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Would you restore a 21st century car?


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In a few years, 21st century cars will start to become "antique", at least according to the AACA definition. Are these cars worth restoring, or maybe more accurately - refurbishing? New paint, new interior, mechanical refurbishing. I know there has been discussion before about the future availability of parts, especially the black box electronics, but assuming that restoration is possible, would you do it? Or should these cars be considered disposable and just preserve the good examples and throw away the worn out ones? Has anyone done one? I have a 2006 Mustang that I love and half-joking say I am holding on to it for another 10 years until it is an "antique" and then restoring it. It's nothing special but it does have sentimental value and I am torn about what to do with it.

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My first couple old cars were purchased when they were 14 and 19 years old. A 66 Impala Convt and 70 Vette. I have a 1996 Buick Roadmaster I bought  about six years ago from my Dads estate. It is now an antique and have been using it on local tours on hot days as it is only one with ac. Also use it to tow my brass cars occasionally. It has just 68000 miles but just had to redo the brake system. I love it and plan to keep. I also have been considering a 2000 something Chevy Avalanche. I they are cool and a better tow vehicle then the Buick plus it could be antique in a few years. 

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Posted (edited)

I confess to having absolutely no interest in them but, from a practical point of view, I suspect they may be truly "unrestorable" as their electronic components deteriorate. One need only look at the NC and early CNC machine tools...which often enough go to the scrap heap although only 20 or 30 years old and, by machine standards, are hardly worn. At the same time, I'm running machines that are 100 years old. It's not what you'd find in "industry" but there are a lot of 50. 60 and 70 year old machines in everyday use right now. My machines can be fixed... (though they are so simple they hardly ever need it).

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Yes.  But it takes a long-term outlook to look 

well into the future.  They will be "refurbished" long

before anyone does a major restoration.

 

Just as in other decades, the specialty cars become

desirable first:  High performance, or luxury makes, or

convertibles.  Ordinary gray 4-door sedans will take

several more decades, I think, to become desirable.

 

Here are some possibilities that come to mind:

Acura NSX

Buick Regal TourX wagon

Cadillac XLR

Corvettes aplenty

Jaguar convertibles

Porsche Boxster convertible

Lincoln Continental

 

Maybe some forum members already have cars like

this in their garage.

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I fail to see the purpose of asking a question like this. Will people restore 21st century cars? Of course they will. The fact that few people here care about them is irrelevant. The people who will restore those cars would say "no" if you asked them about a pre-war car, so what's your point?

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12 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

I confess to having absolutely no interest in them but, from a practical point of view, I suspect they may be truly "unrestorable" as their electronic components deteriorate. One need only look at the NC and early CNC machine tools...which often enough go to the scrap heap although only 20 or 30 years old and, by machine , worn. At the same time, I'm running machines that are 100 years old. It's not what you'd find in "industry" but there are a lot of 50. 60 and 70 year old machines in everyday use right now. My machines can be fixed... (though they are so simple they hardly ever need it).

 

This is really the crux of my dilemma. You can certainly redo a 20 year old car at this point, but then what about 20 years from now? You can't 3D print an integrated circuit. There is so much plastic in modern cars that you can't stop from from deteriorating and you can't restore with some filler or new metal and paint. What about my worn steering wheel with integrated airbag. It just seems like the only viable option with modern cars is to find a pristine example and do everything possible to keep it that way, and send the old and tired to the recycler.

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5 minutes ago, joe_padavano said:

I fail to see the purpose of asking a question like this. Will people restore 21st century cars? Of course they will. The fact that few people here care about them is irrelevant. The people who will restore those cars would say "no" if you asked them about a pre-war car, so what's your point?

 

Will someone restore a 21st century car? I'm sure someone will. Just like someone will start a company to build a rocket to launch themselves into space. Will it be as common for people to restore 21st century cars as it is to restore 20th century cars? I'm not so sure. That was kind of the point of asking.

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2 hours ago, SteveMaz said:

 

Will someone restore a 21st century car? I'm sure someone will. Just like someone will start a company to build a rocket to launch themselves into space. Will it be as common for people to restore 21st century cars as it is to restore 20th century cars? I'm not so sure. That was kind of the point of asking.

 

Your sample demographic is not statistically valid for any meaningful conclusion.

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Posted (edited)

I suspect that the answer in 20 years will be "yes," for two reasons.  First, it's inevitable that the standard used car becomes an antique as the styling becomes antiquated.  Second, 21st century cars will have the benefits of 21st century emissions systems, which in 20 years will likely be a very big positive for a classic car.  

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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Sure they will.  My father started restoring his 1967 Nova in 1990.  That would be like starting a restoration on a 2000 model in 2023.

 

That said, there are infinitely less people with many fewer resources available to do such projects as there were even in 1990.  Paint and chrome are becoming relatively unaffordable in many cases, and parts suppliers are slowly being shut down or consolidated.  It’s at a point already where it doesn’t make a lot of sense, except for unique situations, to restore “normal” cars.

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Posted (edited)

There are people everyday, right now, restoring early to mid 90s Chevy trucks. 10 years ago, you wouldn't have guessed they would receive much attention. Now, lightly used examples are fetching what they cost new. It's all cyclical.

You might not see the value in a late model car, but the 15 year old right now will have memories of his dad's 2000-something Bullitt mustang or his brother's '03 Corvette, or remember his first date with his future wife in his used SRT neon.

 

Edited by a griffin (see edit history)
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The "Classic Car" category in the local shopper has regularly had some 21st century cars/trucks for a year or two, mostly trucks and Vettes; most weeks now there are more 90's vehicles than 60's ($26k for a 'mint' garage kept '94 2wd Chevrolet pickup?) 

 

Yes, yet another generation of teenage farm boys (and girls) will come along and fix up old trucks; "tuners" will fix up Hondas & Volkswagens, same as it has been. But, an Equinox or Escape? I don't know, sometimes I get surprised, like the guy I saw early this week with a giant vinyl graphic covering the sides of his Ford, "EDGE", and he had loud exhaust on it. Can't really predict all these things.

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Earlier today I saw a Pontiac Solstice. Another 10 years and first of the run will be a very sharp looking antique. (Or "antique" as you say😁.) I really wouldn't mind owning one right now, let alone as an antique. Or a Chrysler Crossfire or a 2005 to 2012 Mustang. A lot of interesting recent cars out there mixed among the millions of nondescript appliance cars.  And - though you may not want to hear it - Tesla is among them. 😉

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History doesn't stop. The cars of today have just as much relevance as the cars of 1925 (any year, actually). 

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I wouldn't, as I'm not nostalgic about them in any way.  But someone who was born at the turn of the 21st Century might want to restore dad's or granddad's 'old' Avalanche, or his mom's 'soccer van' to haul their own kids to vintage car shows in.   They would probably still pass most safety regulations in 2045, as they have seat belts, air bags, etc.

 

Craig

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Posted (edited)

No, but that is not to say plenty of interesting cars have not been built in recent years.  Now that work from home is a permanent gig I could almost justify a Cayman or Jag F type to replace my daily, except it is also a luxury to have a car you are not totally freaked about leaving in public parking lots.  Buddy just ordered a 2021 Mustang GT, the nut for that car would buy a nice collectible Mustang but he thought it out and is going in that direction after 30 years with a fox body pony.  Good for him, he will likely hold it a long time as a weekender and at 54 I don't see him being too hard on it.  I like a lot of newer cars but I would say this era is better suited to maintain vs. Restore...

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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I will not, but certainly there will be people owning, restoring and preserving such cars. The "collectibles" virus has no limits, at all !!!

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, JRA said:

I will not, but certainly there will be people owning, restoring and preserving such cars. The "collectibles" virus has no limits, at all !!!

 

I agree totally. I do not see myself restoring one, and if one really peaked my interest now I would find an example of that vehicle and purchase it now. I learned not to speak for others, and also things change so never say never.  I also feel that restoration on 21st century vehicles will be much more difficult, requiring a different skill sets. Many more complex systems, an exact calculated number of service parts are produced making parts scarce, especially plastic interior parts.  I don't see these cars to be an easy and affordable task

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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I personally will not. Too me they are just used cars. I do agree that the next generation, and generations into the future, will get excited about a vehicle they remember from the past and continue the hobby. My extent will be to buy one as a daily driver, or tow vehicle, and keep it in good service until it is no longer feasible. Then get rid of it. With limited room in every collection on earth only the cream will be saved. I have a thing for rag tops. Ones with Two doors and carburetors. The older the better. Would I trade the space I have for a 1915 Buick roadster for a 25 year old 2XXX something. Never. Dandy Dave! 

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Personally, No.  But an overheard comment by a fellow at Hershey once will apply to the generation that does: "They're restoring the damnedest cars these days!"

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17 hours ago, SteveMaz said:

In a few years, 21st century cars will start to become "antique", at least according to the AACA definition. Are these cars worth restoring, or maybe more accurately - refurbishing? New paint, new interior, mechanical refurbishing. I know there has been discussion before about the future availability of parts, especially the black box electronics, but assuming that restoration is possible, would you do it? Or should these cars be considered disposable and just preserve the good examples and throw away the worn out ones? Has anyone done one? I have a 2006 Mustang that I love and half-joking say I am holding on to it for another 10 years until it is an "antique" and then restoring it. It's nothing special but it does have sentimental value and I am torn about what to do with it.

Yes, I'm keeping a beloved 2001 Honda CR-V EX that my Daughter bought new and after a few years we bought it from her to give to the Wife who drives it every day. It is in stock condition and looks great with no modifications. Ultimately it will get Antique Tags. One of the best cars we have owned and parts are still available it lives in our garage, great in snow, everything works.  I might even bring it to Hersey and enter it in HPOF when old enough and get my Daughter or Grand Son to drive it in with the Wife, who as an AACA Member, is the owner.

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There was a time when restoring a car like a mode T or model A would have been considered foolish. Same goes for today’s cars.  Some will pass the test of time and continue on and others will just disappear.  Cars like the first gen Acura NSX will be sought after for a long time. Personally a Pontiac Solstice would have been on my list.

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I would not because in 20-25 years I will most likely be dead. You need to ask someone currently 16-18 years old, I would imagine quite a few would love to resurrect my 470 HP Durango SRT or a Hellcat Challenger in that future time frame. 

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Posted (edited)

"Worth restoring," given the terminology leaves a lot to unpack. From a dollars and sense standpoint almost no car is "worth" restoring. In a broader sense, I find something to like in any era or decade. 90's RWD cars are my transportation, and I like them. I think with a limited future for car minded folks we will see a continued focus of survival car. It will be often a case of supply and demand. Is saving a good twenty five yo car worth the effort-sure. Why restore when a low mileage original can be driven for far less, then the time and money involved in restoring something.

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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The newer the car the less it,s designed to be repaired rather than recycled. Components are integrated into sealed assemblies. The entire car is designed for ease of assembly and cost control. In other words a dispossible assembly of non discript parts.

Restore if you must but it won,t be easy, or note worthy.

I,ve restored a couple of 1930,s monitor top refrigerators so i guess there is always a fool for every cause......bob

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Would I, No. Will someone at some point, Yes! Did ANYONE ever think a Chevette would be worth something? Did ANYONE ever think a Chevette would get restored? Earlier this year I found that there is a huge Chevette following. People are getting together and putting funds together to get windshields made and available for them. People travel to South America to collect parts for them and ship back to the US. If this is happening to Chevetts then it will happen for the newer stuff. I drove a really nice Chevette for about 3 months earlier this year and I got more comments and reactions to that car than I ever got from my 1970 Rallye 350 i had for 24 years. 

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23 hours ago, TerryB said:

There was a time when restoring a car like a mode T or model A would have been considered foolish. Same goes for today’s cars.  Some will pass the test of time and continue on and others will just disappear.  Cars like the first gen Acura NSX will be sought after for a long time. Personally a Pontiac Solstice would have been on my list.

      I'm considering a Saturn Sky.   Not to restore, but to drive mountain roads for the pure joy of driving.  A lot peppier than our

      66 VW Bug   ( A High performance German Sports seda, when equipped with radial tires) 

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21 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

      I'm considering a Saturn Sky.   Not to restore, but to drive mountain roads for the pure joy of driving.  A lot peppier than our

      66 VW Bug   ( A High performance German Sports seda, when equipped with radial tires) 

I just bought my Solstice Coupe last month.  Very fun.

 

A4BEFD47-031A-4C5D-8F02-7E821FF14941.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

In the past there have been threads where people are soundly criticized for " hoarding " later model { 20 -30 year old }, interesting but run down cars. 

The general feeling is that these people were pulling down the Public Image of the car collecting movement by accumulating " junkers ".  If later cars are going to be a practical, collectable commodity back up spare parts are going to have to come from some where. Far too many makes , models and option packages for the re- pro industry to have even a tiny slice of coverage. And none of the commercial dismantlers except very specialized , Porsche, Jag, and similar ,have any interest in 15 year old or older cars.

 I think if a person wants one of these newer cars, with long term collector ownership in mind, they better store away at least 2 more examples that are on the brink of the trip to the recyclers.

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Bought a 2007 jag XKR 4.2 supercharged convertible , already started refurbishing bits , paint,  air con replaced sat nav and couple more damaged bits . Love it , intend keeping plus confident will be a classic in future 

78DE4A85-092E-4F8C-BA97-1A87E1577737.jpeg

Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Paul Dobbin said:

      I'm considering a Saturn Sky.   Not to restore, but to drive mountain roads for the pure joy of driving.  A lot peppier than our

      66 VW Bug   ( A High performance German Sports seda, when equipped with radial tires) 

Yes sir, the joy of driving!  When I was looking at cars and the Pontiac /Saturn were on the list I hesitated and bought something with more seats.  It was the right choice at that time but later on I wished I had bought a two seater.  I did have a couple of two wheelers in the garage for the joy of driving so it was not a total loss.

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