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Why vintage cars have more value

By XN Iraki | Jan 12th 2022 | 2 min read
By XN Iraki | January 12th 2022

A Vintage Car at the Concour D'Elegance at Ngong Race Course. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A small Toyota car with old number plates KVP XX1 is parked outside a restaurant along Limuru road two days to the new year. The owner was busy on the phone as I parked my Yaris KCM XXXK. I waited until he was through with the call. 

“Can I buy or exchange your car with mine?”  I joked. “No please,” the elderly man replied with finality. He then narrated the story of his car. “I bought this brand new car in 1979 at Westland Motors together with another Indian.” Not sure why he added the Indian part. “It’s a Toyota 141 model," he added. 

I am fascinated by old cars and historic houses. Don't accuse me of behaving like a mzungu. The four years I spent in a technical school left a long-lasting fascination with cars. It’s not an extension of boyhood. 

But why would he refuse to part with a 42-year-old car? 

Cars have an interesting lifecycle. They depreciate with time in a U-shape. After some years, the value starts going up. That might seem strange economics, but it’s not. Wait and see. 

With time any car model becomes rare in the market. This scarcity pushes up its price. It also happens that the more you keep a car, the more sentimentally attached you become and reluctant to sell it. Does that apply to a wife? 

Old is gold. If you want to buy a modern car, you just need enough money and they are plenty. If you want a vintage car, money is not the only factor. The owner might have an emotional value to the car that can’t be quantified.  

Suppose he used that car to take his girlfriend on dates or pick children from the hospital after birth? Suppose he was the only villager who had a car? That attachment and rarity creates value and raises the price. 

It’s not just cars, old coins, gramophones, phones and other items that increase in value with time as they become rare. Have you kept your first phone? Your first pair of shoes? 

Entrepreneurs have made fortunes out of “ old items.” How much would Jomo Kenyatta’s flywhisk or first official car fetch in the open market? 

My friend would make more money by keeping that old car. What of hiring it to make movies or for weddings? What about taking it to Concours d’ Elegance? Imagine when his  son  will say: “I inherited this car from my dad.” Got an old or vintage car? Share its story.

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