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It begs the question...


This week, I haven’t been thinking so much about a particular car rather than an idea about cars, and quite honestly, about industry and the things we enjoy in general. What makes a particular car a classic, and are there any cars on the market currently that we could potentially view as classics in the future? What makes a classic so desirable, and how do we determine when a vehicle has reached that status?

The easy answer to that last question is codified in many state laws. Here in Virginia, if a car is older than 25 years, it is eligible for special plates that exempt it from many modern inspection standards but also limits the days and times at which the vehicle can be driven. But I have definitely seen some old vehicles with vintage plates that I certainly would not consider classics. A rusty, beat-up 1992 F-150 farm truck is not exactly a marvel of performance and technic engineering, but it could certainly be considered nostalgic by some. So does nostalgia become that defining characteristic about what collectors consider collectible? I’m certainly nostalgic for my 1996 Taurus SHO from high school, and by Virginia state law, it will be consider a classic in just over two years. But there can’t be a huge crowd that is hungry for a slightly souped-up family sedan from the early to mid-nineties. Even the recently reintroduced SHO in the current lineup hasn’t been a huge seller. But that doesn’t matter to me at all. I just loved the car, and had it not been totaled, I would still love it to this day.

Most of the cars that we discuss in the blog have some sort of racing heritage or are examples of a particular engineering milestone or rare quirk. In short, they’re either fast, historically innovative, or unique in some way that gives them a rare value that motivates people to collect, maintain, or restore them over time. So are there any current vehicles in the age of computer-assisted functions, plastic body panels, and fuel efficiency that will become future collector’s items? Almost certainly, there are European performance vehicles as well as a variety of sports cars from manufacturers worldwide that will hold some future value, but is there anything in the current domestic lineup that holds that same prestige or nostalgia factor? I suppose that only time will tell.

-Trey Fennell

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