02 September 2015
An expensive hobby
A post about crazy prices, but do you agree?
I'm sat here in Costa having a nice mocha while waiting to pick my daughter up from shopping, so to pass the time I started browsing eBay for VW stuff and yet again I'm struck by how expensive everything is.
My first car was a '66 beetle that my brother did up for me while I looked on in the hope that I would pick up some practical auto skills, I was still at school at the time and too young to drive, with the plan that it would be ready for me by the time I was old enough to take driving lessons. I think the car cost us about £50 and it was my brothers first real project. I didn't really want a Beetle as my first car, I wanted something like a '32 Ford or a big 50's American car , but obviously that was never going to happen. In terms of customising, the VW used to be the entry level car - your first rung in the ladder before you graduate to something bigger/more powerful.
As I look through eBay there seems to no longer be these kinds of Beetles, even project cars are going to set you back upwards of £2k. This must have an effect on the hobby, whether it's good or bad probably depends on if you're into VW's as an investment or for the fun. What seems strange it that the increase doesn't translate to other marques, you can still pick up cheap moggies and minis, both of which were considered similar cars back in the good old days. What makes a rusty old VW worth so much more than more solid examples of these other cars?
It seems that a lot of younger people aren't into cars at all anymore, more interested in their phones and computer games than getting greasy under an old car. Maybe this also has an affect, the only people left to buy them are older enthusiasts who are prepared to lay out more cash?
The old VW was a versatile car, you could cut the roof off and add some fibreglass to make a 'wizard' convertible, or maybe a van or a pickup, or even throw away the body and make a beach buggy. The VW was the base for a huge number of kit cars. These days even those hacked up old VWs are crazy prices if they have survived.
I think that this 'rat look' is partially to blame, where rusty old cars are advertised at a premium because they are considered 'cool', whereas a rusty old Morris Minor is not desirable, it's just a project. Everyone who has a rusty old VW thinks they are sat on a gold mine, instead of understanding that their VW is in reality just dissolving to the elements.
So are these high prices a good thing or a bad thing? Is it sustainable or is there a crash just around the corner when the fashion changes?