As I sit here at my computer, jammed-up working on this issue of Muscle, and our latest endeavor, Mopar NOW, an all late-model content magazine, I got to thinking about something—this normally gets me in trouble, but I continue to do it. Anyway, what I got to thinking about was the fact that 30 and 40 years ago, there were guys sitting behind a desk with a manual typewriter, doing the same thing I was doing, writing about cars. Here it is, a lot of years later, and I am writing about those same cars, albeit they are a bit older now. To us, these cars that were written about all those years ago are now icons. But to the guys writing about them, each one was just one more in a line of cars that they had to drive and experience. Back then, the magazines were the only way that manufacturers could get the word out about their car’s virtues, and occasionally, its faults. Manufacturers would hand-pick the cars that would be tested, and the writers would unceremoniously critique them to within an inch its life. Those cars have become a legacy, and what we now refer to as muscle cars.
But like I said, not only am I working on this issue of Mopar Muscle, I am also knee deep working on another magazine, Mopar NOW. The Spring issue is my second issue of NOW, and since the content focuses on late-model vehicles, I have to wonder, are these cars the collectibles of the future? Am I writing about cars that will one day be considered icons? Ask any group of car guys and gals that question, and you’ll typically get a split answer. Some feel they will be, and some say that there is no way. Personally, I’m not sure. On one hand, when the cars that we now consider muscle cars were new, they were just new cars. They had a life expectancy of 10 years or so, and nobody planned on them surviving forever. It was just accepted that they would eventually become used cars, and then finally discarded. Luckily, history tells a different story.
So, as I drive and critique the latest in automotive offerings, I can’t help but feel that there might be some eventual collectability of these cars. Currently, the Big Three are pumping out more cars than ever before—and they are lasting longer, so it stands to reason that if so many are around for a long time, the collectability will not exist—they’ll just turn into used cars. But, on the flip side, how much longer will the Big Three continue to produce rear-wheel driven, V-8 powered cars? If—and I am only speculating here, if they stop building them—will that make those cars that were built limited productions? If that’s the case, their collectability is given, right?
Let’s take a look at it from an angle that I don’t think many have considered. For something to be collectible, doesn’t it first have to be rare and therefore unobtainable? When the cars of the ’60s and ’70s were built, nobody planned on them ever being worth anything in the future, so they were simply used as planned—driven until they couldn’t be driven anymore. After that, they were sent for salvage. For that reason, attrition has taken its toll, and most of them are gone.
Currently, it seems that everyone is saving or “stashing” everything that is being made. As is often stated, “It will eventually be worth something.” The problem with that is that if everyone saves everything, will anything ever be rare and therefore valuable?
I don’t have a crystal ball that will tell me what cars will eventually be valuable and what won’t, so I guess I’ll just follow in the footsteps of my predecessors and simply drive what I can when I can, enjoy the drive, and hope I don’t wrap myself around a tree so I can sit behind my electronic key board and write about cars, and see what happens.
...I have to wonder, are [late-model vehicles] the collectibles of the future? Am I writing about cars that will one day be considered icons?