Buying a classic car certainly has its pros and its cons. On one hand, classic cars offer the potential for an investment to appreciate while lending the owner plenty of smiles per gallon. And with so many car clubs and meets popping up thanks to the miracle of the internet, the feeling of community engagement and involvement is a major plus too.
On the other hand, classic cars can be expensive to purchase – and then expensive to maintain afterward. Meanwhile, they don't go as fast as modern cars and they certainly aren't as comfortable as modern cars. In the end, owning a classic car is a trade-off and one that seems a little more enticing given today's crop of bland commuters on the market.
But for anyone thinking that now might be the perfect time to pick up a classic, keep scrolling for 15 sad but true things that vintage car owners have to deal with today.
via Farmers Insurance
Insuring a classic car can be very annoying. First of all, insurance companies are unlikely to actually comprehend how much a classic car is worth when they calculate values and payouts. What's more, many companies that specialize in the classic car arena aren't available as easily as the bigger companies that treat customers worse. Throw in limitations based on other cars owned, and the situation becomes ridiculous.
14. Mileage Limits
via HERO Events
One of the most annoying parts of owning a classic car and trying to insure it is the mileage limits put in place by insurance companies. It's like these companies think that all classic cars should just sit around in museums, not be driven and celebrated for the masterpieces they are. So put that vintage rally on hold because it might put the car over its annual limit.
13. Fuel Economy
Of course, most classic cars get absolutely atrocious fuel economy. From sports cars with big engines that guzzle gas up to older technology that just didn't work as well, filling up classic cars can get very expensive very quickly. And most owners feel like they have to use premium fuel, as well, to keep their babies running properly.
12. Smog Testing
via IH8MUD Forum
In the year 2020, even cars built thirty years ago now classify as classics, which is pretty crazy. And yet, for many owners in regions where smog testing is required, any car built after 1975 needs to pass smog every few years. That can cause a serious problem when primitive emissions equipment starts to fail and the problems can be quite hard to diagnose.
11. Hard-To-Find Parts
via Motor Authority
Part of the joy of owning a vintage car is being able to work on it in a home garage, since most classics are much simpler than today's overly computerized machines. And yet, finding the parts necessary to keep a classic running can be a serious pain. Imagine breaking down and having to wait two months for the right part to arrive!
10. Reliability Concerns
One concern that hovers over the head of every classic car owner is that their car will break down at the worst time. The owner of the Testarossa above is having a bad day, for sure. Just wait until he finds out that his car has two separate fuel pumps that could have failed and each one costs hundreds of dollars.
9. Rust & Rot
via Motor 1
The biggest potential warning flags that anyone shopping for a vintage car needs to be on the lookout for are rust and rot. But classic car owners also need to be careful to ensure that their cars aren't sitting around in moist environments, otherwise, rust will set in quickly. And hot environments can cause dry rot, which is just as bad, if not worse.
For anyone who owns a modern car, a little ding or nick every now and then won't be a huge deal. But for vintage car owners, any paint damage can be a serious concern. After all, matching any paint color is hard after thirty or forty years of patina and fading has set in, so color correction becomes difficult without serious expenditures or a full-on repaint.
7. Air Conditioning
via Chevy Hardcore
Modern amenities have become the major selling point in car advertisements these days, as consumers become spoiled by features such as panoramic sunroofs, Bluetooth connectivity, and ventilated leather seats. But anyone who owns a classic car has to be more worried about basic comfort in the form of air conditioning, which is hard to keep running on a vintage car – if it's equipped at all.
6. Carburetor Cleaning
via Motocross Action Magazine
While most classic cars are much simpler, mechanically speaking, than today's complex machines, that means that car owners have become lazier. And little tasks such as carburetor cleaning now seem so outdated that they're a chore – whereas they used to be commonplace. So, as sweet as those velocity stacks might look and sound, be prepared to get gunked-up carbs all the time, potentially causing backfires and an engine that won't run properly.
5. Mechanics Aging Out
These days, most mechanic shops use computerized diagnosis tools for everything from clearing the check engine light to pressurizing a vacuum system with the car off to listen for leaks. And all the older mechanics who still know how to work on classic cars are slowly but surely retiring, meaning that the remaining number who actually understands older cars are only going to charge more money.
4. So Slow
via Classic Cars
One sad but certain fact about classic cars is that they're just slow. Even the world's most expensive sports cars in the 1960s can't hold a candle to the likes of a Honda Accord these days – so just imagine how slow an amazing cruiser like the Hudson pictured above will be while trying to accelerate up an on-ramp.
3. Valet Parking
via Real Valet Control
Nobody who owns a classic car wants to drive it to a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant, only to have the meal ruined by constantly thinking that the parking valet might have taken it for a joy ride, fried the clutch, or damaged it while parking. But driving a classic car to a fancy dinner sounds like so much fun otherwise!
2. Parking In General
In fact, parking, in general, is a real concern for anyone who owns a classic car. Just about the only benefit is that many vintage cars are smaller than today's swollen products, so they fit into today's parking spots easier. Other than that, parking a classic into any old spot is just asking for door dings, nicks, and negligent behavior on the part of other drivers.
In the movie Gone in 60 Seconds, Nicolas Cage and his crew went after a fair share of late-'90s automotive legends, but the majority of cars on their boost list were classic cars. And theft is a real concern for anyone who owns a gorgeous piece of automotive history, since these were cars with no alarm systems, no GPS trackers, and primitive electronic systems that make theft all the easier.
Sources: Nerdwallet, Carfax, Jalopnik, and Wikipedia.