How do you value your car? Is it in low production figures? Dollars to be made? An investment to be had? Or does it go deeper? With big auctions like Barrett-Jackson and Mecum demonstrating the potential value of old iron, more and more owners have decided to park and preserve their classics. Intending to keep the odometer low and value high, these once notorious muscle machines see less and less road time with every passing year. As an increasing number of classics are tucked away in collections, we’ve witnessed youth participation decline and enthusiasm fade. That’s why I live by this philosophy: Drive it like you stole it!
What good is an expensive bottle of wine that’s never been tasted? A clutch that’s never been dumped? A big block that’s never been wound up to 6,000 RPM? Smiles that never happen and memories not made? From Road Runners to Superbees, Chargers to Challengers; at the end of the day, their intended purpose is to provide fun. No material possession or amount of money is more important than your pursuit of happiness.
Yourself aside, think about the children! A common complaint we hear in the car community is that the younger generations just aren’t that into muscle cars. As a millennial, I challenge those who moan and groan about the youth’s taste and ask: have you done your part to make a difference? Think back to what drew you into Mopar® muscle cars. I doubt it was the promise of a lucrative investment. Likely it was seeing the other local road-warriors strut their flashy colors and boisterous big blocks. Unfortunately, with so many muscle cars locked away for preservation, the most thrilling cars on the streets are often just buzz-bomb 4 bangers and pavement princess pickups. Whether it’s doing a burnout for the kids loitering around the ice cream shop or strapping your grandkids into the backseat for a joyride, it’s up to you to showcase your cars on the road so the next generation can see what a real muscle car looks like.
Speaking as someone who’s been raised on Mopar muscle cars, the best memories I have of my dad’s car aren’t watching it sit in a climate-controlled garage or trailering it to the occasional car show. My favorite times have been the triple-digit joyrides, carefree cruises and the impromptu adventures that occur when your dad gets his car out on the road nearly every day. As a result of all the fun I’ve shared with Dad in his drop-top GTX, I have developed my own passion for the hobby. My dad’s car may not be worth as much money as a concourse-level restoration with low miles, but this car has given the gift of enthusiasm, and that’s worth more than all the money in the world. Don’t let your kids miss out on the entire purpose of these cars.
I preach this fun-loving philosophy, but don’t get me wrong; I understand there are situations where preservation is the best option. If you’ve taken stewardship of a rare survivor or low-mileage original, I totally support and appreciate the dedication and restraint that goes into caring for those time capsules. When attending car shows and events, it’s always an amazing experience to see these maintained machines on display. However, it pains me to see restored, baseline, non-originals follow the trend of preservation purely for investment purposes. These cars are worth more in miles driven, thrill rides given, smiles had and good times remembered than they ever will be in cash value.
If you can walk past your Mopar vehicle (new or old) without the unadulterated temptation to jump behind the wheel, then you’re doing it wrong! Mopar muscle cars were (and still are) built to inspire, to compete and to be thoroughly enjoyed; not to sit covered up in a collection or auctioned off like some kind of museum piece. At the end of the day, no material possession matters more than your pursuit of happiness. So rev up your engine, bake off your tires and drive your car!
Photo credit: HotRod.com