Money, Capital, and the Stupidity of Car Guys. - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Money, Capital, and the Stupidity of Car Guys.

Was reading an internet comment exchange this morning and this question popped into my head and wanted to hear what the Lotus community here had to say.

What are your thoughts on the kind of money some people spend on their cars?

I'm not talking about buying investment-grade Lamborghini's or Ferrari's or first generation NSX's (my GOD the appreciation on those damned things). I'm talking about buying a junker and sinking a bunch of money into restoring it. Or keeping an old car with sentimental value and keeping it alive by throwing money into a bottomless pit. Or building an Elige to the gills without any hope of recovering the money you sank into it.

In other words, these are great ways to make "poor financial decisions". I know plenty of people who are real smart cookies but they spend so much money on building a car to their VERY personal and VERY exacting tastes that they'll NEVER see that money ever again. Or they value an old car so much, even if it holds no value to anyone else, they are willing to look past all the money they are spending on it to keep it road-worthy.

I can bring up my own case as an example. I've sunk so much money into my Exige and short of stuffing it at the track with full, agreed-upon value insurance coverage from Lockton that money is never coming back.

People who modify their cars or restore cars without value to others... is that stupid? Is that "passion"? I can see compelling arguments from both sides.

What do you guys say?

Attached picture of my Exige for attention.
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Thinking of K-swapping? Here's an idea of the cost involved.

2006 LOTUS EXIGE (ASPEN WHITE) Honda K24A2 + MPx90 supercharger. 322whp/271lb-ft @13psi. Build thread here.
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Last edited by Butters; 05-16-2018 at 11:43 AM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 11:43 AM
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It's your money (or credit), you've earned it, do whatever the heck you want with it.

Cars' primary functions are to get you from point A to point B. Anything more than the most efficient, cheapest to own and operate vehicle is a fanciful frill that is an irrational purchase.

Same for a boat, a house that's bigger than you 'need,' collecting all manner of things.

You owe your family first. After that, let it ride.

Owned, loved, enjoyed, and now gone:
1969 Europa S2 Blue
1970 Europa S2 White
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1984 Turbo Esprit Calypso Red
2005 Elise Starlight Black
2005 Elise Saffron Yellow
2005 Elise Ardent Red
2006 Exige Graphite Grey
2007 Exige Canyon Red

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1970 MGB GT
1970 Datsun 510
1984 Honda CRX Si
1984 Pontiac Fiero
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 11:48 AM
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I think there's a balance financially. I also don't mind sinking more money into a car if I know that I'm going to keep it for a very long time.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 11:59 AM
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Probably some of the very worst money you can spend is on a car. 99.999% of them are expenses, not investments, and beyond that, mod money is literally thrown out the window. It's really as bad as gambling and drugs, sometimes worse.

That said, you can always mitigate your losses.

1. Save ALL your factory parts, don't post any pix or stuff about what you do to the car online, and when the time comes to sell, reinstall all the factory parts and sell the after-market ones.
2. Always buy higher quality parts than what came on the car from factory.
3. Don't do any modification to your car that can't be undone in an afternoon.
4. Buy the very top model.
5. Buy the rarest of the top model.
6. Hardly drive it, just use it as a fairweather friend.
7. If you get involved in an accident, sell it immediately after it's fixed and get one that hasn't had an accident. It'll never look better than it does then.

Me, I just hustle for all my mod money, it's not family money, so if it all goes away, all that really left was hustle money, and I'm ok with that.

As far as what other people do with their money, I couldn't care less, it's their money, and their life.

2009 to 2018, before and after

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 01:28 PM
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Dear Butters, If you want to feel better about about yourself, go take a look at high end stereo. In the past few years speaker cable has surpassed 10 grand a foot, speakers approaching half a mill & amplification exceeding 100 grand. This is for home use! Could be that this represents true insanity. Need to sell? You would be lucky to get 30 cents on the dollar. Hope I didn't step on any toes. Rustyb
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 02:20 PM
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We spend money for entertainment

If you are putting movie tickets on your credit card and paying over time, that is as foolish as modding your Exige and going into debt for it.

Do you expect a return on investment for going to see Star Wars?

For going to see that Led Zeppelin tribute band?

For dinner with that cute little blonde?


Sometimes you make money on cars, mostly they are toilets.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 02:35 PM
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Similar to the last two comments, people find ways to set their cash on fire. Personally, I think a huge portion of human nature is the desire to create, and we fuel this desire by building financially reckless hobbies.

"Lots Of Trouble; Usually Serious"
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 03:01 PM
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My take: we only go around once. Blow it if youíve got it. 🤣🤣 Just donít complain if itís gone and you canít get it back.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exigegus View Post
We spend money for entertainment

If you are putting movie tickets on your credit card and paying over time, that is as foolish as modding your Exige and going into debt for it.

Do you expect a return on investment for going to see Star Wars?

For going to see that Led Zeppelin tribute band?

For dinner with that cute little blonde?

Sometimes you make money on cars, mostly they are toilets.
OK, what's wrong with tall blondes??

Cars are depreciating assets. Movies and concerts are not, so I'm not sure these are comparable.

---

I admit to being amused seeing a couple of friends (and others) pouring $$ into a car so it's faster on the track. Many times they've made the car close to unusable on the street. Or, completely unusable on street.

Unless one's driving is superb, that would be the place to spend time and $$.

Also amusing is people putting carbon fiber crap on street cars....or, worse, carbon fiber covers.....(adds weight)

I've never spent a dime trying to make my street and occasional track day car look more like a race car.

More of a function than form guy, I guess. But, most of us like to "personalize" our cars. Me, that mean better lighting, hard wired detector, better mirrors...that kind of stuff.

I also do not like those side scoops on Elise/Exige; they ruin that great line and body detail.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 04:50 PM
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my opinion on the matter: i never have bought a car with the idea or intent of ever selling it. I buy with the idea of "how much fun am I going to have with this?" or "will this get me from point A to point B and for how long? It honest has surprised me every time I've actually decided and then follow through with selling any of my cars. I plan to get my money out of the car by way of using it and enjoying it and if i'm the last owner the car ever has, fine by me. i have a '93 RX7 and within 2 wks of getting it (about 6 or 7 yrs ago) I started my first engine swap on it and currently hoping to finish my 2nd engine swap in it. I quit keeping track of how much I spent on a car when I matched the original price I spent to get it. Now I just sit back and look at my fun cars and think "I did this... I made this into something I really enjoy"

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butters View Post
Was reading an internet comment exchange this morning and this question popped into my head and wanted to hear what the Lotus community here had to say.

What are your thoughts on the kind of money some people spend on their cars?

I'm not talking about buying investment-grade Lamborghini's or Ferrari's or first generation NSX's (my GOD the appreciation on those damned things). I'm talking about buying a junker and sinking a bunch of money into restoring it. Or keeping an old car with sentimental value and keeping it alive by throwing money into a bottomless pit. Or building an Elige to the gills without any hope of recovering the money you sank into it.

In other words, these are great ways to make "poor financial decisions". I know plenty of people who are real smart cookies but they spend so much money on building a car to their VERY personal and VERY exacting tastes that they'll NEVER see that money ever again. Or they value an old car so much, even if it holds no value to anyone else, they are willing to look past all the money they are spending on it to keep it road-worthy.

I can bring up my own case as an example. I've sunk so much money into my Exige and short of stuffing it at the track with full, agreed-upon value insurance coverage from Lockton that money is never coming back.

People who modify their cars or restore cars without value to others... is that stupid? Is that "passion"? I can see compelling arguments from both sides.

What do you guys say?

Attached picture of my Exige for attention.
The car looks great bud.

My moneypit is a 1982 Rx-7. I love the car and intend to keep it forever, but even though it's now appreciating it will never match the $$ I've put into the newer engine, upgraded suspension, revised interior and the mirror smooth paint job.

At least it's not as bad as a friend of mine who put over $100k into building an incredible time attack Elise and discovered it wasn't the car for him and sold it off less than a year later.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 05:09 AM
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Add to this list:
Sports memorabilia
High-end bicycles
Fine wine
Gambling
100k mattresses (yes, they exist)
WW II tanks/planes

the list is endless. You can argue whether some of these things are "investments" and you can argue whether the money might be better spent on health care for homeless people, but it's really only the decision of the person who earned it/has it, and what they get out of it.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 05:48 AM
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I still pay less, per year, than some of my friends do on golf.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 07:56 AM
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I have friends that spend thousands a month on going out to eat, even more on senseless travel (you donít need to go to Cancun every month). Better yet, I have friends blowing money on expensive lease deals, doing their best to look cool, until they beg the dealership to break the lease.

My point is, I donít do any of that. Cars are my passion, my hobby, and in some cases my investment account. My new Lancia Delta Integrale Evo is clearly the latter, so any modifications are removable. My Mitsubishi Evo 6 Tommi Mak is extensively modified, but I have no intention of selling it, ever. Same goes for my 65í Mustang.

Sure, spending money on cars could be construed as wasteful, but it makes me happy, and it makes others happy when I drive the cars around to car shows. Do what you love and donít regret it.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 08:23 AM
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Do what makes you happy(and be smart about it).

If you've gotten to the point where you regretted it, then you did it wrong.
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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 10:50 AM
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I have spent an unknown amount on Motorcycles and tuner cars, Rv's and I have even lost money on Real Estate. I never had a 'When I sell it' plan. I did it because I wanted to. Boy have I lost Money, oh well. It's funny after all these years, I have beaten Cancer twice.......so, I have had a lot of fun with what I've done, and felt, in hindsight, I did the right thing! A well, we only live once.

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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 11:36 AM
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Watching Mecum auctions, to me,is like watching a comedy. Most of those 'muscle" cars were truly built like crap, didn't handle for sh!!, sucked fuel, were useless in the rain etc yet the boomers pay 5-10X+ their original value. You think their 50lb+ overweight wife will ever get near that back seat again....I'd don't think so! Me, I'd rather drive current technology up to my financial ability. Drive it hard and when done with it trade in for a new toy. Maybe when I get old I'll be nostalgic too. Primary reason I gave up on the Esprit thing. I want to drive it, not look at it because I can't get parts readily. This even becomes apparent at track days when 10yr old cars start to breakdown and ruin days for folks. They spent coin to come drive but end up going home on a flatbed. Or they make a 500hp STi that tosses motors biannually after dumping 10-20K into all the parts and labor.. Might as well just buy a 3-5yr old low mileage Evora...and flog it.

Reread this thread and the lease thing is MOST amusing to me. Yes some folks know how to do leases but in the end, asset value, buying at a good price, having the freedom to keep or dump as I wish (unloaded the MKC I really liked in a year for my Stelvio), works for me. I actually enjoy purchasing cars and saving that last $50 bill (I'm french but not cheap) no longer rocks my world . Knowing what I want, making the deal and driving away in a few days (at most) is FAR more fun than traipsing from dealer to dealer in search of THE DEAL.

Now that 365P on Casing Classic Cars that DID NOT sell for 22milion was , by far, the most incredible piece of Ferrari eye candy I have ever seen.
But could you ever drive it unless you were worth a 9+zeroes?????

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18 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Visconti Verde/Brown Leather Remus Catback,Eurocompulsion Phase 2 V2 intake, 390HP/443ft-lb Tq!
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Last edited by brgelise; 05-23-2018 at 11:49 AM.
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