Dad had three T-Birds when I was growing up. Four, really.
I'm not talking Gibson basses. I'm talking Ford cars.
There was Big Bird, a mid-60s T-Bird which was the family car. It could fit a neighborhood of kids for a trip to school comfortably. Huge thing. If you recall Prince's "Alphabet Street" video, it was like that, except a metallic green and a two-door. The other three were the old 50s style with the fins. I've recently had my memory corrected, so I'll say they were a black '55 with a black top, a canary yellow '57 and the beauty, a sky-blue '57 which I have strong memories of dad fixing up in a tarped-off carport in Virginia.
(Not surprisingly, he had sold all of these off by the time my older sister learned to drive.)
I know there were issues. He wouldn't leave 'em under a tarp in a locked garage. He couldn't leave 'em under a tarp in a locked garage, because at the time, he had a one-car carport. And the times we took 'em out and put the Beach Boys in the in-dash 45RPM record player, those were great.
I know a guy online who plays a 1930s archtop. It has pickups, including a piezo in the trapeze bridge, but he has been asked to turn it down when wasn't even plugged. Imagine having a wonder like that. Now imagine never taking it out because you were afraid for it. Or because your insurance said no.
And imagine wanting to put in a CD/MP3 player, so you can put in a disc full of everything good from Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Bill Haley. Wolfman Jack's not on the radio anymore and you need something to keep the party rolling all night, right? But you can't, because that wrecks the resale. At the time, it was 8-track. My Dad was like that. I got a good education on 50s rock'n'roll in the 70s because I rode with my parents and their 8-tracks. Plus a more than passing familiarity with Olivia Newton-John, which I am significantly less thankful for.
But my point is, I'd love to have vintage gear. I have a vintage lap steel, a Supro. Lap steels are kinda making a comeback, thanks to folks like Ben Harper, but a 1950s Fender lap steel runs around $500 and a 1950s Fender Telecaster runs around $50,000. I'm not in fear that it'll get stolen, and I'm not at all curious about what other investments I could make if I got rid of it. It's under my homeowner's insurance with the rest of my crap, and I'm not too concerned about my kids wanting to drive my steel.
I've just switched my 80s MIJ Tele to (almost) all-black hardware. I'd have to get black Gotohs, a new bridge and a neck pickup cover to really do it right. Plus new straplocks and a jack plate, but that might be going overboard. I'm considering getting some Stuart Duncan stacked humbuckers for this thing and having a good time with the electronics. Pribek sung the praises of a 1meg tone pot, so I'm considering that. But like adding an 8-track to a 57 T-Bird, playing with the electronics of a $50,000 '52 blackguard Tele would be horrible, even if Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Danny Gatton did similarly horrible things to their '50s Teles back when vintage Teles were 3 for $100.
To switch slightly, my first good guitar, the first guitar good enough for me to improve on, was my Ibanez acoustic. It had a pointy headstock like the electrics, a skinny neck like the electrics, and was made of plywood, or as they say in the business, "laminated top and sides". It was not and is not a great instrument, but it was a perfectly good guitar. There are lots of perfectly good guitars out there. There are great and cool guitars, too. I'd love to have a 1957 Strat, like I'd like to have a 1957 Thunderbird. And if I could say "I make money playing guitar, so it's a tax writeoff", that'd be great, too. (I don't so I couldn't, even if it were true.)
The black 55 went to a guy in Georgia who lived on the swamp where they filmed Gator. The yellow 57 and the 66 were sold in Hawaii, along with a 65 Mustang that got traded for my parents' living room furniture. Another Mustang, a 66, got traded for an EXP, and the blue 57 went, as mentioned, when my sister started taking drivers training. The old stuff is cool and has value, but there's also a price.
Right now, I drive a Toyota Yaris. Inexpensive car, but it gets about 40MPG on the highway, and while I can't tell you that it can get to the 130 on the speedometer, I can tell you it'll get to 110 fairly quickly. And I can play that CD full of Chuck and Elvis on it, and that's pretty fun, too.