What is Car Culture?

Car culture celebrates cars. Car culture is about the unique ways in which the car has transformed our daily lives and the environment through the usage of cars around the world we live in. It is the feeling you get when you wake up early in the morning eager to get out of the house to drive. It is a lifestyle built around using cars. It can be in the form of art, collection, social status, iconic, sport, performance and more. This can be seen in the growth of car culture meets and car shows around the world.

Modern Classics Car Culture

Although emission control has come into play for a more sustainable future, modern cars are designed by computers which are more efficient, lower emission and electrically powered. More safety features and more computer-assisted functions were added requiring less human input, fake exhaust sound and eventually autonomous driving. Modern cars, however, have become very similar in shape and design.

Does this mean that old cars will eventually be scrapped and forever be forgotten as efficiency and sustainability take over?  Exactly the opposite is happening. Now it’s just so much cooler and has so much more depth, value, meaning to have the ’80s or a ’90s car. People get nostalgic, and you’re ten times cooler because it isn’t brand-new. These were the last generation of cars designed using primarily pencil and clay, handcrafted out of rectangles and wedges. These are automotive works of art.  A new generation of auto freaks has revived these vintage beauties. Modern classic cars are increasingly desirable and prices are skyrocketing.

The Sweet Spot

It’s not easy to use a classic car on a daily basis, but it’s even harder to accept that fact and buy something modern, practical and boring instead. The thought of cruise control, automatic windscreen wipers and an engine that doesn’t need a choke and a lot of finesse to get it going is indeed, quite taxing. There is a way to make it bearable, though, and it comes in the form of cars from the 80s and 90s: a transition period when the automobile became easier to live with and its design became, well, increasingly more repulsive to look at. The trick is, then, to find those few sweet spots in that transition and you’ll end up with a reliable, interesting and affordable car.

The demographic of car collectors is changing. The buyers now are younger people in their mid-30s, early 40s, and the first cars they buy are the cars in their memories. They dreamed about these cars from the posters in their bedrooms.  They’re less interested in the earlier classic cars from the ’50s and ’60s because they want cars that can move. They want cars that are fast. They want cars that are much more agile.

Modern Classic Legends

The 80s Legend and arch-rivals in DTM homologation motor racing.

The most interesting car from this era is homologation cars. Only when you are deep in car culture, you will only know what that is. Basically, in the ’80s and ’90s, they had special rules whereby manufacturers, if they wanted race cars, would have to build a very limited number of production cars for regular people to buy. The most desirable legends from that era are the Mercedes 190E Evolution and BMW E30 M3.

The Iconic BMW e30 M3, a truly timeless classic.

The Mercedes 190E Evolution is a very flamboyant car, because it’s a boxy sedan but with, like, a wing on it and fender flares. There was a time when it was what you would call a boy-racer car. Now there’s a number of more mature collectors that are interested in those cars and it’s shedding that boy-racer thing. Same thing with the E30 M3. Those cars are like peas in a pod. They raced against each other. With only 500 limited numbers for the Evo1 and Evo2 Mercedes 190E Evolutions can fetch as much as USD250,00 in the international market.

The Mercedes 190E 2.5-16V Cosworth Evolution, a modern classic legend.

The BMW M3 is a cult car. It has a very strong following. That’s the one particular car that even younger people are really into. Like if you were to drive up in a ’60s Ferrari, and there was a BMW E30 M3 parked next to you, a lot of guys in their teens and early 20s would be more excited to see the BMW E30 M3, because to them it’s just the coolest thing.

Future Modern Classics

While the value of the Mercedes 190E and BMW E30 is at the top end of the spectrum, identifying a future classic car is also very exciting. Done right your investment can appreciate rather than depreciate, unlike modern cars over time. There is a trick to look for those few key signs. Some signs are more obvious than others. For example, attractive styling, desirability and rarity are pretty standard things to look for. Other attributes are a little more difficult to quantify, but a car featuring revolutionary tech or design will also stand a chance of rising in value.

The Alfa Romeo 156 GTA.

One of such cars is the Alfa Romeo 156 GTA. The Alfa 156 GTA marks a legendary part of motoring history. The distinctive style with its high curved flanks made it the best-looking car in its class. The legendary Busso 3.2 V6 24v engine offers superb sound, performance and driving experience.

The Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Interior.

It is much rarer than the Mercedes 190E Evo and the BMW E30 M3 with only 348 right-hand drives ever built. Alfa Romeo 156 won the European Car of the Year award in 1998, described as having “very refined suspension layout so to offer an impeccable road holding”. This Italian beauty is rare and still relatively affordable.

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