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Bear Market in Classic American Cars?


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An article worth reading:

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/autos/2...une/index.html

When you consider what the Milennials have grown up with, no wonder they are more interested in their PDA's and social networking on Facebook than they are with cars. (Millennials, or the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X - those individuals with birth years from the early 1980s to the early 2000s).

Everyone can relate to the cars that were popular when they grew up. When we were in high school we had no such distractions as iPhones or PDAs and when a Model A Ford or a '32 Coupe, a '58 Impala or a '64 GTO went by, they were head-turners - think the movie "American Graffiti". Considering that the majority of young kids now grew up riding to school in their soccer Mom's minivan and watching monolithic plastic Japanese jelly beans go by which all look the same, why would they care about cars?

Edited by Texas Old Car Guy (see edit history)
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I think we're already seeing evidence of this. I have many discussions with various car guys, other dealers, and auction companies, and the one thing that just about everyone can agree on is that garden-variety cars (please pardon the expression, I mean no offense to their owners) are sliding down the value scale rather alarmingly.

Blue-chip cars (early V8 Fords, open Full Classics, early exotics, and other widely-recognized desirable cars) are always going to find eager buyers, but things like, say, that 1926 Buick barn find a few threads down, are awfully close to being 100% worthless today. It's pretty much gotten to the point where I can't represent a non-Classic '20s car that's not a Model A simply because they're impossible to sell at any price, never mind what the owner may have in restoration costs. I had that rather nice 1924 Buick Master Six opera coupe last summer which was a nice running, driving, very presentable car with an older restoration, and I had to give it away at thousands below what I had in it just to get it out of my garage.

The same holds true for '40s and '50s sedans from the middle-tier automakers like Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Plymouth, never mind the "orphans" which are going to be hit even harder. You have to price them at an enormous discount just to get someone in the door to look at them. We had a gorgeous AACA National First Prize-winning 1946 DeSoto last year, and I think we eventually were able to get around $10 or 12,000 for it in a package deal with two other cars, both convertibles. The restoration alone probably cost $50,000! I think the article above makes good points that only reinforce the idea that these cars are not ever going to be more valuable than they are today and may, in fact, be getting less valuable as young, budget-oriented, first-time buyers disappear (or never even enter the hobby in the first place).

I know some guys will dispute this, and I hope they're right, but everything I see day-in and day-out points to average cars becoming virtually disposable unless we can find a way to entice new people into the low-end of the hobby, and that's a big problem. There are relatively few guys who want, say, a 1927 Dodge, however wonderful they might be. That same guy would probably rather have a Model A, a '40s coupe, or a C3 Corvette, and will be willing to pay just a little more for one of those since they're perceived as a "safer" place to park their money. There's a lot of competition in the sub-$20,000 market no matter what "type" of car you want (antique, '50s, sports car, muscle car, etc.). The less desirable cars are simply going to be left behind, which really breaks my heart, but as I said, I can already see it happening.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a great deal on such a car, they will be plentiful and you will be able to get excellent specimens for pennies on the dollar. For those of us already in the hobby and looking for neat old cars without any predisposition to one particular marque or type, it'll be a literal buyer's feast. Hopefully we won't feel like vultures picking a still-warm corpse clean.

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Here is a quick story about a 20 -something who bucks the trend. In September 2012 I struck up a conversation with a young guy around age 25 proudly displaying his 380 SL at the Lime Rock Park Vintage Fall Festival Concours. As a fellow R107 chassis owner (560 SL) we got talking, he recently acquired it, loved it, but wanted a prewar Full Classic more than anything. We spoke about my old Packard, and some local car guys he is getting to know etc. This past fall, he shows up at the LRP Concours again - but this year, with a Rolls Royce 20-25 - very cool. No "tuner cars" for this guy - ultimately he would like a '29 -'30 Packard - I think he is off to a good start. So price trends aside, I do believe there will be some good custodians in the future.

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I agree with Matt. The issue is also the demographics that we have developed in the US. By the lack of investment in education cost control, young students are strapped with enormous loans upon graduation. There is less investment in education and research fields due to a "sequester", an attempt to placate one age group at the expense of another. The dissolving of "steady" employment, in other then service fields, that is , remaining with a employer "for life" with incremental raises( and promotion) from within. Today employees move from employer to employer seeking better compensation. That makes an employee a "rolling stone" ,selling his/her talents to the higher bidder... think ballplayers at the end of a contract. Let us mention always being on the edge of a next move, many times moving from city to city, even nation to nation, think Military. The last 30 years have seen stagnated wages putting a strain on workers. It is no wonder that collector car prices( NOT Exotic) are flat. Collector cars are just an anchor to most. To a large extent, the same can be said for home sales. When a 10% salary increase beckons in another state, who needs to worry about selling a house, or storing ( maintaining) an old car. Another point is the rise of the "Renter Society" Frankly, it is my opinion that the days of defined pensions, and long term stabile employment began to end for those born after the mid 1950s. WORSE, although most folks admire old cars, I have heard people more then once, mumble under their breath referring to the " old rich Bastar...". I hope that we do not become the image of the wealthy robber baron, driving his Dusenberg past a breadline.

Edited by rons49 (see edit history)
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I'm not sure that article has any wisdom in it that most of us don't understand. 75% of "Old" cars probably will have little or no value in the future but the really desirable stuff will always find a home. We can debate about what "really desirable" means but ultimately if you enjoy your cars and you are not counting on them to retire on the investment angle doesn't really mean much. It does, however, mean something to the people that make their living from the hobby because there will be less restoration work as people discover their price isn't worth working on.

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I think Matt made some good points and as an owner of several of the "less desirable cars that are simply going to be left behind". , I dont really care.

In the early 70's when old cars were cheap and the "hobby" was for fun and enjoyment, I bought cars for the pleasure of ownership. In those days, restoration

costs for the hobbiest/do it youselfer were affordable. We bought a few cars to turn over for a profit to support our hobby projects. Then old cars became

"Investment Vehicles". After that we spent more on restorations than we wanted to, but always had to keep an eye on expenses to not get "over invested."

Many lost the "Hobbiest" outlook and got caught up in the "Investment Vehicles" and throphies, competitions and trailer queens.

For me, they're still old cars and hobby vehicles. When my widow has a sale, she'll recover some of the money, but the fun will be the memories of all the tours

and outings with other old car nuts. The plus is, she always knew where I was and that the other woman had 4 wheels.

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I found the CNN article somewhat underwhelming. It's really based on the Hagerty data here, and specifically the one line in the chart for "50s American classics":

post-54236-143142390722_thumb.jpg

But that's only one line in the chart, and it's only very slightly down over the last few years. Every other type of car shows an increasing price index over the last 3-4 years. And just looking at the specific examples the CNN story picked after the main page, the prices are actually more mixed than the story suggests.

Granted, I take the point that over the next few decades, the collector car market is going to go through some major changes. We're likely to see fewer collectors and therefore overall less demand. Given the very high cost of restoration, and the likelihood that fewer and fewer people will have the skills to work on their cars, I suspect we will see prices drop considerably for less iconic cars and for cars needing work to run. But I don't think that CNN article was as helpful as it could have been.

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I don't put a lot of faith in articles such as this CNN example. In a lot of regards, the writer is no more than "a master of the obvious" and doesn't make a lot of valid points or claims that can't be figured out even by those of minimal knowledge. Markets change. They always have, they always will. Not just in cars, but in all forms of antiques, art, collectibles, real estate, stocks, bonds, business ventures, etc. etc. etc. Also he quotes a market change over the last couple of years. I think to give a fairer assessment of any market, one needs to look at a span of 10 years or more. Journalist rarely have hands on or practical experience when it comes to assessing any market.

I'll always remember in 1978 when the 25th Anniversary Corvette Indy Pace Car editions came out. The highly revered Wall Street Journal wrote a "definitive" article stating that if you buy one of these Corvettes and put it away for 10 years, they will easily surpass the 250,000.00 mark and what a stellar investment these "limited edition" cars will always be. Well, they actually never went up in value and now can probably be bought for less than the sold for new.

As a dealer/broker i can state that all vintage cars are marketable. Some are just more marketable than others. For example, last month Mecum offered nearly 3,000 cars during a 10 day period at his Kissimee, Florida auction. I would say of the 3,000 cars, about 2,500 of them were "garden" variety. Of these 2,500 garden variety cars, at least 75 percent of them sold-which is about 2,000 cars sold by just one auction company over a period of less than two weeks. Some of the cars were obviously bought by dealers (although, in observing the auction, I would have to say the bulk of the buyers were retail) which means that they feel there is a market for these types of cars as well.

The market is consistent in that great cars will sell for more money and will sell faster than good cars. Good cars certainly sell faster and for more money than fair cars. All cars eventually sell and will continue to sell. As a dealer, I probably sell 90 percent of my great cars, such as big brass cars and Full Classics without ever advertising or marketing them. Often times, good or fair cars are taken in trade. These lesser cars do take advertising and marketing to sell, but they always sell. (As one of the legendary antique car dealers told me when I was younger "there is an ass for every seat".) These cars get bought by newer collectors, who, if they decide to stay in the hobby, will often trade or sell them in later years so they can upgrade to something better. And then they get sold again to a new collector who will again often do the same. Very few vintage car owners began in the hobby by starting at the top rung of the collector car world.

All hobbies cost money-cars, boats, golf, travel,hunting, fishing, wine, women, song, etc. At least with a car you always have something of value.

Cars should be enjoyed, do your homework, buy what you like, get to know the car and then DRIVE THE WHEELS OFF OF IT!

You'll be glad you did!

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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Paul, nice response. Enjoy the hobby and do not expect to make money. Hope to make friends and life long relationships. Its not a good thing to be obsessed with value of your toy, for when a profit motive steers folks in a hobby, it ceases to be a hobby but a business. This holds true with a home. For over 60 years or more folks expected their home to be an investment to help out in their later years. We all see what happened in 2008. Enjoy the ride... your dead a long time.

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Except of one car in my 50+ years in the hobby, they have all been "Projects". Maybe I should have amassed a pile of money first and bought a running drivable car, and my view of the hobby would be different. There will always be "Project car" guys, but their number is shrinking, and having a pile of parts is better than having an unwanted and unsellable car IMO. Rule number one with me is to never buy a car you don't like to look at, nothing more depressing than an ugly car in the yard or garage. Bob

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Unless you are talking about the 2% of seriously significant autos with hand crafted coachwork that were the most expensive when they sold new, I do not see autos as a rational 'investment' as their base of buyers can only go down. They are for hobbyists who do not care about the values. I see the big auction houses such as Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, RM and the like as detriments to the hobby. Their televised shenanigans and high pressure tricks to get people to overbid are nauseating to me and turn me off to the vast majority of autos they are hawking.

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Unless you are talking about the 2% of seriously significant autos with hand crafted coachwork that were the most expensive when they sold new, I do not see autos as a rational 'investment' as their base of buyers can only go down. They are for hobbyists who do not care about the values. I see the big auction houses such as Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, RM and the like as detriments to the hobby. Their televised shenanigans and high pressure tricks to get people to overbid are nauseating to me and turn me off to the vast majority of autos they are hawking.

Even the 2% of seriously significant autos are not necessarily a rational investment. Supply of those cars is basically fixed, so prices will go up or down based on changing demand. Right now, demand for the top cars is high, largely tracking the art market. And that high demand has created more demand, as the folks looking to buy high dollar cars are often investment-oriented; the upward pressure on prices brings more buyers into the market, driving prices up again. But there's no particular reason why demand has to stay that high. More broadly, I would guess that if you track the value in most significant autos over time, I suspect they're only a consistently plausible investment when they're about 40-50 years old, the "really wanted one when I was 15 and now I'm 60 and have the money to buy one" period.

(I don't blame the auctions, though, as I don't think they're tricking anyone to overbid. If you don't realize what auctions are doing, you probably shouldn't be buying cars.)

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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OK, Do you think the cashed up, chinese multi-millionares will get interested in the 30 - 40's classics in the future? Either as status symbles or investments.

If they do that will drive the market or maybe they would just be happy with an old Toyota.

I know they like new Ferrari's and Lambo's

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It's still all about supply and demand. Post war cars were built and survive in huge numbers. Pre war stuff there is much less supply. From the demand side I think all vintage cars will be in less demand than they have been for the past 20 years. The top 3 percent of collector cars will do fine, middle of the road iron will get softer and stay there. Barn find cars will be of little value and be turned into parts. I think all era's will have the same fate. Very few people start collecting with a Mercer, Dusenberg, or 50's Ferrari . We are no longer a "car nation". There will be a place for all the cars, but the market and hobby will be different than it is today. The hobby will change in ways that can't be predicted, but it will survive and I plan to keep enjoying it for another 35 years. Buy what you like and enjoy it. I like to drive, others like to show, some just keep filling the garage and never get their cars out. It takes all kinds to keep the hobby going. Hershey is bigger than ever, but there is much less selling going on than there was in the 70's and 80's. I belong to several clubs that are on line only, no dues, no publications, no directors. Who would have thought if a club like that 20 years ago?

.

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The problem with the market is GREED.

Last edited by bubba; 1 Day Ago at 10:49.

I agree 100%. I bought my first car, a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere convertible for $90 and drove it home! So EVERY single car out there will sell to someone if the price is reasonable enough. When they DO get cheap enough, people will buy them and become interested in the hobby. When their friends drive in it or look at it, they will become interested. The only thing holding back the hobby is stogy old hoarders that think that their 1952 Plymouth 4 door sedan needing full restoration is worth a fortune.

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I recall reading somewhere (might have been the C&D article referenced) that the Chinese are not allowed to import old cars. If they could, I suspect a lot of Buicks would be heading that way.

OK, Do you think the cashed up, chinese multi-millionares will get interested in the 30 - 40's classics in the future? Either as status symbles or investments.

If they do that will drive the market or maybe they would just be happy with an old Toyota.

I know they like new Ferrari's and Lambo's

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OK, Do you think the cashed up, chinese multi-millionares will get interested in the 30 - 40's classics in the future? Either as status symbles or investments.

If they do that will drive the market or maybe they would just be happy with an old Toyota.

I know they like new Ferrari's and Lambo's

I don't think we have to worry about the Chinese doing anything drastic to the market. In China, it's illegal to import a car older than 10 years and younger than 100. So if you have a pre-1914 car or a post-2004 car, they might be interested, but otherwise they won't be flocking to the fat middle area of car collecting. Of course there's corruption and if you really want an old car in China, I'm sure there's a way to get it, but for most the hassles will be greater than the rewards. We sold a 1913 Model T last year to a Chinese gentleman and it was only because he wanted to start a car museum in China, but with the law, he could only use pre-1913 cars. That limited his scope pretty radically and made it an easy sell--how many inexpensive pre-1913 cars are on the market at any given moment? Not many.

While some guys have mentioned greed as a problem, I think it's more like simple misunderstanding and emotions getting in the way. Think of your favorite car--now put a price on it. What number would you put on it today, right now? Not the magic dream price that would make you part with a car you don't want to sell, just what you think a market-correct figure would be. Without even knowing the numbers, I can guarantee that most are 20% too high.

Greed? No, just love.

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I recall reading somewhere (might have been the C&D article referenced) that the Chinese are not allowed to import old cars. If they could, I suspect a lot of Buicks would be heading that way.

Our old cars probably wouldn't pass an Emissions test in China. Seems our old cars run to clean. :)

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OK, Do you think the cashed up, chinese multi-millionares will get interested in the 30 - 40's classics in the future? Either as status symbles or investments.

If they do that will drive the market or maybe they would just be happy with an old Toyota.

I know they like new Ferrari's and Lambo's

David,

I have an acquaintance who's foreign but comes to the States on business a lot. He keeps a '37 Cord at a place here for when he's wanting to do "The Great Gatsby" thing. I'm sure the Chinese could do the same thing without too much trouble.

Jeff

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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If the car is rare. You will be ok..

If you just have parts or project car... Get the best price and walk away...

I could not give my Kaiser parts away for free.... It took 7 phone calls to get it done..

We pick up a car like this one for about 175.00

My Dad would save any car... That was a kaiser..

The car was sold . It is still in Ne...

The Pic is from the web,,

post-97742-143142393905_thumb.jpg

Edited by nick8086 (see edit history)
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Also while you are ringing the death knell of interest in collector cars maybe you can explain the recent proliferation of TV shows about "old cars" and the success of automotive technology courses at such places as WyoTech, Penn Tech and McPherson. An annual rite of Spring is our receiving numerous applications for employment from grads of these schools and I believe most of them are young people.

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Well, we have not happenned to sell anything in the past year or so but in the past 5-6 years I had three cars sell, ('30 Model A, '68 Olds Cutlass cnvt, '39 Packard 120 Sedan) all firmly in the "common Garden" variety. One sold locally, one to a buyer down south, one overseas - Switzerland. All at market, two under the $20,000 mark noted above. Two of the buyers paying shipping costs in addition to purchase. Pretty much a break even situation all told, with a small loss on the "A" and gain on the Olds. What does this mean? As noted above buyers exist at all levels. In each case I was surprised that they sold as quickly as they did given the gloom and doom discussion is not really new here, especially at it pertains to prewar stuff. That said, the trends are obvious. A '41 Plymouth sedan is not a leading investment car now, just as it was not in the 70s (still miss mine though...) -both rodders and restorers will always value a Ford over the other comparables due to history if nothing else.

I do think the demand has changed in that unless it is very rare or desirable more people prefer running, usable if not restored or very nice original cars, for whatever reason. I know lots of people interested in the hobby in various ages but less are restoring then 30 or so years ago. This could be part of the reason the better shops have waiting lists still?

Added thought - I know the OP spoke specifically of American cars but I mention these as examples simply because I cannot think of an American car off the top of my head for this year, however in just about every year at least a few cars become notable for rapid price escalation. Cars I follow that seem to fit the bill include the Mercedes 190 SL & W-113 "Pagoda" style SLs as well as most any pre '76 Porsche 911, especially the earliest SWB cars. I am sure there are others, just as certain 60s muscle cars followed or may be still on the same price trends. Once at peak, one might expect some sort of "correction" but the bottom line is, if you just have to have a '69 911 today, expect to pay triple what you might have 3 - 5 years ago. certain models heating up and cooling or leveling a bit is all part of the market. I do not think I would consider it greed to sell anything at market. I know if I have a vehicle with a known market value of $10,000 I would not sell if for $5,000 whether I paid $1,000 or 10,000 for it or whether the market a few years ago was $5,000 or 10,000 for the car.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
added thought (see edit history)
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The only thing I see that has changed is the ability to find cars easier thanks to the internet. Before if you wanted, say, a 1935 Cadillac, and there were a couple you were able to find via the hobby magazines, shows, etc, you were likely to buy one of those 2. Now you can find several very easily. That doesn't mean that prices necessarily go down because the buyers are finding cars closer to what they actually want instead of settling. It also creates a dynamic where there are deals to be found, as well as some being priced completely incorrectly. Basically there are more options to the buyers.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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It's not just the market, but the variability and volatility of the market... I've walked away from sales shaking my head because the prices were either way, high or low. I went to an auction with a fair Model A Sport Coupe... all original but not running and the original top was missing. They pulled it out of the auction because the top bid was $16K. I think they should have taken it. Anything over $12k was well sold in my opinion. I also walked by an original running Nash Metropoliton for $4.7k in very nice shape. Been kicking my butt ever since for not picking it up. It's not just the investment, it's having the time, the space, facility and knowledge to maintain these cars. One mouse in an interior can destroy it. I'm a peripheral member of the hobby because I don't have the time to commit to it, but at this point it makes much more sense financially to buy rather than build because everyone thinks a rusted out hulk should be worth $5k.

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Please differentiate between "greed" and "supply and demand". I am unclear on this point. Are you suggesting that car owners should sell their vehicles for less than someone is willing to pay? Would you agree to do the same?

Restorer32, I don't think one should give their car away. A reasonable price that can be agreed on would be fine. Just don't put a $100K price on your AMC Pacer because it's rare and hope to snare a sucker. I am selling off most of my collection and have sold three of my cars so far. I lost twelve grand on the "classic" that the dealer I bought it from totally misrepresented. The other two I was the second and third owner so I knew the history. One I sold for less than the buyer offered to cover his expenses and the other one I broke even if you included what I put into it. I didn't care. I enjoyed having the car.

I'm glad to see that some young people are taking interest. Can't wait till one of them puts a Tesla motor into a Duesenberg. That should light up this board!!

Edited by bubba (see edit history)
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All good points on the market Dave. Markets are funny things and do not always react the way each of us feels they should based on our perspective. For example, your comment on 190 SLs - I actually predict more appreciation in the short term. Not because they are worth the current market prices now (From my perspective - above cars I would traditionally consider more desirable - i.e. XKE Jaguar to name just one??) being commanded but because of the market trend. Of course I thought this when many 60s cars that were mass produced, lower end cars when new shot past many Full Classics or fine sports cars. I chalked that up to coattails just like the MB 190 SL, only then a relatively common muscle car riding on the coattails of the few rare top engine models - but the market did what it wanted, commanded by people who have their own perspective. I would totally agree, greed has less to do with this than what people want to say. Just because I am not one of them, more clearly desire a '69 Chevelle Restomod than a '40 Buick as you describe.

We will definately be "underwater" with the current car,they are not that rare, and I am constantly doing things on it because it is just fun to make improvements, plus, my wife loves this car, where she liked the prior cars. We drive it nearly every weekend in season, so I chalk up any loss to the cost of ownership and use. Of course, that will likely be a 100% loss because the boy wants it and I would like to eventually get a W-113 Pagoda to replace it, but we will likely always have an SL now, even while looking for another oldie for less frequent use.

One way to never be dissapointed is buy what you like in your price range, and don't have unrealistic return expectations and you will get a lot more out of the hobby. :)

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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There are still some people with some money to spend.. but they are usually not young.. in the next ? 10-20 years there will be a LOT of big collections on the auction block, the current owners are all getting old, like you and me..

So, supply and demand will prevail. A lot of supply, limited demand, and prices will drop.

There will almost always be the two guys with deep pockets and big egos that want to 'win'. and this will drive up the price

at some auctions.. But in general, prices will drop.

I keep seeing the term 'Rare' as a valid reason for high prices.. So, what is 'rare' ? To me, that means very low production numbers, hard to find one even to look at much less buy..

So: what's rare? most of the one year wonders from the teens.. what are they worth ?? virtually nothing. OR the low-price model from some car makers that sold their premium car in decent numbers.. What's a Cleveland worth, compared to a similar year Ford, Chevy, Cadilac, Reo, Olds, etc??

RARE is not synonymous with desirable or with valuable, Rare means scarce.

What's a Yugo worth? it's a rare car, none survived.

How about a Briscoe ? There's one begging for a new owner in the Chicago/Milwakee area. A running car. but it's RARE.. meaning not many out there, and relatively unknown, so it's not very DESIRABLE. But it is RARE.

I looked at a Pierce Arrow Series 80 EDL [enclosed drive limousine] the other day. A coach 'taxi' version, 7 passenger, big coach, low on frills. A lot of money had been spent on the body, chassis, paint, and wheels. The engine had been disassembled, and left to rust for 25 years in a hundred separate pieces. JUNK. The engine had already been overhauled numerous times. Bored to max, so it would have to be bored, sleeved and bored to size. The crankshaft was a hunk of pitted rust, and already .040" under standard.. Junk, a new crank needed.

But the seller thought he has the holy grail of project cars... because its RARE.. well, yeah it's rare because it was worn out in normal service, as a taxi in a big city. and when the war drives came. they got scrapped by the thousands. For some reason this one survived. Rare? yeah, desirable? no.

The buyer was insulted by my refusal to offer a price, when he was persistent, he was further insulted by my offer for the few parts I considered worth dragging home..

BUT this is a RARE car !! was his cry.. But it's the least desirable of that or most models of cars. a working version of a huge sedan.. slow, heavy, and takes extra materials to do anything on it.. Yards more material for the vast interior, and Labor too..

Rare... does not equate to desirable..

Now, a mid '20's open 7 pasenger touring version of the same make and model? $30K plus, in rough shape. if all the parts are there.. now here is where RARE is another problem.. try finding some obscure part for a RARE car.. forget it.. just pay to have one made, or spend years looking, even with the internet. some things just are not around. Either they all wore out, and the NOS stuff got used up, or there are so few cars around that need that obscure part that the part has no value, and in the scrap it goes.

Greg L

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For example, your comment on 190 SLs - I actually predict more appreciation in the short term. Not because they are worth the current market prices now (From my perspective - above cars I would traditionally consider more desirable - i.e. XKE Jaguar to name just one??) being commanded but because of the market trend. Of course I thought this when many 60s cars that were mass produced, lower end cars when new shot past many Full Classics or fine sports cars. I chalked that up to coattails just like the MB 190 SL, only then a relatively common muscle car riding on the coattails of the few rare top engine models - but the market did what it wanted, commanded by people who have their own perspective.

Just as an aside, I think the run-up in the 190sl prices made a lot of sense. Timeless style, well-built, repairable, by a company with continuing name recognition and prestige. The primary beef about them is that they're very slow, but that matters less and less: Today's cars are so much faster than the cars of the 50s that almost all old cars are slow by today's standards. So I think the rise in prices is pretty sensible. I just kick myself for wanting to buy one several times in the past but never quite doing it.

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