I. could only get about $70,000 for his old Ferrari 308 if he sold it to­day.

Buy­ing a vin­tage car comes with a few caveats: don’t ex­pect it to start ev­ery time, the air con­di­tion­ing prob­a­bly won’t work, it’ll spend more time in the garage than you’d like it to, and you’re not go­ing to be able to Blue­tooth your phone to lis­ten to a pod­cast.

But, treat your clas­sic right, keep it in a shop, don’t use it to run er­rands ev­ery­day, don’t slack when it comes to main­te­nance, and it might just be worth your while. If you de­cide to sell it down the road, you may get your money back—or even make a profit. Like the stock mar­ket, the vin­tage car mar­ket is im­pos­si­ble to ac­cu­rately pre­dict, but the prices of cer­tain rare and semi-rare ’70s and ’80s cars are on the rise these days—maybe be­cause you’re not the only one who fan­cies them­selves in The Grad­u­ate’s Alfa Romeo.

So, while own­er­ship of a vin­tage ve­hi­cle re­quires more stor­age space and up­keep, a pair of vin­tage pearl ear­rings sim­ply won’t pro­vide the same cal­i­bre of adventure. It’s cer­tainly an in­vest­ment worth con­sid­er­ing—and one your prog­eny will likely ap­pre­ci­ate.

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