Vintage becomes classic when a product maintains its demand and value over time, immune to the introduction and influence of new products, loyal to its original audience while also attracting new generations of customers.
An original Porsche 911 is a perfect example of something vintage that is now a classic.
An original fax machine is a perfect example of something vintage that is now worthless and no one cares. No one is collecting an original fax machine. People are collecting original Porsches.
If the fax machine is a bridge too far, and a car example is preferred, the Opel Diplomat was also introduced in 1964. Don't know what that is? Probably because it's vintage, but not a classic...
Back to Porsche, the prototype was actually the 901, and was introduced in 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
When the car actually hit the market in 1964, it did so as the 911 though because French automaker Peugeot, in justified fairness, had exclusive rights to the three-digit-with-a-zero-in-the-middle naming in France, but not the rest of the world.
After complaints from Peugeot, Porsche said, "fuck it!" and opted to rename the 901 model, changing the problematic 0 to 1, not only in France, but for the rest of the world as well, and the legendary 911 was born. Interestingly, the first 82 Porsche 901s were already made and they retained the original numbering, undeniably pissing Peugeot off.
The first Porsche 911 sold for - wait for it - $6,490 in 1964. For context, in the same year, a dozen eggs cost $0.54, and a home cost around $20,500. It was an ungodly asking price at the time.
For a dash of perspective, other things that hit the market in 1964, but are now worthless, unrecognizable, and sound like they spawned from a bad acid trip:
- An all-electric city pioneered by GM. Literally, city with no other utility or fuel aside from electricity, where everything ran on electric power, even the heat. This was actually built. But starting in the 1970s, when electricity costs skyrocketed up, winter suddenly got very expensive and these cities disappeared.
- Whether this a causation vs. correlation relationship remains undecided, as GM was also responsible for the bomb that was the Undersea Hotel...where "guests enjoy submarine views and trips in aquascooters”. Weirdly, this did not land with America. Maybe because the same display also showed a submarine train hauling away freshly mined minerals like a Sponge Bob meets a seven dwarf spinoff.
No one knows what's going to become a classic and why. That's why when vintage becomes classic, and maintains that classic status, it legendary.
Today, a 1964 Porsche 911 is worth anywhere from $200-$300K.
Classic has a value that is inherent, recognizable and timeless. Irrespective to the new and improved version, disruptions and improvements, it still dominates. Classic holds up and looks good, feels good and lands with both the original audience as well as fresher generations.
We don't sell Porsches, but we sell Rogue Coast California original trucker hats, tee shirts and sweatshirts. We consider these classic pieces, timeless and peppered with vintage designs that hold up.
But time is gonna be the umpire on that call, not us...