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Automotive Preferences & Long-term Investments - Resonator

Cars You Wish Your Dad Had Bought

Apr 2, 2009
Epcp_0904_01_z+les_bidrawn+editor Photo 1/6   |   Automotive Preferences & Long-term Investments - Resonator

I didn't grow up in a particularly automotive-friendly environment. Cars were treated like appliances, motorized couches to ferry passengers across the Land of Lincoln.

Consequently, every car my dad bought had all the charm of a refrigerator. Forget about big engines and suspension packages... cars work fine without them.

While my peers' parents tooled about in Mercedes and Buick GNXs, I suffered through indignities like Ford Fairmonts and Chrysler K-Cars. However, the low point had to be the AMC Ambassador, a 2-ton beige turd that I'm certain is still popular in hell. This car was so ugly it should have come with special helmets and goggles. Can you imagine what it's like to pick up a date in something like that? If I ever meet its designer I'm going to punch him right in the windpipe.

While most kids hid nudie mags under their beds, I stashed car magazines. I think my dad would have preferred the former as nice cars, especially pictures of nice cars, were simply "a waste of good money." At least the girlie mags had residual value.

So I built an alter ego for my father, a car-savvy motorhead. He was a mixture of Pops from Speed Racer and Batman. The first car "Dad" bought was '73 911 RS. Yes, it was a bit expensive at $10K, but Dad knew a good investment when he saw one. Like a fine wristwatch, this Porsche would be handed down across generations. In fact, I would be wearing it right now.

Dad would have also popped for a 246 Dino GT. He would have done this to prove he wasn't a "label whore" unconcerned how purists regarded this "bastard" Ferrari. Dad knew style when he saw it.

A MBZ 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet would have served as a great family car and a Jag XKE roadster would be great "night out" vehicle. Jensen Interceptors, Lancia Beta Scorpions, and the odd Volvo P1800 would have found their way to our garage as well. Yep, my imaginary dad had great taste in automobiles.

Epcp_0904_05_z+MBZ_280_SE_3_5_cabriolet+graphic Photo 5/6   |   Automotive Preferences & Long-term Investments - Resonator

So here I am almost 40 years later, wondering what my own kids think of their father's garage. To date there have been a few BMWs, a smattering of Porsches, a baker's dozen of VWs, the odd Fiat and Audi. As far as variety goes, my garage has seen more than its share. Do the kids care? Not in the least. To each his own, I guess.

Just for grins, lets say this column is being written by my grandson. Twenty-five years from now what would be the must-have cars of the new millennium?

In fairness, cars like the Bugatti Veyron, Lamborghini Murci, and Porsche Carrera GT don't count. To coin a phrase by the late, great Len Frank, "Those aren't real cars." What he meant is they are out of reach to the average person. I totally agree.

So which cars would qualify as tomorrow's classics?

Epcp_0904_07_z+Porsche_911_Carrera+graphic Photo 6/6   |   Automotive Preferences & Long-term Investments - Resonator

To be honest, I have no idea. Personally, I think the GTI 16v is a classic but I doubt that will do anything to increase their value. In truth, the question of "tomorrow's classics" is virtually unanswerable, at least to people like me. I buy a car because I find it appealing, not because I think it will be a good investment 25 years from now.

Perhaps I should cut Dad some slack. Maybe he was on to something. Vintage '74 Ambassadors are going for $5,000. That's $300 more than he originally paid for it. Which is almost a better return than my 401(k).Les



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