Monday, October 8, 2012

Value and the Eye of the Beholder

My neighbour gave my six year old son one of life's essential tools the other day. Fashioned from an innocent twig and a rubber band, the slingshot is small enough to not do any serious damage, but strong enough to demonstrate the folly of playing with the laws of physics should he follow in his dads foot steps and shoot a small pebble at his own foot. Rubber bands were much prized when I was a whippersnapper. They could be used in the aforementioned construction of a weapon, strap additional guns to your G.I. Joe, make spider web patterns between your fingers, or even shoot your teacher in the back with nothing more than courage, and a little bit of luck, if one were so inclined. Getting a good thick one would ensure convergence of the greatest minds on the playground during recess trying to concoct a new way to propel things at new and interesting girls.

Imagine then, my surprise when I first saw a whole bag of them for sale in the newsagents, for a mere 50 cents!

More recently, I've been seeking a toy more appropriate to my age: a manual RWD something or other. Initially my goal was simple; find a cheap Kingswood, do a quick engine swap and a little suspension tweakage and viola! Daily driver/weekend cruiser.

Seems as though I'm not the only one. A few years ago I could have picked up a straight sedan for less than 2 grand. It is now cheaper to buy an XJ Jaguar than a Holden of similar vintage!

Why then, is a car which once cost 2 to 3 times more, now considered a second choice? You can blame Lucas electronics I suppose. Lord knows its the scapegoat for all that ails British automobilia, but really, why is a 30 year old busted ass Kingswood (the HQ in particular which Holden's best selling series) fetching twice the value of a 30 year old piece of British luxury?

I have a few theories; foremost being that the mining boom has created a pool of cashed up bogans ready to meet the market in order to own what they once thought impossible.

Another possibility is, when viewing this end of the market, a replacement engine for an old Holden will set you back a carton of beer and maybe a couple of tickets to the footy. Conversely, a replacement interior light bulb for an old Jag requires in depth discussions with your nearest financial planner.

I think I'll jump the queue and buy a shitbox 1992 VP Commodore for $950 from that bloke down the street. Should be worth it when the next generation finally realise that cars give you far more freedom and value than the latest smart phone..... or even rubber bands.

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