What has more value: a roaring restored classic or a boring new sedan?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm a business man contemplating the purchase of a second car for my family. We already own a new Isuzu Trooper as our number one car. I'm thinking about buying a "classic" mid-sixties muscle car like a Camaro or Mustang rather than a new, middle of the road sedan. Wouldn't a restored classic be better in the long run? And isn't the classic a better built car that will hold it's value longer?

TOM: Hey Pete. Who are you trying to convince, us or your wife?

RAY: We don't care if you go out and waste your money on some adolescent fantasy, but if you want to know the truth, new cars are much better built than old cars. There's no comparison. In terms of safety, reliability, economy, durability, and everything else, new cars have old cars beat by a mile.

TOM: Don't listen to a word he says, Pete. My brother's just being picky. Who cares about all those trivial little things he mentions. There are higher issues like style, nostalgia, sheet-metal, and vinyl seat covers. You just can't get the feeling of a '66 Mustang in a 1991 Honda Civic.

RAY: And it's a damn good thing, or else no one would buy Honda Civics! By today's standards, the olds Mustangs and Camaros were terrible cars. They were unreliable, uneconomical, and technically unsophisticated. Even the cheapest cars on the market today are head and shoulders above them. There's no way that a so-called classic would be a better family car than a new mid-priced sedan.

TOM: Very few people know this, Pete, but my brother and I actually share a brain. And he's been letting me use it for the last 10 or 15 years. If a classic '60s car would make you happy, that's what you should get. Go for it! And by the way Pete, happy 40th birthday.

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