Never Stop Driving #28: The $50,000 Beetle
Car people, me included, can be a tiresome lot. We’ll gleefully debate the merits of a tappet versus a roller cam, recite 0-60 times for days, and revel in our insider’s jargon. Worst of all, many of us feel the need to claim that we make money at our hobby.
I’m not talking about professionals who actually take their paychecks from trading cars, I’m talking about casual car fans who brag how much money they made on their last flip. At my local cars and coffee, I hear a lot of car-trading boasts. While I’m convinced that at least half of these stories are total bull, I’m perplexed why so many car owners feel the need to even tell them. Status in the car community is somehow tied to financial prowess rather than enthusiasm, discernment, and knowledge. I don’t get it.
One of the best lines I stole from McKeel Hagerty, and there have been many, is this: “I buy high and sell low.” My cars are a hobby and they cost money, just like golf. I’ve sold a few cars for more than I paid, but with a full accounting that includes parts and my labor, they were losers. Who cares? I buy high and if that makes me the fool to others, fine. I had a great time and at least I’m honest.
So I felt a kinship with the man who recently paid $51,000 for a 1977 Volkswagen Beetle, which we featured in our sale of the week. Oh, boy, did some commenters weigh in about the price. The VW buyer responded with a wonderfully thoughtful essay that explained his passion. Reading it, I felt sad that the naysayers couldn’t see past the price and help the man celebrate that he bought something he loved. “I liked this car and had the money,” said the Beetle buyer, “so I bought it.” Amen, brother. Enjoy it.
Yes, I must admit that Hagerty Media almost always talks about prices when discussing cars. We even do an annual list that predicts which cars will go up in value. Are we then part of the problem?
Our philosophy is that most of us don’t have infinite funds, so we all need to be smart with our money. We provide resources to help, like Hagerty Valuation Tools and Hagerty Insider, a website dedicated to the market. There’s even a new weekly podcast called No Reserve. We also believe that more information invites more people to join us.
As for our predictive list, Bull Market, we started it five years ago to show just how inexpensive the car hobby can be. Those are cars that you can buy, enjoy for a few years, and then sell for about, or perhaps a little more than, what you paid. We always advise people to buy what they love and then they’ll never be disappointed.
My new love is a modified Datsun 240Z that our own Henry Catchpole featured in his latest video. Sadly, those machines are out of financial reach, which means I might have to set my sights on a…..Fiero. You probably think you know everything about that mid-engine Pontiac, but I promise you’ll learn much more, and laugh, while watching Jason Cammisa’s latest video on the plastic two-seater.
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