The‘spectator’ hobby

Updates from : The Hindu :

As auction houses for collectible vehicles have shown in the West, the hammer can bring wider attention to the preservation of historical machines

In India, information about the sale and purchase of vintage and classic vehicles seldom trickles down to the layperson. It is restricted to ‘the circuit’. Intentions to sell or buy a vehicle are passed around within the circuit by word of mouth. Though convenient, this arrangement has the potential to prevent the hobby from putting out ‘new branches’. It precludes the entry of ‘outsiders’. But so-called outsiders can bring in new influences that will enrich the hobby and make it more up-to-date.

Every 25 years, there’s a new fleet of vehicles that enters the ‘classic’, the theory being that a new adult generation refreshes the concept. Back in 1993, which roughly marks the birth of the millennial, the generation would have grown up watching cars and motorcycles introduced in the 1980s and 1990s.

Some of these will swish right into their book of classics. The future of the hobby lies with this generation. They will carry forward the good work of preserving vintage vehicles. Which means we should ‘allow’ their ‘nostalgia machines’ to enter the circuit and develop formal structures to promote them. This will develop the hobby among the uninitiated.

As the West has demonstrated, auctions dedicated to collectible vehicles can generate wider interest in the hobby. In the United States, the collectible cars auction conducted by Kruse International was a huge crowd puller. In his book The Savvy Guide to Buying Collector Cars at Auction, published in 2005, James C Mays writes: “The Kruse auction was televised for the first time in 2004. During the week-long Hoosierland event, held annually during the week of Labor Day, the auctioneer’s hammer comes down on approximately 5,000 collectible cars.”

Kruse International was bought by RM Auctions which has now become RM Sotheby’s. The auction continues, despite a change in hands. With every passing year, auctions involving collectible cars are only growing bigger in the United States. And I think we will do well to take a leaf out of the US experience.

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