PreWarQc

Pre war cars insane prices

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7 hours ago, alsancle said:

 Selling a car is hard

 

That is exacly what I'm pointing out... it is not normal in the free market to have difficulty selling something. And I know people struggle selling their cars because I see them resurfacing time and time again in the classifieds.

If it is the case that you can't sell your car, there is something wrong the asking price...

 

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When you're young, you don't have the extra money for the really good, special car you want.  When you're old,  you don't have the time left to restore it, or finance it.  You have that guy in the nursing home business who is just waiting to fleece you of all the money you have left.  The time to shine is just after the kids graduate and hopefully get a good job, the house is paid for, and so on.  The house has to get paid for to get mortgage payments off your back.  At that point you may be 55-60 and you can take the chance of paying for the big dollar car you've been lusting for.  Try to buy a car you don't have to restore, because unless you are really hands on, restoration parts and labor costs are out of your ability unless you were making well over $100,000 a year.  I'm just about to turn 80 and I consider myself upper middle class.  The day I get really sick, my cars will be worth nothing....by that I mean when you have to sell, the buyers sense it, and you won't find one willing to pay a good price because they know you have to sell.  I guess that all sounds really dark, but that's how I see it.  I love to take a scabby car and get it restored to be beautiful.  That's really exciting.  So, I've decided at this point in life time is more important than money.  The last three restorations took 9, 7 and 4 years.  I finally found a man who would  and could paint a car, detail the engine and chassis all in about 6 weeks.  Yes, it's costing more than the bodyman's home or part-time garage, but look at the cost on a new car.  My new 2017 Buick was worth $10,900 less than I paid for it by the time I had 2900 miles on it.  Why should the old car of my dreams be any different.  When I was 22, nobody I knew seemed to care if they made money on their old car.  Of course we were paying $125 for a good car and $800 for a cream puff then.  One man mentioned credit.  Well, I had to borrow the $125 to buy the blue car in the picture back in 1963.  Now I don't have time left to borrow $22,000 or $43,000 for a car I want, so I have to have cash.  I have to think about my wife too.  I can't go down and leave her with $100,000+ of old cars in the garage.  So, there's a lot to think about if you're upper middle class in the winter of your life.  I'd like o sell my '39 Buick convertible sedan, one of 714 made, but who's going to pay $55,000 for it?  Some dealer will pay $20,000 and make the $35,000 profit and some auction.  Makes me feel foolish.  At some point you have to face growing up and growing old.

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9 hours ago, PreWarQc said:

 

With all respect, I'm not in the lucky position of being able to spend money without considering consequences. Most people like me in the upper middle class need to reach a balance between mortgage, the kids education, travel, good food on the table and hobbies. I am honestly happy people like you can afford to buy many antique cars but in my case, and most guys my age with a bit of money, buying something as a hobby cannot get in the way of more important things.

 

I'm not wealthy either.  The cars I have are the result of over 50 years of collecting, and my "expensive" cars were bought almost 35 years ago when they were somewhat affordable.  I own some cars I couldn't afford to buy right now.

 

My point is that there are affordable cars out there, and there are loans available at the bank.  People think nothing of taking a 6 or 7 year loan on a $40,000 or $50,000 new car, but balk at $10K for a car they could really have fun with.

 

I understand the constraints of budget and family, but there's just about always a way to make things happen......best of luck in your search...

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So our 1930 Chevy was pulled from a field after the tree growing through it had been cut out. The 1912 arrived in tea chests, mouse nests and all, and it was because of the generosity of an older collector that we were able to buy it. 13 years later it was on the road. The 1909 was totally dismantled and the owner overwhelmed and I think that was 5 years . The last one 1906 was road running! None of these cars were publicly advertised.   My point is you do best if you are willing and able to invest sweat equity. Buy something you like, regardless of the brand and make sure your family is with you.  My children’s fondest memories are being in shops and garages while older craftsmen taught me how to use a lathe, pour babbit and generally make things I needed. I even reproduced my own wood bodies. So that is how I got into the hobby. As to why people don’t seem bothered that they don’t sell at their asking price? They can always tell the wife that they are trying to sell it but there doesn’t seem to be any buyers. 

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25 minutes ago, playswithbrass said:

So our 1930 Chevy was pulled from a field after the tree growing through it had been cut out. The 1912 arrived in tea chests, mouse nests and all, and it was because of the generosity of an older collector that we were able to buy it. 13 years later it was on the road. The 1909 was totally dismantled and the owner overwhelmed and I think that was 5 years . The last one 1906 was road running! None of these cars were publicly advertised.   My point is you do best if you are willing and able to invest sweat equity. Buy something you like, regardless of the brand and make sure your family is with you.  My children’s fondest memories are being in shops and garages while older craftsmen taught me how to use a lathe, pour babbit and generally make things I needed. I even reproduced my own wood bodies. So that is how I got into the hobby. As to why people don’t seem bothered that they don’t sell at their asking price? They can always tell the wife that they are trying to sell it but there doesn’t seem to be any buyers. 

That is wonderful.  You were fortunate to be so mechanically inclined.  I was not.  Early on I worked on my own cars, only to do everything wrong.  Back in the day I had a lot of friends who were professional mechanics and bodymen.  Now that I'm old, most of them have gone on to the great beyond.  So, obviously at $70+ an hour it is time to cut back.

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My stock reply to anyone looking for a great affordable prewar car has always been Ford A,T or if your interested more in late 30s, early 40s, mopar.  Really amazed though at the choices, affordability and support for Buicks, would add that marque to my little list, esp. If one wants an 8 cylinder car.  

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There is nothing more expensive than buying a car for 'cheap'!

 

By the time you are done hauling home that $1000 car that came out of a barn after decades of poor storage, you'll end up spending five-figures rebuilding it.  In the end, that 1929 Pontiac or the '40 Ford mentioned at the beginning of this thread as examples, will end up being the better deal.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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 The prices on cars that have just been pulled out of the weeds where they have  rested for 30 years are the ones that really get me riled up.

They appear daily on Craigslist, and I wonder if they actually sell, or is it just a price that is put on them just before they go to the crusher.

 I would like to make an offer on some, but I don't feel comfortable offering only 30% of the asking price.

Edited by Roger Walling (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

I forgot to mention I am in Cobourg Ontario. The 42 Chev runs and drives but needs restoration. Price $5000 Canadian.

 

image.jpeg.d162ee8e29d4ef7f2fface6f1f3ea16a.jpeg

I will be in Cobourg starting  Friday with a kickoff barbeque for a 3 day pre war 1942 vintage touring event.

 

As for looking for a good deal on a car I bought a 1912 T touring from the original family through this forum in Feb. here in Canada. I also missed out on a 1910 REO  4 cyl. restored + spare engine for 20 ,000 past winter for dragging my feet. Next day it was sold my fault. There was also a complete 13 Cadillac touring basket case for 10,000 that I spoke to the owner about. Decided I did not want another project and it sold in two days. These were all in the AACA forum in the past six months. As for finished ready to go cars Mat is offering you some very nice  introduction cars to get you in the hobby.  As for buying an antique car and loosing money 10 years from now the same goes for a new car. 

 

Another topic is changing the name from calling tours and cars as pre war cars 1942 here in Canada. I take a lot of flack over that name from the older members and non members. Will have to bring it up at our AGM in Oct. Everything today has to be so politically correct. 

My three topic rant for the day.

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I bought my first antique car when I was 35 a litle over 20 years ago. I ways a young poor police officer. It was a rusty 1931 Model A Ford that needed more work than I realized at the time. I borrowed $5,000 from my Credit Union to buy it. After I could afford a better car, I sold it (in much better condition when I bought it) to another young couple that were starting out in the hobby. I raised two kids in antique cars over the years. I have had a bunch of Model A Fords, a few other antique cars, and now I am into Pre-War Buicks.  I am 57 years old, retired, and have more disposable income than I did when I was young. Join a local club, find an affordable car, and start enjoying the hobby. Your first car is probably not going to be one that you would consider buying many years from now. The hobby is fun. The people will become great friends. You don't have to find the perfect antique car to get in the hobby. As a young person, you will not be able to afford a perfect antique car that you will want to keep forever. You have to start somewhere. An old Model A Ford in poor condition is an affordable way for a young person to afford and enjoy the hobby.

   

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so youve waited 10 years to buy a car, tells me you really have no intention of buying a car.

 

I went on ebay last night and bought a 1929 dodge sedan for 1900. I bought it to flip............bargains are everywhere if you open your eyes and stop complaining.

 

People who do in life succeed!

 

whiners will always whine.............

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3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

I'm not trying to be too critical, but I have not seen PreWarQc respond to the questions about what he's really locking for. Pre-war  covers a lot of ground. Are you talking about late 30's fat fendered, late 20's-30's Classic era, 20's or earlier non Classic, or even earlier? What do you consider affordable? In the fifty years that I have been collecting cars, I have never seen the supply better, or the the prices more affordable then they are now. Are you looking for a turn-key or will you accept some level of a project?

 

I actually did not post this thread to seek an immediate solution for not having an (old) car. What I wanted was to understand why older guys refuse to lower their price when their car won't sell and why do they prefer to keep their car and watch them deteriorate. As I said, it is none of my buisness what people want to do with their property but I'm interested in understanding the behavior and I also want to point out the consequences of this behavior.

I don't really care about the money. If I knew they would keep their value (or even lose a bit), I would buy one today! The problem is, and this is why I refuse to buy one now, is that I know buyers will be extremely rare in the next 5 - 10 years and the prices will completely collapse. I mean, I love those cars but I'm not in the position where I can buy something 20-30k and see it reduced to barely nothing. Millennials and x's will not be buying those cars in big enough numbers to keep the prices up... and soon they will be the bulk of the potential buyers.

 

But to answer your question, I am looking for anything from that era. I'm passionate about them more than any other year because my view of the world is more closely related to the pre war society than to the present state of the world. The political world of those days, the social context and cohesion. The world before the war was better in my sense (not perfect) but better. I'm french-Canadian but the American model of government and society of those days is what I relate to the most; free market, small government, freedom and prosperity. I also prefer the style of the days... the attention to detail, the smell. So any car between 1900 and 1942 would be just fine.

 

 

3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

 

It shouldn't come as a surprise that we old timers were young once too. We had to go through the same balancing act, that you are faced with today. I don't remember complaining about people who were unwilling to part with their cars, and at a price that I wanted to pay for them.

 

The economic reality of families today is quite different and have nothing to do with the past. Yes luxury items are less expensive be it tv's, computers, cars... but houses, food, education; all the basic goods are more expensive than in the past and when you add them up, there is not a lot left even if you have a high income. You can choose not to buy a new TV but you have no choice to buy when it comes to housing, food and education. Today you have to be very conservative if you want to be able to put money aside for retirement, pay your mortgage and raise kids with enough resources to make them productive members of the society. Most young people are swimming in debt and will be doing so much of their lives, I don't want to follow that path so I'm on a tight budget. As I said... I have enough money to buy most cars but not enough to see its value decline year after year for the next decades.

 

 

3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

Whatever that price may be, in your case. Normally I would suggest patience, but in your case you have waited for ten years and still not been able to find what you want. I think that it might be time for some soul searching. This may not be a question of current owners and the market, but one of your ability to make a decision. The world is yours to make a choice from an amazing selection of cars available today, then it's a matter of determining what you can afford and  getting to where you need to be, to get it into your garage.

 

There is no soul searching to be made. I've own a few antique/collector cars in the past 20 years from Air cooled VW's to a 1950's Hudson Hornet to a 60's Ford and a Hemi Dodge. I've enjoyed them all and when I needed to sell them to finance important projets I never had trouble. Presently I need to be more careful with money for many reasons but I can still afford something nice but it must retain most of its value in the years to come, this is the most important prerequisite. I don't have a crystal ball, but I strongly doubt pre war cars will hold most of their value in the coming years.

 

 

3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

Have you considered financing? Credit is still very affordable and available. That's the way I bought my first Classic Pierce Arrow, some forty two years ago, when credit was much less affordable then it is today. I personally have always thought that it is strange that a person who will finance a $40K pickup, may never consider financing a $20K collector car.

 

I have no debt except for mortgage and I plan on keeping it this way... And yes, financing a 40k pickup is not the way to go, I agree.

 

3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

I doubt that many of us old timers worried about what the market would be in ten years, or about the exchange rate of currency, when we started in the hobby. Most of us have had to pass on a car because we just couldn't get to where we needed to be.

 

 

I might be wrong but from what I saw online, antique cars were much cheaper before the mid 90's...

 

3 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

It also shouldn't come as a shock that no mater how old some of us get, that we still have our unfulfilled dreams.  

 

I agree, unfulfilled dreams are part of life and one as to be in peace with that fact that some might never be realised.

 

 

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A lot of excellent advice here from seasoned collectors who don't have bottomless checkbooks or finances. In reading through the responses I did not think of having a car financed, but yes it is possible. How soon do you want to get involved in owning a car , or do you want to put it off until the "right car comes along at the right (your) price?"   Reread what BuffaloedBill, Dyanaflash8, McHinson, Matt Harwood, trimacar and 8E45E have stated. The enjoyment and peace of mind you will get from old car ownership ( and the friendships you make) and use lets you put up with all the everyday stuff you can't control and have to contend with. I too have taken the plunge to step up to buy a pre war car I always wanted even 50 years after I bought my first one when I was just into my teen years. LIFE IS SHORT, and this I can swear to from recent experience. Be happy while you are vertical. You don't have to buy a top end prize winner to be happy, BUT it should be a running (or easily made to be ) driving car. In 2016 I bought the car of my dreams, one I had hoped at age 13 to own , I sold a couple of cars I loved , I had to do it to get the $ for the one I now own.  All the while I was  thinking, at my age do I need to spend this kind of $ on a "toy". Well I am glad I did because the thought of the car I now own and the pride in ownership got me through (is still very much doing so) a health issue that happened in December.  Old cars make us happy, don't wait to long to be happy, LIFE IS SHORT, enjoy what time you have .

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As Red said, "Get busy living or get busy dying."

 

You are lamenting that there are no more cheap pre-war cars and that prices are "insane," but I think part of the problem is your definitions of "insane" and "cheap." There are no more nice Model As in the farmer's barn for $25. There have been multiple demonstrations of good cars for what, today, is not a lot of money, yet even those are "too expensive" for you. I don't know what your criteria are or your budget situation, but it looks to me like the problem isn't a dearth of cars but rather a significant disconnect between reality and fantasy. You're not going to get much car for $5000, and certainly not a ready-to-go car that won't need some work. You probably also can't buy a move-in condition house for $35,000. Or a lobster dinner for $5. You live in Montreal, that's an expensive place to live, but that situation should also have recalibrated your sense of value to something in line with 2018 rather than 1968. You're getting good advice here from people who have done it. It's a mistake to look back at the past when you could get a car for $1000 and figure that the cars were cheap back then; $1000 was still a few months' worth of pay for an average person. The cars weren't cheaper, everything was less expensive, and people made less money. Guys back then who bought cars that you think were "cheap" probably spent a similar percentage of their income on them. It's all relative.

 

The best advice is that which you've received from Trimacar and Dynaflash8, both of whom are telling you to get off the sidelines and into the game, cost be damned. Others pointing out that if you wait, and you have been waiting, you will likely wait forever and that's probably true, too. I spent most of my 20s and 30s thinking "after X is done, everything will be fine and then I can do what I want." Well, something else always came up and I never crossed that finish line. My point is, if you wait for all things to be perfect and for your life to be in order and for finances to be rock solid, well, you're going to spend the rest of your life in a holding pattern waiting for that perfect situation that will never come. Life is a series of small opportunities, but you miss them all if you just sit there waiting for the PERFECT opportunity. 

 

Today I have decided that while I am young and healthy, I am going to enjoy life. I am not going to wait for retirement to do the things that I want to do, I'm going to do them now. I might be ill, or frail, or hit by a truck and miss it all if I put it off for later. No thanks. I am taking my retirement now, in small chunks, whenever I can. And yes, that retirement involves buying cars that I like. I don't go crazy (I could probably have one amazing car or the five pretty good cars that I currently own), but if I have to reach or sacrifice to do it, well, I do. I haven't lived to regret it yet and the great thing about cars is that if I need money, I can always turn a car back into a pile of cash pretty easily. No, you'll never get 100% back, but if you can get 70% or 80% of your money back, that's pretty good. That's a cushion that most people don't think about--instead, they think that buying a car is throwing money away and it's gone forever and that it's a waste. Not true. Durable goods with value are smart places to put money, not foolish. And if it makes you happy along the way, it's a double win. Your fears about pre-war cars losing their value may or may not be true, but that has nothing to do with the here and now and your happiness. Spending all your time focused on money is a great way to lose sight of what life is about. Money, money, money, it's why everything's so farked up these days, particularly here in the US. It's like money is all that matters to anyone, even though they don't really know what any of it means (hey, I just got a $30/week tax cut but my health insurance now costs $1800/month--what a win for me!)

 

Or you can sit on the sidelines and do nothing and bemoan that the world has treated you unfairly and how you wish it was like the good old days. But the bottom line is this: Money is relatively easy to get. Time is impossible. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, PreWarQc said:

I don't really care about the money. If I knew they would keep their value (or even lose a bit), I would buy one today! The problem is, and this is why I refuse to buy one now, is that I know buyers will be extremely rare in the next 5 - 10 years and the prices will completely collapse. I mean, I love those cars but I'm not in the position where I can buy something 20-30k and see it reduced to barely nothing. Millennials and x's will not be buying those cars in big enough numbers to keep the prices up... and soon they will be the bulk of the potential buyers.

 

Sorry to inform you, the sky is not going to fall - honest. When I was first married back in the late 60's, early 70's jobs started to get a little scarce. I went through several periods of unemployment. Every day the sun rose, we ate and raised a family, and life went on. Is a temporary decline possible, sure. Perhaps you don't remember when foreign investors came over and bought up all the 59 Cadillacs and Roadrunners they could find - prices soared ten fold. And then, they came back down. 

 

Prices will not be "reduced to nothing". There are few hobbies where profits are expected. Do you expect golf clubs, cameras, skis, etc to go up in value - no. You accept that there is a cost to doing something you enjoy.

 

Remember that more people die regretting the things they didn't do than those that they did do.

 

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14 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Well, something else always came up and I never crossed that finish line.

The late William Harrah comes to mind, with his comment, "You can't restore them all"!    And in his case, money was absolutely NO object.

 

Craig

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13 hours ago, PreWarQc said:

I know for a fact that the current generation (X's, Millenials...) will produce few humans that have the interest or hability to work with these machines.

This is a pretty bold, sweeping statement. As a gen Xer and 13 year prewar car owner, I think you need to adjust your attitude and gain a little perspective. There are plenty of people my age and younger who are willing and able to participate in this hobby. As far as prewar pricing goes, as the others have shown there are a lot of great deals to be had. In my opinion this is really a buyers market right now. I have been eyeing a very nice(driver quality) prewar Packard for a few weeks now. I never imagined that I would be able to afford a decent Packard let alone a mid-range 8 cylinder car. You state that you have money set aside for a purchase and yet you don't want to spend 20k on a car that will be worth 5k in a few years. I think you are watching the auctions on tv, that's the only place where I've seen anyone take a large loss on recent purchase. And in those cases those were cars that are way above your stated budget. Since this will be your first purchase, you should really list to what the others are saying and make sure that you have someone assist you with the pre-purchase inspection. Get it into your mind now that unless you are very lucky, your first car is going to lose value. Also don't look at any of the orphan makes, with your attitude you will never find the parts required to maintain the car. And at that point the car will sit and waste away while you keep hoping for the value to go up so you don't take a loss on the car. Hopefully you are still reading and realize that though I am being a little harsh, I am trying to help you. The entry to this hobby hasn't been this easy since the 1950s so start digging now and you will find all kinds of great deals and one of those will be a car that checks all of your needs and wants.

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1 hour ago, MCHinson said:

I bought my first antique car when I was 35 a litle over 20 years ago. I ways a young poor police officer. It was a rusty 1931 Model A Ford that needed more work than I realized at the time. I borrowed $5,000 from my Credit Union to buy it. After I could afford a better car, I sold it (in much better condition when I bought it) to another young couple that were starting out in the hobby. I raised two kids in antique cars over the years. I have had a bunch of Model A Fords, a few other antique cars, and now I am into Pre-War Buicks.  I am 57 years old, retired, and have more disposable income than I did when I was young. Join a local club, find an affordable car, and start enjoying the hobby. Your first car is probably not going to be one that you would consider buying many years from now. The hobby is fun. The people will become great friends. You don't have to find the perfect antique car to get in the hobby. As a young person, you will not be able to afford a perfect antique car that you will want to keep forever. You have to start somewhere. An old Model A Ford in poor condition is an affordable way for a young person to afford and enjoy the hobby.

   

Matt, I've had the blue car since 1963.  It has been "restored" (refurbished twice is more like it) three times over the years 1963-1981. It finally won a First Junior and Senior in 1981 and a Grand National First in 1982.  It didn't compete for a Grand National Senior until 2000 and it won that too.

So my $125 car was the same one I've kept "forever" (keeping in mind that nothing is forever).  Now I can afford just about any car I want, but at 79.7 I don't have the time left to tie up $40-60,000.  What I need to do more is save for a very uncertain future.  That said, I'm still looking.  The KING is out there this month (way out there), but now my wife is sick, and I'm not so sure about myself.  I've been through Cancer once already.  So now that I can afford most of what I want, it's become fear of the future.

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1 hour ago, vermontboy said:

. Perhaps you don't remember when foreign investors came over and bought up all the 59 Cadillacs and Roadrunners they could find - prices soared ten fold. And then, they came back down. 

What is an outrageous price in todays antique car market? Will this category of cars prices fall also? What is a reasonable price to drop to and a scary thought if they do fall from favor?  https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2018/06/05/ferrari-250-gto-sells-for-70-million-becomes-worlds-most-expensive-car/?refer=news#comments-block

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)

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One of our important resources is TIME.  Another is that of skills we already have.  Because time was at a premium during my work years with demanding hours and frequent business travel, I focused on acquiring decent, running vehicles which could be improved incrementally with limited time and funds.  That means "older restorations," not-quite-finished restorations, and "lost-interest" cars.  I learned early that a running car will get you to work on it for 2 hours after dinner and half-days on Saturday/Sunday, whereas --unless you are extremely disciplined--a major project will be deferred until you have two weeks of vacation.

 

As others have alluded, Return on Investment should not be the primary determinant.  If your passion is golf or boating, the vast majority of your "investment" is lost as the price of enjoyment, and few golfers or boaters mourn that.  You've already seen older guys like myself address, very eloquently, the need to ENJOY your chosen passion while you are still at full physical capability.

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I always just wanted to break even on my restoration and have fun.  I wanted to participate at the National level and not be embarrassed, and win if I could.  Parts and restoration soared to unheard of levels, and I kept up.  I finally got there with a National Award Winner after many Senior winners and some nominations.  Then I got sick and I realized that $75,000 investment could not be left on my wife of nearly 60 years at the time, sitting in the garage.  I knew she would need the money, especially since my retirement pension would be cut by 45%.  So, I put it up for auction and that was a rip-off.  Then I sold it to a dealer for nearly a $25,000 loss.  But, I breathed a sigh of relief because it was gone.  It has passed through several dealers now, and it's still out there being offered for less than my investment.  Luckily, at least for now I've survived that illness, but it could always come back.  Yet, I'm working on another car now that will be worth less than I have in it, but not in those kind of figures.  I've owned every kind of car I've ever really wanted except a 1949 Buick Riviera and I'm not going there.  But, I'd like to go back and get another 1941 Buick Limited, in my opinion the King of Buicks.  I can, even right now, but then I'd have $80,000+ in the garage all over again (with the one I'm doing now now).  Would I leave that Limited alone even?  No, I can't abide paint and chrome flaws.....I've been doing this since 1955 and I doubt I'll change now.  My best bet is to put that Limited into my past memory book and leave it there.  I wonder if I can do that?  I take my wife to big hospital today for determination of what to do with here serious illness, and I don't know where I am at.  Yet, old cars is a worse disease.  I'm afraid I will try to go back and retrieve something I lost in the past, and suffer and/or make my family suffer as a result.  I suppose to many here $80,000 is next to nothing, but remember, I go back to the days when $800 would buy that same Limited.

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I know I am a broken record on this topic, however the fact remains that for average Canadians the old car cost factor is a serious obstacle. Every transaction has two sides, the price and the ability to pay.  If one looks at U.S. prices from a Canadian prospective then the U.S. selling price is only the tip of the iceberg. Add on transportation , fees and taxes at the border, inspection fees once imported in order to register it in Canada, and pay for all with the good old Canadian Peso. The final cost is significantly higher than what U.S. old car guys need to pay for a similar car. And looking for a car in Canada has it's own problems. Yes it is possible to find an old car for sale in Canada . However the price on anything decent is often adjusted upward to the point where it is relatively unaffordable to a Canadian, the intent of the seller is usually to attract an American buyer who by virtue of his more powerful dollar will be still getting a cost effective purchase.

  And there are simply quite a bit fewer old cars surviving in Canada. Especially ones that are in or close to being in usable condition. Canada's climate has reduced the survivors over the decades.   I am always amazed by how many viable old car starting point offerings I see at the larger Pacific Coast swap meets such as Portland Ore.  I simply never see anything like the quantity, quality  and variety of cars at Canadian swap meets or other old car events. And the prices always seem quite reasonable until you do the quick 1.5-1.75 multiplication of the price to arrive at the price of said car sitting in your Canadian driveway.

 I do however strongly support the suggestion that the would be old car owner join their local club as long as there is one in their area. It might seem a bit intimidating approaching something like old car club membership when one does not actually own an old car however you will generally fit right in as long as you share the passion behind the old car hobby.

 The final hurdle and the second part of the purchase situation is the ability to pay. The simple fact is that apples to apples Canadians in general have smaller incomes and a higher cost of living than equivalent career U.S. counterparts.  That leaves us with a much smaller "disposable income" fund in which to pay for our hobby.  And like it or not it does have an effect on the fun factor one derives from the hobby. The reason I say this is that it reduces the range of old car's within reach to the true bottom of the barrel choices unless you are inordinately patient and can wait several years for extremely fortunate offering from a fellow club member. It can all lead to a general sense of frustration and eventual disillusionment with the hobby in general.

 I don't personally support the notion that the bottom is going to totally drop out of the old car market within the next 10 years. Yes it will change , however I see it as a gradual softening rather than a collapse. Old cars can be a lot of fun, and if prices do drop off a bit there might be a bit of hope for us "average " means old car people.

 Matt, I agree totally that time is impossible to get, however for many money is only just slightly easier.

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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Hi PrewarQc, your observations on the old car market echo many I have noticed myself as a younger gen X hobbyist who admires prewar cars.  But I think I have a little optimism to share with you.

 

It is obvious that we have a gap in the old car world between advertised asking prices and actual transaction prices.  This is not new of course; we have always had those who will quote a wild price hoping to catch someone asleep or set a high starting point for negotiating.  Unfortunately this mindset has been enhanced by cable TV shows showing wild prices that get people’s expectations for ordinary cars out of line.

 

Again, that is all nothing new.  What has changed in the last 30 years is that the hobbyist of the 1980s had no doubt that theirs was a good investment that would always appreciate and never lose value.  In their world virtually all antique cars had increased in value since the 1960s right along with their income, property values and standard of living.  Obviously that has now changed as you accurately have pointed out.  Many average old cars HAVE lost value as the pool of buyers has diminished, but this just makes for an opportunity for you. 

 

When I say average what I mean is a middle class old car.  Not a Full Classic (although some of them qualify) or a brass car which is of limited use for a family man wanting to drive it around.  So let’s say you would like a car like a Model A or maybe a late 1930s/early 1940s sedan with hydraulic brakes and ability to drive 55 on a two lane highway.  Many of these were restored in the 1970s and early 1980s and gently used after that then (hopefully) stored inside after the owner aged out of his driving years.  There should be plenty of these in the U.S and Canada.  In some cases the owner is stubbornly holding on waiting to get his asking price but as he ages he (or his family or estate) will eventually have to give in to the market and sell for whatever it will bring TODAY.  You just need to be ready and available when this happens.

 

So how do you do that?  As others have pointed out get in a club where you can interact with other enthusiasts.  Do not worry that they are competition, your old car friends are usually useful as spotters for you rather than competitors for cars.  Local old car people are big gossips who know where cars are and love to talk about them.  National old car people often are willing to sell an honest car at an honest price to someone else in the club rather than on Craigslist or Ebay (note the AACA club magazine always has ads like this).  Also, note Grimy’s comments above on getting a running car rather than a project.  

 

So join in with other people and spend some time learning about what kind of car you might like, parts and technical availability, etc, and make yourself educated enough to recognize a car and a deal when they come your way.  These quiet private transactions have always been where the best real world old cars change hands among people who care about them.  AND this will help protect your investment as a car you bought from a 30 year owner who cared for it will have optimum resale potential if necessary.  Good luck to you, Todd C

       

 

 

Edited by poci1957 (see edit history)
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I have been enjoying old cars for over 50 years. I have been lucky enough to drive many more than I have owned. A lot of those cars I dreamed about didn't fit me as well as the ones I have owned. I never spent a lot of money on them and quite a few didn't meet my expectations and got sold shortly after the purchase. When you mention a car that has been stored for 40 years, remember, the owner bought that at 40 year ago prices. Buy them cheap, keep them, and live long. You will prosper.

 

You won't get a lot of people to tell you how much their car cost them, some unwritten code I never figured out.

 

I bought my '60 Electra on Ebay in '02 for $850. It wasn't running and I was planning to part it out until it got shipped to my house. I guess I have spent about $600- 800 per year and not done any body work. I bought my '86 Park Ave convertible for $500 in '11, not running, 600 miles away, and unseen. I would guess the average at $1,000 per year to do all the stuff.

In '12 I bought a '94 Impala SS, a very nice example, for $9,000. It will never have to be restored and, if I want, it can be on the Hershey show field soon.

Spending power-wise, purchasing my '64 Riviera for $2,000 (either 1900 or 2100, I forgot) in 1978 was a real reach.

In between there have been a whole bunch of similar cars and deals. I have always had something I liked and was different enough to be noticed. I have no recollection of feeling deprived of opportunities to enjoy the hobby or frustration over something I couldn't attain.

 

I average about 1200 miles per year on the '60 Electra, that's in a part of the country where we burned up our three days of summer last week. I don't think I would be inclined to take the long rides we do in a '30's car, just the view around the four spindly roof supports makes it nicer. As the '60 nears 60 years old, that's about old enough for me at this time. And, in March, I bought a 15 year old BMW large sedan for $7200 that my Wife and I have been grabbing for rides over the '60 Buick. I called the dealership that sold it new in Medford Or. It went out the door for $123,000, lost a lot of street value but it sure drives nice. To me it is like riding in a Packard Super Clipper or a Fleetwood of WWII vintage. I just like cars.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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As others have pointed out there are probably a lot of economical entry level pre war vehicles available. The fact that you are located in Canada can possibly affect the cost though. Some of the cars you mention, RIO and Essex are going to be more expensive. In the latest Model A magazines there are several cars that look to be in nice shape for around $10K. Now, as for your question as to why some people are hard nosed and stick to an unreasonable asking price. I think all the auction and other type car shows that are on TV have hurt the hobby. How many times have we all heard that "my 1955 Chevy four door that needs work is worth $50,000", I saw one on TV just like it". Well the one you saw on TV was a '55 Chevy Nomad or '55 Convertible fully restored. Another reason is that sometimes people put a lot more money into a car than it is really worth. People always tend to think what they have is worth a lot more than it really is. I once looked at a  1959 T Bird that was sunk in the mud. Rotted floors, every panel had about 4" of rust and the interior was a sea of mildew. A parts car at best. The owner did not want to sell the car because he said that someday, when he does sell it, "it is going to put his grand kids thru college". You can't argue with that mentality.

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