The 4 Classic Problems Facing Classic Cars

Who doesn’t love classic cars? They have sleek lines, powerful motors, and classic designs. They’re also expensive, and in ways that novice classic car owners were never expecting. Here are some classic problems that constantly pop up if you own a classic car.

  1. Mileage: This is, by far, the biggest problem most owners of classic cars run into. To give you an idea of how much gas you’ll be burning, a road test of, say, a cherry 1964 Pontiac GTO found that it got 10 miles to the gallon in city and 17 on the highway . To give you an idea of how bad that is, you’ll burn less gas driving the nimble, sleek, modern…uh…2012 Chevy Tahoe, which pulls 15 city/21 highway. Yes, an eco-hostile land-boat is still more green than a muscle car.
    This is a pretty common problem: as any gearhead can tell you, fuel performance wasn’t a issue when gas was dirt cheap, but once oil prices started climbing, high-performance cars like the Mustang and the GTO became costly dinosaurs.
    Which brings us to problem number two…
  2. Emissions: There’s good news on this front: if you’re collecting as a hobby or want to build a show car, then you get a break on emissions. But that limits the miles you can drive it.
    At root, the problem is, well, nobody designed these cars to reduce their emissions, because this was before anybody cared about climate change. Fortunately, since people actually enjoy getting behind the wheel of a classic, they also work out solutions.
    Generally, this requires getting parts for your car. Guess what problem number three is!
  3. Getting Parts: To give you an idea of what a problem this is, Jay Leno, the gearhead’s gearhead, decided to just stop goofing around and bought a 3D printer and CAD program to build the parts he was looking for. Of course, he was only following the lead of aircraft engineers, who have been using this stuff for more than a decade. Fortunately, as Leno points out, the cost of owning this stuff is constantly dropping.
    Why, just a year ago, it cost $15,000!
    As you might have guessed, this is becoming less of a problem over time, thanks to technology…but it’s still going to cost a lot to get that classic fixed up, no matter how you get that part.
  4. Auto Insurance: You knew this one was coming.
    Classic cars have a problem when it comes to insurance: people put a lot of money into them, and they tend to be the kind of cars that insurers are a bit nervous about risking their money on. To insure your classic car, you won’t be getting your typical insurance policy; if your car gets into a wreck, you could be looking at a five figure repair bill.
    So, you have to get what’s called a “stated value” policy, if you want to drive it any meaningful distance. Essentially, you and your insurer decide on a value that will cover likely damage to the car, and then you pay premiums on that. It’s not a rare type of insurance, but it’s one that’s going to cost you more.
    On the bright side, all that money will be worth it the first day you pull into a parking spot and see the jaws drop. So there is, at least, that.

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