Booster Masthead

Restoration Blvd.
December 2000

Columnist — Allen Wright

Why Is It Worth It To Restore Old Cars?

Can you believe 2000 is almost over and 2001 is close? I can’t. Where has this year gone?

Last year about this time we were hearing the warnings about the computers shutting down because of a problem with the date. This year, the country may be shut down because the lawyers are meddling with our democratic voting process. There seems to never be a dull moment anymore.

Have you seen the Los Angeles Crazy Gideon electronics store advertising? "I stock them deep and sell them cheap" or "I stack them high and watch them fly." Or, finally, "I may be crazy but I’m not stupid." Anybody who has seen these ads will remember them. They’re exciting. They’re different than anything else you see. Because of this, it has been extremely tempting to this writer to drive to downtown Los Angeles (30 minutes to one hour) just to go to his store. He must be doing something right because he’s still there.

This brings me to automotive and restoration parts. I have noticed that restoration automotive parts are increasing dramatically in price. Why is this?

This question came up at Industry Week in Las Vegas, Nevada. Some say the reason is supply. There just aren’t as many auto parts available for the older vehicles. Manufacturers simply don’t make them anymore.

Others indicate it is the demand for these old parts. But why is the demand increasing for old auto parts? After some trade show beverages, one conclusion was made for the increase in demand: we decided 90% of the cars on the road today look the same.

They all have basically the same features and are about the same colors — except for the Mary Kay cars. They are 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder, injected, automatic, 4 or 5 speed transmissions, air-conditioned, power window, power door lock machines for basic transportation.

If you can remember taking car trips and easily recognizing the car make and model, you are as old as I am. Today, as I drive around Southern California, I am lucky if I can name every 20th car.

This writer believes that this trend is about to end. Look at the success of the PT Cruiser, VW New Bug or Lincoln Navigator. When you see them on the road, you remember the car. The advertising for these machines is also quite different than what we’ve seen in the last few years for all of those cars that look like clones.

Our discussion in Las Vegas came to the same conclusion. In our cars, like everything else, we all want to be a little different, a little uncommon. Check out the clothing at the malls and the customers in those malls. There are some heavy-duty fashion statements there. There were also some interesting fashion statements in Las Vegas at Industry Week as well — but then, it was Halloween.

Cars that are remembered are worth restoring and maintaining — if you can afford the costs. Chances are that a well-maintained classic vehicle will be around long after you are gone. That ’65 Mustang, ’62 Corvair, ’70 Duster or million-dollar Duesenberg will find a new home and a new loving owner. More and more people are restoring cars that have special memories to them. That’s why the restoration and classic car parts prices are increasing as fast as they have. Every time I think that I traded my dual-quad setup for the ’65 Oldsmobile for a Honda motorcycle, I want to cry.

Back to Industry Week in Las Vegas. I want to sincerely thank White Industries and their Southern California representative Chuck Kennedy Jr. for having me at their reception at the Imperial Palace Automotive Collection. What a wonderful place to have an automotive industry reception: The Duesenberg Room. It was a first-class event that will be long remembered.

The Duesenbergs at the museum all were for sale — as were the rest of the collection of classics. I simply could not decide the model Duesenberg I should purchase so I decided to check out a ’70 GTX instead. As Crazy Gideon says, I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.

To all three of my loyal readers, I wish you good health and happiness for the new year. To the Republican and Democratic lawyers holding up the election of the greatest nation in the world, I hope your fruitcake gives you the runs.

Originally published in the December 2000 Automotive Booster Magazine.
Copyright December 2000 by KAL Publications Inc.

Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.