What do I do with it NOW?!

Buying Things That You Really Can’t Use

So there I was at a sale, and I found myself bidding. When the gavel fell, I was the proud owner of a Rauch & Lang carriage. As carriages go, it was almost a car, because the Cleveland-based company, founded in 1853, graduated from carriages to electrics.

And then I thought, “What do I do with it now? I don’t even have a horse.” So why did I buy it? I loved the styling and the beauty, and I knew that it would look great at my farm, where we’ll eventually host weddings. But for now it’s more like a home decoration.

When you get something like this, you need to ask yourself, “Does it make me happy?” That’s the reason for collecting things that don’t have a real function, after all — to make you happy.

Part of collecting, though, is that buying the object has to make sense to you. I just bought a third child-size curved-dash Olds with a gas engine, as well as my third Auto Red Bug, though this one has been converted to a gasoline engine. You can’t really use them because they were made for kids and estates; they were the golf cart of their age, and I just like them.

There has to be some kind of a thought process behind this, though, so I rationalize that I’m buying these things for my grandson. As long as the purchase seems logical to me and I have the money, I can justify it.

This applies to far more than cars. It’s like collecting paintings or art of any type. And over the years I’ve also collected paper — automotive manuals and brochures — and now some are incredibly valuable, which I never expected. Tin and neon automotive signs, too, are something you don’t really need. For me, it’s the same for motorcycles: I don’t ride them anymore. They look great in my office, however, and they’re gaining value while I enjoy them as art. And despite not needing them, I’m soon going to look at a collection of engines, manifolds and blowers, which will look good all polished up.

Recently I found a really neat period race car trailer. I had to have it, but I really didn’t need it. Plus, it came with a midget racer that I needed even less. Now that I have this trailer and the car I’ll never race, I’m thinking that it would be great to have a vintage pickup or a 1940 Ford sedan delivery so I can have a complete rig. Which I also don’t need…

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