leomara

Collector Car Market for Pre War Dying???

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So I'm looking to find a 1929 Chrysler Model 75 roadster in acceptable condition (not show restored) and in the past few years....nothing.  Meanwhile, the talking heads are saying that the pre war collector car market is dying because the owners (the baby boomers) are dying and the more youthful collectors have no interest in pre war automobiles.  I've read quite a bit on this and I don't know if I buy it based on the prices I see being paid for pre war cars on the auction circuits.  What say you?

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How's about a 29 model 75 coupe, older resto in CT, $24k?  Check out CT craigs.  Seller was advertising a 30 roadster for a while, unrestored, less money, may still have it.

 

Market is soft, unless you are looking to buy it seems.... ?

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Do a search for this topic--it's discussed practically on a weekly basis.

 

Short version: great cars remain very much in demand and bring strong prices. Garden-variety pre-war cars are seeing reduced interest as younger people have no connection to them and don't understand the joys of owning a car that only goes 40 MPH. Prices on those cars are certainly falling. The fact that you can't find the car that you want isn't indicative of anything other than low survival rates and owners who currently have them not selling them. Also, auctions are not a great barometer of the general health of the market.

 

Finally, being unable to find the car you want in the condition you want at the price you want may not be the market's problem. Sometimes an adjustment of your expectations is required. If you've ever started a sentence with with "I remember when I could buy one of these for..." you might need a recalibration.

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If you pay market value on anything there is a real good chance you will be happy with an informed purchase. The best cars I remember owning were ones I was told I paid too much for.

 

We live in a world where people sit on the edge of their seats waiting to hear someone's conclusion. Do you really want to do that with something as important as buying an old car?

Bernie

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While not common, those car are around and available on a rather easy basis. Issue is going to be price.........both what the seller wants and what the buyer wants to give. At "market price" I would expect to find a good car that fits the requirements and make a deal in less than 60 days. If you play the "I want to steal it" game, which I think is fine.........your gonna have to work harder at it and wait your time. If you make finding a car a part time job, looking say 10 hours a week, I would expect in 12 months you will find what your looking for. Trick is CASH in hand and be able to pull the trigger right away, and thats where most people in the hobby fall short. 

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2 minutes ago, edinmass said:

While not common, those car are around and available on a rather easy basis. Issue is going to be price.........both what the seller wants and what the buyer wants to give. At "market price" I would expect to find a good car that fits the requirements and make a deal in less than 60 days. If you play the "I want to steal it" game, which I think is fine.........your gonna have to work harder at it and wait your time. If you make finding a car a part time job, looking say 10 hours a week, I would expect in 12 months you will find what your looking for. Trick is CASH in hand and be able to pull the trigger right away, and thats where most people in the hobby fall short. 

 

This, that, and the other. Ed is 100% correct. Market price will get you a decent car sooner rather than later. Bargains take quite a bit of work. How much is your time worth? It's always my advice to pay more for a good car and start enjoying yourself now. You could waste years waiting for a cheap car that will not only be inferior to a more expensive car, but you're now several years older and have less time left to enjoy it (and if you have kids, your kids are older). Time is far too precious to quibble over a few dollars in this world. The guys on this board are tired of hearing me say it, but treating your time as worthless and money as precious is a mistake.

 

And when you find the car you want, are you ready to move RIGHT NOW or are you going to hem and haw and ask your wife's permission and let the car slip away? The minute a buyer says he needs to "check with the boss," I walk away because that deal is not happening and I'm through wasting my time on a tire-kicker.

 

 

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Money is a funny thing.....we never seem to have enough of it when we need it. I use it as a tool, an important tool. I can always make or earn more......it seems when I was young I had lots of time and no money, today I have no time and more money(NOT LOTS!). Since no matter how I have tried I cant purchase more time, I now worry less about the money and try and enjoy myself as often as possible. The last twelve months I have been burning through it.........but I sure have a neat pile of junk! 

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2 hours ago, leomara said:

1929 Chrysler Model 75 roadster in acceptable condition (not show restored)

What color?

 

How many of that exact year, make and model do you suppose there are left? How often do they come up for sale?

 

I'm going to take a wild guess and say there are 30 or 40 cars that match your requirements. Maybe 1 or 2 come up for sale each year. If you are on your toes and check the internet weekly and if you are willing to travel anywhere in the country to get one, and are not too tight about the price you should be able to buy one in a year or 2.

 

When you are that specific about a used car that is now nearly 90 years old, you can't expect too much of a selection. On the other hand, it is not a super desirable model like a Duesenberg so price should be fairly reasonable. But if you have to have that exact model you are in no position to dicker.

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Hi Rusty, what color?  Don't really care about that since as you said find one is hard enough without being fussy......

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1 hour ago, 60FlatTop said:

If you pay market value on anything there is a real good chance you will be happy with an informed purchase. The best cars I remember owning were ones I was told I paid too much for.

 

We live in a world where people sit on the edge of their seats waiting to hear someone's conclusion. Do you really want to do that with something as important as buying an old car?

Bernie

I totally agree. If you are truly interested in owning and driving a prewar car rather than "investing" in one now is a great time to buy. Forget about the market and buy the best quality example you can afford and enjoy it.

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Hey guys, I know you are all well intentioned when you refer me to a site having some other car for sale but I'm not interested in anything other than what I'm looking for.  Thank you just the same....... 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Money is a funny thing.....we never seem to have enough of it when we need it. I use it as a tool, an important tool. I can always make or earn more......it seems when I was young I had lots of time and no money, today I have no time and more money(NOT LOTS!). Since no matter how I have tried I cant purchase more time, I now worry less about the money and try and enjoy myself as often as possible. The last twelve months I have been burning through it.........but I sure have a neat pile of junk! 

 

I look at it as taking my retirement in little pieces while I'm young enough to enjoy it properly. Waiting until I'm old and frail and sickly and hoping I don't die before I can do it all seems terrifying. The future will take care of itself--maybe we'll all be living in caves and eating bugs by then, so I may as well have fun when I know the opportunity is there, right?

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As for the changes in the pre-war market....I recall being a kid in the rumble seat at AACA tours in the 50's and 60's. When we would gather at a shopping center somewhere waiting for the tour to start, bystanders would come look at our cars, and ask questions like, "Wow, can you even find parts for a jalopy like that?" or, "Is that thing even safe to drive on the road?" In other words, we car collectors back then were part of a very small fraternity of "uncommon" people who appreciated old iron. But when grand classics (Duesenbergs, Bugatti's, V-16 Caddy's, etc) and eventually muscle cars started bringing big bucks on televised auctions, suddenly EVERYONE thought vintage cars were cool (and unrealistically valuable).

 

Now today, whenever I park my Hupmobile at the grocery store, people will see the car and ask me questions, just like those other folks did years ago. Only now, the first question is always, "Wow, how much is that thing WORTH?!?!?" They always seem surprised and disappointed when I tell not, "Not very much really, in terms of dollars and cents." Yet when my grandkids are riding with me and waving to everyone, and begging to honk the oogah horn, that old car is priceless to me. Someday when my kids or grandkids sell it, I hope they will get some of my "investment" back. 

 

In MY experience, "garden variety" pre-war cars like my 1923 Hupp touring never were extremely valuable, and still are not today. Nothing really changed about that. Big-bucks collectors always were focused on expensive "super cars." But those old ordinary pre-war vehicles are still much appreciated by a small fraternity of true old car hobbyists. 

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When casual friends and acquaintances find out I am a lifetime car collector, they often mention that they have been thinking about buying an old car, and ask me about what models they should "invest in," I always tell them, "None!" Buying an old car with the intent of "investing for profit" is not the best idea as far as I'm concerned...especially if you are fairly new to the hobby. Even seasoned pro's get burned when buying and selling collector vehicles. 

 

In MY opinion, unless you plan to become a serious professional dealer in vintage cars (and already have a lifetime of experience with same), the only reason to buy a vintage vehicle is to enjoy it. Sure, we collectors all like to get a bargain, and to be able to sell our vintage car for more than we paid for it (whenever that lucky circumstance happens). But I often point out to "newbies" that they should contrast the "investment" in a nice collector vehicle against the cost of buying a new boat, for example. After a few years, you MIGHT be able to get some or all of your investment back out of a good vintage car (much less any profit). Compare that to the resale value of that boat that you bought brand new, and you can quickly see why I say that buying and owning a pre-war vintage vintage vehicle can be a better "investment" than many other hobbies... even if you eventually sell it for less than you bought it for. 

 

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7 minutes ago, lump said:

When casual friends and acquaintances find out I am a lifetime car collector, they often mention that they have been thinking about buying an old car, and ask me about what models they should "invest in," I always tell them, "None!" Buying an old car with the intent of "investing for profit" is not the best idea as far as I'm concerned...especially if you are fairly new to the hobby. Even seasoned pro's get burned when buying and selling collector vehicles. 

 

In MY opinion, unless you plan to become a serious professional dealer in vintage cars (and already have a lifetime of experience with same), the only reason to buy a vintage vehicle is to enjoy it. Sure, we collectors all like to get a bargain, and to be able to sell our vintage car for more than we paid for it (whenever that lucky circumstance happens). But I often point out to "newbies" that they should contrast the "investment" in a nice collector vehicle against the cost of buying a new boat, for example. After a few years, you MIGHT be able to get some or all of your investment back out of a good vintage car (much less any profit). Compare that to the resale value of that boat that you bought brand new, and you can quickly see why I say that buying and owning a pre-war vintage vintage vehicle can be a better "investment" than many other hobbies... even if you eventually sell it for less than you bought it for. 

 

 

Even as a dealer I tell people when they are buying from me that an old car is a notoriously bad investment. Everyone talks about "investing in an old car" but I tell them that they should drive down the road throwing $20s out the window just to get a feel for owning an old car before they actually commit. They laugh and say they get what I'm saying, but I wonder if they really do. Sellers always come in expecting to make a few bucks when they turn it over...

 

Always better to think of old car ownership as a vacation rather than an investment. On the other hand, what other hobby pays you back most of what you put in later? Very, very few. If you can buy an old car, enjoy it for a few years, and sell it for more or less what you paid (ignoring fixing, storing, and insuring it) then you've done well. Don't expect better than that and you'll enjoy the hobby that much more.

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Back in the late 60's, yeah you know what they now call "mid-century" now I got my start in this great hobby and at that time I remember being labeled as eccentric or daft.  How things have changed.  I have to confess that I have contempt for those who have pursued this solely as an investment to make money, just a commodity that they have no love for.  They have in some instances succeeded in driving up values to the point of excluding true affectionados from the hobby.  Not a good thing.  

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Naturally the driver for most people is some past affection for a particular vehicle.  Usually, the car one desires is  roughly their age.  Back in the Sixties when we we going to the local shows there were many early models and most of them had been restored to some level or another, usually not just a used car that was spruced up.  Here's my question since virtually all of those pioneers in the hobby are no longer with us, where are all those cars?  I can see some were sold and some were stashed in the back of the garage and may have been passed down a couple generations, but where are they?  Or has the hobby grown so much that only their representative percentage is lower and the absolute number is the same but tend to stay home since the later model travels better?  Or asked a different way would someone actually recycle grandpa's pride and joy because they can't find a buyer?  The good news about people aging and passing is the once pampered antique still exist and the price should adjust to the market demand.  Also the beauty of the very old vehicles as their tech gets older and older, the world of manufacturing technology continues to expand such that even some of the most obscure vehicles can have replacement parts made.  I think in the long run the early vintage vehicle will out live the highly tooled mass produced vehicles of the second half of the century.  

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I think the Brass Cars stay at home ever since the vehicles bought new to tow their trailers fill the show fields along with all the other cars manufactured after said tow vehicles. The 1976 Ford F150 I bought new was scrapped long ago. Bob 

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

Always better to think of old car ownership as a vacation rather than an investment.  Don't expect better than that and you'll enjoy the hobby that much more.

 

I've always been of the mindset it's better to own something now and enjoy it rather to have missed the boat and had nothing.

I'd rather have something now I may need to sell down the road rather than never having it at all.

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"Always better to think of old car ownership as a vacation rather than an investment. On the other hand, what other hobby pays you back most of what you put in later? Very, very few. If you can buy an old car, enjoy it for a few years, and sell it for more or less what you paid (ignoring fixing, storing, and insuring it) then you've done well. Don't expect better than that and you'll enjoy the hobby that much more."

 

I agree Matt. Don't look at it as cost of the car, look at it as cost of your hobby and the amount of time you will spend with it. Like paying to see a movie or a golf game. except that you are right that in the end you still have something of value plus a lot of experiences and memories.  I could never justify the amount I spend rebuilding cars or bikes, but if you add up the amount of time I get to spend in my shop doing what I love it becomes a bargain-okay well almost a bargain.

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3 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

People have always said I have a cavalier attitude toward money, but I wouldn't buy one.

I agree, these cars are so far out of warranty anyway - who in their right mind would own one??

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Brass cars stay at home?  Codswallop!  The HCCA runs weekend and week-long tours all over the country.  The Snappers, an AACA brass group, does several tours a year, some in conjunction with HCCA.  There are independent brass clubs doing week-long progressive tours.  As you read this, a former HCCA president, his two sons, and two of his grandkids are taking a month to drive two 1911 Model Ts across the country on back roads.  And they're blogging it, so you can read about it as they go along.

 

https://ca2vabyt.com

 

All cars on HCCA national tours are now at least 103 years old.  And no, we don't remember them from our youth.  Maybe you don't see them at AACA judging meets because we're too busy getting grease on our clothes and under our fingernails!

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