Precious Metal Investing

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Lots of people buy precious metals – gold and silver – to retain the value their paper dollars would otherwise be losing by not spending them. The latter being what’s called “inflation” – a sly etymological gyp that implies the things we buy cost more. In fact, the paper dollars buy less – they lose value – so more of them are needed to buy the same thing.

There’s another metal that’s also precious – and also useful, in a way that gold and silver aren’t.

Old metal.

The kind that rolls.

It makes a lot of sense to buy such metal now, for practical as well as financial reasons. There’s a third reason, too. And it’s arguably the most important one.

Old metal is fun!

But let’s begin with the financials. As a case-in-point, consider my ’76 Trans-Am. I have owned this car for about 30 years now, which means I’m an antique now, too. When I bought the TA, it was then just an old car. Not yet old enough to qualify for “antique” plates.

I paid $5,400 for this one-owner, highly optioned TA with just 55,000 miles showing back in ’94.

According to the Consumer Price Index “inflation” calculator, that’s a sum equivalent to $11,615 in today’s devalued dollars.

But the take-home point is there’s next-to-no chance of finding a ’76 Trans-Am today, in the same general condition that mine was in when I bought it (which was solid “number 2” condition, in the lingo of the old car hobby, meaning a car in nearly perfect mechanical and cosmetic condition, with low miles and only a few superficial blemishes, etc.) for that sum.

I keep up with the prices of old cars generally and second-generation (1970-1981) Trans-Ams specifically because I’m kind of obsessed with them – and to buy something comparable to what I bought back in ’94 for $5,400 today, you’d need around $25k-30k.

In other words, I’ve more than doubled my investment in real money-buying terms.

Of course, this is purely academic as there’s no amount of money I’d accept for the Great Pumpkin, which has what the Japanese call wu – something roughly translatable as historicity. That car and I have been through much of life together; a good part of my youth, all of my marriage (now six years in the rearview).

When I sit behind the Formula wheel, it is the same wheel I held in my hands when I was not only 30 years younger, I wasn’t even near 30 yet myself. It takes me back to that time. I know every ding, every “little thing” that is unique to this particular Trans Am. I could – hypothetically – buy another just like it, but it wouldn’t be the same Trans-Am.

That’s wu.

And I’m none the poorer for it.

I might have been a great deal richer for it – if I still had the other ’76 Trans-Am I used to own. That one was special, in a different way. It was a black-and-gold “50th Anniversary” (Pontiac’s, not the Trans-Am’s) TA, with a 455 and a manual four speed transmission. Only a couple hundred of these were made. If I wanted to buy a car like that one today, it’d cost $50k or more. But I could have bought one back in the early ’90s for about the same as what my more ordinary Carousel Red Trans-Am cost.

The broader point is that almost any car that was just an old car back in the ’90s is now precious metal, in both the literal and the figurative sense. Lately, I’ve been looking at VW Beetles from the ’70s, which is what I was driving in the early ’90s, before I began test driving new cars (so as to avoid having to put miles on my Trans-Am). I bought a ’74 Super Beetle in good driving shape back then for $700.

Try pricing a ’74 Super Beetle in good driving condition today.

The value of these cars has gone ballistic over the past yen years, in part because they are now antique cars and because they are, of course, no longer making cars like them anymore – and there are only so many of them left anymore.

But mainly because of what they’re being forced to make now.

Which isn’t TDI-powered VWs that get 50-plus MPG for $22k – or 400-plus horsepower V8 powered Chargers and Challengers.

New cars are increasingly undesirable to a large and growing number of people – an unprecedented thing. In the past, it was the reverse – because new was (generally) more desirable to most people. It’s why used cars were – historically – cheap. Even what are – today – six figure collectible muscle cars that were (not-all-that-long-ago) just used cars, like my ’76 Trans-Am.

But now new cars have “advanced driver assistance technology” – i.e., driver-control technology and other undesirable standard equipment such as cell phone-emulating LCD touchscreen “interfaces” and “connectedness” (i.e., they are capable of keeping track of you and monetizing you). They are less reliable and more expensive.

And then there are the battery powered devices, i.e., the short-range/long wait, high dollar “EVs” they’re trying to force down our throats. They are leashed cars – and many people don’t like being leashed.

That’s for pets – not people.


Such people are buying used cars now because they prefer them. Not because – in the past – they could not afford a new car. And a growing number of people simply cannot afford a new car, the cost of which now approaches $50,000 on average (and not counting what the insurance mafia charges to “cover” one). This is why the value of used cars – especially old cars – has gone ballistic and is apt to go even more so in the years ahead.

These cars can be kept going for decades, too. Unlike a battery powered device.

It’s for these reasons – plus the fun reason – that investing in precious metals makes a lot of sense right now. And probably for the foreseeable future, too.

. . .

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  1. Greetings, Eric,

    Silver and gold are nice, but you forgot about some of the other precious metals that are a handy hedge against inflation…

    Namely, Lead and Brass.

    Happy Saturday! ☮

  2. I own a 1997 Toyota Tacoma, extended cab, with 197,000 miles and counting. It’s a DLX, which I think might be lower model than SR5 for the year, since my truck is standard shift, roll up windows, manual locks, manual seats, manual free wheel hubs, no sunroof, no ABS. It does have one airbag in the driver side steering wheel. It’s a 4×4 with the 2.7L (timing chain, not belt). I paid $5,800 for it in 2016. I don’t consider it an investment per se, but it would command probably $12,000-15,000 today (I get solicited to sell it frequently). It’s entirely rust free being a survivor Colorado front range vehicle. Kind of similar to your Frontier, Eric.

    It’s not that I bought it as an invesment, but its not lost on me that I could not replace this at virtually any cost, and I could easily resell and recoup my money with probably a very healthy return (in essence, it’s a free car in that respect). The “investment” is the cost savings of using this vehicle instead of a 2016 Tacoma which I could have bought new for, say, $30,000 that year. Older vehicles here are taxed much less on an annual basis than newer vehicles. I also have minimal insurance coverage. Yet, my truck does everything the 3rd gen Tacoma does. I use it for lots of home stuff, and have hauled many many things in its bed (Line-X’d).

    You could use this late 90s Tacoma or probably many other Toyota models as a Daily no problem. They are great old, new cars. It can drive at modern speeds, has all the creature comforts like AC and radio, but absolutely none of the BS for a fractoin of the price. Take the difference and invest in the “other” precious metal.

  3. ‘Most [new cars] don’t even come with dipsticks anymore’ — Raider Girl

    Thought RG was pulling our leg … but my gut said she wasn’t. Then I found this:

    ‘On cars without a dipstick, the engine oil level is read via a level sensor on the bottom of the engine oil pan.

    ‘Let’s get back to the 2009 Audi Q5 Quattro. The customer stated that she added 2 quarts of oil and the low-oil light did not turn off. Audi makes a special universal dipstick that has to be readjusted for all the different Audi motors.

    ‘We then connected the car to the factory scanner and pulled codes. … We tried three times to start the automatic oil-level reading, but the car would not enter into electronic oil-level reading.

    ‘We checked for a signal at the hood switch and it was shorted. The level sensor was working fine, yet the hood latch switch was blocking the level test.’

    WTF is wrong with an engineer who integrates the oil level indicator with the hood latch switch? Dipstick!

  4. The reason why antiques are valuable is because they are rare. But at some point they’re so rare as to become priceless. Then you need to find that really odd combination of rich and crazy, like Michael Jackson buying the elephant man’s remains.

    I think eventually bitcoin will suffer the same fate, as encryption keys are lost and passwords to wallets are forgotten. Also why gold will continue to be the last word in stores of value. Most of the mined gold is still here, other than the stuff that’s been sent out to space.

  5. I have four vehicles, ranging in age from 1977 to 2001. The basic stuff I do myself. Blessed to have an excellent, old-school mechanic a block from my house for the more involved work. The most I payed for any one of those was $5,000, and the least expensive was $1500. Every one of them runs. The old blazer is for wood-getting, the Scottsdale is for material runs, the Explorer and Jeep are for basic getting around. There is beauty to a dead reliable vehicle with a $9 property tax. There is beauty to vehicles (and houses for that matter) which have the opposite of “curb appeal”. Seeking to draw attention is a rookie mistake, and you’ll pay for it.

    • Amen, Joe –

      I think and feel the same every time I drive my old truck, too. They literally don’t make ’em like this anymore. And haven’t for a long time.

    • That experienced bailout mechanic is endangered species. EVERY time I “take it in” to handle car mafia stuff like tires or windshield I go over the entire area of completed work and ALWAYS find mistakes.

      The poor kids.

  6. ‘New cars are increasingly undesirable to a large and growing number of people – an unprecedented thing. In the past, it was the reverse – because new was (generally) more desirable to most people.’ — eric

    This is a profound observation, probably worthy of a book-length treatment. Everything from the ‘new car smell’ to the annual model changes were high drama, for those with an interest in it.

    While the family station wagon was in for repairs, the dealer lent us a fully-loaded 1963 Impala coupe. Who could forget the envious stares we got, in small towns on the way to grandma’s house? It was like having our own rocket ship.

    If EP Autos had existed then, we’d be debating the merits of Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge. But today we speculate about which of them will be first to bite the dust. Auto makers took off their masks, and we saw the hideous faces of Enemies of the People.

  7. Dam I wish I had all the old stuff I got rid of…Top of the list…1971 chev 3/4 ton big block four speed p/u..ALL the different Datsun`s I had. the most painfull..A cherry 1986 Toyota Supra.Oh well best I can do now is hang on to my old Subaru`s Got an old photograph in my shop of my black 72 240Z parked beside my friends black 76 Trans Am 4 speed……What did Springsteen sing about……GLORY DAYS…

    • Big Z,
      Just a CPA thing….. the “carrying costs”…of the endeavor ,hanging on to an item …”Since 71 ” … implies you have kept the item in “suspended animation”…..and paid for it’s upkeep henceforth…..Have you calculated Full Cost?…..Most “USA, USA”..types have no clue about the “Total Cost”….regarding….”Postage and Handling fees”…..

      Welcome to Earth!

    • Me too, Zane.

      I had a 1968 Buick Electra 225 4-door sedan that I paid $600 for in 1990. Immaculate interior, clean exterior, even the vinyl roof was perfect. Fabulous land yacht … a living room on wheels. Its only flaw was its tired motor (probably needed valves), easily rectified for a reasonable price.

      But I was moving out of the area, and being young & impatient (or do I repeat myself?) … I had the junk man haul it away.

      Hard to forgive myself for that one…

  8. I think what Eric is describing is the “Cubafication” of the US (and probably also other western countries). The price of new cars, all of the computerized garbage in and on them, the spyware, and of course the EV mandates laid down by several states and eventually encompassing the whole country if the feds get their way.
    Come to think of it, I rarely ever see any temporary tags in my daily travels. Granted, I don’t go far most days, maybe a few miles in and around the small Maryland town I live near. There are four car dealerships in town (Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet and Dodge) including the Chevy dealership that just moved into a brand new building. But yet almost no temporary tags. It seems that (at least around here) people are keeping the cars and trucks they have, or they are buying used ones. And when I do see a temp tag, often times it is on an older vehicle. Body shops in town are working about a month out (I know this from having my 2014 Honda CRV hit from behind) so apparently people are having older cars fixed. And even more surprising, the insurance (of the person who hit me) did not total my Honda, even though it is ten years old.
    Years ago, a car of that age most likely would have been totaled for even a minor fender bender. So I will be able to continue driving the Honda for at least a while longer. It has 180K miles and (knock on wood) still runs great.

  9. A vintage car as an everyday driver can be practical. I have two classics: a 71 Olds 442 convertible and a 79 F150. I use the Ford truck as my primary truck and as a secondary or back up vehicle if my main ride (2009 Mercury Marquis) is out of service which very rarely occurs.

    If one purchased a very simple vintage car and kept it well serviced it most definately would suffice.

  10. Tesla is going gangbusters this morning, moving down 18 dollars per share.

    A nicely restored 1976 Ford F-150 will run more than 30,000 dollars, saw one for 39,000 USD. You can buy 20 Troy ounces of gold for 40,000 or so.

    Klaus will steal your F-150 and your gold too.

    Tesla has lost 219 dollars per share, 407 to 188 is a kick in the teeth.

    If you own Tesla stock, you’re going to wish you had bought gold instead.

    One share of Berkshire Hathaway purchased ca. 1985 for 8000 USD is now worth 525,000 USD.

    One double-struck coin can be worth thousands.

  11. Hey Eric – thanks for bringing back the “follow comments via email button”! Saves a ton of time not having to scroll through to find new comments.

  12. 1977-78 Super Beetle ran about $4800 new. Inflation Calculator comes up with a 2023 price of about $24,135,,, a 400% loss of purchasing power… 9% per year. On Classic cars dot com the Super Beetles run $20-$25,000. About right but good luck getting it.

    Yes, you may be able to maintain your buying power but what you want and what someone will pay is two completely different things and lastly how big is the market… Tiny.

    As EV’s go that only a few can really afford so goes the classic cars and pretty much anything else ‘classic’. My wife collects classic porcelain dolls. The book says some are worth thousands but offers are usually around 10-20% of the book price.

    Even Gold coins. Try selling one back. Instant 20-30% loss. Trying to purchase something in retail with gold is a comedy skit. You’ll probably be accused of counterfeiting as only Fed Reserve Currency is real money dontcha know! Americans have no clue on using gold or silver. Hell,,, most graduating these days are innumerate having no idea of an ounce vs troy ounce,,, fractions,,, etc.

  13. Congrats on your TA Eric, and your vision of such. One of the best generations IMO (if de-smogged). I envy you and it.
    We can’t keep old cars in the rust belt unless you just don’t drive them for 6 months/yr, or are Ok with replacing many many parts often.
    Whenever I travel outside the rust belt, I am always in awe, how many cool old cars I see running around, and exponentially more in the South-West.
    We got 8″ of snow 1-2 weeks ago, and the roads are still massively covered in salt. My wife cringed last night when we took her CT4 blackwing out and all I could say was, ‘we’ll just have to get another one eventually’. The only consolation is it easily drifts on the salt layer which she gets really mad at me over…………..:)

    • That SW no salt window is closing too. In 2021 Sparks Nv streets were pre sprayed with salt solution when snow was forecast. Oregon has also started spraying corrosion on freeways.

  14. “The value of these cars has gone ballistic over the past yen years, in part because they are now antique cars and because they are, of course, no longer making cars like them anymore”

    And also because there are a metric fuckton of old, retired Boomers with fat 401(k)s and government pensions they are now cashing in and spending stupid money on classic cars and motorcycles they remember from their youth. “I remember when I got back from Vietnam and bought a ’69 Charger, got laid in it a bunch of times… here’s one just like it on Autotrader for $80,000… gotta have it now that I’m 74.”

    They’re also driving up property prices in rural areas…

  15. Big brain move- keep your old POS car so long and fix it cosmetically so that people go from thinking you are the poor guy to being the guy with enough cash to get a classic.

    As to rust, I have found a coating of cosmoline to the bottom of your car really helps. It makes the front of your house…er…your block smell like a WWII bunker or an old SKS rifle out of storage for a week, but once it’s dry in about 30 minutes, it’s a nice wax coat that stays on at least a year as far as I have experienced.

    Keep in mind, it was a cosmoline bath that was used on Sherman tanks to cross the Atlantic, so it’s meant to protect from saltwater.

  16. To magnify your point even more, your inflation image has inflated even further. Where is this magical place where you can get gas for $2.08 a gallon and eggs for $2 a dozen?

  17. “In other words, I’ve more than doubled my investment in real money-buying terms.” Probably not. 30 years worth of insurance, personal property tax, registration fees, plus oil changes, tune ups, batteries, tires, repairs, maintenance, supplies and on and on significantly reduce the “return” on your investment. Not to mention the storage space and time invested. Old cars need lots of attention and special care, and you better make sure it doesn’t start to rust, else your investment will literally oxidize into thin air. No argument about fun, nostalgia, or personal satisfaction, but you’re kidding yourself if you think an old car is an investment. As with a boat or an RV, it’s nothing but a money pit. Besides, that same $5400 invested in an S&P 500 index in 1994, with all dividends reinvested would be worth over 90k today. I know we had this discussion the other day in another column, but to say that new cars are less reliable is ridiculous. You may think your TA is reliable, but yours is a special case. You maintain it meticulously and only drive it on sunny summer days. Try using it as a daily driver for the next couple of years. Take it everywhere, grocery store, visiting, the gym, work, restaurants. Put 25 or 30 thousand miles on it over the next 24 months, spring, summer, winter and fall and then we’ll talk about how reliable it really is. Sorry Eric, I love ya and I understand your love for the TA, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

    • Hi Floriduh,

      Old new cars – like my ’02 Frontier – are very reliable indeed. The new cars? Much less so. See RG’s debacle with her brand-new Cadillac. See mine with the ’24 Dodge Hornet R/T. This is no longer uncommon. We passed a kind of zenith of reliability about 15 years ago. It’s been downhill since then.

      • True enough. I guess in my advanced age, time goes by very quickly indeed. Hard to imagine 2002 was 22 years ago, seems like yesterday. So yes, your frontier is indeed old! You’re right, the pinnacle of reliability was probably somewhere between 1995 ish and 2007 ish. But the 80’s or earlier? Fuggetabottit! Most of that was pure junk. Sure, you can repair them endlessly, but as daily drivers it’s just a lot of hassle. RG’s experience notwithstanding, I would still argue that most current vehicles are pretty dependable, at least for a few years. You can pretty much just change the oil and turn the key every day without any problems. Once the electronics and gizmos start to crap out after 6 or 8 or 10 years though, every car will be just like an EV with dead batteries – not worth fixing!

        • Hi Floriduh,

          Most of the autos rolling off the assembly line now the “owner” can’t even do simple oil changes. I had a client who had recently bought four new pick up trucks for his fleet…can’t change the oil, brakes, etc. in any of them. The electronics are so interwoven that everything must be completed through a dealership.

          Personally, I would not buy any car after 2019, preferably, 2016 or older would be my choice. Dealing with the mechanics…and then the spyware on top of it….nope, I learned my lesson.

          • Hi RG, something like a Launch 90 Pro off of Amazon for less than $200.00 would let him reset the oil light and a lot of other stuff that is needed for maintenance on those pesky newer cars.

            I bought the Launch 90 Pro just to see if it’s anything I need to panic over if the Check Engine Light comes on. Worth him looking into. Documentation and paper instructions provided is virtually nonexistent though.

            • Thanks, Landru. I will pass it on. The client was quite pissed when he realized that his crew could no longer change something as simple as the oil in their work trucks.

          • Hey Raider Girl,

            That would be absolutely infuriating, especially if I wasn’t aware of this fact before buying such a vehicle. It would make me seriously loose my mind. I positively DESPISE that trend, wherein former buyers and owners become helplessly dependent renters. Makes my blood boil!

            • Hi BaDnOn,

              If anyone is buying a new car today I would definitely look under the hood. Most of them don’t even come with dipsticks anymore and you cannot even locate the type of engine oil that is used. It is pretty pathetic.

              A good reason to hold onto our older vehicles. I couldn’t imagine having to take a day off work to have my oil changed my brakes through the dealership….what a waste of time and productivity.

              Wonder if one can access the air filter or if that is dealership required as well.

              • It’s just pure madness to purchase such a thing. After Eric’s debacle with the battery in that Hornet and all the other stories I’m hearing, I’m just keeping the 4 ever-more-antiquated vehicles I have for the rest of my life. I’ll put together a machine shop if I have to.

              • Hi RG,

                In re air filters: In a number of new vehicles I’ve had over the past several years, you need tools to get the air cleaner element out. My TA’s engine has a wingnut on top of the air cleaner.

    • There are 2 types of classic vehicles to invest in. Drivers and collectibles.

      Yes, it takes time and effort to maintain and drive a classic. I’ve been using my 79 Firebird for almost 2 years now as my daily commuter. After an initial investment to get it running and driving safely and reliably (much less of an investment of a new car) it’s turned out to be a successful experiment. A different kind of investment.

      The extra time and effort (or know-how) of maintaining a daily driven old car is too much for some people. That’s understandable. But it can be done successfully. Plenty of people do it.

      “but you’re kidding yourself if you think an old car is an investment”

      Ridiculous. Tell that to all of the rich guys buying investment grade vehicles at Mecum or Barrett-Jackson. They are not there to lose money.

        • While that may be true I guess, my point was that you can invest in a “driver” classic, relatively cheaply. While an extra investment in time and effort will also be necessary. I was countering your statement that it was not feasible to do so. It certainly can be.

      • Amen, Philo –

        And – while it is certainly true an older, daily driven vehicle will require more frequent adjustment/minor repair, these can be done by anyone with basic tools and some patience/willingness to read and understand a service manual. I have two professional mechanic friends (Graves is one) who cannot service many of the newer models because they did not/could not “invest” in thousands of dollars of specialized equipment. It is empowering to be able to deal with car problems yourself, leaving aside the overall savings.

        As far as investment: If current trends continue, even a fairly run-of-the-mill muscle car like my Trans Am will soon be worth $50k or even more. Not that I’d ever sell it, of course!

        • No argument that some cars have had fantastic returns on investment. Old Ferrari’s or gull wing Mercedes. Maybe even a super rare Cuda hemi convertible. Unfortunately, few of us can even think about buying something like that. Best we can probably do is a grade 2 or 3 muscle car or an 80’s Supra, Fox body Mustang or something like that. Maybe a C3 or C4 Vette. That ain’t gonna make you a millionaire. In a world of 5 1/2 – 6% CD’s, index funds, various ETF’s, property and gold, you’re a damn fool if you “invest” your retirement money in a 40 year old Camaro.

        • I wonder how much the rise of “right to repair” laws will let wrenches bypass and reverse engineer the software locks on the ECMs.

          • It would be great if things would be opened up to third parties…..But the industry will fight it tooth and nail. Even if they are “forced” to open their code, they will never do a good job of allowing third parties. They will make it as hard as they can to reverse engineer anything. And every vehicle will have to be reversed engineered, not an easy task. So many models will never be reversed engineered just because of that.

            Outside of a complete general replacement of the controlling software, that works on many models in a generic fashion, I don’t see much happening because the per car cost will still be too expensive.

      • The guys at Barrett Jackson are buying an investment. Meaning they will keep it a short while, may or may not drive it a little, and plan to resell to a greater sucker before maintenance or re-restoration is needed.

        I have a modest car collection with about 15 members. The rat rods are best, fun, easy, and unpretentious. The pre 1965 stuff is next as almost everything on them can be shop repaired- you can MAKE points and condenser if you have to, as well as simple carb gaskets and floats. But if you add up the maintenance, storage, and communist takings, you aren’t making any money. Having said that, money isn’t even close to the most important thing, especially when fiat currency/plantation scrip is your “money”.

    • The ’76 ‘Bird T/A was never meant to be a daily driver. Eric could have bought an ’80 diesel Chevette for that. Insurance and registration are part of the MAINTENANCE of ANY ride, regardless of purpose.

      One should not “invest” in almost ANY vehicle, save for the rare super-colectibles, which is fairly much what RICH fookers can do. For us REAL folks, you get a collectible for THE LOVE OF THE GAME. Having and OCCASIONALLY driving I’d the reason for its own sake.

  18. I’d like to keep my “old metal” 2016 Honda Fit (aka the golf cart) going until the day I die. Unfortunately I live in snow land and the salt is eating away at it as I speak. It’ll be a heap of rust in the driveway in about two years. Buying any old metal car up here in NYS is a waste of money unless you never drive it 8 months out of the year and keep it in a garage the rest of the time.

    You guys have it good down south.

    • Have you considered New Hampshire Oil Undercoating or even Fluid Film? I hear their pretty good and they do have dealers in New York state? Might be worth looking into for your next vehicle.

      • Service tech data, wiring schematics, parts manuals are protected from our ipad buddy Jessicas “right to repair” avenue by corporate worlds army of intellectual property attorney. Tribal knowledge is aka “ASE Certified” job security.

        Dont alienate an old school tech if you have access.

    • That’s about what I see too Pug, about 8 yrs +/- before they really start getting bad, and then practically worthless at that point, adn why I’ve just been trading around 4-5 for a long time.
      Landru has a point though, it may be worth it to try on your next car.
      Maybe me too as these new cars are more and more less desirable.

      I bought an Arizona 1999 chevy truck about 5-8 yrs ago, so around 2015? It was primo, looked new. It’s almost gone now, cancered everything fast, like everything, all brake lines, brakes, body panels showing through now, etc….

    • I live in Michigan (Wretched Witchmer’s state). That’s where salt comes from. My daily driver is a 2007 Envoy with 305K on it. I just fix it when necessary. A little rust but nothing major. Seventeen years now. We also have a 2012 Tahoe with 200K. No rust. Cars can last in the frozen north.

      • Experienced MN native buys literally off the truck then drives any brand new steel directly from dealership to rust preventative applicator shop.

        No such thing as rust “proof”

        If one molecule of salt solution touches the underbody before whatever waxy goop is applied its compromised. Rust never sleeps, nor does it stop spreading or just vanish by spraying it with VOC parrafin.

        Then, one purchases and drives a “winter beater” with good tires battery and heater November thru April. The new steel stays garaged or covered during salty sand season. No exceptions or rust WILL appear as if outa nowhere.

        Check your ego at the winter beater door. Its the price of driving nice in Minnesota.

  19. One advantage of precious metals like gold and silver is that you can bury them and they will still be good for their intended purpose but Eric is definitely right that vintage cars are a lot funner.

    The problem I face is that I’ve run out of inside parking spaces. One space was lost to my Mom’s death and the other due to the shop finishing my Camaro’s rebuild being completed this year. I’m looking at a portable garage for my garage kept Ford and a smaller one for my motorcycle, but damn I hate how they look, Suggestions? I’ve got a gravel driveway so a car cover would wind up getting backsplash from the gravel in a heavy rain.

    Perhaps I should have gotten into rat rods like my neighbor? At least he can drive them in any weather and park them outside?

    • Hi Landru, I purchased a brand new 24ft enclosed car hauler trailer back in 2017 for around $6300. I also purchased a new 6×12 enclosed back in 2010 for $2400. I keep motorcycles, generators and such in that one. They do require a little maintenance once in a while and tires every decade but I have found them to be worth their weight in gold (so to speak). Affordable portable garages to keep your stuff like new.

    • There’s the problem. A friend inherited a 53 Buick Super but didn’t have a space for it. He found out about a club that had converted an old storefront into a quasi-museum. It is a great idea, but unfortunately the roof caved in one winter and basically totaled the car, along with several others.

    • Do you have an area for a lean to style carport? Basically a sturdy solid top patio cover with legs bolted to the patio or, anchored into ground? I’m in a high wind area so anything here has to be stout. Anyway goal would be at least get the truck out of the weather and sun. The motorcycle has to go inside, it’ll be corroded in no time in an outdoor shelter. I have successfully stored motorcycles in a wood, not metal, 8×12 and now 12×16 shed with composite (three tab asphalt shingle) roofing. In winter I use an electric marine dehumidifier right under the motor/transmission and a light breathable dust cover. That slight amount of heat keeps the metal warmer than the outside air so no corrosion.

      • Hi Sparkey, I’ve thought about building either a permanent carport or a seasonal carport off of my shop. My other choice is one of those Shelter Logic garage in a box things from Tractor Supply.

        In the winter I spray all the shiny stuff on my motorcycle in WD40, otherwise the bike gets indoor storage all year round currently.

        • I’m into year 7 on the Shelter Logic shelter for our truck. Word of advice, the original one was the “standard” lightweight tan that failed quickly in the summer sun, then the wind finished it off. If you can swing the extra money opt for the thick, believe it’s neoprene, cover and end closures. It’s just now starting to get some thin spots for the wind beating on it.

          I’d like my wind proof carport and at 68 I prefer a builder do it but they’re all busy building the tech bro remote cabins and houses. If they show up for a bid you get the F/U pricing too. Anyway, grandson is now old enough to help so looks like I’ll shanghai him this summer.


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