What you need to know about classic car storage

Photography Credit: Courtesy WheelHouse

Where am I going to put it?”

Almost all of us have uttered this question when purchasing something–especially a collector car. Space is finite, a fact that many of us know all too well. 

In the last two decades, however, a myriad of car storage solutions has sprung up across the country–some in major metro areas, some near race tracks, some just where the opportunity presented itself.

These car barns, as the genre is loosely called, range from a parking spot on a cold concrete floor to elaborate social clubs, complete with live music, trivia nights, Formula 1 watch parties, and cars and coffee-type events. 

Some even add in common repair areas stocked with lifts and tools. Others have mechanics and detailers on staff to handle the work.

Hagerty has entered the market, offering storage space along with comfort. More facilities are planned. Photography Credits: Courtesy Hagerty

While all these facilities offer a place to store a car, those in the business explain that it’s the service that often attracts customers. This clientele tends to be reasonably well off and used to high levels of service. They want the ability to call ahead and arrive to a clean, prepped classic that’s ready for immediate departure. 

Location, Location, Location

Most of us want to own a lot of cars. Not all of us have the space, though. Some just don’t have the land, while others want to avoid the hassle, expense and legal loopholes of building more room.

As a result, many of these car barns can exist in urban areas where real estate is limited–basically, any place that has a preponderance of upscale car enthusiasts combined with space shortages.

The owners of these facilities echoed a common theme: This concept is hyperlocal. People don’t want to travel more than 10 or 15 minutes to pick up their cars before attending social events. So, in an area like Southern California, a facility down in Orange County wouldn’t compete against one north of L.A. in Burbank. 

And just like any social group, each facility seems to have its own vibe. Getting into the right country club means everything to some people, and some places are starting to market with that in mind.

Then there’s the fly-in angle, where some members keep cars stored for vacation getaways. “Covid changed the rules,” explains Dean Morash of So Cal Classic Car Storage. “People can live anywhere, like Montana or Idaho, but still keep a car in SoCal for when they come back for work or to visit.”

Each storage units seems to have its own vibe. Like many others, So Cal Classic Car Storage adds amenities–like comfortable places to sit. Photography Credit: Courtesy So Cal Classic Car Storage

This idea was echoed by Matt Farah, owner of Westside Collector Car Storage. His facility in Playa Vista, California, sits just a few miles from LAX and offers airport pickup and drop-off service. He reports that several customers live elsewhere and like keeping cars near the airport.

Location, as expected, can greatly impact cost. In major cities like New York and Los Angeles, a parking spot can cost as much as $750 a month. In less expensive areas, we have seen prices as low as $150 per month.

Is This Right for You?

We didn’t hear a lot of negatives to these arrangements. Most places allow only staff members to drive the cars inside the building, so incidents tend to be rare. And while some facilities are relatively public, we’re told that people just don’t mess with the cars.

However, most storage units do limit the number of times a car can come and go without incurring additional charges. Those who want to drive their cars a few times per week might want to check the fine print. 

Is this an option for you? Having a car maintained, cleaned and ready when you want to go for a ride is certainly an attractive way to enjoy the hobby. And who wouldn’t enjoy having their own (sort of) car museum and social hub with like-minded enthusiasts?

If the appeal and prices line up for you, then today’s market offers options.

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lagunamike New Reader
11/10/22 4:02 p.m.

You missed thr Petrol Lounge in Austin, TX.  It is owned Nosing Motors.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/10/22 4:06 p.m.

In reply to lagunamike :

Thanks for letting us know. Can't have too many options when it comes to storage options.

Coupefan Reader
4/1/23 12:31 p.m.

Looking at all those pictures,  I have a feeling the monthly fees are just about equal to a mortgage payment.  Exactly how rich do you think most of your readers are?  I 'rent' unused garage space from friends and family to house my collection, as the home garage space is taken up by daily drivers.  Some of it is monetary exchange, some of it is a constant stream of favors and household repairs in exchange and one of them is free.  The arrangements work well. 

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