A longtime friend who lives in the next town called the other day to say hello. We worked together in the automotive publishing arena for many years. He lives alone these days, but his daughter and her family live close by. Yet, in spite of being close to family members, he’s thinking of moving out of California and up to Oregon or Washington. He says it’s just getting too expensive to live here—he’s not mistaken about that! I’ve watched food, taxes, medicine, gasoline, and most other necessities rise in cost regularly, sometimes dramatically, and it’s driving the older longtime residents out of the state.
Many of us retired folks live on a fixed income, and as many of you well know, that income rarely changes; when it does, it’s usually downward. Already, several of my friends have been forced to sell their collector cars to keep up with the cost of living. Insurance costs alone for our classic cars have increased substantially over the last several years.
This seems to be a common problem for seniors involved in the collector car hobby. While we were working, making a steady income, things were relatively okay, but once a household’s income changes to whatever was planned for retirement, maintaining collector cars can become a burden for many senior car enthusiasts all across the country. I don’t see an end to this problem anytime soon. It seems like we have no actual control over this situation—it’s either pay the price or get out of the hobby. Nobody ever said getting older is easy… or cheap!
Meanwhile, a new bimonthly vehicle show has been started by a local club. It is a generic club, by which I mean that it is open to all different makes, models, and years of vehicles. The club’s event is being held in a huge shopping center parking lot, and there is plenty of room for quite a few cars and trucks. It might be an interesting change from the normal make-specific, or even era-specific type of show. I like the concept, and I’m going to check it out.
That new event comes late in the summer, so the local show season will be pretty much over. As I’ve said before, I use the time in the fall to do all the little things I’ve put off during the good weather. Each fall, I make a list of the things that I want to do to my ’65 GTO; it’s more detailing and cleaning than anything else. The car will sit much more than usual over the winter, so it’s the perfect time to get things done. None of it is anything large or difficult, just time-consuming. With winter relatively mild here on the left coast, the timing is perfect. I stocked up on cleaning cloths, retouching paint, polish, and rags over the last several months, so I’m all set.
I remember the days when I owned two or three muscle machines and spent most of my time just keeping them clean top, bottom, and engine compartment. Not so anymore. As I’ve discussed previously, over the past several years, I have convinced myself that owning more than one hobby car is no longer feasible for me. The general upkeep takes a lot of time and effort, and then there are the cost considerations. I have my ’65 GTO in what I consider show condition currently, and I don’t plan on purchasing any other collectibles in the future. Given the concerns over the rising cost of living for retirees mentioned earlier, I’m glad I can continue to support one hobby car.
I read all the readers' letters in HMM each month, just to make sure I’m not the only one who is experiencing these types of life changes. Most of my car buddies are around my age, let’s just say in their 70s, and feel the same way as I do. It’s fun to own and drive a collectible vehicle, be it car or truck, but ownership also comes with responsibility, and that responsibility usually includes a variety of expenses. So, many people at this stage have to make choices about what they can continue to cover. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll own my ’65 GTO as long as I’m still around. My oldest son will take care of it when I can no longer enjoy it.
Speaking of enjoying old cars, I recently heard from an old Sixties-era Army buddy who is also into collector cars. He lives a few states away, so we don’t get face-to-face very often anymore. He’s in the process of restoring a mid-'50s two-door sedan and is almost finished. He promises to drive it out to California when it is completely done and take me for a ride. I can’t wait for that—I still get excited about this stuff. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed!2023-11-17T18:14:03Z dg43tfdfdgfd