Thank-you for the thoughts. I have not joined yet. Maybe I will. I gave up a hobby building and competition shooting muzzle loaders a couple of years ago because the national organization was poorly run due to it being populated by old men who swore the hobby was dying because they couldn't get your people interested. I ran for the board of directors, won a seat, and tried to help, but they didn't want to encourage younger folks in the hobby and I eventually got discouraged. I've heard similar grumblings about various classic car-related organizations. Hopefully you're right and this one is different.
Here's what I can tell you about me: I am a competent craftsman and I can work pretty well with wood and metal. I am fairly mechanically skilled and I do all my own modern vehicle repairs. I have a 1929 Gazelle Mercedes kit that my grandfather and a friend put together back in the 70's. I maintained it for the last decade of my grandfather's life and I have owned it since his death in 2004. I realize that it's different from a real period car as far as function. That said, I don't have any qualms about taking on the challenge of operating and maintaining an early car. There's an incredible amount of information available on the internet and I do have an understanding of how they function.
I am also an historian and as such, I prefer original historic vehicles to replicas and hot rods. I have virtually no interest in vehicles from the late 30's forward. I think the lines of 20''s cars are the best ever made. (My opinion only. I hold no animosity toward folks who like later models. That's their thing, not mine.) I also participate with a group of historical reenactors who re-create the early days of motor camping, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor sports. (One of the most rewarding hobbies I've ever enjoyed.) I have four children, aged newborn to 8 years old. My family enjoys participating with me, however, we can no longer fit everyone in the tiny Gazelle. The obvious solution is to find a 7 passenger car that we can all enjoy. Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of money to throw at it. I'd be happy to sell the Gazelle in spite of the sentimental reasons for keeping it. That said, the market is flooded with them, and even with mine being better than most, there's just not much demand for them.
I don't mind doing some work on a car. Body and paint work is no problem for me. What I don't want to get into is something that will need a massive mechanical overhaul, or a complete interior rebuild. That's where my skills get weak, mainly on the financial level. I do have the ability to haul a vehicle with my enclosed trailer, but traveling 2000 miles to pick up a car will end up costing more than what I'd probably save on a good deal. Hence the 500-mile radius I've set for myself. I have looked outside that range, but it seems that pricing isn't much different across the country.
Thanks for understanding my frustration. The way this and a few other threads I've seen have gone lately, it seemed like there was a secret market for $4,000 to $5,000 good vehicles. That obviously doesn't exist. Got my hopes up a bit. I think it's probably a case of people trying to lowball an unsuspecting newbie by claiming absurd market values that are few and far between and certainly not average. I will continue to save and hunt, which was my plan all along, until I got excited over this Buick and the fantasy that it may have been in my price range.