rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
6/25/10 9:25 a.m.

"I wanted to own a car like this again before it was not any fun to do so anymore. Is a DB7 perfect? No but sadly we are moving away from what makes cars interesting and unique and moving towards a lot more generic ones. " So says Andy Reid.

So I wonder what does make a production car interesting and unique and what will make a future car interesting and unique? I would hope that cost/value is not the only factor or I need to find another hobby. I will toss out a few ideas.

My 1993 Miata is a good bet to be a hobby car for many years to come. This extends to the models not yet produced. Micro cars are fun and quirky. I like to think these will be hobbiest cars.

Daily driving sedans and SUV's will still have to develop a lot of patina before being included in any list. Cheers Ron

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
6/25/10 9:48 a.m.

I like your thinking, Ron. I had a similar conversation with Joe Gearin the other day on the same subject.

The Miata is nearly a classic already. It's hard to hate a car that can be had for so little money that does so many things well.

BMW Z8 might be another "best of the modern age" example; it was one of the last BMWs that wasn't get "bangled". (Not that I hate all the Bangle designs either.)

The Acura NSX is one that I'd love to own someday. Ahead of its time, right up until they stopped producing them.

They weren't sold here, but I'd give my left arm (or at least a few fingers) for a Suzuki Cappucino.

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
6/25/10 9:53 a.m.

In reply to rconlon:

I think it's different for different people for sure. For me, what makes a car interesting is usually characteristics that are impossible to quantify and difficult to define. Certain cars just have that unique combination of parts that seems in the end to make magic. For me it is also more about the driving experience than what the car looks like. While my '90 Civic si isn't the most interesting to look at, to me is an extremely interesting car, as it has a personality, a character that is hard to define, but mostly it's a car that communicates to the driver very well what is going on with the road and the engine. Good engine sounds, good feedback from the road are two main things. But there is also this indescribable feeling where the faster you go the happier the car seems to be. This is why I can take a certain on-ramp 10 mph faster in my civic than I can in my Solstice GXP company car. The solstice is a very capable car with absolutely no character whatsoever. It is also very unpredictable at the limit, which doesn't inspire confidence in any way. If anyone is offended by my criticism of the Solstice, please refer to my first sentence. Take a Solstice for a hard drive, then get into an S2000, then a Miata, and I think you'll notice a huge difference in the driving satisfaction. In addition, cars from different places seem to have different personalities. British cars for instance, all seem to have something in common. Most japanese cars are void of any character, opting more for over the top refinement that seems to zap any personality out of them. The Miata, for example, is an exception to that. But many others are the "generics" that Andy is talking about . And obviously, it's not limited to the Japenese. Buick it the king of that historically.
Anyway, I know I'm emphasizing the driving over the looks, but I think the most interesting cars have both, like, uh, an Aston Martin.

rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
6/25/10 10:14 a.m.

The Mercedes SL class of the 1980's always has intrigued me. It is alone in a class of European comfort cruiser convertibles. It is the modern day first generation Thunderbird.

Cheers Ron

Series6
Series6 New Reader
6/26/10 12:23 a.m.

I think there will be a gap in the hobby. There will always be an interest in the earlier cars as they were easier to work on. Didn't require computers. Also, the production numbers were lower. Although I agree with the Miata's and BMW's listed above, (here comes the hate mail generator) due to the high production numbers of MOST vehicles, I think it wll be a long time before many of them earn the title of Classic. Now, anything from this era that survives 50+ years will certainly be of interest to those who follow us.

KaptKaos
KaptKaos Reader
6/26/10 1:01 a.m.

CAFE and safety standards have made cars into appliances. There are only a few ways to make a slippery shape with a low coefficient of drag. There are only a few ways to make a car pass side impact or roll-over tests. Sure, they're safer and get better mileage, but they're soul-less.

There are very few cars that will be classics in the future (I am sad to say). Mostly because of the reliance on electronics. When an iDrive fails on a BMW in 12 years, there won't be anything to replace it. It will total the car. New car makers like that. They don't really care about the used car market. The dealers might, but the manufacturers don't. Sure, Mercedes and BMW have their vintage operations, but that's more marketing than anything else. Disposable cars, with a short life span and nothing interesting about them.

Sorry to be a downer, but I hate new cars.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
6/28/10 6:57 a.m.

A totally agree with the Miata ideas as well as with the Z8. I think there are more as well but that it will take time.

You guys know I like Ferrari but I honestly think that very few of the post 328 cars will ever really be collectible.

I also feel that TVR is a safe bet as is Morgan. I personally hope that more people catch on about the original BME 6 series and the Porsche 928. These are amazing cars.

Notice that few of these cars are really expensive. For me a car has to be more than the sum of its parts. It needs to do something for me at an internal level. As Braven Race said, hard to quantify. I think sometimes it is the history but more often at least for me it is the feeling I get from driving the car, hearing the engine.

My 911 air cooled cars always seem to deliver on this. When driving a air cooled 911 in the rain at night on a b road, it is very easy for me to be transformed 30 years back to LeMans or Spa. When the car acts like a sort of time machine like that I know it is interesting.

Hope that makes some sense.

rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
6/28/10 9:46 a.m.

In reply to Series6:

This is true but not so different from the all cars built since the Model T. Some just rise to the top faster. Yesterday, I saw a 50's era Fraser on a trailer. I had to look at the name as we passed. It was home restored to a level 3 and would be a fun car to show. It was the appliance of the day. My comment was that it was a way into the more elite show level. Get an uncommon make and have some fun. A Mustang has to be very special to stand out but a Fraser will attract interest without mortgaging the kids college fund. Now trying to find a buyer for that Fraser is another thing. The Geo Metro convertible in 10 years... Where Andy might look at the Z-8, I would look at a Z-3 or a MR-2 Spyder but with the same evil intentions.

Cheers Ron

Ron

benzbaron
benzbaron HalfDork
6/28/10 12:51 p.m.

To drive a unique class involves all the senses. Does something not sound right? What do the guages say? What's that smell? Damn is it getting hot in here? All this worrying put a bad taste in my mouth.

The mercedes classics center is more than a marketing gimmick, people actually use them to find parts, get the VIN decoded, etc. I visited the place in Irvine Ca, just a car museum. But I agree that wiring problems are going to be the impediment of the modern car becoming a classic. But if there is a demand to save classics in the future the market will step in to fill the demand for reliable improved electronics. I'm sure the same process has occurred for 60s and 70s cars with badly designed wiring.

gjz30075
gjz30075 Reader
6/29/10 6:24 a.m.

To me, time is making cars interesting and unique. Mundane cars from the 60s, for example, are now interesting and unique to me, because, certainly, there's very few of them, relatively speaking, on the road.

Looking at a dashboard and interior of a 60s car shows attention to detail and certainly more so on the cars of the 50s. Real artwork!

Just my take on this subject.

racerdave600
racerdave600 HalfDork
6/29/10 7:58 a.m.

I'd say it depends on the person looking at the car. A guy I work with has a '68 Camaro that he takes to car shows. It's a beautiful car but you really can't do much with it or it will drop in value. I prefer something I can take out on track. He also can't understand why I like my 240Z or Miata. But to him, his current dream car is a new Charger or Challenger. While I think neither has a lot of soul, they do to him.

To say that current cars will not be collectible I think is a mistake. If people want them now, they will want them in the future, no matter how complicated the electronics are. Someone will see an opportunity to sell I-Drive repair units in the future I'm sure, or sell a way to replace them with something else. If there is a market, someone will make it.

Collectible is always in the eye of the purchaser. How else can you explain the insane money thrown around these days for common '60's pony cars? I used to own a Boss 302 years ago, and while it was fun, I would never, ever, pay what they sell for these days. It's not THAT good of a car. But someone obviously thinks that it is to them, and that is why they pony up...so to speak.

However, I would pay more money for a really nice '85 MR2 than a lot of people will, just because I like them and they are hard to find these days in good condition.

And about the 928, to me it's difficult to know why more people don't like them. Those are awesome driving cars and ridiculously cheap these days. I'd rather have another 944 Turbo, but I'd never turn down a 928 if the right one came along!

DneprDave
DneprDave New Reader
7/1/10 8:27 p.m.

I've always had old British Iron. My wife's daily driver is a 1998 Volvo V70 T5, We bought it used and it was the newest car we'd owned.

We got it because the styling had some personality, unlike most new cars, and it performs well, with brake and suspension upgrades as well as some minor engine tweaking.

I'd never considered buying a brand new car, until recently. We wanted a second car with an automatic transmission, as my wife doesn't drive stick, she was worried about getting to work, if the Volvo was down for repairs.

I've liked the New Minis since they came out, in 2002, they have unique styling and I think they will one day be considered a collectible classic. That, and they're made in England!

When the Mini Clubman came out in 2008, I liked them even more. I like the rear end styling better than the standard new Mini.

I was shopping on line, looking for a used Clubman and found that they haven't depreciated very much, mostly they were within a couple thousand dollars of a new one.
My wife said to me,"Are we going to get one or not!?"

The next Saturday, we went for a test drive in a new Mini Clubman S and really liked it. I was still reluctant to get a new one and we went out to the Volvo to talk about it. In front of us were two MINIs, a BRG one and a bright red one.

My wife was looking at them and said, "They're like puppies, we can't leave without one!"

We bought the red one.

My wife is not a car person, for her they are an appliance, but the Mini's unique styling really tickles her. I think that says something about designing a car for style as well as performance.

Dave

Sownman
Sownman New Reader
7/2/10 11:19 a.m.

Rare. Period.

Car, bus, motorcycle. Rare is what interests me. By rare I don't mean a Camero that is one of 180 built with this interior/ext color combo. It's still a Camero. I only go to specialty car shows now because I just don't need to see any more Mustangs or Chevelles or GTO's or Cameros. They had very little character when new and were built by 100's of thousands and they still are all over the place with character that hasn't improved. I know lots of guys love them but this thread is about what our opinion is.

Rare.

Steve

rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
7/6/10 12:10 p.m.

Rare is certainly one criterium. I have been helping out to restore a 1967 Lancia Flaminia coupe and it is both interesting and unique.
Age is a contributer to a common car's status.
Value is also important. All together and you have something that with ruin that big lawn at Pebble Beach. Cheers Ron

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
7/6/10 12:49 p.m.
Sownman wrote: Rare. Period. Car, bus, motorcycle. Rare is what interests me. By rare I don't mean a Camero that is one of 180 built with this interior/ext color combo. It's still a Camero. I only go to specialty car shows now because I just don't need to see any more Mustangs or Chevelles or GTO's or Cameros. They had very little character when new and were built by 100's of thousands and they still are all over the place with character that hasn't improved. I know lots of guys love them but this thread is about what our opinion is. Rare. Steve

So just to clarify, you would consider the ugliest/worthless/useless vehicle interesting as long as it's rare? Don't get me wrong, I'm not making any judgement about your opinion, but I also don't look at it like that myself. For example, a concours 1k mile Yugo would certainly be rare, but the only thing I would find interesting about it would be the story behind how it managed to still be in that condition.

bravenrace
bravenrace Dork
7/6/10 12:52 p.m.

In the past two weeks I've attended the vintage races and Mid-Ohio and the Gasser Reunion at Summit Motorsports Park. Oh, and also two cruise in's. After all this, I have to say that I find most special interest vehicles I don't own interesting in one way or another. Oh, if only I was rich (or able to focus on one type of car).

Coupefan
Coupefan Reader
7/6/10 2:59 p.m.

Rarity is one of the points I use also, either by direct limited production or by attrition. But I balance that out by period innovation and interesting features; engineering, design concept and material use ahead of its time--I look for things that separate one car from the mundane ocean of cookie cutters. Throw in a little competition history, after all, a warrior needs to earn glory on the battlefield. And yes, a design pleasing to the eye.

ronbros
ronbros Reader
7/8/10 3:04 p.m.

RARE; may make it interesting,, but does not make it valuable!

seems its all about the person, different strokes for different folks, and a lot about the generation you grew up in,and where you grew up(your auto inviroment).

that is what makes a person interested in a particular vehicle,, us and them!!

you rarely see Lambo guys or Ferrari guys, Ohhin, and Ahh in, over a Miata.

great excuse sayin its not about the money,, but that is the bottom line.

rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
7/8/10 4:05 p.m.

ronbros, as you say value is just one factor in making it interesting and not the most important.

Those Ferrari folks know that they can either do the 25,000 mile service -also called a full rebuild with any other car - or get a brand new Miata that they actually can drive to work without tearing out the belly pan, look cool and still have a Ferrari for weekends at the country club.

Cheers Ron

Sownman
Sownman New Reader
7/9/10 7:49 p.m.
bravenrace wrote: So just to clarify, you would consider the ugliest/worthless/useless vehicle interesting as long as it's rare? Don't get me wrong, I'm not making any judgement about your opinion, but I also don't look at it like that myself. For example, a concours 1k mile Yugo would certainly be rare, but the only thing I would find interesting about it would be the story behind how it managed to still be in that condition.

Completely and absolutely. There is no such thing as an ugly car. Every design that is uncommon is interesting and exciting to me. Last British car show I intended had two double deck London buses. One was for sale. It took all my resolve to walk away. Earlier I saw my first Nash LeMans coupe. Only 61 built the owner said. It also had terrific looks as well but over my price. I was attracted to Tigers because there were only 7085 built, only about 3000 survive. My particular car is a varient of which only 52 are known and 7 in USA

Bring on the oddballs. If I had a choice between a barn find still wearing its window sticker with 0 miles on the odometer I'd pick a Yugo over a Mustang anytime. Might not make the most financial sense but it would make me real happy.

Steve

Series6
Series6 Reader
7/9/10 11:13 p.m.

Back in the 80's I was a finance manager at a Nissan dealership. A customer traded in his Citroen SM.. (I can see eyes rolling now.) (Traded an SM for a Nissan?) I went out and looked at it after the deal was done and the guy had driven off in his new car... Sorry....was the ugliest thing I had seen in quite some time... No one else was available to drive it around back so I fired it up and waited for the suspension to come up to drive height. Took it out on the street and decided to run it a few blocks, which ended up being a few miles. I was impressed with how it handled and ran.

Funny.....It wasn't near as ugly when I brought it back to the lot as it was when I first got in. Interesting car to drive.

Bottom line....It takes more than looks to make a car "interesting".... I'd never own one but glad I got the chance to change my own mind and get exposure to something different. That drive left me with a wider view of this wonderful machine called the Automobile.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk Reader
7/10/10 8:15 p.m.

Last night we went to an event in Ann Arbor called "Rolling Sculpture". They close off the downtown streets and anyone can bring out their cars, so there's a bit of everything.I was intrigued with a Bugeye Sprite, 2 Isettas,a variety of old 50s pickups, a Triumph GT6,a couple of 1st gen Mustangs, etc. An eclectic mix, but all with some unique features . Generally , I find the "first' of any vehicle models appealing (Mustang), and I really like smaller , responsive cars (current DDs are a MINI and a Miata). I can't really explain why I'm attracted to old trucks, but I'd love a '54 F-100, and not necessarily one that's all "done up", just a driver would do. I'm 58, so all these were around when I was a kid. My 21 year old and his buddy were looking at the NSXs, a Rossi Corvette rebody, a Subaru WRX STI, and a few other newer vehicles. If these two hit the lottery they'll be at Barrett-Jackson in 20-30 years bidding on the same vehicles that they lust after today, just as I lusted after the vehicles of the 50s and 60s. I do think they'll have a shorter list, because I don't see the current crop of vehicles having as much variety as my "lust list", but my grandfather used to think all those British sportscars were all the same, too. I'll bet tomorrow's car freaks will have a lengthy list of cars to ogle at at "Rolling Sculpture 2030" even if I really don't see it today. This is how I'll become my father, and then my grandfather !

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