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How to Start a Car Collection

Collection 1For some, a car collection is about investment. Looking through want-ads, checking out old barns and abandoned garages, even poking around junkyards, some car collectors have come across truly valuable “diamonds in the rough,” just begging to be restored and revalued. After dragging them out from their hiding places, perhaps thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars have gone into bringing them back to their former glory, and they’ve paid some of their owners back by fetching even higher prices at auction houses across the country and around the world.

For others, car collection is about passion, the love of driving. Often, a passionate car collector’s garage is filled with cars that evoke some kind of memory, perhaps family outings or a day at the races. Others are passionate for the cars and technology they represent, and you’ll find one-of-a-kind and rare models and variants in their garages. These are also the collectors you’ll most likely see driving their unique vehicles on the road, standing out against the backdrop of hundreds of ho-hum cookie-cutter daily drivers.

If you think you want to start a car collection, here are five tips to get your collection started, whether you’re looking to build value, leave an inheritance, or you just love to drive.


Collection 2Of course, you have to start with something, and you can’t buy a car unless you have money. Go out and make money first – don’t borrow money to get this started! Some cars may reward you incredibly, while others might turn into seemingly-bottomless money-pits, so you’ll have to know when to hold and know when to fold. You’ll need money only for buying cars, but also restoration, maintenance, and repair, and don’t forget storage…


Where do you plan on storing your car collection? “You always need more space than you think,” said Kim and Mitch McCullough to Architectural Digest, “We purposefully built our garage with high ceilings in case we want to add lifts in the future.” Following that line of thought, think carefully about car storage, parts storage, and repair spaces, and then double it.


If you’re passionate about cars, even if you don’t know anything about auto repair, one thing you need to keep in mind is that neglect will kill your car collection. In other words, if you want to keep them in good running order, you’ve got to take the time to go out and drive them. Jay Leno, one of the more famous motorcycle and car collectors, drives his cars all the time, so it’s no surprise to see him driving a ’51 Hudson Hornet one day and a ‘41 American LaFrance firetruck the next.


While you’re keeping an eye out for cars and parts for your car collection, don’t forget collectible car memorabilia, which can really add to the value of the cars themselves. Original advertising, rare car parts and accessories, repair manuals, and other items add to the story, which can make your car collection even more interesting.

If you love cars, then maybe you could also start a car collection to show off your appreciation. Plan carefully, talk to other collectors, and take care of your collection, and it’ll repay you with years of enjoyment.

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