For others, the spark came from one of the countless movies or TV shows centered around (or featuring) legendary cars.
From the 1960s blockbusters Redline 7000 and Bullitt to the Fast and Furious series, countless epic movies convinced generations of enthusiasts to glorify cars.
My favorite is the green 1968 Mustang GT featured in Bullitt, a classic movie that ignited my passion for classic Mustangs back in the mid-1990s.
The famous 'Stang was auctioned off in 2020, fetching no less than $3.74 million, and even though that's an obscene amount of money, it turns out that it was "cheap" compared to the five most expensive movie cars ever sold.
1954 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta by Pinin Farina
Though they were all equipped with race-bred V12s, and some were built specifically for racing, most of the 26 units were developed for the road.
Each of the road-oriented 375 MMs featured a different coachbuilt body by Italian carrozzieri Vignale, Scaglietti, Ghia, or Pininfarina.
Chassis no. 0416AM, finished in July 1954 was fitted with one of these bespoke bodies designed by Pinin Farina himself.
More or less a one-off, this Ferrari is the only car on this list featured in a movie that didn't center around cars.
It appeared briefly in the 1956 La Fortuna di Essere Donna (What a Woman!), an Italian comedy starring Sophia Loren and Charles Boyer.
Nevertheless, because of its uniqueness and pristine shape, it sold for 4.62 million at an RM auction in 2010.
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta "Tour de France"
Out of all 250 models, the GTO is the most sought-after, but its GT LWB Berlinetta predecessor is not far behind.
Built from 1955 to 1959 in just 77 examples spanning over three series and nicknamed "Tour de France" (after the famous automobile race of the period), it featured a gorgeous Pinninfarina-designed, Scaglietti-built Berlinetta body.
Powered by a 3.0-liter Colombo V12 with three Weber carburetors that made up to 240 hp, it won multiple races worldwide, including
the Tour de France (in 1956, 1957 and 1958).
One of these automotive legends, the second of nine Series III LWB Berlinettas, was purchased by Walt Disney Studios during the early 1960s.
It was featured in the 1966 movie The Love Bug, where it starred alongside the original Herbie, a cute VW Beetle with a soul.
The famous car then switched owners multiple times, and in 2012, it was auctioned off for $6.71 million.
1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
However, the AC-sourced body of the standard Cobra wasn't built for speed, so Shelby and his crew ended up designing a new one.
The re-bodied Cobra became known as the Daytona Coupe, and in 1964, it finished fourth overall at Le Mans, winning the GT class.
Many other race victories and titles followed, making the Daytona Coupe one of America's most successful race cars. With only six units built from 1964 to 1965, it's also among the rarest.
Chassis no. CSX2601, the fourth car built by Shelby American, competed in many iconic races, including the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 1000km of Nurburgring, but it also starred in the 1964 cult classic Red Line 7000.
Once owned by famed American race driver Bob Bondurant, the CSX2601 Daytona Coupe ended up under the hammer at a Mecum auction in 2009, where it sold for $7.25 million - the highest price paid for an American car at a public auction.
1967 Ford GT40
With the help of Carroll Shelby, the Blue Oval managed to beat Ferrari in style, earning a 1-2-3 finish in the 1966 race.
The revised Mk IV GT40 repeated the performance in 1967, and after handing the reigns to John Wyer, improved MK I versions scored two more Le Mans wins in 1968 and 1969.
One of the Gulf-liveried John Wyer GT40s, which started life as a Mirage M.10003 in 1967 and was converted into a Group 4-spec Mk I GT40, was used as a camera car in the 1971 "Le Mans" movie, starring Steve McQueen.
Though it didn't star in the movie, nor was it a particularly successful race car throughout its career, chassis no. P/1074 became the most expensive Ford ever sold at a public auction in 2012 when it fetched $11 million.
1970 Porsche 917K
It all started in the summer of 1968, and in just ten months, Porsche built not one but 25 new 917s to gain homologation.
The initial 917 was plagued by stability issues, but with the help of John Wyer, the redesigned 917K became unbeatable, winning Le Mans twice in 1970 and 1971.
One of the JW Automotive Engineering, Gulf-liveried 917K that went on to win several important races throughout the 1971 season was lent to the Le Mans movie crew shortly after arriving from the Porsche factory.
Unlike the GT40 camera car, this particular 917K (chassis no. 917-031/026) was co-starred alongside Steve McQueen in the epic motion picture.
After it retired from racing, it switched owners several times, and in 2001, it became the most expensive movie car ever sold at an auction, as a wealthy collector paid $11 million for the privilege of owning it.
The famed Porsche returned on the auction block in 2021, but despite the highest bid reportedly reaching $15 million, the owner's reserve was not met, and the car ultimately failed to sell.