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Wherever you look in the hobby of car collectors and enthusiasts, you see the simmer of self-confidence.  Being into classical, muscle, sports car… motorcycle… whatever the passions, there’s a lot grabbing headlines.

Who would think self-driving cars are on the way?

A car-guy is going to feel his swagger if everything he hears is that collectible cars and bikes are just getting more and more valuable.

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Let’s use auction records as a *poor man’s* indicator of the rising interest (and thus value) in collector cars.  Vintage racing cars, european exotics, muscle cars, etc.  Here are some headlines from this year…

RM Sotheby’s 2015 Monterey auction sets records for three days.  When the hammer fell on the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction last autumn, it set a new auction world record of $38 million – a new auction world record.  Early in 2015, Barrett-Jackson tripled the previous world record for revenue in automobilia auction. Hagerty shows worth of muscle cars building a steady trend upward.

Motorcycle aficionados – with or without colors blazing – have watched valuation of their rides leap.  Recently a 1915 Cyclone racer that belonged to Steve McQueen Mecum Auctions went for $775,000. Over the last decade, through the real estate bust, through the slow economic recovery and global market disruptions, the value of vintage motorcycles has steadily risen.

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Mecca for motorcycle nuts: Sturgis Rally.  A cruise, a gathering, a major party. 

Popularity is also measured in terms of people turning out for events.  Just one event calendar – Southeast Wheels Events – listed almost 16,000 car and bike events in 2014 that took place in the US southeast.  That was an increase of over 3,000 from year before.

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More and more TV shows are being produced about cars, bikes and the drama that surround them (or not) are being produced every year.   On IMDb, you can find a curated list of 31 reality shows devoted just to cars.  Didn’t Orange County Choppers start it all?  The top TV show globally for years has been *Top Gear* until Jezza self-destructed.  By top show I mean THE top show for viewership in any category.

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Most popular video broadcast in the world: Top Gear.

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Danny Koker, The Count, is a recurring expert on Pawn Stars.  But he also has his own show on Discovery: Count’s Kustoms

Facebook has over 19 million pages identified with car and motorcycles lovers.

Money, events and TV exposure are just a few measures of the car culture’s robust appeal.  So is the fanatical advance of technology and “cool” features.

New supercars are getting more super and hyper at a +5 g force.   Just using horsepower as a measure, I can quickly name 3 supercars with 1500 horsepower.  Koenigsegg Regera, Bugatti Chiron and the Lambo Gallardo.  Heck, there are Mustangs and Challengers ready to unwind at 800 mph.  And then there are all the mind-blazing options to customize a car to your dreams.

Public interest in racing did not, however, race ahead in 2015.

Formula 1 is not enjoying a banner year.  Having the same two guys from the same team always finish in the top two, and are always having a spat… may have proved a bit of a downer.  And one of the circuits can no longer ante up to stay on the calendar.  Even the GP at Austin is gasping.

NASCAR has seen minor dip in overnight ratings.  Indy 500 ratings this year just got back to those of 2011.  The 24 Hours of Le Mans did a free-fall from 310,000 viewers on Saturday night to 139,000 for the last 45 minutes.  That’s viewers on FS1).

Other racing formats rock ‘n rolled.

Self-confidence comes in part from public support and reinforcement.  If you run into someone at the Costco and tell them, hey, “I’m a car guy”… the recipient of this input will think differently than he would if you said you were a herpetologist (lover of reptiles and frogs) or even if you exclaimed you were a great BBQ guy.  Being a car guy brings a certain amount of recognition, of respect and being cool.

Since the car culture is flourishing, self-confidence among car guys is natural.  Being into cars and bikes is like being into the Rolling Stones, Star Trek, and the American Dream.  You’re connected to a giant, vibrant community that shares a thrill about everything about cars and bikes.

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