Posted 08 July 2020 - 07:12 PM
The math is against us all at this point.
The cars themselves were never held in high regard by the public. They were Mitsubishis, and most people weren't (and still aren't) educated about why that mattered circa 1975-2005. They saw Mitsubishi on air conditioners, radios and the compressors in their refrigerators and thought this was just general, Japanese brand-X. Then you have the folks who will swear to you still that all this was, was a Chrysler-built precursor to the last Daytona. I still run into that argument a couple of times a year on Facebook and the person I end up arguing against is in their 20s, cocksure of themselves to the point of idiocy, and can't type a complete sentence without at least two "lol"s.
On top of that, they were not mass-marketed, they were overpriced and if we're being honest, they weren't particularly reliable versus the competition. Every time someone would stick them in a comparo article against Toyotas and Nissans, they'd win, but not by enough to create an aura that caused people to just have to have it, whatever the cost.
Now, all those factors work against us. I've seen daily drivable cars get parted out and then crushed, because the owners only cared about the dollars. Their right to do so, yes, but it still pisses me off. We're working with a small number of cars to begin with. The market favors the 3000GT as Mitsu's pinnacle, not this car. In a way, it reminds me of about 20-30 years ago when you could buy a Ferrari Mondial or 308GTB for less than $20k and get a fantastic car. A bunch of them got bought up for cheap, beat around, not maintained, etc., and now no one can find a decent example -- it's either all show queens or junk, nothing in between. Because not only did they have their own demons to fight, they weren't 328s or 512s or Testarossas and were thus unloved.
On top of all this, the end of the gasoline engine is upon us. The end of the manual transmission will come in the next decade. Both of these factors will have an effect on the parts aftermarket. And without delving too deeply into politics, if the United States ever lurches far enough left politically at the federal level, don't be surprised if you lose the right to even drive an old gas-powered car on public roads in the first place, in the name of climate change.
I'm 47 right now; if I were 18-20, I would not bother with these cars nor any other old one, if my goal was a long-term, multi-decade play. It would be a waste of money. I think a lot of people depending on a vintage car collection to fund their retirement could get caught in a helluva trap if (when) the world finally turns against them. Even now I worry about whether I'm leaving my son something he can enjoy, or just an eventual burden to him. He sure loves my Conquest right now. His favorite thing to do with me is ride in that car.
It's also hard to deal with for me because I was most active around here during what is largely accepted as the high point of StarQuest ownership (I would argue it was 2003-2011). So I remember those times vividly. Those days will never come again; we're not making any more StarQuests, and the ones we have, almost demand to be motor-swapped for long-term reliability and modern performance. Meet attendance is hanging in there, but not really expanding. And if we're really about to see values go skyrocketing up, the first thing that will do is put the common man out of the game. I'm in several Jaguar clubs, and while there are some very nice people in those clubs, if you post a lot of technical questions, you are usually encouraged to fix the problem with a checkbook. If you can't afford to do it that way, well, maybe you're not fit to own the car in the first place. The best aspects of this group have always been its ingenuity and willingness to help others.
Do I sound down about it? Yeah, I am. But that's life in general. Nothing stays young forever. No one gets out in the end. And you can't drive your StarQuest to the seat of judgment and beyond.
Current denizens of the garage:
'88 Conquest TSi
'10 Jaguar XF Premium Portfolio
'89 Jaguar XJS V12
'87 Jaguar XJ6
In the rearview mirror:
'87 Starion (black), '88 Conquest TSi (black), '88 Conquest TSi (Durban), '88 Jaguar XJS V12, '76 Jaguar XJ12L, '88 Jaguar XJ6 VDP, '99 Jaguar XJ8, '98 Jaguar XK8, '03 Jaguar S-Type, '85 Jaguar XJ6 '88 Galant Sigma, '90 Ford Taurus SHO, '75 Bricklin SV-1, '97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP