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The Challenges of Owning a Car Collection

All car enthusiasts, like ourselves, dream about having a huge garage filled with our favourite cars. We see people like Jay Leno owning multiple warehouses full of beautiful, exotic and unique cars. This is like a wet dream for us car enthusiasts - something we wish we could have. However, there are many problems as well as challenges that come with owning a car collection.


Our car collection peaked in 2020. We had a staggering 22 cars. This record is unlikely to be broken any time soon. We have already sold 3 cars and are looking to scale down even further, with no new cars joining our collection any time soon. But why is this? In this article, we are going to share with you our experience with owning a car collection.


Space

An old picture of our beetle collection. We still own 3 of them.

Space is the biggest challenge when it comes to car collecting. Buying a car is easy, finding a place to store it correctly isn't. After a while, you start storing cars at our people's facilities or storage lockers. This means the car is far away from you, packed away and not driven or appreciated. If you want to use it, it becomes a long and time-consuming process. What's the point in owning a car when you can't even see it every day? Many people park cars outside but this IS NOT an ideal solution as your car is exposed to the elements. This, especially over time will certainly damage your car in more ways than you could imagine. If you build more space then you will fill it up and end up with cars everywhere all over again, essentially finding yourself at square one again.


Maintenance and upkeep

Our Beetle developed an oil leak at the top of the engine
The oil pressure relief value stuck closed, pushing oil out the gasket by the oil cooler. We think this happened because we don't use the car enough.

The next biggest challenge is maintaining the cars. Most of us have a day job so our time for working on our cars is limited. Older cars always have small niggly problems. They might be easy to fix but when you have a fleet of cars, getting around to fixing all of them is difficult. There's also the issue of cars deteriorating because they aren't getting used. Rubber perish, pipes crack and petrol goes stale. The worst is flat tyres and the dreaded flat batteries. We ended up resorting to putting all our cars on trickle chargers. At R800 a pop, it gets expensive fast. At the end of the day, we want to drive our cars when we want to and these issues mean that you can’t just get in and go which is annoying. Lets not even get into keeping the cars clean, sure a cover does help but you still need to clean the cars before covering them. If you drive multiple cars in a short period of time, this could very likely become a full-time job!


Parts and spares

50mm PMO Carbs - We used this to build our Porsche 911 RSR

This is also a huge part of the maintenance and upkeep challenge. Things break and need changing on any car. It's easy to find spares for modern cars but finding parts and spare for older cars is challenging. Also fixing older cars could be difficult because there is sometimes very little information available about fixing a particular problem and sometimes no manual to follow and not many shops to take it to. Swap meets, car clubs and online forums are a great resource to find help and parts. The rarer or older the car is, the harder it is finding the correct part and the prices get more and more expensive. This means that your car will be sitting, in pieces, waiting for the right part to arrive which results in lost parts as well as dust and dirt getting into places you don't want it to. This defeats the purpose of owning a car you intend to drive and use. It's also time-consuming and frustrating. Having the correct tools is also a huge part of it and this will be expensive, many times buying a special tool only to be used once. Next up is storing all the car parts and spares. We have shelves full of car parts that we have accumulated over the years and this also takes up space. Space you don't have.


Licenses

Car license disk - Picture by IOL

This is often overlooked by many, but car licenses is a huge headache. Renewing car licenses are an essential thing to do and needs to be done annually. Renewing licenses always ends up with you at the back of a long queue that moves slowly. Its time consuming and costly. When you have 20 odd cars licenses you have to renew in a year, you are always needing to renew multiple licenses every month of the year.




Driving all the cars

Deciding which one to drive next. Which one would you drive?

This might seem like a 1st world problem but its a real challenge getting around to using all the cars. Cars need to be driven, they need to be exercised and have a heat cycle to make sure everything still works. Having a car stand is the worst things that can happen to it. Most people have a car they use daily and we are no different. This means we don't drive all our cars to work. To me, showing up at work every day with a different car just doesn't seem right. Am I the only Millennial who doesn't like to flex? So, this just leaves weekends to drives the cars. This is perfect if you have 1 or 2 weekend cars. We also have other interests which take time and not all our weekends can be used for the love of driving our unique cars. All this means that our cars get neglected, each car being driven once a month if you're lucky. We aren't those people who get joy from just owning a car but also get joy by using the car and fully exploiting its capabilities. So naturally, not getting around to using all the cars is not ideal for both us and the cars.


Having a favourite

My favourite car in the collection - BMW E46 M3

As much as we don't want to admit it, we all have a favourite. No matter how many cars you have, there will always be the one you like the most and will probably use the most. So what's the point in owning cars if you never drive them because they aren't your favourite? So your favourite gets all the love while the other cars get neglected and only used once in a while. We wish we didn't have a favourite but we do but we try to give all our cars the same amount of love. If we are all honest with ourselves though, we are all a little biased and lust after a drive in our favourite car more so than other cars in the collection.


Also Read - Is the BMW E46 M3 a Future Classic or Overrated?


So these are the main challenges of owning a collection of cars. These are the main reasons why we have decided to scale down the collection. Its a sad reality but we can't have everything. If a collection is managed correctly, its an incredible thing. Just make sure it doesn't get out of hand. This isn't meant to get you down. Having multiple cars is an incredible experience. Just make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. It's sad seeing cars so severely neglected that they are worthless and that's exactly what we don't want to happen.



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