Story and Photos Mike Spicer
Being a car enthusiast I have been exposed to many car collections. It’s obvious the car bug is ingrained in a collector’s DNA from birth and their car journey is a mixture of a multitude of experiences gained along the way. Everyone’s path is extremely different and the results are quite varied.
The definition of a collection is three or more, but if you have just one classic car in my opinion it constitutes a collection. The difference between accumulating and collecting is in the way it is treated and displayed. It starts with Matchbox / Hot Wheels as a child then moves to models and magazines. As we enter driving age it grows to where we eventually fill the garage and depending on our means oftentimes buildings.
“If it makes you happy then its the perfect car collection.”
Every time we encounter a collection it’s important to remember it was built from a single vision. The collector is the curator and what we see is an accumulation of their exposure over the years to different marks combined with car encounters they’ve had.
Each car collection has a theme. Some are more obvious than others, but remember the grouping of cars is a personal journey regardless if we find it or it finds us, each car has a connection with the owner. Clearly everyone’s habits are influenced differently but they seem to follow a similar pattern no matter how many cars a person has. Bringing it home makes them happy!
Some garages are put together as storage options, others are built as a shrine. Transportation and racing related artwork, photos etc. allow a car person to briefly enter another world and grouping them with their cars is a ritual that comes naturally. Regardless of the situation, a garage décor often echo’s a collectors experiences thus creating a personal museum.
The bottom line is “if it makes you happy then it’s the perfect car collection”. Attracting like mined people to share the passion is a bonus. Most collectors take great pride in showing off their cars and indulging people with stories. It doesn’t matter how many cars a person has, the human interest story behind each one is always going to be a big part of the equation.
Many times a collector’s journey will start with an impression or experience made on them at a very young age or simple encounter that started the ball rolling. Next time you visit a car collection ask the owner what their earliest car memory was. More often than not the story is the best part of the visit.
Some collecting is a nice way of saying “hoarding”. A person bringing a car project home that they will never get around too is fuel for dreaming. If your happy knowing it’s waiting for you, than it’s doing its job.
Mixed with nostalgia and self-interpretation understanding is not required and every brand, make, and model has a following. There are countless rolling art museums all over the world, big and small, but the passion that runs through a collector is the same.