18 November 2016

Should all cars be driven, no matter how rare they are?

It may seem strange, but some folks buy cars for reasons other than fun and transportation. Investment is the typical alternative. And the value of a car is innately tied to its condition, mileage and scarcity. Point-A to Point-A cars are common, but would you drive your prized 1965 Ford Mustang fastback on a risk-laden Home Depot dash? (Think of what an errant two-by-four might do.) Exactly. Neither would I. But a weekend cruise or a drive to the local cars-and-coffee get-together would be fine, right?

There are, however, some cars that people believe are too rare or valuable to drive in uncontrolled conditions. For instance, how about the “Round-door” Rolls-Royce? It’s actually a 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Coupe, ultimately bodied by Belgian coachbuilders Jonckheere (initially bodied and sold as a Hooper cabriolet), and now owned by the Petersen Auto Museum. We asked you via Facebook because we wanted to know how you feel about the automotive world’s sacred cows – like the Tucker we pictured with the question.

Your overwhelming response was summed up by David Steiner, who replied, “Yes. Driven with care, but driven nonetheless.” Tim Ingram agreed and recognized that some concessions must be made for uncommon cars: “If it’s super rare the car still needs to get some use. Take it out on a closed area at least. Sitting is the worst thing for cars.”

And while Terry Bass Jr., didn’t consider alternatives to public roads, he did point out the inherent risk. “My issue is that these parts aren’t getting any easier to find and the other guy seems to drive like an idiot!” We couldn’t help but wonder if Bass was driving in a demolition derby when he continued, “I haven’t even finished my paint or body and I continue to find myself repairing sheet metal constantly.”

At first glance, it seemed like Jason Cesana couldn’t decide when he wrote, “no and yes.” But clarifying his response, Cesana seemed to side with Steiner and Ingram. “Rare vehicles should be driven but in limited miles and with little [exposure] to cause possible loss.”

Others, like Kenneth William Knutson III (who answered “Absolutely”), took a pretty hard line on the question. Some suggested other hobbies, like collecting art or stamps, “if you want to sit and stare at stationary art,” as Tom Long said. Frank Charles, who referenced his “number five of six made” (of what, Frank?!) said he drives it “like I stole it.”

Should rare cars be driven or not? William Troxel has the answer. Sort of. “It’s the owner’s desecration.” Yes, he wrote desecration. If you’re not sure if this means yes or no, we concur.

Ultimately, we have to agree with Ned Scudder, who wisely stated, “no one can say but the owner.”

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