Vintage Racer : Once I explain this to you, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s pretty simple to understand. It is a very lucrative pursuit.
Businessman : I am always ready for a new rewarding idea, so fire away.
Vintage Racer : First, you need a race car. The typical thing to do is to find a well-worn or damaged example of some plentiful vintage vehicle like an MG or BMW 2002 or Porsche 914. It is not that expensive. Then you strip it of anything not essential to make the car go or stop. You can do this in a few minutes, just like on those TV makeover shows. Then you sell everything you took off and you are at break even.
Businessman : Sounds good so far. What’s next?
Vintage Racer : Well, you’re going to want to replace the wheels tires and brakes and replace them with something more performance oriented. You also need racing seats. That should run you about the price of the car, so at this point you are at break even.
Businessman : I am not sure that you understand the concept of break even. Let me expl….
Vintage Racer : I know where you are going, but just hold on, it will become clear shortly. Now, the fuel tanks in those vintage cars are like unexploded ordinance, so you will want to replace it with a fuel cell for safety reasons. You will also need a fire extinguisher, a battery cutoff, and a roll cage. A 17 point harness to keep you in the cockpit is usually required. You will also want a new wiring harness as 40 year old wiring is dangerous. While we are on safety, you need a full fire retardant suit along with shoes, gloves, and a helmet of course. Don’t skimp on any of this stuff, as it can save your life. That should all run about the price of the car, so you are at break even again.
Businessman : Are you serious ?
Vintage Racer : We are about to get very serious, because the suspension has to be upgraded. Adjustable coilovers up front, new stiffer springs and performance shocks, urethane bushings all around. That should run about the price of the car, so…
Businessman : let me guess, you are at break even again!
Vintage Racer : I can see that you are beginning to grasp the concept, but this is where it gets tricky. The drive train. Building a high performance motor, gearbox, and rear end plus exhaust can run about twice the price of the car. However, you now have a running race car, so it is worth at least 3 times a non-runner. That means that you are ahead by at least the price of the car. Cool huh?
Businessman : Positively logic retardant.
Vintage Racer : Ready for more? You need a tow vehicle and a trailer to transport the race car around since it is no longer street legal. You needed a truck anyway to go to the hardware store, tailgate, and plow your driveway in the winter, so the race car activity is just a bonus. It is actually free.
Businessman: Of Course.
Vintage Racer : Now for the icing on the cake. Every race weekend, you buy gas for the tow vehicle, race fuel, beer, food, maybe motel, entry fees, oil, etc. And that is if you don’t break anything. If you do you could add machine shop work, body shop work, hospital bills, etc. Add this to all of the other spending, and you are a small economic engine that any country, state, or municipality would love to have. You should be eligible for tax abatements, grants, and economic development awards. The chamber of commerce should come out to greet you as you pull into any town. As a bonus, most racing takes place in the summer, and sweating in a race suit on a hot race track is just like going to the Sauna. This prevents you having to build one, which is a tremendous savings. Of course it is well established that working out your aggression on the track eliminates the need for expensive sessions with a shrink, loss of employment due to anger management issues, divorce, etc.
Businessman : Brilliant, it is a wonder everybody is not doing this!
Vintage Racer : Exactly. But wait, there’s more…….you could win a plaque, or even an old piston affixed to a wooden base!
One Reply to “Vintage Racing Economics”
WAYNE, LOVE this piece-been there/done that 3 times!!!! Bill Foster
Money Pit (but well worth it!!!)
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