Modern classics which the Germans refer to as youngtimers, are cars that are fifteen to twenty years old. These can be bought at a fraction of what a vintage or classic car would demand. They tick every box of aesthetic appeal, elegance in design, engineering prowess and a timeless, ageless element of unbridled desire. We take a look at their case in India.
I would defy anyone who would appear to be unmoved in the company of vintage and classic cars. Such is the charm of these beautiful machines, which are preserved over the years or restored back to life. Now at first this might seem impractical and a great deal of commitment to look after machines from the bygone era, and to a certain extent they tend to be so. But then consider the flipside, where the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantage. You get a great deal of exclusivity, they are mostly better value for money compared to a new car you would buy around the same price point, and the best part of all- they appreciate in value over time.
In India, the number of such vehicles is not what one may call abundant, but then there are people whose affection for these machines not bounds. They are constantly looking for acquiring classics all across the country and even beyond. They are mostly found in home of old families, workshops, and sometimes even in the unlikeliest of places such as a mine.
This has given birth to a parallel industry to support the connoisseurs. These people not only help with sourcing old parts from different parts of the world but also fabricate such parts in their own factories to keep it as close to its original self.
Manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz have also come forward with supporting their customers who own and drive such cars, making it easier for this mutual admiration society to come together through specially organised events.
Consider a Mercedes Benz W124 which you could buy in around 2 lakh Indian Rupees and probably spend a similar amount to bring it up to pristine condition. For this you would have a covetable vehicle which could probably even be a depreciation-free investment. These would still be several segments higher than the new cars of the equivalent worth and one you can use almost daily.
These youngtimers represent the generation of pure analogue cars before they all became digital and needed laptops for diagnostics and repairs. With the right balance of safety and comfort, they are a manageable lot which weren’t compromised as much due to norms and economics. They deliver pure, unfiltered driving pleasure which needs to be experienced and appreciated by the younger generations and budding car owners.
There’s something undeniably sexy about these cars. Something that makes people turn around and give it another look, a look that it warrants. It adds to the persona of their owners, who become far more interesting than any other regular car driver on the road.