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Retro Rides and College Student Pride: The Advantages of Driving a Classic Car on Campus

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Retro Rides and College Student Pride: The Advantages of Driving a Classic Car on Campus

Less than 15% of college students live on campuses, meaning that more than 85% of today’s students are commuters. When taking into consideration other factors of a modern college landscape — such as the fact that 70% of full-time students work while enrolled — there’s no question that owning a car is a must for many. However, rather than investing in new cars loaded with modern technology, going with a retro vehicle choice instead can bring a variety of advantages to the table. From the financial factor to ease of maintenance, even the social aspect surrounding the classics can provide today’s student with unique advantages.

The Financial Factors

A financial wellness survey that was administered to students in the fall of 2022 dove into the various concerns regarding finances that impacted student’s academic lives. According to the 2022 Student Financial Wellness Survey, detailed in a May report from Trellis Research, almost three in four students experienced financial difficulties in the past year. Furthermore, it’s noted that approximately 48% of students who had experienced financial challenges while enrolled “agreed they had difficulty concentrating on academics because of their finances.” When delving into the price of college tuition, for example, increasing costs can leave many with financial concerns. Between 1980 and 2020, the average price of tuition, fees, and room and board for an undergraduate degree increased by 169%, highlights a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. In conjunction with other costs — such as academic materials like books, even the rising costs of gas can add to the financial pressures. 

For commuters looking for a car, there is no shortage of financial pressures. The average price of a used vehicle, according to one Fortune article, is $27,297, while the average price of a new vehicle is stated to be $47,338. Both prices, while predicted to drop this year, are still unaffordable for many. On the other hand, Motor Trend highlights several vintage rides that can be as affordable as $5,000, underlining a major difference in price — and highlighting the winning choice for many students to save money on their next ride. The 1954-1966 Pontiac Star Chief, the 1963-1966 Dodge Dart, and the 1965-1967 AMC Rambler Marlin are just a few noteworthy options that made the list.

Less Stress with Simple Maintenance

Investing in a retro car can sound like a costly endeavor, though this isn’t always the case. One Road & Track article highlights several classic car options that are great for those on a budget in 2024. The 1965-1973 Ford Mustang, for example, is just one worth keeping in mind. “Because Ford built so many original Mustangs, prices remain low,” Road & Track notes. “They’re sub-zero cool, simple to work on, and plenty affordable. Best of all, there’s still plenty of aftermarket support, meaning parts are cheap and easy to find.” This synopsis alone underlines the immense value associated with many classic car picks, especially when compared to popular, souped-up vehicles of today.

The lack of technology may be a pain-point for many looking for a vehicle today, though foregoing it can obviously make for a cheaper option. While certain implementations — such as lane assist or a backup camera — can work to make a modern car safer, ‘unnecessary’ components (like WiFi, BlueTooth capabilities, and heated seats) can result in even more to fix when malfunctions or breakage occurs. With that in mind, investing in an older car can allow for the integration of what you want regarding technology (such as the installation of a backup camera), and nothing that you don’t want or need — effectively making for a cost-efficient alternative in the long run. 

Finding Community through the Classic

Finding the right car to drive as a college student can sound like a nearly impossible endeavor — especially when factoring in elements such as financial difficulties and the costs of maintenance. By opting for a retro ride, however, students can find a unique and reliable option that comes along with a strong sense of community. Classic car shows, for example, are a fantastic way for any enthusiast to embrace the lifestyle of the retro ride, and are a great way to show off your own, too — especially if you’ve become invested in the vehicle and its history. 

One of the major benefits of the classic car community is that it extends worldwide, with large shows taking place in various countries. In addition to the many shows throughout the U.S., the Power Big Meet in Sweden serves as one example, while the world’s biggest indoor classic car show takes place at the Techno Classica event in Essen, Germany. While it sounds impossible, shipping your classic car to an international auto show doesn’t have to be an overwhelming endeavor, and can be made a reality with a few important considerations. The cost of successfully shipping a classic car varies depending on a variety of factors, including the type and size of vehicle to the collection and delivery destinations, current economic factors (fuel prices), to highlight just a few. The type of shipping is another element that can impact the price — for classic cars, it’s generally recommended to opt for enclosed car transportation due to concerns associated with unpredictable roads and inclement weather. As such, enclosed car shipping will ensure that your car is better protected, allowing the vehicle to arrive in perfect condition — even so, investing in insurance is always a good call, and can be a great resource to have just in case.

Investing in a newer vehicle is often the preferred route for younger drivers, though opting for a classic is becoming more popular thanks to the numerous benefits involved. From the financial savings to be had to the immense value in finding a like minded community, opting for a retro ride can positively transform your time on campus.

SEE ALSO: The Pros and Cons of Buying a New vs Old Car as a Student

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