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Retro Charm Minus The Headaches

Everything old is, or can be new again.

There are cars that you remember fondly as being featured on posters adorning your bedroom wall but, by the time you are ready to own one of the beauties, they are likely to have become rare and plagued by the reliability issues of vintage models. The combination makes for an expensive purchase, coupled with costly maintenance, just to keep it roadworthy. So, if you are in love with an oldie, is there no less painful way of driving your childhood dream car?

The solutions range from major restoration, with the car being brought back to the standard at which it left the factory floor years ago, to the faithful production of replica cars that look like the classic and usually perform even better.

The former involves thousands of hours of painstaking work – everything from stripping down the car to fabricating parts when originals cannot be found. When you see the final bill from these artisans, it’s easier to justify splashing out the cash for more quality time with the family. Or 18 holes at the golf course.

On the other hand, purists may scoff at the idea of building “brand new” old cars. But consider this: A restored Porsche 550 was auctioned off for $4.6m last year.

You could get a Subaru-powered replica from a company named Beck for about 1 per cent of that price, which lets you buy 99 other cars just for fun. Before you scoff at its Japanese gut, the Beck Spyder does the 0 to 60mph (96kmh) sprint in 5.4 seconds, compared to 8 plus seconds in the original Porsche. Looks the same, drives even better. What’s not to like?

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THE CHEVY CHASE
When one thinks about American car culture, one of the makes that inevitably comes to mind is Chevrolet, otherwise known as the brand with the bow-tie logo. Firmly embedded in Americana, Chevys have been mentioned in more than 200 songs by everyone from Rod Stewart to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and immortalised in movies like American Graffiti and Transformers.

On the weekend of Sept 28 and 29, an extraordinary auction that features this legendary marque will take place and more than 500 vintage Chevys are scheduled to go under the hammer.

The owner of the fleet is 95-year-old Ray P. Lambrecht, of the Lambrecht Chevrolet Company, who amassed Chevys from 1946 to 1996. He is giving up his massive Chevy collection in the hope that a new generation of enthusiasts will share in the same automotive joy.

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If you follow TV shows like American Pickers and Kings of Restoration, this might just be up your alley. Up to 50 vehicles are practically new, with less mileage clocked than what a typical Singaporean drives in a day. On the list are a 1978 Chevrolet Indy Pace Car and a 1965 Impala 396 FAC car, both with only 8km on the meter. Pick up one of these car relics, put in some elbow grease (or pay someone else to do it), and you might have a real, retro stunner.

If you can’t spare the time to travel to Pierce, Nebraska, where the auction will take place, explore the online-bidding option at proxibid.com