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what car would you invest in


Dan Marx

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Ahh I re-read this thread from 2010 - my how time has passed. I think a lot of the cars mentioned have been tracking relatively close to where they were. Interesting Rusty mentioned Porsche 911 almost as an afterthought, along with the MB "107" chassis cars.

I think the early, short wheelbase 911 cars would have been the ticket, looking strictly at value rises, as they have enjoyed a pretty nice escalation in the last two years, and appear to be continuing for now. If one were to buy a "couple 911 cars" - but early ones, as Rusty suggested, I believe they could have doubled their money.

We actually ended up with one of the Mercedes SLs Rusty pointed out, and while not necessarily an "investment" they are slowly climbing in value, but are far too numerous that I would ever think they will follow the 911 cars in value. Regardless, a perfect compromise between the ability to use very frequently in season and being a quasi collectible car. We sold our '39 Packard pretty much at a break even price, which for a somewhat "down market" last spring worked ok for me.

I agree with most in that these are not investments in the true sense of the word, and you should buy what you like above all else. That said, to buy and restore or maintain any collector car requires some significant outlay of cash, so this is one hobby where "dollars invested vs. return" comes into play. So it is interesting to follow the trends...

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Dan:

Since we're playing the "what if" game, why would someone with $100,000 to "invest" in cars limit themselves to a single car? Wouldn't it make more sense to diversify and buy several different cars with the $100,000? Spend $20,000 for a nice muscle car such as a mid-80's turbocharged Buick Grand National, $20,000 for a 1964-65 Pontiac GTO, $20,000 for an early collector car such as a nice Model A Ford (if you look long enough you might find a Woodie for the money), $20,000 for a 1955-57 Chevy and $20,000 for a sports car such as a Porsche.

Over time, some will go up in value, some will go down and some will remain the same. Blowing $100,000 on a single car is really putting all your eggs in the same basket. Believe it or not, I have a friend who has over $100,000 invested in his Model A Ford Convertible Sedan 400A and fortunately for him, he doesn't have to worry about money so whether it goes up or down in value doesn't matter.

I know we all look back over our lives and wonder why we didn't hold on to the previous cars we've owned - for some reason I've always loved Model A Fords and held on to them (have owned one of mine for 41 years; bought it for $750 in 1972 and it's now worth around $20,000-$25,000). But, I now realize I should have held on to the muscle cars I drove in college. The first car I ever drove was my Dad's 1958 Edsel 2-door hardtop which he bought new; took it on a date in 1959 and the gal asked what those funny telephone-like push buttons were in the middle of the steering wheel (transmission shift selector buttons). Had I kept that one as an investment, we know it wouldn't command much these days. I have owned a 1953 Ford 2-door sedan, 1962 Corvair Monza turbocharged Spyder, a 1960 Ford Falcon, a new 1967 Buick GS-400 hardtop, a new 1972 Chevrolet Malibu hardtop, several Fords, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs, Mercedes, etc. all as daily drivers. Several of these marques are no longer made such as the Edsel, Corvair, Falcon and Oldsmobile, but the fact that they are out of production doesn't necessarily increase their value. Funny how Ralph Nader killed the Corvair with his "Unsafe at Any Speed" book yet the rear-engine Volkswagen continued to climb in sales, ultimately outpacing the Model T Ford in total volume.

I'd just hate to think my $100,000 was riding on "one shake of the dice."

Fred

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Forty years ago I took a gamble on a few cars right after my college was paid off ('04 Cadillac, '11 Brush, '62 Vette, to name a few). Not because of their value at the time, but more as a hope that they would hold their value in the future. Not knowing what the future had in store, I am pleasantly surprised with the value in todays economy. Would I do it again? You bet, but not with the same vehicles. The hobby has changed so much over the years, that what used to be popular, is slowly disappearing. Young people are interested in vehicles they can relate to. If dad or gramps had an old Camaro or Challenger, maybe investing in the modern versions of those vehicles will have some appeal in the future. I would buy a new, high horsepower version of either one and store it away as a potential investment. If it makes money fine, if not, fine also. At least have some fun with it along the way. This is not about gain vs. losses. Its about the hobby, the people, the research, helping others, that is where the real satisfaction comes into play. Just MHO.

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There is another way to look at it. If you had the ability, time, and resources to restore a car yourself, and by that I mean provide the actual labor yourself, your best bet might be to buy the most potentially valuable car you could find for $100K, regardless of condition, and invest your time and sweat into restoring it. You likely could still eventually turn a handsome profit on the car, assuming you chalked up your time as "fun".

With that said, this is what I'd buy. 1934 Lincoln Twelve with custom body by Brunn... except that I'd probably use and drive it as is before restoring it. Of course, the white sidewalls would be the first thing to go.

post-33613-143141881919_thumb.jpg

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With that said, this is what I'd buy. 1934 Lincoln Twelve with custom body by Brunn... except that I'd probably use and drive it as is before restoring it. Of course, the white sidewalls would be the first thing to go.

West:

Nice choice and I agree about the whitewalls - gotta go! But be careful you might hit a nerve about the whitewall comment - don't know if it's kosher to post a link to another old car forum but the Ford Barn (Model A section) has been on fire the last day and a half over the whitewall tire issue. Almost 2,500 views and 107 replies in about 36 hours! The war is ragin'! One guy posted, "I don't like whitewalls on an A , but to each , his own .

Whitewalls do look good

on a big Packard.

time for another whitewall rant...... - The Ford Barn

Fred

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To me, an investment is something that produces cash flow. By that standard an old car is an investment only if it's a limo or a promo vehicle you can put out there hauling passengers or showing up at paid events. Or a race car that wins races. In all those cases there are a lot of expenses and the cars do not get unscathed, either.

Buying something on the idea that it will go up in value is speculation, not investment.

Some speculation is reasonable and offers a reasonable chance of return and some doesn't. Old cars are generally a poor long term speculation in my view if you cost out the storage, maintenance, repair, insurance, etc. requirements fairly.

The top end cars have snowballed in price because we are in an area where the delta between the wealthiest fraction of the populace and the rest has increased greatly. That may or may not continue. The most valuable old cars represent Veblen goods and get a lot of publicity which makes them targets, should certain types of possible changes occur. The mid level cars shouldn't be bothered too much but with demographic changes their pricing may change radically too.

In certain South American countries, for instance, valuable old cars were declared "national treasures" and their export was prohibited, which means their market value was decimated. Owners either took large risks and smuggled them out of the country, paying a lot of mordita, or sold them to local buyers at substantial discounts from world prices.

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  • 1 month later...

I read somewhere that collector cars have out performed most traditional "investments". That's certainly true for me. I guess that sort of investment could be called "speculation", but then so could investing in the stock market or on commodities. I would much rather put my money in old cars. In fact, I recently did just that. I sold an old Jaguar and rather than putting the money in the bank at no interest, I took part of the money in the form of 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Brewster bodied Regent Convertible Coupe. Here it is:post-93470-143141949691_thumb.jpg

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I liked that car when it was for sale on Long Island. Was that an aluminum 120 you used part of the proceeds from to buy this car?

The three big differences I see between stocks and cars are:

1. I know a lot more about cars than stocks so it is less likely I'll buy a bad car.

2. However stocks are more liquid.

3. Stocks also don't deteriorate if not cared for.

That said, I like your point anyways.

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Yes, it was a 1949 XK120 alloy Super Sports that I had owned for 44 years. I paid $1,000 for it in 1968. Never restored, just well loved and taken care of. I don't plan on restoring the Rolls either. It looks good and runs and drives fine. At lot more antique than the Jag, though.

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I'm a good guesser :). In 1972 my dad had the choice between a complete running alloy 120 for 1200 dollars and a complete non running 140MC for 400 dollars. He usually didn't but he fumbled the ball on that one. We still have the MC.

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Some sleepers might include the Hudson fastbacks and later British or Italian or German sportscars of the latter years. Seems like the sportscars are the ones that

really skyrocket in value. Roadsters, Boattails, coupes, cabrios, etc. Perry

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post-93470-143141951265_thumb.jpg

I'm a good guesser :). In 1972 my dad had the choice between a complete running alloy 120 for 1200 dollars and a complete non running 140MC for 400 dollars. He usually didn't but he fumbled the ball on that one. We still have the MC.

Oops, bad dad! Here's a photo of the alloy XK120.

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I forgot to mention which car I believe is the ultimate sleeper. I think one could easily find 10 of them in mint condition for the price. That would be the Datsun 240, 260, 280, 300 Z and ZX models. Somebody loan me a 100 K long term; I could prove my point,ho!

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Something Italian. I am thinking Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione...Sigh! I'm in love....

100k wouldn't probably get you in the seat...post-83364-143141953981_thumb.jpg

I know it's not an American Classic, but that's what I'd invest in.

Failing that, maybe Maserati?

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Well if I had 100k to spend on one car that I had to sell in 10 years with the sole purpose of making money on it, without doing any sort of major restoration work, it would either be a nice mid 70's Dino or a mint 85ish Testarossa. Anything late model needs longer than 10 years. Ferrari's are always hot.

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Ferrari's are always hot.

No. Not true with any investment. Unless you define a sharp downward spiral as "hot." In the early 1980s, when GTOs were bringing upwards of 15 million dollars, the market crashed and a GTO could be bought for 3 to 4 million.

Which goes to say, what goes up very fast, tends to go down very fast as well (not necessarily all the way down). While other cars tend to ride coat tails, if they don't spike upward, they also tend not to spike downward.

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Look at what economies are successful now-(very few I am afraid)

Germany, Brazil, Australia

A porsche 356 or a 280sl are a good start-they have doubled in the last few years.... when societies have money, they spend on what comes from their culture. The key word is "invest".

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Look at what economies are successful now-(very few I am afraid)

Germany, Brazil, Australia

.

All is not always what it seems. They talk of a 2 speed economy here: More correctly, some few surf the economy where very many are struggling to stay afloat, and many more are drowning in it. The vestiges of local manufacturing that was the basis of national prosperity are mostly sinking. Only hot spots are of exploitation and export of national resources which cannot be replenished.

If you happen to visit to look for yourself I hope you might come to talk about Mercers. A friend in Qld is restoring his too.

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No. Not true with any investment. Unless you define a sharp downward spiral as "hot." In the early 1980s, when GTOs were bringing upwards of 15 million dollars, the market crashed and a GTO could be bought for 3 to 4 million.

Which goes to say, what goes up very fast, tends to go down very fast as well (not necessarily all the way down). While other cars tend to ride coat tails, if they don't spike upward, they also tend not to spike downward.

I guess always was a bad word to use there, but over a 10 year period there will be times when Ferraris are "hot." The 6 figure ones seem to always come around. When it comes to 7 figure cars, that's a different story.

Love those Dinos - unfortunately the "Jr. Ferrari" (not called a Ferrari when new, just "Dino") has already blown right on by the $100K mark, one under $200K these days would be a good buy.

Can't you still you can still get a decent driver in that range? Nothing show quality at all, just a decent car.

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Hey Billy, on the Dino I can only say I am far from an expert, I do like them, and have a friend who was looking for one a year or so ago, although he has yet to pull the trigger. I have been kind of paying attention to the prices mainly due to our discussions on them; I know some cars he looked at that were not perfect were in the $200K range plus or minus a bit.

I think the Mondai is under appreciated, as well as the closed version of the same car. The styling clearly locks the era in as 70s - 80s but is simple compared to some of the other Ferrari models of the era, but not sure when the "time will be right" for those.

An example of a "coattails ride" IMO is the appreciation in recent years of the Ponton based 4 cylinder 190 SL. Nice cars, but seeing these somewhat regularly in the + $100K mark surprises me. I am sure my high school buddy who acquired one in the early 80s, for $3,500 wishes he kept it. The car came out of a local garage where it had sat so long the floor of the garage had sunk about 6 inches below grade. This car needed a good cleaning, wax and I would imagine full servicing to then take to a local show without embarrassment - it was that good. And all he wanted to do was trade it for a Corvette, like a typical 20 year old in 1983-84...

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Ivan is quite correct about areas with a booming economy. Here in Western Canada certain segments of the economy are hot and real estate is just plain crazy {$1,000,000.00 + for a city lot teardown in several parts of Vancouver} . But most of us are really just getting by. Very little left over for hobby cars as the local cost of living knocks the stuffing out of everyone but the top 20 % earners. Quite a few collector cars being exported to places where average people have some disposable income. If I had a spare $100,000.00 perhaps a Muntz Jet, or the best 60's sports racer I could find within the budget {Lotus 23 being the goal but probably over budget}. Greg in Canada

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If you want maximum return, $100k would buy 20 nice Reatta or Allante convertibles. Anything over about 30 years is not going to appreciate fast or be particularly undervalued.

Personally would like a SS-100 Jag, Studillac, and a Facel HK-500 with Pont-a-Mousson

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