Fanaticism is a common trait amongst car enthusiasts all over the world. This can be seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival, held each year in the UK. And now at the Classic Car Show Saturday March 25 and Sunday March 26, in front of the Asia Hotel, Soi 4 Pratamnak.
There is a magic ingredient at these Classic car events – the ability to step back in time and re-live one’s own youth and that of one’s father and even grandfather. Modern mass-produced cars cannot produce such a feeling.
So what exactly is a “classic”? The terminology covers over 80 years of automobiles, and it is not rarity that makes for a classic. Austin 7’s are still plentiful, but if you own an Austin 7, you own a classic.
Likewise Fiat 500’s and 600’s, and in Thailand in the early 1950’s, the local agent must have made a killing, with Fiat 1100’s still around, quietly rusting in peace (RIP). If nothing else, age has elevated a humble passenger car to become a classic.
I race a classic car, a 1973 Ford Escort Mk which was initially assembled by Ford Thailand 1 but supported today by the Venue music pub at Mabprachan and the Riviera group. Every race meeting there is a queue of people wanting to be photographed with it. The Mk 1 Escorts were either their first car, or the car that they met their wife in, or other such memorable occasions.
There are many other Fords at our Classic Car Show, including Ford Mustangs, Anglias and a very early Model A. America is well represented with Dodge Hemi and Challenger, Chevrolet Impala, a Lincoln Continental and a gigantic Cadillac Fleetwood.
From Germany there are many different models of Mercedes-Benz, with the Adenauer being the most rare and expensive. Some early Porsche’s (the 356 models and designed by Dr. Porsche himself) are on show too.
Alfisti’s will delight in the different Italian GTV’s, while UK fans have MGB, Sprite and Midget, TA, TB and Jaguars, Jaguars and the jewel – a Jaguar 220, it is difficult to remember that these cars were built 25 years ago and were clocked at 340 km/h. Other British cars on show are an Armstrong Siddeley Hurricane (named after the fighter plane) and a Bentley S3.
There is even a couple of Citroens, those quirky French cars with the oleo-pneumatic suspension, but that is not all. There are 82 cars featured in the program and after the Saturday show there is a Charity BBQ starting at 6.30 p.m. with the proceeds going to a local charity caring for needy children.
On the Sunday, there will be a parade of all the classics, going from Soi 4 Pratamnak, into Pattaya and return. Many of the cars will have some of the underprivileged children as delighted passengers.
While we don’t get 150,000 people to a Classic Car meeting in Thailand, the interest is there, and every year we see more and more cars being taken out of storage to be lovingly restored to better than new condition.
Of course it costs money to restore a classic car, but if it is wanted, the financial rewards can be very high. This year, a lightweight Jaguar E-Type fetched over seven million US dollars at auction.
Not only at auction, but Jaguar themselves are building six “replicas” which are expected to command around 5 million USD. There’s money to be made in the Classic car arena.
Of course, in Thailand, we have very stringent statutes regarding the import and export of vehicles, including classics. For the classic car collector these regulations will also keep the value up. So if you are thinking of investing, now is the time. Some of the classic cars displayed today just might be for sale in the open market. The ROI (return on investment) far exceeds keeping gold bars hidden under the mattress!