Back in fashion: boring family cars

14th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 July 2004 , BERLIN - Cars like the Ford Granada and Opel Rekord that were once sneered at as epitomizing the boring family car are today being sought after by a new generation of young classic car enthusiasts. With the real classics having reached a price range that can hardly be afforded by most buyers, the once-ridiculed family cars of the 1970s have reached a cult status among a new generation of collectors. "There has been a real run on these cars in recent years," says Ralf Geisler of the German Ca

14 July 2004

BERLIN - Cars like the Ford Granada and Opel Rekord that were once sneered at as epitomizing the boring family car are today being sought after by a new generation of young classic car enthusiasts.

With the real classics having reached a price range that can hardly be afforded by most buyers, the once-ridiculed family cars of the 1970s have reached a cult status among a new generation of collectors.

"There has been a real run on these cars in recent years," says Ralf Geisler of the German Car Veterans Club (Duevet) in Berlin.

Frank Wilke, an analyst of the classic car market says "most of the young enthusiasts are more interested in the lifestyle these cars represent rather than technology and the car as such."

Most of the cars are 20 to 30 years old, with the box-like rectangular styling and lots of chrome. The Mercedes-Benz 200-Series and the Ford Capri also belong to the category.

The owner of the younger generation of classic uses the vehicle for everyday use in contrast to the collector who keeps the car spick-and-span in the garage for most of the year.

But the younger collector has the same dedication to the car and some of the buyers become real experts on a particular make of car.

"The purists need not fear that classic cars are being destroyed," says Johannes Huebner, a classic car expert of the ACE automobile association.

Most of the owners buy such a car because they "remind them of something like the drive in dad's or granddad's car when they were a child", comments Ralf Geisler.

The 1970s generation of cars are cheaper than other classics but pricing are rising. A Ford Granada GXL 2.3 built between 1972 and 1977 in relatively good conditions sells at about EUR 3,100 in Germany, but a year ago the price was around EUR 2,500.

The Mercedes 200-Series (1973-1976) sold a year ago for about EUR 4,000. Now the price range is about EUR 5,300.

According to the experts, prices are still relatively moderate because of the number of cars on the road. The federal German car registration authority (KBA) lists a total of 119,159 cars on the road built between 1974 and 1978. The figure for the cars between 1979-1983 is higher at 310,811.

Prices for cars in mint condition are much higher and it depends very much on the model. The first VW Golf's are already turning 30, but Johannes Huebner notes: "A Volkswagen Golf in any condition is no more than just a car for everyday use."

However, already some market experts are looking out for the next generation of classics waiting to be discovered. At present nobody really gets nostalgic feelings when seeing a Mercedes 190 but in four to five years that can all change with the range this year celebrating its 22nd birthday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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