We’ve all heard the complaining around gearhead internet forums, campfires, and garage gatherings- such and such is hoarding old bikes/cars/trucks/whatever. Or junking them, or negelecting them, or over restoring them. And the powers that be, municipal or scrappers, are sending them to the crusher, while accusing us gearheads of turning our backyards into scrapyards.

So what should our ethical standards be in collecting?

Well, I’ll start with my own “inventory”, both vehicles and 12 Step:

My BMW F800S is only five years old, and I’ve been ridin’ the piss out of it- 38k miles and counting in three years. That’s excusable, and better than turning it into a “garage queen” at an early age. But there’s a couple of scratches in the paint from my el cheapo throwover soft saddlebags… And reputadly BMW only brought 300 of this model into the U.S. and made only a couple thousand. I need to protect this bike better, as it may be a future minor classic.

2003 VW Golf TDI 2 door hatch: Daily driver, but I need to keep it rust free and unbent in case someone needs a body shell for a TDI restoration in a couple decades.

2001 Buell Cyclone M2L: I was so pissed at this bike and it’s unrelaibility that I rode it to my place in Florida and left it there… Better to sacrifice it to the humidity and hurricanes than the BMWs was my “logic”. My bad- It’s a common species but they’re not making anymore, so every Buell deserves at least to be out of the weather when it ain’t bein’ ridden.

2000 Mopar Minivan and Ford Ranger: Mass market haulers whose highest and best use is hauling collectable vehicles and parts therefore.

1992 R100GS: My 2nd most hated bike after the Buell. Not rare and obese, I just put it back together. If it stays together it’ll haul a hack on the campaign trail next year and cruise the Buffalo Ridge backroads in off years.

1986 VW Golf diesel 4 door: after the clucth went, spent the last decade behind the fence and garage where Minneapolis’ housing inspectors can’t find it… Probably time to donate it to one of the local old dieselcar denizens who needs a low mileage motor for their probably even older dieselcar.

Minneapolis city government: Probably responsible for crushing more restorable vehicles and parts than any of us will ever be capable of. They even slapped an “abandonned vehicle” sticker on my new pickup! There’s a special place in hell reserved for them and the scrappers…

1984 BMW R65LS: 110k miles and never rebuilt, it’s becoming a minor classic (low production numbers) and deserves better. But like most airheads, it doesn’t need restoring… just some cosmetics and regular maintainence, then back to the road. Just pulled off the sidecar, and hopefully this winter I’ll repaint the plastics, replace the original clutch, and maybe the rear splines too.

1983 R80ST: 111k miles, and pulled a sidecar for the last 44k of those. Another emerging classic- low production and probably the best all around airhead. Due for new valve seats and rings this winter, then back to the campaign trail in 2012.

1975 Teledyne Titan bicycle: kept up over the years and mostly period components, but last rebuilt in 1988. Need to rebuild, though the Phil hubs and bottom bracket probably won’t need any attention this century.

1975 Yamaha MX250: recently rescued from the scrapper for the princely sum of $25 and a 400 mile round trip to the auction. Got the engine to turn over, now I need a clutch side cover and a bunch of other bits. Maybe this is the model for ethical collecting- saving disappearing artifacts for a start, and hopefully I’ll be able to restore and display it, in motion of course!

1966 Austin Mini Cooper S: OK, at least I didn’t scrap it… But it hasn’t run in two decades and has been rotting away, though mostly indoors. Rare and historic- most of the yuppies who’ve bought what I call the “BMW Mini” have never seen one and need to, if only to realize what a silly carcature of the real thing there new “Mini” is. It’ll be a half century old in four years, and I need to either restore it by then or find a better home for it.

So, what in your opinion is ethical collecting?