Birds of a feather



The other day I was sitting around in my garage, fettling an old motorcycle that I'm building for a friend. I put down my tools and picked up a cup of tea and my mind began to wander on to people and their love for automobiles.

I came up to a conclusion - in my opinion, when it comes to automobile enthusiasts, there are strictly two divisions and the rest are merely sub-sets.

The first kinds are the buyers. This type of automobile enthusiast wants the best but without any of the hassles of getting it up to the mark. They will buy their prized set of wheels brand new and in perfect order. If it is a classic, then in all likelihood, it will be completely restored. Their rightful place is behind the wheel (or handlebars, wherever applicable) and from the first day the vehicle comes into the family garage, it has to be fully road worthy and then some. This group is immensely important because they are the ones that ensure companies exist to produce new cars and motorcycles. And these people are the reason why the second type can exist.

I belong to the second group. I have never bought a brand new vehicle in my life. And I don't think I ever will. Sure, from where I'm currently standing, it might seem like it all boils down to economics. I cannot, for the love of God, afford a brand new bike, let alone a car. And no, I'm not talking about the sort of automobile that is affordable but as exciting as that typical 'Rogan Gosh' served at just about every single press conference that I have attended till date. I'm referring to the sort of wheels that I can stay awake lusting about - they're all way too expensive.

But there's a way to get around that - you take what others don't want. Can't afford a brand new Beemer? So what, just get out of your sulking couch and look around for a good condition pre-owned model - the new ones are too mushy in comparison anyway. These cars depreciate like crazy and there are definitely good deals to be had.

The important thing is that these two groups cannot exist without each other. The first kind is responsible for car and bike manufacturers staying in business to actually keep producing machines. And they indirectly decide which machines become desirable as classics down the years. As the classic world has repeatedly proven, cars and motorcycles that were lusted over when they were brand new continue to be the most sought after even as the years go by.

Now, what happens when the cars get long in the proverbial tooth? In a world without the second type of auto enthusiast, automobiles that are perfectly usable but having lost their novelty value would most certainly meet their fate in scrap yards. Scrapping a car leaves behind a considerable carbon footprint and besides, it returns the owner little or no money in comparison to the sort of cash a resale would bring in. More money coming in automatically means more money coming out which helps car companies and customers alike.

The second group also helps influence buying decisions for the first to a certain extent by how much demand a particular model attracts in the second hand market. For first time new car buyers, it makes the decision much simpler. A marque (or model) in hot demand in the second hand market can be safely assumed to be relative good value for money along with being reliable and long lasting.

I guess that was one really large cup of tea, then!