Submitted by Eric Anderson
Classic cars have really been revered starting with the invention of the automobile as the automobile was a game-changing innovation in industrial engineering. In 1908, the first USA automobile was born with the Ford Model T in Detroit, Michigan. Most of us may remember Henry Ford as the credit for the invention of the automobile. According to history, Karl Benz built the first car ever made in Germany in 1885. It was a three-wheeled combustible engine automotive called the “Benz Patent Motorwagen.” The original cost of the vehicle was about $150 in US dollars, which by today’s standards would equal a vehicle cost of about $4,086. The only original one that still exists today is displayed at the German Museum in Munich, Germany. The actual value of this one and only original has never really been determined.
The love of owning collectible cars has continued to grow as more classic cars enter that status level and the value of these cars as an investment continues to increase. I found my love of the classics from the time I was a kid when my father would take me to the Barrett Jackson Car Collector Auction every year. I was mesmerized at the style, the engineering, and true beauty of these cars never to be exactly replicated again. They had true style, thicker metal, engineering superior to the time era they were built, and let’s face it, they just looked really cool.
While classics hold a monetary value as a collectible, they also hold an intrinsic value as a representation of a fondly remembered time in history or as a unique design and engineering from a specific era. Whether you admired the 1950s Happy Days style, or maybe the 60s and 70s super-fast muscle cars, whatever your taste or reason for owning a classic, you want to preserve it. And since they are also no longer in production, their replacement value is regarded with a much higher standard. You cannot replace something original with like for like if it no longer exists. You can replicate it, but it is not a truly original and would hold the same value as the original. The only restitution from the loss or damage of a classic car is just their trinsic assigned monetary value.
Many classic cars have been documented to an assigned value based on the year of production, the style and category and the limited number available in today’s marketplace. With the amount of available classic cars decreasing, the collectible value only continues to increase. There is also the value it’s owner assigns. A car can increase in value by tens of thousands just because there is a person who demands it based on their true love for that car. Another area that adds value and uniqueness is the associations specific to that car. For example, the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 driven by Sean Connery as “James Bond” in the movie, Diamonds are Forever, would carry a higher value than it’s like brother car without the celebrity association that gives it a true and special uniqueness compared to other cars of the same.
In addition, there are more cars entering into the definition of the “classic” category as time progresses that are not yet assigned an official “classic” status. Their lack of availability and inability to replace as original should add to their value, but without an official “classic” status, those cars don’t receive the monetary value they should be entitled vs. those that are assigned one based on an official classification.
As a classic car owner, truly enjoying ownership and the investment value is a big part of the experience, but ensuring that your truly irreplaceable piece of history remains intact, unblemished and as true as possible to the original is an absolute necessity. When it is time to transport your beloved classic, choosing a reliable auto transport company is mandatory. So what do you, as the car’s owner, need to look for?
First and foremost, start with an auto transport company that already specializes in the handling of classic cars. This infers they have experience in handling your precious cargo. The next critical piece is the reliability and reputation of the auto transport company. Ask other classic car collectors for recommendations or inquire if they have had any experiences with the shipper you are looking at. You should also check online and car collector forums for reviews as well. While the enclosed containers can protect against the outside elements during transport, they can’t protect against negligence or ignorance in handling. Other important factors would include GPS tracking so you can ensure the location of your cargo at all times.
Once your initial research has validated a good auto transport provider that you feel confident in, the next step is to review the legalities of indemnification. Before you sign any contracts or provide a monetary deposit, you need to thoroughly read and review their contract terms. If you have any reservations about understanding the contract language it would be wise to use an attorney and even your insurance provider as a resource to review the contract language. You certainly want to ensure you are fully covered for the car’s true monetary value should the inevitable happen. In addition, many classic cars can be difficult or even impossible to find replacement parts for in the event of damage. Neither your insurance nor the shipper’s insurance will likely cover you for that. Lastly, an area you may not think about is what are the elemental conditions during the time of your auto transport. If the time your precious classic is ready to depart shows risky weather along the route, it may be a good idea to delay the transport until that risk is gone. Especially if you are transporting to or from areas with extremes summers or winters where weather can wreak harm based on outside temperatures or dangerous road conditions. Consider what the dangers are for a transport truck on the road with black ice or intense winter snowstorms. Temperatures in Arizona can easily reach 115 degrees or more. Transporting your car during extreme heat or cold could compromise your classic car’s parts if for some reason the AC or heater failed in the interior of the transporter along the way.
I have a personal love for the classic cars. At the age of 16, I was fortunate to find a very cool ’82 Lincoln Mark VI for my first car. I worked hard and saved as well as spending countless hours shopping around for the ride of my dreams. It rides like a smooth yacht and turns heads everywhere it goes. Finding parts is sometimes a challenge and sometimes a bit pricey, but I try to overcome that by continually learning how to do as much mechanic work as I can. For me, it has become more than a hobby, it is a great first adventure in my love for classic cars. Knowing I already have the classic car bug, understanding important topics like finding a good auto transport company will be invaluable for the future.
Submitted by Eric Anderson
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