Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Investment Rolls Royce? Please reconsider!

In today's Wall Street Journal, there was a great letter to the auto editor asking for the worst case scenario if buying a mid-80s Rolls-Royce.

Q: I have observed during the past year that one can purchase a used Rolls-Royce with relatively low mileage for a low price on eBay. Today's offerings are a good example. Three different sellers are offering mid-1980s Silver Spurs with around 35,000 miles at about $28,000. I'm thinking that this may be a good investment. If I bought this to tool around town (it would be a third car for my wife and I) and use about 400 miles a month, how much of a financial problem would maintenance cost be? I don't want to lay out $5000 every three years. Any reason why I couldn't own this for ten or fifteen years and not incur any really big problems?
A: Please reconsider!
Jonathan Walsh goes on to explain, in a restrained tone befitting the WSJ, as to why this would not be a good investment. If it were in any other publication, the writer would have responded with "Bwahahhahaha! Are you fucking high?! Investment?! $5000 every three years? Try $5000 every time you go to the mechanic!"

I have never owned a Rolls-Royce, but I have owned enough Mercedes' to know that the initial purchase price is but a rounding error in the total cost of ownership. Not that I haven't been tempted, as the photo above is of June Carter Cash's Rolls-Royce that was sold at the big (and relentlessly depressing for some of us) Sotheby's Cash auction. Though you will need to register to view the auction results, the Cash Rolls does not seem to have sold. Perhaps it is still parked under a shade tree at the House of Cash.