Something’s been getting on my nerves lately.
(excellent cartoon by Ole May)
So. Like many of you, I like cars. I’m pretty open-minded and I like pretty much any category. I’m a young feller, pickin’ zits and flyin’ Virgin airlines, and logically still a car-less pleb. As fate would have it, over the past few years one of my favorite categories has been the pre-war/veteran era. Most car enthusiasts prefer modern cars or the classic era, say the ‘60s to the present day.
They have it easy.
If you’re into cars before 1960, you can expect to spend some serious cash. Not to say that people interested in cars from the last half-century can’t, but the amount of money that revolves around these rickety old machines is mind-blowing. I’m talking about vintage Bugattis, Hendersons, Porsche tractors, that type of thing. Those magnificent old putt-putt machines with the open-air pushrods and engines you broke your wrist starting. The difficulty of obtaining these cars is one of the reasons why they’re infrequently talked about in circles even so open-minded as Jalopnik or Oppo, and it’s a real pity.
Now, I get that these things are incredibly rare and valuable and the prices pretty much insure they’ll go to someone who will Armorall the shit out of them and baby them more than Junior, (who’s at Yale right now, daddy has connections). Antiques deserve to be taken care of. But some of this is just ridiculous.
For example... you want a big piece of rubber with white pigment in it for that period look? Sure, go fuck yourself. I bet you want to get four and then two more so you can strap them on the back with some bitchin’ brown belts, don’t you, you sick fuck. That’ll be $4000. (Bitch.)
Guess what else goes for $4000? A 1917 Indian Powerplus V-twin, just right for that budget boardie project of yours.
Let’s say you’re a total nerd about, oh I don’t know, Reading-Standard motorcycles. That’ll be $80,000. It’s a fucking bicycle with some brass bits on it, you tweed-wearing fucksaxophones. Get over yourselves.
You like vintage Ferraris? That’ll be $35,000,000. Yeah, I know, they’re pricey this season, pro’lly ‘cause of the drought... out of $40,000,000... aaand here’s your change, would you like a bag with that? No, OK, have a nice day.
My point is... I get that they cost that much because there aren’t many. And because they can get that much. But the plain and simple fact is, no matter how much you love cars, a Ferrari can’t be worth thirty five million dollars, speaking ethically not economically. Now let’s side track for a second: a ramen soup in my area costs about fifty cents. With 35 mil you could give a hearty, if unhealthy, meal to 70,000,000 hungry children across the world.
Sure, I could stop bouncing around the house being a no-life and get a job and make some money. But not even ten years at McDonald’s would cough up enough cabbage to restore or even buy the rusted hulk of that old Darracq behind your grand-père’s shed. And let’s be honest, I’m not getting rich in the next ten years like many people my age believe, and I’m most likely not going to be for the rest of my life. That’s just realism.
What are we, those passionate about pre-war machinery? Relegated to taking pictures of our own hands, in driving gloves, holding a Ford wrench and a set of creme Fat Franks. Which I paid too much for.
The rich control this world as a whole.
Is this capitalism’s fault? Hell if I know. And, by Jove, it’s damned unfair.