Ladies, Start Your Engines!

By  0 Comments

“I feel the need, the need for speed!” The classic quote from the movie Top Gun illustrates that being a hotshot means you don’t follow the rules; you break them, along with the sound barrier.

No longer is the classic-car-collecting industry a boys’ club, as the number of female collectors has been on the rise for years. This shows that women are breaking barriers in the industry and becoming hotshots themselves in their desire for luxury vintage automobiles with speed.

Although top television shows and movies featuring cars usually maintain all-male-led casts, 30 percent of subscribers to Popular Mechanics magazine are female, along with 10 percent who subscribe to Car and Driver magazine, and insurance agencies have taken note of the rise in female classic car owners. Portrayals of female drivers in classic films include Angelina Jolie in Gone in 60 Seconds, and Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick demonstrate competence behind the wheel. Female classic car clubs include the Iron Maidens, Miss Shifters, Hell’s Belles and countless more around the country, connecting women who are a respected part of the classic automobile collecting community.

The nation’s largest insurer of classic cars, Hagerty Insurance, lists the top five most favored classic cars among female collectors as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Volkswagen Beetle, Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. Here are a few reasons these vintage cars are popular among female collectors:

Ford Mustang
Convertibles from the mid–1960s are the most prized, since this is the first generation of Mustangs that Ford produced. The three alternatives of hardtop, convertible and sports roof and an engine range from 2.8 liter Thriftpower 16 to 4.7 liter Windsor HiPo V8 allow women to have a variety to choose from. The classic television show Charlie’s Angels featured the Mustang with a female driver, Farrah Fawcett, in 1976. This depiction of a female hotshot driver in the ’70s merely adds to its favorability among women who enjoy driving vintage cars.

Chevrolet Camaro
Like the Mustang, convertibles are the most coveted. This classic vehicle is the quintessential sports car, making it the perfect vehicle for the woman looking for speed. It comes with various engines from 4.9 liter to a 7.0 liter V8.

Volkswagen Beetle
Beetles are the ultimate choice for the first-time collector as they are inexpensive to maintain while fun to drive. The classic air-cooled Beetle convertible was sold in the U.S. until 1980. The charming design is the biggest attraction for collecting this vehicle, with its details such as the headlights featuring eyelids and its smooth frame. Expect to invest between $17,000 and $30,000 for a Beetle in excellent condition.

Chevrolet Corvette
America’s longest-running sports car is considered the queen of its category. The Corvette’s first generation was in the 1950s, starting with a 4.34 liter V8 engine. The 1973 film Cleopatra Jones featured a Corvette Stingray driven by secret agent Tamara Dobson wearing fabulous 1970s fashion.

Ford Thunderbird
Classic T-Birds are dependable and favored among women. The dazzling white 1956 two-seater T-Bird featured in American Graffiti with Suzanne Somers as the driver might be a contributing factor for the vehicle’s popularity. The 1958 Thunderbird was redesigned to fit 4 passengers, increasing the weight of the vehicle to 1,000 pounds. This larger size provides ample interior space and the 5.8 liter V8 engine makes the vehicle equipped to produce 300 horsepower.
This list barely skims the surface of classic models that women are collecting today. Vintage MGs and Fiats, particularly the sleek Fiat 124 Spider, with its five-speed transmission, four-wheel disc brakes and easily opened rag top, also maintain popularity among women. The best way to learn more about the classic-car-collecting hobby is to attend a classic car show. These events make it easy to view unique models in person and connect with other female collectors. National shows are supplemented by local shows in every state, and they usually occur between April and September.

Passionate collectors often combine their hobby with traveling to shows and swap meets. The Lola Old Car Show and Swap Meet in Lola, Wisconsin, combines a car show with swap spaces focusing on historical automotive artifacts. The Charlotte Auto Fair is a national show hosted at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Elegance at Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts a vintage race along with the car show. The Southwest Street Rod Nationals Plus is a three-day event located at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Telluride Festival of Cars and Colors, Telluride, Colorado, is fairly new but it has become extremely well known.

If you’re interested in becoming a collector, look up a vintage car group in your area or attend a local vintage car show to connect with other female owners. Embrace your need for speed, beauty and class and break some barriers. ■

Sources:,, and