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Everything Old Drives New Again

Some purists claim their favorite artist's music from back in the day sounds better on old-fashioned vinyl than it does on CDs or MP3s. They might concede the newer technology is perfect. However perfect isn't always the point where music is concerned. It's the experience of being immersed in and connected to it that counts.

"Some car enthusiasts think along the same lines," says Alan Goodman, the owner of Classic Car Gallery in Southport. While he says new cars are built extraordinarily well in terms of technological and safety innovations, there are some people who "really enjoy the look, sound, feel and control of a vintage vehicle."

Alan makes this statement empirically. He explains that some of his customers, "for whom money isn't necessarily the predominant issue," will trade in a brand new car for a considerably older one from his showroom. Case-in-point is the Porsche 911, among the most recognizable models of the legendary high-end brand. "We sell a lot of air-cooled 911s," says Alan. The line, discontinued in 1998, is something of a Holy Grail for many vintage car enthusiasts. "There's something about the way that engine hums," he says. "It's an extremely sought after car and there's always interest from buyers when we have one on the floor."

Alan, who's always had a passion for cars, never really had a background in them. He was tired of competing in the daily corporate "rat race," as he refers to it, and finally decided to jump out of it, so he bought the business three years ago.

His showroom is the antithesis of a typical used car emporium, but it doesn't only cater to the upscale sports car crowd. His cars, all of which he purchases locally from sellers he knows and deals with on a regular basis, are reasonably priced, for the most part. Some are less, for example, than a typical new compact car. "People are actually amazed at some of the low prices," he says. "They assume 'vintage' means somehow 'unaffordable.'" With prices from the $10,000 to $100,000 range, Alan's inventory attracts a wide array of buyers.

What seems to bring all interested parties to Classic Car Gallery, though, is a genuine interest in and respect for the craftsmanship and style of older vehicles. The sales force also shares this passion and sometimes the showroom can turn into a giant, old car love-fest. Alan laughs about the auto-bonding. "Yeah, it's definitely an interesting subculture. We all just really like old cars. In fact, we enjoy the experience of discussing them and interacting with other like-minded car enthusiasts as much as we like actually selling the cars," he says. The experience of immersion in what you love, whether it's vinyl LPs or vintage cars, is sometimes perfect enough.

Do you drive a vintage automobile? Let me know here, or email me, at jcurtis@mainstreetconnect.us.

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