Cadillac's 100th Anniversary
Image: Phillip Pessar 2011
The average motorist may spend twenty, thirty, forty thousand dollars these days for a brand new automobile. But there's another group of drivers, who prefer investing that kind of money in restoring a vintage set of wheels.
"The game of restoring old cars for me is a quest to get it back the way it was to begin with, like it came from the factory," says Paul Ayers, a collector from Farming Hill, MI.
Ayers is just one of thousands of classic car enthusiasts, who put their body and soul -- and a considerable amount of cash -- into making their classics look and run just the way they did when they first came off the assembly line. The Antique Automobile Club of America boasts 60,000 members, and it's only one of hundreds of organizations, worldwide. This year, at classic car shows across the country, there is a particular interest in classic Cadillacs, as the venerable brand celebrates its 100th anniversary.
"There's all kinds of classic cars here that are truly design statements," says Mark LaNeve, general manager, Cadillac Division, General Motors. "Part of the American Culture and American heritage and fabric. The folks that really participate in these kinds of venues and are classic car enthusiasts, that understand the history of the brand, the heritage of the brand... it's priceless."
Stuart Popp of Plymouth, MI owns three vintage cars including an Elvis Presley favorite, a classic Pink '56 Caddy.
"I just always liked the uniqueness of older cars and I just can't drive anything mainstream," says Popp, who is director of the Cadillac Club.For most devotees of antique cars, the cost of restoring them is no longer the issue. For them, what may have started out as just a hobby, has turned into a quest to preserve a piece of automotive history.