When is the last time that you hopped in your 401k on a hot July night and took it for a spin? When you take your family out on a Sunday drive in your IRA or stock portfolio, do people honk their horns and give you the thumbs up?

Collector cars are, of course, recognized as valuable. But after you have one, what do you do with it? There are a few options to consider.

The primary reasons that these vehicles are usually collected in the first place are to show them off, finish their restoration, recapture a memory (or obtain a longed-for dream), and perhaps sell them for a profit.

Most of these are good reasons but they are not necessarily all valid for the same owner or the same car. They certainly are not all valid for every car. And they may not be valid reasons at all-particularly the selling for a profit. These are the most common, but certainly not the only possible reasons for getting into this strange hobby characterized by high expense, difficulty in finding what you need, and long waiting periods for getting anything done.

It is wise not to be lured into believing that a fine old car will be worth so much more when you have restored it that you can easily sell it for a profit. The more typical scenario today is for the car to be worth maybe 70% of what you have put into it.