For decades, "a passion for vintage motors was regarded as an eccentric hobby, particularly prevalent among the wealthy of an older generation," notes Jürgen Lewandowski in his foreword to Classic Cars Review: The Best Classic Cars on the Planet. Now practically everyone we know has been bitten by the bug, ourselves included.
Which is why we're looking forward to the lavish $150 coffee table book, being published by teNeues later this fall and now available for pre-order on Amazon.
The oversized volume aims to offer up the world's most beautiful, exciting, and exclusive vintage vehicles, many of which have only been viewable in museums or with special permission of those with the keys to the well-guarded doors of incredible private collections.
A "concours d’elégance in book form," it showcases icons such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing', Aston Martin DB5, and Ferrari 250 GTO, to name but a few,
In addition to the vehicles themselves, the book features a compendium of the institutions and key players behind the exclusive classic car scene from Pebble Beach to Villa d'Este, including the major collectors, top auction houses, the key classic car dealers, and all the best events.
"There are certainly classic car collectors hoping to use their collections to earn as much money as they can as fast as they can," Lewandowski notes. "But they are in the minority. Most collectors are happy if their collection does not cost them money. Maintenance, upkeep, repairs, spare parts, mechanics, and heading out on various road trips ultimately all do."
"There are plenty of reasons to dedicate yourself to collecting extraordinary vehicles," he continues. "The cars open up new worlds and inspire people to take a closer look at design, technology, and history. You can meet other collectors who share the same passion and who pass on their knowledge."
And you can drive them as fast as you dare at the dozens of events dedicated to their preservation and enjoyment across the globe.
"You do not need a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 or a Porsche 356 Carrera 2000 GS to have fun," Lewandowski notes. "There are plenty of collectors who are happy with a Volkswagen Beetle convertible—the same car where they had their first kiss—or an Opel GT—their dream car since they were in school."
However, the inestimably beautiful cars that have become truly iconic are the ones we're drawn to the most.
"Let's be honest," Lewandowski writes. "We love extravagance. We admire the imagination and craftsmanship of the men and women who have given us these gems that truly belong in design and technology museums. And we worry about their well-being if we see them zipping down the road in rain or snow or other rough weather. On the other hand, that is what they were built to do. They languish and risk being lost to obscurity if they are simply shut away in a museum."
And after a day's driving, "the stories we tell when we get together at night, be it at the bar or at the track or in the smoking lounge, can only be made on the road," he notes. "While reading this book, we suspect that you are going to come across a number of vehicles that bring a few of your own stories to mind. Even if it was just the moment when you saw a car for sale and did not buy it, only to realize minutes later that was a mistake. Or perhaps it’s the story of the car that you simply had to own even though you knew it would mean a rough road ahead."
Maybe you will still end up owning it someday. But until you do, Classic Cars Review will serve the object of your automotive affections and a gorgeous addition to your coffee table.