Never Stop Driving #92: Why save it for the next owner?


“Are you saving it for the next owner?” someone asked me a few years ago, when I was describing the steps I was taking to reduce mileage and wear and tear on my 1965 Mustang. Oddly I have no memory of the place or even the person who shared this wisdom, but every time I see a new nick or blemish on one of my old cars, I calm myself by thinking about those words.

I’m not able to keep my cars forever. Obtaining a new one means selling something and I like to try different things. We’re in this hobby for different reasons. Some relish perfect paint and the process of keeping a car in new condition. I’m allergic to polishing and buy cars that I want to drive. But then, when I drive them, I worry that the inevitable wear and tear will mean a lower selling price, which means I have less to buy the next one. Irrational thought spiral? Yep, but that thinking is what sparked the idea for our annual list of cars that are poised to appreciate, the Bull Market List. If there’s a car on the list that suits me and my budget, like the Porsche 914 from 2020, I often buy it.

In addition to the financial concerns, I also have a fundamental respect and love for the machine itself. I feel like a caretaker, like the car is more special object than tool. But whenever I find myself succumbing to the notion that a particular pile of metal, glass, and plastic is inherently sacred, I hear those words of wisdom again—are you saving it for the next owner?—and I’m back to reality. Who knows what the next owner will do so why not enjoy the car while you have it?

With that background, you can see why I was particularly interested in an article we recently published by my colleague Adam Wilcox, from Hagerty’s Valuation team. Wilcox poses a question I’d never thought to ask: Do some cars get more valuable the more they’re driven? Wilcox shares my dismay at the current market premium for barely driven “wrapper” cars and how prices for them can drive owner behavior. We buy these things to drive so let’s celebrate use.

While data from the Hagerty Valuation team, a proprietary feature of our market coverage, drives the piece, Wilcox also deftly weaves in a few inspiring tales about all the smiles behind those miles. Sharing the joy those folks feel for their cars is one reason Hagerty provides free media, like the newsletter you’re reading. If you’d like to support us, please join the Hagerty Drivers Club.  

Wilcox’s article was one of the most popular things we published in the past week. To bring you into the weekend, here are a few other highlights.

Have a great weekend!


P.S.: Your feedback is very welcome. Comment below!

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    Yes, we do indeed all participate in “the hobby” for different reasons. My reasons have nothing to do with valuation. While I admit that I occasionally read the articles that reference it, and I have even logged onto the valuation tool maybe 4-5 times since I joined Hagerty, I couldn’t even tell you what things I looked at or what the tool told me! I will ONLY participate in the automotive enthusiast community for one reason: to enjoy the heck out of it for as long as I am physically able. 😊

    Some years ago, I was at a big auction in Monterrey. There was an F50 with 30,000 miles. My friend frowned and remarked how the owner had decreased it’s value, shame, etc. The car sold for $30k less than a wrapper F50 in the same auction. For that range of money, I’d say $1 per mile to daily drive an F50 was a great bargain and what sport cars are all about.

    I sold off almost all of my cars when I retired. DId I get less than I could have if I hadn’t driven/raced them? Sure I did. But I don’t stay up nights lamenting it. Being what I am, I started rebuilding the herd and am back up to 5 bikes and 5 sports cars, some of them “collectible”. But I don’t worry about these too much either since none of them will be sold until I’m dead! So who cares? Drive them like there’s no tomorrow.

    Well I never got into collecting cars for profits. I sold all the ones I should have kept.

    But here is the other part of this. I own two collector cars. One I show and one I drive for pleasure.

    Even with the show car I do not have a trailer and I have driven to events 500 miles away. I have cut back on that in recent years as being away from home in a 40 year old mid engine car can be challenging should a problem arise.

    Just a couple years ago I had an issue and I was able to keep it running and made it how to make the repair.

    I try to avoid the rain as It adds hours to my cleaning. I only do a few shows a year anymore. Mostly Pontiac events to see If I can repeat my previous year. I will hit local Cruise in’s too as the car is not like others. I bring the Vette it is just another Vette.

    Not saving it but I do try to preserve it. It is at a very high level of condition and I have kept it that way since new. What happens to it after I am gone? Not my worry as I will keep it till then.

    I just see it as I have two cars and I use both for two different parts of the hobby. The Pontiac is slated for a magazine article this summer if it is not cut. None of that is $$$ but just another accomplishment along the way I was able to achieve with the car. It has opened the door to many opportunities and I keep looking for something new to try. I have won on the national level and local. I have been in a couple publications and even on display for several cooperation’s at their facilities. Been invited to events and even turn laps at some tracks. It is not just a car it is a key to adventure.

    Note I am taking the Vette to the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade now. It is a lot of fun and you get to meet many of the players. I had David Robinson from the Packers last year and he was a great guy. Had some good stories of playing and Coach Lombardi. Stuff like that is fun.

    Might want to note here that driving to work and such is not an option for most of us due to ironically the Insurance.

    Thank you, Larry. This article reinforces my recent decision. I live in the Northeast and I have a 2010, Audi S5, V8, MT6 with only 12K miles on it. It’s fairly rare, especially with three pedals and that low mileage. And, I’ve been saving it….hardly ever driven and never in the winter. Last fall I decided, who am I saving this for? It’s a hoot to drive, and it’s really not worth anymore than a new Toyota Corolla, and I’m not getting any younger. So, I’m driving it and I’ll be enjoying it for years. 😊😊😊

    True. I have a 2 owner 82 911 that I’ve had for 34 years. All original, less than 100K. And it’s worth less than a top line Ford King Ranch pickup costs. So, WTH. If I owned the pickup I wouldn’t leave it in the garage now would I? Drive ’em.

    I enjoy this subject, in my garage I have only one that would be considered as show/collectable vehicle and by no means is it perfect, but it is a 1997 BMW 840ci 215,000miles still driving. It was given to me by my parents and I plan to hand it down again. To hell with selling just enjoy until it’s the next persons turn. In my opinion I just removed the burden of perfect from their plate. Feel free to modify or restomod it’s a high mileage example, go have fun with it and keep it between the ditches.

    Anyone who is a pilot knows that to keep an airplane ‘young’ and in good condition, it needs to be flown. Hanger queens are rot magnets, and this analogy holds for cars. Mileage is irrelevant IF the car has been maintained properly. Can’t polish it? Don’t buy it. The love of having should outweigh the love of getting. We have a C5 and a C3, and, weather permitting, take them out for a run at least every two weeks. Enjoying them is why we have them.

    With most mainstream collectibles, you have the Wrappers or Near Wrappers and the Drivers.
    The Wrappers will always command a premium and most it seems are purchased not to be enjoyed on the open road, but instead as part of one’s investment portfolio.
    What’s fascinating is when an owner thinks his Wrapper is also a Driver and maintains it as such….as was the case with this 3,300 mile Ferrari 328 that got two timing belt services in 31 miles!
    No, give me the Driver that I can get into for 1/2 to 1/3 the price, enjoy it for it was intended for, and (hopefully) get out of it what I put into it during my ownership.

    I’ve got a friend who is truly OCD about his cars. ALL of them. So much so that when we’d go on an out of town trip, he’d rent a car, so he wouldn’t have to deal with mileage, and public parking. I used to tell him that someday, one of us would stand by his coffin and say “He kept a nice car” I keep my cars nice, too, but you bought them to enjoy. The ultimate use of a car is putting it in motion, letting it do what it was meant to do. Never understood crazy low mileage cars. Why buy and store, when it likely won’t make you money, and why BUY one and then do …what….with it? Where are all the “matching number” guys, now that the big dollars cars are restomods.

    I am a collector bottom-feeder. Everything I buy is with the intent to drive. I look for off-collector market versions without perfect paint, and generally vehicles with issues. 4 of the 6 in the current stable needed moderate to significant work to get them road-worthy (one is still in-process). I do not lose a second of sleep driving them.

    I think there may be something to that, basically because building one likely means more “personal investiture” in the car. But as with so many other things, there has to be a lot of variables and exceptions.

    Larry, who ever leveled that comment originally to you, raises a very good point. But you do also, by recognizing that there are a variety of reasons why folks get into this hobby. I think a little soul searching from time to time is not a bad thing. I think it can cause one to set back for a minute and ask and/or remind one’s self…why am I doing this again?

    Some like the thrill of the hunt. I know an acquaintance who has almost 150 vehicles in his collection, I have three, which I think is the minimum number one has to have to actually call it a collection. I’ve never asked my acquaintance friend how he enjoys the cars in collection, I’ll have to do that someday. I for one do enjoy the driving aspect the most, while keeping them looking the best that I am able. Since I’m retired, I can certainly decide when I want to do this. Some could argue that if you drive them frequently, how can you possibly keep them looking their best. Well, I guess it’s all relative, isn’t it? Then there is the emotional attachment aspect. This of course can vary widely, especially when an object is strongly associated with a very meaningful life experience(s). And some, do participate primarily for the investment aspect.

    There certainly does seem to be a variety of reasons why anyone would get involved in this, or any hobby. The really cool thing about it though is the people aspect. I’ve met more interesting folks, and made more friends via this hobby than I would have otherwise. So, I would think that this particular thread is the one that binds us all together in the end, isn’t it?

    Keeping them nice and driving them is a balancing act. I’ve always been lucky and never had an accident until a few years back. Of course it was in our ’63 Nova SS. After spending a year finding parts and working with insurance (not Hagerty) and our local body shop to put it back together, I really don’t want to go through that again. I drive it on nice days and avoid traffic now, but plan to do some trips this year. As others have said, you only live once. I also appreciate the comments above about keeping them clean. I don’t like going to car shows with a dirty car. It has to be a worthwhile event or bad luck before I will drive it in the rain, and I grew up on a dirt road and now refuse to drive it down them. Our ’47 Willy’s is a different story. Dirt roads, off-road parks, rainy days, whatever! That’s what the power washer is for.

    The best sticker ever I saw on a ‘36 Olds coupe Hot Rod at a Cruise Night that said, “May have a few scratches may have a few dings but one things for sure I drive this thing.” I thought immediately, that says it all.

    I’m going to get one made for my1988 Firebird Formula 5.0 fuel injected 5 speed and stick it on the windshield by the cowl. A few years ago a spider crack started on the urethane nose and it’s spreading a little every year. It gets noticed at car shows and cruise nights if you look closely. It’s still my trophy car l’ve care-taken for 21 years that loves to be fair weather driven with the T-tops off and most worthy of the statement.

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