Lancia, once a rally-dominating carmaker that Top Gear once declared made the most great cars out of its whole lineup, has slowly faded into a sad shell of its former glory. But its old cars are still an enticing, expensive spectacle, such as this 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32 wagon. It has a Ferrari motor, unlike, say, your wagon.
Like all other expensive-for-their-model-year listings online, you’ll see this 1989 Thema and marvel at its Ferrari V8—the “8.32” stands for eight cylinders and 32 valves—and five-speed manual. Plus, it’s a wagon that, according to its Netherlands-based listing, has been restored and built from four other Themas.
“Only 64,000 miles on it in nearly 30 years?” you say to yourself, seeing that it’s listed for nearly $37,000 at current exchange rates. “I mean, that’s a lot of money, but it’s not as extreme as dropping $475,000 on a 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale. This wouldn’t be my worst financial decision ever.”
But it won’t be your financial decision in the first place, unless the decision is to not make any decision at all. Like all other borderline car listings, you’ll log onto your computer and look every day, pondering what a piece of history you could own. It’s a sale listing without an expiration date rather than an auction listing, and the uncertainty of how long it’ll be available begins to eat away at you.
Sure, tons of people on the road won’t recognize that famous shield shape of a Lancia logo, you quietly assure yourself. But the people who do will be the ones you really wanted to talk to anyway—about Lancia’s good days and its bad ones, and how, yes, the company still exists.
“Sad what things have come to, isn’t it?” you can picture yourself saying to the faceless car enthusiast in your daydreams.
Then, the darker parts of reality will float in: You’ll think about how your kid needs to go to college or how you should pay those damned bills, or how you have provide for that pesky task of “eating.” The price tag will slowly grow larger, and you’ll decide that pondering this kind of passionate decision is best left for tomorrow.
But it won’t be made tomorrow. You’ll keep putting it off until that unfortunate and inevitable day comes, when the listing is gone and some other person, who didn’t debate the car as long as you did, went for it.
Deep down, you knew that day was coming, but it gave you a sense of purpose to keep hoping you’d get the financial courage to hit “contact the seller.” But you didn’t, and the only consolation is that there’s now an extra $40,000 laying around to pay the bills and send the children to college—an investment made with your mind instead of your heart.
“Another one will come along someday,” you think, and you’re convinced you won’t pass up the opportunity next time.