Many people with a passion for cars fancy collecting older cars simply for the stories associated with them. A car collector is usually attracted to a particular vehicle for the story behind it such as the car serving in World War I or II, belonging to a royal family etc. Collecting cars is indeed a costly affair and you need to have more than simply passion for the car. Procuring a car can be quite heckling and you have to find out the sellers of such cars. Most people did not own cars back then and you need to seek out the owners of such properties. Not only that, after procuring the car, you have to spend a good amount in getting it operational.
Car collection is usually of two kinds- collection of vintage cars and classic cars. Vintage cars are usually the ones which have been produced before 1940s while classic cars are the ones produced between 1940s and 1960s. Even though the price of these cars may not be very high, but getting them repaired could be. For example, a 1931 Cadillac is worth Rs 50 lakhs or so and you may have to spend almost the same amount to get it in a working condition. In India itself there are around 4000 to 6000 old cars that are available and buyers are willing to spend anything between Rs 50 lakhs to Rs 1 crore on procuring it. Most of these classic cars belong to the royal families of India and they are willing to sell off the cars to good quality buyers. Those wanting to sell off their old cars want to sell their cars to buyers who they feel would take care of their cars. Interacting with buyers to let them know that you would be taking care of their cars is a good way to convince them to sell their cars to you.
The avenues of procuring vintage cars have been expanded after the erstwhile central government allowed the import of vintage cars. However, the customs duty imposable on the cars is quite high at 220 percent almost. Therefore, if you are buying a car worth $60,000 abroad, you would have to pay more than double its price to get it inside the country. Vintage cars which cost around Rs 20 lakhs in India would cost one around Rs 50 lakhs if they bought it abroad. However, certain classic and vintage models are not available in the country and hence buyers would have to resort to getting them imported. There are several auction houses such as Christie’s which are looking to procure vintage cars in India and then auctioning them off. Both new money and old money people participate in these auctions which raise quite a sum of money.
The numbers of vintage car collectors in India are quite high and the country also has a collectors club called the Vintage and Classic Car Club of India or VCCCI. There are around 158 members in the club whose collective set of cars numbers around 600. A lot of Rajahs and Maharajas have converted their collection of family cars into vintage car museums. For example, the Maharaja of Jodhpur has a classic car collection on display outside the Jodhpur Palace. The car collection includes vehicles from Morris, Buick, and Rolls-Royce etc. Every day, hundreds of visitors visit this car museum in Jodhpur. A similar car museum has been constructed opposite the GulabBagh in Udaipur where the Udaipur royal family has kept on display its prized possessions.
Every year during winters, vintage car exhibitions are held in various cities. Visitors can not only check the cars out but also buy them after negotiating with their owners. A lot of cities such as Mumbai have also started vintage car rallies. The first heritage transport museum of India has opened up recently in Taoru, almost 35kms from Gurgaon. Not only does the museum show off an impeccable collection of vintage cars but also a great collection of other heritage transport vehicles such as boats, trains and steam engines. A lot of the vehicles on display are still working.
Restoring classic and vintage cars is not a small feat as the machinery is not readily available and mechanics working on the cars need to be well trained. A wrong move here or there could damage the car further and incur you further expenses of repairing the vehicle. A lot of times, you may have to source the parts from the car makers themselves.
If you want to start your collection of old cars, then it is best you get in touch with a dealer of vintage cars or an auction house. As a beginner, you may not have the contacts required in this market of collection and hence it would be better for a dealer to take you under his/her wing. Slowly, as you start acquiring the cars, you would form better associations with sellers and get direct tip offs about vintage cars. Visiting old cars exhibitions is a good idea because you get to learn a lot at them. Moreover, they are good avenues of making your contacts with other collectors. Old cars enthusiasts seldom miss out on exhibitions that are being conducted in their city and this would be a good opportunity to network. Some cities also hold vintage cars’ rallies and visiting them could also prove to be beneficial.
Other unlikely places of hunting down vintage cars are newspapers classifieds and car selling websites. Now and then, some seller of classic cars puts up advertisement in the newspapers that you can approach to begin your classic cars collection. Online car selling websites too sometimes list vintage cars and you can scroll down the list to find one which attracts you. When you are looking up old cars online, you must remember that not all of them can be found in your city and hence you may have to source them from other places.
Collecting classic and vintage cars is an expensive hobby but immensely satisfying.