Is your collector car rare? Is there a registry for your car? More than one? Why should you register your car in a registry? Do you understand the advantages of registering your car?
We highly recommend the registration of your car in the appropriate registry. However, make sure there is an advantage to you and that it is not just a benefit to the registry. Collector car registries have been around for years even before the creation of the internet. The entire process and benefits have changed significantly over the years.
Over the years I have personally registered many cars with various registries. Although some were very rewarding, I found most of them to be worthless. If they were online, they often were not kept up to date. If you wanted to know what cars were in their registry you had to purchase a printed copy. We all know what that means; it was out of date as soon as it was printed. I found that in most cases the information was only valuable to the person who created their registry. Sometimes this was only a method for a person to find potential cars to buy.
As a result, I created my own registry with all the benefits I was seeking. It was specifically for the particular car I was collecting at the time. I still run that registry but have expanded it to include additional related models.
Even though I had my own registry for one of my cars I have continued to register some of my other brands of collector cars with their respective registry that I don’t run. The results have continued with mixed results.
Here are my Top Ten Benefits and Reasons to place your car in a registry. These are not in any particular order. Your top reason or benefit may be different than mine or someone else’s.
- An ownership trail for a collector car is valuable documentation to its history. A registry should include not only the current owner but previous owners. Have you ever wanted to find your first car? Do you have its VIN? Likely not, but if the ownership trail is provided you will still be able to locate your car. How about celebrity ownership; wouldn’t you want to know?
- The documentation of the car’s condition over history is beneficial. If you are considering buying a particular car, a registry may be able to help clarify questions about why it was off the road for 12 years. Was it wrecked, being restored or just abandoned in a field?
- Photos of the car should be included with each registration. It is surprising what information can be found in a photo. I once had a car that had small holes drilled in its trunk. I did not understand why or what they could possibly be for. However, once I saw old photos of it with a small trailer attached it was clear the holes were for a trailer hitch removed before I purchased the car.
- The estimated condition should be provided. A standard acceptable numbered rating system should be used such as #1 is best and a #6 should be in a junkyard. If the car owners supply an estimated condition at the time of registration it should help document when and why certain repairs or restoration improvements were made.
- Has the car won any major awards? The Corvette World makes a big deal of Bloomington Gold or NCRS Top Flight Awards, as they should. Other brands and models have similar recognitions. There are also more broad-based awards like those of AACA (Antique Auto Club of America) that can be earned by all collector cars in excellent condition. Such awards document that the car is (or was at one time) of a higher quality than the average.
- Finding a particular car can be made easier. Finding that exact 1968 Oldsmobile 442 you drove to high school can be next to impossible. If you have the VIN from some documents you have retained, a registry may be able to tell you where the car is now, who the owner is and how to contact that person. It should also tell you the condition or even if it has been crushed and no longer among the living.
- Is the car real or a clone? It can often be very difficult to tell if certain collector cars are the real deal or a good clone. Not all registries will be able to give you an answer but others will. There should also information provided on how you can tell. This will change from one brand to another and even by model year on many cars.
- Finding other owners can be a tremendous help in doing your restoration or simply having like-minded folks to talk with. You might even find an owner near you that will allow you to look at their car as a “go by”. Even little problems can often be difficult to fix but having other fellow owners available to question is invaluable.
- Selling or buying a particular car may be facilitated by other members of the registry. Many collector car owners know exactly what they want and a registry can be a good place to start in your search for a particular car with specific options or in the color you just have to have. If it isn’t in the registry another member may know where one is.
- How do you know what is correct? In this day of resto-mods where anything goes in the way of modifications, it can be difficult to know exactly what is the correct factory look you want. Or, if you don’t care about correctness but are more interested in making your collector car handle better, accelerate faster or stop sooner others in the registry may also be able to assist.
These are certainly not all the reasons to place your collector car in a good quality registry but they give you our top ten reasons. If you would like to see what we think is a good registry, check out ours for the 1969 Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler/Spoiler II cars at www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com. A copy of a typical Registration Form can be found here.
Our registry has two purposes. The first is our attempt to meet all of the Top Ten Reasons to Registry Your Car and secondly, to provide information to others who don’t know the cars well but would like to learn more. Most of the information on the registry web site is provided for free but other specific information is made available only to those who become Team Members at a cost of $20/year.
It costs nothing to register a car and costs nothing to view a list of registered cars with basic information included. However, detailed info is only available to dues-paying Team Members. This is done to help offset the cost of running the registry. It also helps provide some security for the more specific details of ownership. Detailed info must be provided to register the car but the owner has the option to not have more private details published. The registry also attempts to hold a special annual event for Team Members.