WOLF REVIEW. 18th March 2023
Interesting and factual information may be provided, but our review aims to deliver insight from the perspective of a WOLF Architect. The images in this feature are copyright to WOLF Architects and may not be used without written permission. They are also for illustrative purposes only and do not necessarily represent actual items, persons or places.
Make your choice!
Comparing Star Wars to Mercedes could be seen as unrealistic or even incomparable but as a person who loves both I thought “Why not?”. This review seeks to deliver Insights from collecting both Mercedes cars and Star Wars memorabilia for 30 years.
Vintage Star Wars toys only or Classic Mercedes of the 70s?
Both Mercedes and Star Wars are large brands with a massive range of products and loyal fans. Star Wars collections can range from toys, comics, and cards to prototypes and movie props. Likewise, a Mercedes enthusiast does not necessarily have to own a real-life car. They may only collect the books, brochures, badges or just the scale models which range in the thousands.
Most collectors strive for a balance between several areas, but with both Mercedes and Star Wars universes continuing to expand, enthusiastic must focus and refine their passions. It is becoming increasing rare, if even possible to have a complete collection of anything. It is not uncommon to see a Star Wars fan fill a whole room with merchandise and collectibles based on just their favourite character.
Some will argue that there is no comparison between the two brands since a single rare Mercedes car can be worth Millions while the most collectible Star Wars piece might only reach a few hundred thousand. This article therefore does not compare the two in terms of monetary value but rather in regards to returns in value. Further to financial rewards both can provide mental and emotional value, but which offers more and why?
Mercedes began in 1886, a 91-year head start to the Star Wars universe that came onto the scene with a big bang in 1977. One gave us the car, and the other gave us the Force. Star Wars has arguably spread itself more broadly and deeply into our modern-day culture. Nothing lasts forever and when it comes to classic Mercedes cars, they will be challenged with the electric car era. Vintage Star Wars toys are also at risk of fading away with aging fans who believe that the original trilogy can never be bested.
Mercedes has one of the largest and strongest followings when it comes to their classics and if you own the right car, it is a solid investment. There is some nostalgia which is generational but overall, Mercedes cars are designed to be timeless to begin with so many enthusiasts don’t mind owning cars that are older than them.
Star Wars enthusiasts however tend to be generational and very nostalgic. Unless you grew up with the films and the toys you are unlikely to desire collecting anything related. Most who enjoyed the toys when new are now in the 45 to 65-year group. It’s an age group that may still be happy to indulge or invest right now, but what will happen in another 10 years when they start telling their grandchildren not to touch that mint in Box Falcon? Will the next generation feel the force as strongly?
While Mercedes cars may have a less generational fan base, they too are not immune to aging collectors who may struggle to get in and out of their classic sports cars, or keep up with the ongoing upkeep and maintenance required. Unless you have deep pockets to hire help, many Mercedes collectors find themselves offloading in retirement while Star Wars collecting by contrast is a far simpler retirement hobby.
Care and ownership
As well built as most Mercedes classics are, they still require regular care and attention. Even if well protected in a pristine showroom garage, your car will slowly fall apart if left standing still for too long. Tyre’s flatten, seals deteriorate and things start to leak. When cars aren’t used things tend dry or seize up.
A Star Wars collectible requires significantly less attention. At most something on display needs only occasional dusting with the only threat being discoloration if exposed to UV light. Careful collectors will generally keep rare items sealed in plastic away from dust in a dark cupboard. Space is another consideration as a car takes up a considerable amount. The amount of Star Wars collectibles that fit into the space of one car could easily be worth more than the car. How many “mint on card” Vinyl caped Jawa’s could you fit into the boot of a Mercedes?
From a maintenance perspective Star Wars toys win hands down, and that’s a very big win when it comes to a passion that could last a few decades.
Repairs & Restoration
Both Star Wars and Mercedes fans respect, desire and demand originality but there is a big difference when it comes to repairs or restoration. Cars get used and throughout their lifespans will naturally need to be maintained and kept road worthy. Once a car reaches classic status it will either be maintained or lightly restored depending on condition. In some cases, a rare car in poor condition might undergo a full restoration and all of that is perfectly acceptable provided the restoration works are carried out thoroughly and to high standards. In many cases its also acceptable for the owners to make a few modifications to suit their needs. New seats in leather rather than replicating the original vinyl for example. Or adding Bluetooth to the radio to play modern music.
With Star Wars toys, any restoration is likely to devalue the item and is heavily frowned upon. Serious collectors absolutely loath the amount of reproduction weapons and accessories that are now available. Worse is the fact that some reproductions are so realistic that it’s near impossible to tell the difference. In the car World it is quite acceptable to use reproduction parts so long as they are true to original standards. With regards to customization, who would want a Darth Vader figure with a red cape, even if that might be rather unique. Of course, there are also car purists who insist on everything matching the data card to be as the way ii left the factory, but it’s also becoming increasingly acceptable to change your cars colours to suit one’s pallet. When it comes to cars, the right colour combination can make the difference between retro cool and dated. Why would you not want to look and feel cool in your classic Mercedes? This leads on to the topic of usability.
Practicality & Usefulness
With many Star Wars collectibles worth in the thousands it’s highly unlikely that such items will actually be played with or used as the manufacturers originally intended. Once purchased they often find that special spot for display or in many cases get wrapped and tucked away from the light of day. While many classic Mercedes do spend more time in hibernation than in action, the option is always there to go for a spin, and what great feeling that is (especially in a convertible on a sunny day). The right classic Mercedes is an appreciating investment that you can still use daily.
Insurance is another thing that is more practical with classic cars as there are specialists for classic cars. Getting adequate coverage for your classic is relatively straight forward. Trying to insure a massive collection of vintage star wars toys is often complicated as it can require inventories, valuations and photographs. Many collectors wont both and that leaves them at risk.
Fun & Coolness
Star Wars is popular to the point that even someone who has never watched the movies will recognise its main characters and space ships. You could wear a Darth Vader T-shirt in a foreign country and start a conversation about it with a stranger, which is kind of cool. It has certainly been successful as a medium to connect people and collectors (in particular) throughout the World. As a collector of the vintage toys the friendship circles are different to those passionate about cars. You can bring friends over to view your collection on display but unless they are equally fanatical there are limitations with conversations. Unless someone enjoyed playing with the same toys as a child, the level of understanding and appreciate simply won’t be there.
A classic Mercedes on the other hand can even evoke emotion in a non-car enthusiastic stranger. When your friends come over to see your car, you can even take them out for a spin. From that perspective a classic Mercedes is likely to score more goals in a match of fun and coolness.
Buying & Selling
Obviously, the buying and selling of Star Wars memorabilia is relatively simple compared to a classic car. Put any vintage Star Wars item on eBay for the market price and you won’t have to wait long for a buyer. If you don’t mind the hassle of packing and posting you also have access to a Worldwide market.
A car by contrast isn’t something you can move quickly even if it were exceptional or rare. You’re also dealing with bigger dollars in general so the processes are more involved with higher risks. They say that bigger investments offer bigger returns so when it does come time to cash in, a classic car could be a simpler way to fund that holiday or deposit for a property. I’ve known many occasions when Star Wars toys were sold to fund other priorities but one needs to sell and awful lot of Star Wars items to match the value of a single car. The time to pack and post so many pieces could ultimately match up to selling a single car of similar value in total.
Investments and returns
Both classic Mercedes cars and Vintage Star Wars toys have done well over the last three decades. Strong demand continues for anything exceptional in condition or rarity. Low mileage original Mercedes have become highly sought after, as they feel special and negate the need for expensive restoration works. With Star Wars anything mint sealed in original packaging continues to rise away in price from the same item loose without packaging.
You obviously need a significant amount of capital to invest in a single classic Mercedes. Star Wars requires a lot less and there are good investments at many different price points ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Purchasing a classic car also take a lot more time to study and research while an afternoon on the internet would probably tell you all you need to know about a particular Star Wars piece you may be interested in.
Long term maintenance costs should also be factored in. Star Wars toys need virtually nothing compared to cars who need love and attention. Then there are the hours of washing and cleaning that never get accounted for. On top of that is petrol, registration and insurance. When you look at all those costs a collection of Star Wars toys on display somehow seems so much more relaxing.
In regards to investment time frames, the two are quite different. You only need a few hours online to find a good Star Wars item to invest in. A few days hunting could land you a bargain that you could potentially flip and make a quick small profit. While this sounds promising the margins are relatively small. As with many investments the returns are larger if you can hold and wait for values to rise. Finding the right classic Mercedes by contrast takes time. If you’re after a particular model and colour the search could literally take years. If you’ve settled for a car that needs a lot of work, the lengthy times and costs with restoration must also be considered.
As stated from the onset this is arguably an unfair comparison, since most would consider a classic Mercedes car as a richer person’s toy. In many ways that is fact since the dollar values are greater, even with just a single car. Having said that, it’s all about passion and where there is a will there is a way. There are many younger enthusiasts who own cool cars and would argue that they are not rich. I was one of them and restored my first Mercedes when I was just 24.
Both Worlds are vast and unless you have endless amounts of time and cash, its best to find a focus. It’s then about weighing the pros and cons. The three-pointed star has been around a lot longer and I predict it to outlast the Force. Timing could be crucial with Star Wars since the days of finding bargain garage sales of rare figures are long gone. Fans from the most passionate generation are aging and unless Disney comes up with some seriously good new movies, the days of the Jedi could be numbered. With this in mind Mercedes is probably more suited to those in it for the longer term, though it too faces challenges with space becoming more expensive and the automobile world turning electric. At some point in the future cars will probably drive themselves and if human driving gets banned altogether, there will potentially be a classic car crash. That’s possibly still a few decades away so for the moment Mercedes classics are probably going to offer more fun and coolness given that they are toys you can actually play with. I don’t think my wife was very impressed with my room filled with boxes of Star Wars labelled “Fragile- DO NOT TOUCH”. She was however quite intrigued when I took her on our first date in a pristine classic coupe.
When it comes to effort it takes a lot to purchase, restore and maintain a car by comparison to a mint sealed Star Wars toy. In this department Star Wars wins hands down as being very hassle free. They are also easier to buy and sell though you need to sell many pieces to match the value of one car. Then again, some Mercedes enthusiasts will argue that the fun is in the caring and tinkering. As our toy collections become complete, what else can we do but look at them and reminisce? With a classic Merc there is always something to do, even if just for a casual Sunday drive.
Despite being an unfair contest I wanted to see how these two passions would go toe to toe with one another. To find a winner, a score was given to each of the several points covered in this review. When the numbers were tallied it turned out that Star Wars came out slightly on top which was surprising at first. Collecting Star Wars was just much simpler and with simplicity comes peace of mind. Being a Classic Mercedes fan requires more of everything from time, money, to dedication and persistence. Both still make great investments for now but I predict that in time in time the classic cars will outrun vintage Star Wars toys.
Word of the WOLF
Whether you’re investing in Star Wars or Classic Mercedes, you need to know what you’re looking at. Purchase the wrong car and it will set you back a fortune to get right. It has also become increasingly difficult to navigate through the webs of fakes and reproductions prevalent in vintage Star Wars toys. Always do your homework and due diligence. Take your time to ask the right questions and don’t be afraid to get an expert second opinion. Any honest seller will gladly oblige.
At the end of the day it’s about owning what you love and loving what you own. That joy is best measured by the effort to purchase and maintain versus the pleasures of ownership. Once you think of these passions as investment, a business or way to make money you risk killing that love and joy.
You can’t necessarily say that driving with roof off and wind in your hair feels better than a Vintage Millennium Falcon that time travels with lightspeed to childhood wonder years.
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The information in this review is intended for informational or educational purposes to provide readers an understanding of how something may be seen from a certain design perspective. In this case it is from the view point of WOLF DESIGNS. As design is subjective this review should only be considered as an independent opinion. Information further to being of an opinion is provided to the best of our knowledge based on our own research at the time of doing the review. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies and reserve the right to change or update any content as appropriate.
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