Book Review: The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting

Raise your hand if you’ve ever cried after selling a car? This is a safe space; you can say it here. I’ll admit that I have. The new book, The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting: How to Buy, Sell, Live with & Love a Collectible Car, puts into words the way that we can love a car in a manner that it hurts to get rid of it. Even if it’s a 1990 Chevy Astro Van with custom pinstriping my parents sold when I was 13, or the story shared in the book of a Honda CRV that led its owner to cry all afternoon when she sold it. Written by Robert C. Yeager, a veteran New York Times automotive journalist, it’s a truly a one-stop reference for joining the collectible-car hobby. But it’s also a history of the automobile and roadmap to what makes us car enthusiasts that will appeal to car collectors new and old.

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting

Yeager noticed that after years of being dominated by older generations, the enthusiast car market has been trending younger. That’s where the idea for this book came from. He sat down and created what he calls an instructive guide to the hobby we love.

As a new collectible car owner myself, I admit I made some mistakes trying to buy my first classic car (that you can read about here). Owning a classic car for 2 years now I can say that it was intimidating jumping into this space… but it didn’t need to be. Collecting car isn’t rocket surgery! Having just finished reading the book, I’m confident that if I would have read it prior to starting this journey I would own a different car today.

Although some of the book’s focus is for younger enthusiasts looking to get into the hobby, the title is a little misleading as it much more than just that. There is a rich history of the automobile, guidance on car buying and selling, and info on up and coming collector cars that will be useful even for enthusiasts with a building full of vehicles.

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting begins with an introduction by our own McKeel Hagerty, the CEO and driving force behind Hagerty, where he puts into words why we are passionate about cars in the first place. As he says, “The longer you’re around the hobby, the more you’ll notice that’s what it’s all about – cool cars, cool roads, and shared experiences with people who share the fascination.”

The book includes an overview of classics cars from the 1930s through the 1960s, however the focus is on cars built since the 1970. There are separate chapters for Japanese, American, and European, often including data from Hagerty. More than just a guide to car models, the book also includes coaching on how to buy and sell collectors cars. Advice includes conducting a deep-dive curation into a given models strengths and shortcomings before purchasing (advice I wish I had known!).

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting

Do you want a classic car that you love and is fun to drive? Does pre-war stuff and even most post-war stuff not really interest you? AND you aren’t “rich”? Then you are the target audience for this book. The author shares his opinion of specific cars that fit those criteria, mostly from Hagerty’s annual Bull Market Lists that can be used as beginning points to getting into the hobby. The book focuses on cars that capture the heart and beg you to drive them, but won’t break the bank. Some are established collectibles (e.g. Dodge Viper) and are no surprise while others are more of an “up-and-coming” option (e.g. Acura Integra Type-R).

What makes this such a fun read is all the unexpected knowledge you’ll gain. Yeager shares his top car shows and museums in America along with beautiful photos of the most expensive cars ever sold at auction. There is a chapter explaining the growing popularity of cars built in the 90s and 2000s. One called, “NextGen Women Love Cars Too” and a chapter on how the internet and social media have changed the collector car experience and marketplace. There are also fascinating stories about early steam cars and pioneering women from the 19th and early 20th century.

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting

If you’re even remotely considering buying a collectible car, do yourself a favor and read the chapter on how to buy a classic car without suffering buyer’s remorse. Robert C. Yeager fills in the rest of the book with advice on evaluating condition, identifying rising stars, and knowing when to both buy and sell. I plan to keep this book on my shelf and will reference soon as I look for another car to own.

It’s great for someone looking to get into the hobby, but it’s also for the experienced car person as well. At 192 pages this is not a quick light read, there is lots of good info. I recommend picking up the book The NextGen Guid to Car Collecting for a nice winter read and adding it to your bookshelf. This is not a read once and donate type of book. I would describe it as a “complete” guide rather than the “NextGen” guide like the title. This one-stop reference is a great book for someone looking to start or expand their collection beyond traditional classics and muscle cars.

It’s available on Kindle, Audible, and paperback at The Shop by Hagerty.

The NextGen Guide to Car Collecting
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    I read this book and was not too impressed.

    It takes time and experience to really get it. Reading a book may just get you in trouble.

    Their are so many nuances to collecting that not all fit everyone.

    Depending on how much you can spend, what you like, what your goals are, how much of a risk taker you are, it goes on.

    Most are like me. We are in it for the love of the car not the investment. We buy what we like and if it is worth more later great if not we have a car we love.

    Simple things like often it is better to buy a well restored car in some cases than to do it your self. Let some one else absorb the loss.

    These are all things you just need to get involved with and learn.

    Good collecting is street smarts.

    Like hyperV6, I see too much attention given to “investment” when it comes to “collecting”. While there is certainly a correlation to be made, it’s not the only thing that drives one to collect something. Far too much importance is place, IMO, to “selling your collectable” – and even perhaps making your purchase decision based mainly on what your future sale opportunities will be. For many of us, we collect what we (personally – everyone else be darned) covet and love. Period. Selling the collection is furthest from our minds. I wish that people who are acquiring vehicles to try and make a buck later on (nothing wrong with that, b-t-w) wouldn’t be called “Car Collectors”. More appropriately, they are Automotive Speculators. True “Collectors” are just buying stuff that they admire and enjoy having. Or at least that’s the way I see it.

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