PreWarQc

Pre war cars insane prices

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its a hobby,  why would I want to worry myself about what my car is going to be worth in 5 yrs if im enjoying it during that time? I have no idea what my car will be worth when its on the road, ('37 century series 66 coupe) but I know about how much I have into, (about $4k including the $2600 purchase price) and an idea of what I will have into it when i'm done (probably around $10k), neither of which factor in to anything having to do with how much i will enjoy it. Obviously the Canadian market is going to be a little different, but I have thought the opposite lately, that the average pre war car, running and driving but not an over the top restoration, prices seem to be pretty stable and pretty affordable depending on what you are looking at spending or what you are comfortable working on. 

 

I'm 30, in no way am i wealthy, but with several cars and am working on my 3rd and 4th ground up builds simultaneously because there's little chance i could afford to buy someone's shiny complete car, that they are probably losing money on selling. i'm not sure if i fall into the "younger people" crowd, but the generalization that younger people done have the want or ability or financing to work on or own older cars is just silly. there's plenty of young ambitious talent out there, and i see more and more young people looking at older cars to build lately, and with working on cars for people in their 50s or 60s, you see budgeting and tightening the purse strings is something that in no way effects only people under 30 or 40.

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Let's come at this from another angle. First about your thesis that younger buyers are not interested in prewar cars and the people who are interested in them are dying off. I agree with this totally. In fact this trend has been obvious for years.

 

Now what effect will this have on prices? I like to look at supply and demand. The supply of such cars is fixed, they aren't making any more of them, and those that are around will slowly decrease. Recently there was a thread on here about a rather rough 1926 Pierce Arrow. One expert said that it would cost the best part of $100,000 to restore it, and someone else pointed to a similar car that sold for $16,000 recently in decent running and driving condition. So, I don't expect there will be any more full restorations done. The exception would be full classics like a custom built Duesenberg or the like but we are not talking about these top level collector cars, but the more common models we can afford.

 

So the demand for prewar cars has been flat to slightly down for 20 years or more. But it never goes away completely. On the other hand the supply is also fixed or slowly deteriorating. We have a kind of rough equilibrium. In other words, unless fashions change, or the economy does something crazy, there will not be a big rise in price but there will not be a crash either.

 

Against this we can put the tendency for prices to rise in general, in other words inflation.

 

So where does this leave us? Well it leaves us playing that fool's game of trying to predict the future. Since I am a fool I fearlessly predict that old car prices will stay more or less the same. If you buy a good one and keep it in good shape you won't make a fortune but unlike a typical used car it will never go to zero.

 

Still and all, in the back of my mind, I can't help thinking of some of the Jay Leno old car videos I have seen. In which he mentions that he bought a certain car 20 or 30 years ago for little or nothing and now it is worth a million bucks. Just because that model suddenly got hot with collectors. I don't see millenials going nuts for 1929 Studebakers but I didn't expect to see them eating Tide pods either.

 

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13 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

Here is an auction where you may be able to pick up an Auburn real cheap about 2 hr, from you. Or about 1 hr from the US boarder where someone from the US could snap it up 30% cheaper.               http://www.dougjarrellauctions.com/june-23-2018.php

 

I knew Doug Topping slightly and visited his place some years back. The cars were stored bumper to bumper in a good pole barn. So far as I know none of them were in use. I doubt any of them ran in years. None were restored but were in as found condition. But if you are in the market for a well preserved project here is your chance.

 

He told me the story of the Whipper Billy Watson car, but I don't know if it was true or not. Unless you went to the wrestling matches in Toronto in the fifties, or watched them on TV it wouldn't mean anything to you anyway.

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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

One fact is that collector cars are still being sold, some at the highest prices ever paid.  A fact is that a fairly priced collector car will sell quickly, an overpriced collector car will not sell quickly.

 

All one has to do is watch the market, and the facts are clear.  Very good, well restored or original cars sell quickly at good prices.  Project cars, cars that are taken apart for restoration and left in boxes, rusty and junky cars, don't sell unless they approach scrap prices.

 

The fact is that the market for collector cars has had some ups and downs, just like our economy, but with the exception of some specific makes and models (think Ferrari, some muscle cars, '57 Chevies), has never "crashed" over the last 70 years, and there always seem to be new people stepping up and buying the good cars.

 

Will it crash?  As said, who knows, that's always possible, but at this point no facts support that conjecture.  To say "people don't care about pre war cars" (paraphrasing) is a personal opinion, not a fact.  Good brass era (pre-1916) cars have as strong a market as they've ever had, and that's a fact.  When Harrah's aka Holiday Inn sold over 1000 cars in the 1980's, everyone said that's the end of the world, the collector car couldn't survive the influx of that many cars for sale.  But it did, that's a fact, and the cars brought record prices.  Same is true of many recent dispersal auctions, with hundreds of cars bringing great prices.

 

I see a lot of young people getting into the hobby.  One area that seems to be very hot for young people is Model T collecting.  Inexpensive to get into and keep a car running, and activities are very family oriented.  Some of those people will move on to upgraded marques in time.

 

I'm not trying to protect my investment by saying there's no gloom and doom on the horizon, as mentioned, I don't care.  I just don't see it happening soon, if at all, there are billions of people in the world and there'll always be a large group that enjoys fine craftsmanship and the history of the past.

 

And that's a fact, too.

Hi trimacar and others in this conversation. While your comment about project cars not selling unless priced at near scrap prices is probably generally true it isn't really a hard and fast rule. As I mentioned above I have a decades long attraction for a number of the better later teens / early twenties "sportier" cars. Marmon , Kissel, and nickel era, pre Vertical 8 Stutz  amongst others.

  The past decade has made the purchase of such a car in running condition an impossibility, however even as a long term project/ basket case they are still quite expensive.  There are a group of dedicated individuals with sufficient resources to accumulate the few parts and projects that come on the market. Ron Hausmann comes to mind regarding Kissel, Don Short was his counterpart in the Stutz world and I am sure that there are others.  The only ones that usually end up on the open market are the seriously overpriced examples.

  All this leaves the person with a shortage of resources no real hope of ever being involved with cars of this sort. And bear in mind I am not talking about serious money cars, just Nickel era upper middle class cars.    A further roadblock to someone such as myself who lives in a Foreign country is that even if I found a reasonable starting point , incomplete basket case for a price I could swing, I can't even legally remove it from the U.S. unless it has a valid title. How many lower cost , basket case cars from the later teen's have you seen that come along with up to date paperwork ? Probably very few indeed. Really no viable solution as far as I can see. Other than borrowing for a want, something I have always been advised to avoid at all costs.

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

The question is, how does Joe Average figure out a fair value for his car?  Sellers never pay any attention to the Old Car Value Guide or NADA.  Here lately, I can't find a free listing for NADA on line either.  I used to use that as a guide, but I could never buy a car for what they said it was worth.  The latest car I sold I got a value from my insurance company.  My gut feeling is that price I put on it was low.  One thing I've also always found is you can never buy another replacement car for anything close to what you sold yours for.  Makes me scratch my head.

 

agree and with your credentials in the hobby shows how hard it is for any of us to gauge current values.   at this point in my life i focus perhaps as you on those certain makes i know i will keep  and or perhaps due to a few regrets after i sold some old ones for whatever reasons at the time.

 

 

Edited by kmstrade (see edit history)

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28 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

While your comment about project cars not selling unless priced at near scrap prices is probably generally true it isn't really a hard and fast rule.

I agree, I was really referencing run of the mill cars that projects don't sell, I should have clarified the statement.  A basket case, complete, Stoddard Dayton, for example,  would still command tens of thousands of dollars!  A common late 1940s sedan in pieces and rusty would be hard to give away.....

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5 hours ago, PreWarQc said:

 I might be wrong, but I see more evidence behind my perspective; the biggest one being the absence of interest from people under 60.

 

 

I have heard people predicting the death of the antique car hobby for over 20 years. While most of the members of my local AACA Chapter are older folks, as it has been ever since the club was founded, young people continue to reach the age where they can afford the hobby and continue to join the club and disprove the gloom and doom predictions that have been going on for at least 20 years.

 

I am 57 years old with over 20 years involvement in the hobby. I will simply say that in my area of the US, the hobby is alive and well. When I joined our local AACA Chapter, my family was the only one with anybody in it who was less than 60 years of age who was active in the club. Counting them up on the current Roster, there are 15 families led by people under the age of 60 and 4 student members in that same chapter. Of those 15 families,  12 of those families own pre-war cars.

 

Please tell me more about your "evidence" and please continue to try to convince me that the hobby is dying and nobody under 60 appreciates pre-war cars. You seem to continually talk about evidence, but continue to post your opinion and discount the information posted by others who have experience with the pre-war car hobby. 

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I can only speak of my experience in Western Canada and the Pacific North West of the U.S. The O.P. from Quebec may have different evidence. 

 From what I see hobby car ownership in Western Canada is indeed declining, In the Pacific North West of the U.S. it is not declining to any noticeable extent. 

 The reason is that middle class households ; the backbone number wise in any hobby, are facing serious challenges just providing for the basic needs. If you have any doubts view the very well done documentary VANCOUVER , NO FIXED ADDRESS. It provides an eye opening look at how Younger and middle class people in Western Canada are slowly being marginalised. 

 The hard evidence is the number of collector cars that are being sold to new owners outside Canada. It is really quite a significant number. Not just pre war cars but cars with appeal to average collector car people from all era's. There is a lot of interest in old cars in my region, however a increasing number of middle class people simply can no longer afford to participate and the cars are sold.  Primarily to the U.S. and Europe, but also to Asia and Australia in smaller numbers. The clubs cater for the most part to relatively affluent enthusiasts and club membership may not be the best gauge of overall old car hobby numbers. The fact that a substantial number of cars are leaving the area does however give credence to the proposition that the hobby is shrinking , at least locally.

 

Greg in Canada

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As a follow-on to MCHinson's post, I joined AACA and one of its regions 55 years ago as a college student.  There were three guys my age among the region's members, and all are still active car guys.  However, our levels of involvement ebbed and flowed with work, military, family, and home responsibilities.  The friendships and mentoring from the older members were superb. 

 

I believe there are three fundamental requirements for active participation in the old car hobby:  interest, time, and disposable income.  If the interest is there, you will come back after attending to the necessities of life such as those mentioned above.  During two concurrent careers, I "maintained" but couldn't be as active as my interest wanted.  By "maintained," I'm referring to having one or two ordinary drivers which allowed me to exercise and improve my mechanical skills on a limited basis, and to participate in some club activities.  I retired at 55, did some consulting part-time, and then had available the other two essential elements of time and disposable income.  There are certainly exceptions in which younger people are actively involved, but career and family demands have a lot to do with it.  Glittering generality:  For many if not most, car collecting is not a young man's game for the reasons cited, nor should we expect it to be.  We can and should stimulate the interest of young people but recognize that they have more urgent business to attend to.

 

An example of younger folks:  I have a nephew from 2,500 miles east of me who used to spend a month with me on the cars while he was in HS and college, and drove my cars at several Pierce-Arrow Society meets.  He's now 35, added a second BS and one MS degree while working full time, and has purchased a home.  He visited last fall with his fiancee and we went for a ride in my 1918 Pierce which he had not seen.  After a few miles, I stopped the car and asked him, "Do you still remember how to double-clutch?"  He got that same sh*t-eating grin as when he was 15 years old, got behind the wheel and drove 20 miles.  He'll be back in a few years....

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    Distributors and carburetors seem to hold little interest for young men in their 20's.

At least this has been my experience. I've attended most local shows here for the last 20 years. Shows that welcome all cars/eras/entrants and I've found that the younger participants focus is entirely different than mine is. Stereos, neon or LED  lighting, exhaust systems, tuners, fuel injection, 4 wheel disc brakes and computers are their world. While these things hold no interest for me, I appreciate their enthusiasm for their generation of modified car. I see the same parallel with my father's generation seeing my focus on Cragar mags, Hooker headers and Edelbrock manifolds, 40 years ago, as a complete waste of time and money. He couldn't possibly understand my interest in GTO's and Camaros because he drove a Mercury (ugh!). But he chose that car because in the 50's, when he was young, Mercs and Fords were great performance cars. So it just stuck with him....for his whole life.

    I was party to an interesting conversation (and epiphany) a few months ago.  Talking at the bar with a few of my contemporaries and several younger "Honda and Toyota guys" about all of our collective interest in high performance cars. While we were touting the virtues of big block Chevelles and the like, we get a few eye rolls from our younger friends. When I asked what's up, they stated simply; Those cars you're talking about are dinosaurs from our grandfather's era, Chevrolets have been nothing but sh--mobiles for our entire lives!" ....and I realized, that having been born in the '80's and '90's, they were absolutely right.

 

    Simply perception. An automotive parallax if you prefer.

 

    Another member here pointed out earlier that Fox bodied Mustangs and others of that era and design are the "collector era car" for the men in their 20's and 30's today. Makes perfect sense to me. These are the cars from their parents day, so that spells nostalgia to them, much like our interest in the cars driven in our parents age. I'm not encompassing all collectors from our generation but the ideology behind it is not much different. 

    One more member here mentioned Model T's and A's having no interest for him. While meaning no harm to those who choose that car, I feel the same way. While, as a true enthusiast, I appreciate most cars, my focus is more on cars from the 1930's. I wouldn't buy a T or A unless it was a give-away price. They are just too primitive for me. They are cars that were collected and appreciated more by a generation before mine and while I fully understand the impact the T and A made and how they're the foundation of the collector car hobby, I am one of the culture-starved "Honda and Toyota guys" to any Model T or A owner.

 

    So the OP has posed a question that makes some uncomfortable or there would be no debate here. I'd hate to think my collector cars are one day going to worth less than they are today but who knows? In 30 years who will be interested in another old Corvette from the 1960's with a distributor and a carburetor? How many buyers will there be compared to how many cars will be available? Will my hobby just become a burden for my children to get rid of?

 

"The wheels are yeller, the upholstery's brown, the dashboard's genuine leather......."

But who's willing to buy it?

 

 

surrey.jpg

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Greg,

 

I thought we were talking about cars?

yes 100 year old horses are ALL dead now...............

 

that was mentioned earlier in another post

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Greg I think the math of an increasing population allows for small slices of interest to add up enough to likely keep our cars from the scrapper.  Actively corrosponding with, collaborating, parts swapping with 3 other speedster guys right now.  It just hit me, 3 guys in their 30s, 1 old dude at 54.  They probably assume its age causing me to look to a pro to help finish the car!!!  For the record, its time that is the barrier not physical shape.  i still crawl, lift, twist and turn a wrench as well as most!  😁

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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I found the initial question very general. Great answers were given that were indeed quite a bit more specific................

 

So I say- are we talking about 5k model T's or the approx 30 left brass Mercers worth around 2 mill a piece?

 

as previously mentioned- supply and demand and the markets will sort it all out..........

 

While the topic of expense entered from Canada- as Canadians buy less pre war cars, does that mean that the Chinese wont take up the slack? After all, more Chinese millionaires are being minted

 

then any other nationality out there. So while it is easy to forecast, it is far more difficult to predict the future, as has also been mentioned. Neil Bohr sited that around 1927

 

and Yogi Berra famously stole the line in the early 60's.

 

I find the responses have been great, though maybe not what the OP had hoped for.

 

Life isnt only about money. Thank God!

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I always look at hobby stuff as disposable income.  No different then a vacation, a concert or sporting event.  Of course i try to maximize the money when selling but it is what it is. 

Choices as Ed says.  We spend on things other than cars but I dont feel guilty about what i do spend as other, higher priorities come first. 

Ed is a pretty sharp guy although you gotta watch those CCCA guys when they start invading the Model T part of the hobby!! 😂

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, GregLaR said:

"The wheels are yeller, the upholstery's brown, the dashboard's genuine leather......."

But who's willing to buy it?

 

 

surrey.jpg

 

I never liked horses but I know people who still buy those. I don't understand it but you can never tell what some people might like.

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1 hour ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

Greg I think the math of an increasing population allows for small slices of interest to add up enough to likely keep our cars from the scrapper.  Actively corrosponding with, collaborating, parts swapping with 3 other speedster guys right now.  It just hit me, 3 guys in their 30s, 1 old dude at 54.  They probably assume its age causing me to look to a pro to help finish the car!!!  For the record, its time that is the barrier not physical shape.  i still crawl, lift, twist and turn a wrench as well as most!  😁

Well, I do have to say I've put in at least 100 long skinny batteries in my old "pre-war" Buicks, but lately I've taken the car to a mechanic.  Either they have gotten a heck of a lot heavier or I've gotten a heck of a lot weaker as the years have marched along.  The last one I put lifted up over the side panel of a '39 Buick and put down into the holder, to say nothing of lifting the old one out required a little help from my poor wife.  Gettin' ole ain't for sissies is certainly true.

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Mike, I will start, $22,500.  Well bought and sold at that price.  Maybe more car for the money but a few more $$ and your in late 30s, early 40s Ford V8 coupe range and they seem to command a little bit more.

 

Love the green Buick recently listed here.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)

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1912 Staver, All on this thread,

      Here are some of my thoughts to share with younger collectors about this exciting hobby, which gradually becomes an addiction- - -

      I bought my first antique, a 1927 Chevrolet Coach, when I was in high school in Wisconsin. My mechanic dad was pissed because I kept getting speeding tickets in my 1959 Chevy convertible with a "three deuces" big block engine, and he gave me the choice of selling the hot rod and walking, or buying the old Chevy coach and driving. He wanted an old car to tinker with I think. I made the obvious choice and "learned" that antique car as a result, and I still have it in fact. It cost $300 and wasn't a classic, but did drive like a champ. 

      Later in time, after the children and career, I was able to "upgrade" antique cars to buying my first Kissel. I grew up in Wisconsin close to where these were made. It took me three years of digging and patience to get that first Kissel, but in time, you CAN get your dream car. My first Kissel was actually a "steal" at an auction where the lawyers had to settle an estate. Patience is what matters. Just keep watching and trying for deals.

       Since then I have patiently watched the antique car market for similar Kissels. Nearly all of my cars were basket cases - it takes me one to three years to turn these piles of parts into restored cars, two or three years while I was working, less now that I have retired. Piles of classic car parts don't sell easily in my opinion. My last purchase was just a couple thousand dollars, even though it is a one-of-a-kind Kissel survivor. And a Roadster at that!  I've watched other similar piles or project cars sell for half or a third of what their initial offerings were. The last Kissel I know of that was offered for sale that I didn't buy,mwas an unrestored project car, mostly complete with a fresh overhauled engine, for $4000. A great bargain! Again, for the young buyer, I would counsel patience. Keep watching! 

       As to title difficulties, in many states (half?) , you can easily get a clear title by producing a bill of sale and paying the state sales tax. Michigan is one such state. I have titled many of my cars thus. 

       As to Canadian/USA cross border purchases, I can't address buying a car or parts in the USA and bringing it to Canada since I have no experience. But I can say that it is easy, very easy, to bring a car you have purchased in Canada, thru USA customs, to the USA. If you have a bill of sale or title, and the car or parts are "original" and over thorty years old ( I think), you give the border patrol guys a tour, spend a half hour filling out forms, and they help you and say " have fun ".

       There are a lot more project cars and unrestored, unattractive classic cars out there owned by us old guys. There are more of us old guys who will need to some day sell our Kissels and/or other collections and piles of parts, than there are numbers of you young guys. Those numbers say that with patience, we all will have to dump these collections for fractions of the invested values. Or our estates will have to dump them. That's morbid but I think a reality. Today as I sit here, I envy being the younger person who is interested in antique car restoration, because that future is so wide open.

      My thoughts! 

      ( Meanwhile until I stop collecting, please know that I will buy your Kissel parts cars! )

      Thanks, Ron Hausmann P.E.

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13 hours ago, AJFord54 said:

The younger generation "in general" are not interested in early pre-war cars or hanging out with 75 year old men and women.

 

 

I'm 47, and this reminds me of when I was dating my wife and I took her to some Packard Club events. At first, she thought it really odd to be hanging out with people our parents' age.  Of course, a few years later she was friends with many of them and always enjoyed seeing "the gang" at Packard Club events.

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PreWarQc, glad you're sticking around....... :)

Regarding hobbies like golfing or fishing tons of money are spent without any discernible financial gain but, nevertheless a lot of people spend thousands doing them.

By the way.......bless you for the work you do.......it has to be very draining.

Anyway, you haven't specified exactly which pre-war cars interest you so I (we?) have no idea how primitive you want to get.

A number of 20's cars have been in the doldrums so are more affordable.

I JUST got my '24 Dodge Sedan sold which took the better part of a year to accomplish and, yes, I lost money on it.

(The buyer is a 30 something with a 3-4 year old son........they're going to have a lot of fun with that car!)

But the money lost is more than made up for by acquiring my dream car.......a car I never thought I could or would own.

If you have some mechanical aptitude there are plenty of affordable 20's cars if you aren't seeking perfection.

Sadly for you, currency exchange wise, our (U.S.) currency isn't doing you any favors if you were to find something state-side that appealed to you.

At this stage of your life money is most likely an enormous mitigating factor for almost everything you do.

Been there and done that.

THE reason I didn't get into cars until I did is much of my life was involved in antique tractors which is how I spent nearly every "extra" dollar I had.

By the time I sold my shop I was so burned out on tractors I didn't want to even look at one for the better part of 2 years........I sold all of them except the two I use and made the shift to cars.

Best move I ever made.......it was like I got my life back in order.

It seems collectors have a collector mentality that forces one to collect SOMETHING and once we're in we're ALL in.

Good luck with whatever decision you make....... :) 

 

 

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Let me give it a try.My 1930 studebaker President has been for sale for 18 months.It,s listed on three A.A.C.A forums.

Classic cars.com---Hemmings. It has been on Pre war.com.and the Antique Automobile magazine.That equals to over 14000 total views.

What amazes me the most is the lack of contact except for four people.One potential buyer and I agreed on a price (lower than asking 

price)$38500 contingent on his inspection.Seemed fair to me!!

He backed out the next day.

I don,t know if 38500 is an "insane" price or not,but if someone has any interest at all you would think they would say I,m interested in your car at$xxxxx dollars.and we see if we make a deal.

This is a AACA Senior and CCCA classic auto.not a project.

l have been told on this forum by a couple of people that it,s not priced high enough.Go figure..

Grundy has no problem insuring it for more than my asking price ,they raise the value(and the premium)every year.

So here we are!!!I really don't want to go the E Bay route if I can help it,so I will wait it out some more and see where it goes

Ken

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mike6024 said:

s-l1600.jpg

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1941-Buick-Roadmaster-Super-/183262492700?

 

Lets see where the bidding goes on this one. Make a guess at the final high bid.

 

 

This one is on craigslist in the Portland OR area. I have had my eye on it for awhile. Great cars, beautiful styling, good one to compare to the ebay listing you have posted. https://portland.craigslist.org/clc/cto/d/1941-buick-super-coupe/6555700682.html

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27 minutes ago, cahartley said:

By the way.......bless you for the work you do.......it has to be very draining.

 

Thank you.

 

27 minutes ago, cahartley said:

Anyway, you haven't specified exactly which pre-war cars interest you so I (we?) have no idea how primitive you want to get.

A number of 20's cars have been in the doldrums so are more affordable.

 

The top of my list is a 1930 Essex Super Six sedan.

Otherwise, I prefer cars from the late 10'', early 20'... Studebaker Special 6 would be nice but I don't think I've ever seen a car from this period that I don't like... they are all pretty spectacular to me.

 

27 minutes ago, cahartley said:

But the money lost is more than made up for by acquiring my dream car.......a car I never thought I could or would own.

I’m curious… what car would that be?

27 minutes ago, cahartley said:

At this stage of your life money is most likely an enormous mitigating factor for almost everything you do.

Been there and done that.

 

Agreed.

 

27 minutes ago, cahartley said:

Good luck with whatever decision you make....... :)

 

Thank you, very nice of you.

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1 hour ago, ron hausmann said:

1912 Staver, All on this thread,

      Here are some of my thoughts to share with younger collectors about this exciting hobby, which gradually becomes an addiction- - -

      I bought my first antique, a 1927 Chevrolet Coach, when I was in high school in Wisconsin. My mechanic dad was pissed because I kept getting speeding tickets in my 1959 Chevy convertible with a "three deuces" big block engine, and he gave me the choice of selling the hot rod and walking, or buying the old Chevy coach and driving. He wanted an old car to tinker with I think. I made the obvious choice and "learned" that antique car as a result, and I still have it in fact. It cost $300 and wasn't a classic, but did drive like a champ. 

      Later in time, after the children and career, I was able to "upgrade" antique cars to buying my first Kissel. I grew up in Wisconsin close to where these were made. It took me three years of digging and patience to get that first Kissel, but in time, you CAN get your dream car. My first Kissel was actually a "steal" at an auction where the lawyers had to settle an estate. Patience is what matters. Just keep watching and trying for deals.

       Since then I have patiently watched the antique car market for similar Kissels. Nearly all of my cars were basket cases - it takes me one to three years to turn these piles of parts into restored cars, two or three years while I was working, less now that I have retired. Piles of classic car parts don't sell easily in my opinion. My last purchase was just a couple thousand dollars, even though it is a one-of-a-kind Kissel survivor. And a Roadster at that!  I've watched other similar piles or project cars sell for half or a third of what their initial offerings were. The last Kissel I know of that was offered for sale that I didn't buy,mwas an unrestored project car, mostly complete with a fresh overhauled engine, for $4000. A great bargain! Again, for the young buyer, I would counsel patience. Keep watching! 

       As to title difficulties, in many states (half?) , you can easily get a clear title by producing a bill of sale and paying the state sales tax. Michigan is one such state. I have titled many of my cars thus. 

       As to Canadian/USA cross border purchases, I can't address buying a car or parts in the USA and bringing it to Canada since I have no experience. But I can say that it is easy, very easy, to bring a car you have purchased in Canada, thru USA customs, to the USA. If you have a bill of sale or title, and the car or parts are "original" and over thorty years old ( I think), you give the border patrol guys a tour, spend a half hour filling out forms, and they help you and say " have fun ".

       There are a lot more project cars and unrestored, unattractive classic cars out there owned by us old guys. There are more of us old guys who will need to some day sell our Kissels and/or other collections and piles of parts, than there are numbers of you young guys. Those numbers say that with patience, we all will have to dump these collections for fractions of the invested values. Or our estates will have to dump them. That's morbid but I think a reality. Today as I sit here, I envy being the younger person who is interested in antique car restoration, because that future is so wide open.

      My thoughts! 

      ( Meanwhile until I stop collecting, please know that I will buy your Kissel parts cars! )

      Thanks, Ron Hausmann P.E.

Thanks for your insights Ron !  Yes I agree that bring a U.S. made car back in to the U.S. is a simple process, the major problem from my point of view is the export process to take a U.S. sourced project or "parts car" or even a parts collection back home to Canada. In the past, up to about a year and a half ago there was no problem. Then U.S. Customs extensively revised the rules regarding Motor Vehicle export. Including the clause "regardless of vehicle value or condition" and specifying that if it has or had a engine and wheels it is included in the regulation. And the regulation states that a valid tile is a must for export processing.

 I ran into the regulation last June when I bought a circa 1975 Lola Formula Ford ,damaged , incomplete , totally bare frame off ebay for the grand sum of $50.00 from a Washington State seller about an hour from my home. The U.S. customs agent was convinced that I would have to meet the full letter of the law despite the fact Lola's in general have never been issued titles as they are purpose built race cars and never used as road vehicles. It was only after a lengthy exchange where I provided internet evidence that race car frames were often replaced due to damage, that they were sold separate as repair parts, and that the serial number was not on the frame itself but rather a separate plate affixed to part of the aluminum sheet metal paneling, something that was missing from the bare frame I had purchased. He eventually allowed me to continue on my way and pick up my "prize". Any production road vehicle would definitely need to meet all the export requirements.

 Michigan is a good thousand miles from me, and my next door neighbor, Washington State has a well deserved reputation as being very difficult to sort out paperwork problems. The cost obstacle just gets larger over time and I am really beginning to wonder if after 40 years of involvement the old car hobby is all it is cracked up to be. Model A's are easy but once you get beyond that stage the problem really snowballs.

P.S. Ron. should someone offer you a Kissel "pile of parts" in Western Canada that doesn't seem to fit in to your plans, drop me a line.

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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