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Pilgrim65

Rarity ? Pure sales talk?

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Good afternoon folks , whilst perusing internet advertising for mid range classic cars I’m surprised how many vendors use the term rare , but are they actually rare , what does  rare actually mean , is it  because there are only a few left or they only made a few originally , how do they know how many’s left , who keeps count .

I relise the top marks have documented history and as such these cars rarity or not is know through showing , sales etc.

but I saw one an advertisement for a nice 55 Buick super convertible , which was deemed rare, which surprised me knowing production figures .However , Not living in the states It’s hard to judge because we don’t see these cars often in shows in Europe, I’ve seen the sad photos of your scrap yards with thousands of once beutiful classics laying barren and forgotten, but surely no one knows how many of a particular model  is laying waste somewhere , so I can’t see how a figure can be derived to be set against know production figure so as to ascertain number left and thus rarity. Do you have a system in the states where all scrapped cars are logged and collated, if this is the case then I understand and apologise to all vendors using the term and who actually do know .

If there is such a system I would like to know how to obtain relevant figures for some of the cars I’m interested in as this obviously has a bearing on price and the attraction of owning a rare car.

any advice welcome 

apologies if this subject has been covered recently, but I didn’t see it 

cheers

pilgrim

Edited by Pilgrim65
Mistake (see edit history)

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In advertisements, it is completely meaningless about 99% of the time. It is a word like "classic" which has come to mean nothing at all.

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55-57 Chevys are not rare, yet they command big bucks. Yugos are rare, yet you can barely give one away

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Here's the Merriam-Webster definition of rare:

 

"rare

adjective (1)

\ ˈrer \

rarer; rarest

Definition of rare 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : seldom occurring or found : uncommon

2a : marked by unusual quality, merit, or appeal : distinctive

b : superlative or extreme of its kind

3 : marked by wide separation of component particles : thin rare air"

 

"Rarity" is defined as the quality, state or fact of being rare.  Rare is often a subjective term, and I don't think that it can be quantified; however, sometimes (not always) documented numbers can establish the fact that something is indeed rare.  If it can be documented that only three left-handed widgets were ever produced, and only one survives, then that means that the surviving widget is rare.  Who wants a left-handed widget?  Hardly anyone, and as Carl mentioned above, rarity does not always define value.

I have a few Crosley automobiles, and they are, by most definitions rare, but they are not what most folks in this hobby would call valuable.  Valuable or not, they are cool.  Okay, don't get me started, I'm not even going to try to define what "cool" means.

Cheers,

Grog

 

 

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19 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

In advertisements, it is completely meaningless about 99% of the time. It is a word like "classic" which has come to mean nothing at all.

 

19 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

In advertisements, it is completely meaningless about 99% of the time. It is a word like "classic" which has come to mean nothing at all.

Apologise for using the term classic in my posting , here in the Uk , cars are deemed classic once 25 years old , but to me that’s nonsense,  I use the term for cars mostly pre 65 that appeal to me 40s 50 s American and 50s British and European , love the curvy American , sporting looks of that era British sports car and the quality of the German cars and flair of the Italian ?

Edited by Pilgrim65 (see edit history)

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If you don't see the 55 Buick in your area then it would be rare to you.

As mentioned, not really a valid term in most cases.

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Even for cars that are truly rare that fact alone is no guarantee of a high market value or enhanced desirability. If a car is very rare and at the same time historically significant then it will almost certainly be valuable. Or a rare model survivor from a very well regarded maker.

    If it is rare due to the attrition over time of all or nearly all of it's very ordinary fellow vehicles then it is just a slightly oddball survivor and in general no more valuable than other cars of the same general age and type.  In fact the rarity factor may work against it from a point of view of market value. Ordinary , rare cars are generally a P.I.T.A. to own , information is often hard to come by , spare parts are often a difficult and expensive proposition, any sort of club support will be virtually non- existent. and so on. 

 

  Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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When used in for-sale ads, the term "rare" is almost

meaningless.  It's just advertising hyperbole.

If one-third of all ads are selling items

that are rare, are those items really all that rare?

 

A car may have been scarce when new, such as a 

low-production 1953 Buick Skylark convertible.

But so many have been saved and restored, that they

are now incredibly common.  If you look on the Hemmings

website, you may see 5 or 10 for sale simultaneously, and

you almost have your choice of colors!

 

In contrast, some cars that were common when new

have been totally overlooked, and they are very scarce 

today.  Try to find, for example, a 1976 Chevrolet Caprice

4-door hardtop in excellent condition.  They may be

50 times as uncommon as the '53 Skylark, and still overlooked.

 

Occasionally you see a for-sale ad listing a "very rare"

car, and there's another one right next to it on the page!

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3 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

In advertisements, it is completely meaningless about 99% of the time. It is a word like "classic" which has come to mean nothing at all.

Exactly what I was thinking when I read post#1.  And some people are true mystics, as they know how many of a certain car still exists. 

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I love the ads that state, "Documented Survivor!!! Only one in existence!!!", and there are two more in the same page listing;)

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I have one of 6,303 1994 Impala SS cars that I have been thinking about selling for a little over a year. From the option decoders, it is one of the top percentile of highly optioned examples.

 

I can assure you that "rarity" honestly applies to me getting around to preping it and making a sales presentation. I RARELY feel a sense of urgency about anything. Maybe next Spring, it is kind of late in the year now.

 

When I do advertise it I will put the word "Sharp" boldly in the ad for those who don't notice.

Bernie

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I like to think of rare when built and rare today when talking about cars: They Were Rare/They Are Rare. Really different things. In the 1920s, Essex, Ford, Star, & Chevrolet cars were everywhere -- while  Cole, Rickenbacker, Stutz, & Auburn were not(rare then, rare now). In the 1970s, Datsun 510, Mustang II, Pinto hatchback, and Dodge Omni cars were everywhere -- and now they are rarely seen. Common then, rare now.

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"In the 1970s, Datsun 510, Mustang II, Pinto hatchback, and Dodge Omni cars were everywhere."

 

I once raced against a Datsun 510 in a kevlar racing kayak in a 5-mile course. Beat it, too! One of those races with very few restrictions on equipment.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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Having had several cars with total production under 100 units, understand well the difference between "rare" and "desirable". Interesting point is my Reatta convertible. Halo car, 2,200 built, yet not very desirable. Maybe the problem is that they are so reliable. Know a few cars where an uncorrected factory defect adds value.

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"Rare" can also be used by the location of a given vehicle.

 

Sure, they made a million or more 1972 Chevrolet Caprices for sale in the USA and Canada, but how many right-hand drive versions were sold new in England?   I suspect a UK-market version of a full-size Chevrolet would be considered 'rare' on that side of the pond.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)

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any pre 1970 car can be deemed rare. Production might have been high, but not many are left of any automobile that old.

even a 57 chevy is rare, in the grand scheme of things when compared to a modern day malibu.

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1 hour ago, oily rag said:

Rare could also mean "not done, needs more time on the back burner"

 

Almost all of the current projects in the world.

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Mr. Pilgrim, in almost all situations, no one knows

how many of a particular car model survive.  If you

see claims such as "1 of 5," or "only 12 known," 

take those claims with a grain of salt.  The statement

that only 12 are KNOWN is more honest than the former.

 

Duesenbergs are well tracked and known, but probably

no other car has had such exhaustive research done.

And the data to perform such research are not available.

There may be, for example, only 5 of a certain Buick model

in the current Buick Club of America roster;  but many

people who own Buicks don't belong to the club.

And if anyone could track registrations by state, as some

claim to do, the states that I know only keep track of

year and make, not model or body style.  Pennsylvania

records that a person has a "1967 Buick," but not a 

1967 Buick Wildcat 4-door hardtop.  Thus, the population

reports are inaccurate and can't be relied on at all.

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

Mr. Pilgrim, in almost all situations, no one knows

how many of a particular car model survive.  If you

see claims such as "1 of 5," or "only 12 known," 

take those claims with a grain of salt.  The statement

that only 12 are KNOWN is more honest than the former.

 

Duesenbergs are well tracked and known, but probably

no other car has had such exhaustive research done.

And the data to perform such research are not available.

There may be, for example, only 5 of a certain Buick model

in the current Buick Club of America roster;  but many

people who own Buicks don't belong to the club.

And if anyone could track registrations by state, as some

claim to do, the states that I know only keep track of

year and make, not model or body style.  Pennsylvania

records that a person has a "1967 Buick," but not a 

1967 Buick Wildcat 4-door hardtop.  Thus, the population

reports are inaccurate and can't be relied on at all.

Thanks , interesting,  logical, and answers a few of my questions regarding data collation on this subject

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I keep records on Hess and Eisenhardt converted '59 and '60 Lincolns and steer clear of the term "rare" simply because I don't want them equated to the multitude of more common cars that are described as such.  In the context of their era they were few, and today, compared to their regular production counterparts, they have a pretty high survival rate.  On my list there are over 50 accounted for by VIN out of almost 300 produced, so about 20% remain.  Every once in awhile one unknown to me will appear, but that's slowing down.   

 

What's most interesting to me is occasionally someone will call to discuss their car and some either simply don't listen or they deliberately take out of context the information I've given them, then the newly invented factoid winds up in print on the web when they post it for sale or what have you.  These are things I can track and tell you exactly where they originated.  After that, I can watch the mistake get repeated when other cars come up for sale and somebody grabs the information off an old listing and repeats it as fact.  This is even seen with notable auction and consignment outfits in their flowery descriptions.  That's the long way of saying that what is rare is scholarship and most everything else is just used car dealer salesmanship.

 

 

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This may just tend to muddy the waters, but I have used a very unscientific equation, as  ballpark to survival numerous times. Some forty plus years ago I bought a book which supposedly was going to help me make money in the old car hobby. What a joke that was! The source for the information was, as I remember, the US Department of Transportation, and I believe that it was an estimation based on registration records. But all this is very fuzzy because I can't find the book.

 

The crux was that there was a survival rate of less then 1%, twenty years post production. This is across the board estimation and fails to take into consideration model desirability, or anything else that might skew the figures. For instance we all know that the survival of a 1953 Buick Skylark is going to be much higher then a regular production Buick, but it's numbers would be dwarfed by the total number of all of the 53's produced. Or take the 1963-65 Buick Riviera, of which 120K, plus or minus, were produced, but a good guess at their survival would be 15-20K, ten to fifteen times what might be expected. Because some car models have virtually vanished, it's obvious that this would only help to set the upper reaches of it's survival. It also fails to take into consideration survival rates based on geography, or whether a car was produced twenty years ago, or one hundred twenty years ago. 

 

It seems to me that the best way to make a guess at how many of a desirable model have survived, is to find out if there is a dedicated car club or forum attached to that model. It's a pretty good guess that low production, specialty models are going to be fairly well documented. If however your car of choice is a 1960 Plymouth, four door, good luck!-Bill

 

 

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Thanks Guys 

interesting and enjoyable posts .

recent information I received this week , prompts me to submit this 

lm am currently involved in the restoration of a 1958 Austin healey 100/6 , which I do not consider rare , however this week whilst sourcing parts for the project I mentioned that the car had factory fitted disc brakes all round previously only fitted to the famous 100 S, and was told by a couple of knowledgeable healey experts that only 50 such cars were produced. 40 LHD and 10 RHD , apparently the dealers at the time nicknamed the car the 100/6 S .

Therefore bearing I mind the bad state our car was in I imagine some the original batch have been scrapped am I accused  of affrontary if say this car is Rare ?? 

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1 hour ago, Pilgrim65 said:

Thanks Guys 

interesting and enjoyable posts .

recent information I received this week , prompts me to submit this 

lm am currently involved in the restoration of a 1958 Austin healey 100/6 , which I do not consider rare , however this week whilst sourcing parts for the project I mentioned that the car had factory fitted disc brakes all round previously only fitted to the famous 100 S, and was told by a couple of knowledgeable healey experts that only 50 such cars were produced. 40 LHD and 10 RHD , apparently the dealers at the time nicknamed the car the 100/6 S .

Therefore bearing I mind the bad state our car was in I imagine some the original batch have been scrapped am I accused  of affrontary if say this car is Rare ?? 

The Build Sheet from BMHIT will provide the answer if it came with discs all around.

 

Craig

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