Market Focus: Auto Restorers
You won’t find a more passionate, loyal market than auto restorers—people who buy antique cars, bring them back to their original beauty, and proudly display them at auto events. Though it’s a diverse market that can be difficult to pin down, with some research—and some passion of your own—you’ll be able to turn them into customers.
The Motoring Market
Auto restorers cross socioeconomic lines. “My company sells to 100,000 collectors per year,” says Fred Kanter, co-owner of Kanter Auto Products, a supplier of new mechanical auto parts for antique 1930 to 1990 American cars and trucks. “Ralph Lauren is a collector, and so is Joe the postman.” Adds Cam Benty, editor of DRIVE! magazine, which caters to people who are interested in auto events, “Some are well-off, some aren’t—it’s all over the map. … These are not investors—they’re people who enjoy their cars.”
However, it’s a given that auto restorers have enough discretionary income to buy and restore cars and to travel to auto events. “They have discretionary income they’re spending on their hobby, even to the point where it’s not a hobby—it’s their life,” says Paul Cabiati, the account manager who manages the Hemmings Motor News subscriber file at list management and brokerage firm Statlistics.
In addition, according to Cabiati, auto restorers live all over the United States; almost half are college-educated, and 90 percent are homeowners. The majority are males.
Put the High Beams on Purchasing
Naturally, auto restorers buy products that are related to their hobby. “They spend their money on automobilia,” says Cabiati. “It’s not only the car and parts, but also items from that time period like toys and die-cast models, tools, and care and maintenance products to prepare their cars for shows. There are even people who purchase car lifts so they can do the work themselves.”