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Creative financing, or...everyone is a wealthy 'real' doctor?


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I would agree with all of the above comments except for the one  above from 39buickeight . I am old enough to have been an adult from the 1980's to date . I think I have a pretty strong work ethic; participated in the employment market since I was 15, supported myself {with the help of student loans - repaid in full} during a pretty intensive post secondary education, Built a career, raised a family, and all the rest.  I cannot agree with the statement that it has gotten any easier over the last 35 years or so.  In my experience quite the opposite has been true. {see my above post's}.

   I have a lifelong friend{not the one involved with the Duesenberg} that represents someone quite wealthy who inherited 99 % of his assets, he is not important in this conversation. I also knew his Father very well ; who made his fortune in exactly the same manner as alsancle described, started with nothing ,worked hard, took risks, and reaped the benefits.  His opinion on wealth , business, and related subjects I respected and listened to. Just before his cancer diagnosis and death ;about 10 years ago, he commented on how much more difficult he was finding the business and investment environment compared to when things were first working out for him in the late 60,s/ early 70's.  Interest rates  were lower but Banks were much more restrictive {remember I am in Canada , our banks are much more conservative than the U.S.}. And things in general were quite a bit more competitive. It did not stop him from making deals; and ultimately profits, but this is also a man who by this point had the resources of a multimillion dollar wealth.

  I was not really surprised by his comment as it mirrored my own reality, but I think it illustrates my point that for some of us at least this is not the "easiest" of times. Despite our best efforts some of us are little by little going backwards. It might be only  1 % a year, not enough to even notice unless you are a close observer. But that 1 % multiplied over a couple of decades adds up to a pretty hefty bite.

  I never felt entitled to anything I haven't worked for, problem is in some cases just working isn't enough.

 

Greg in Canada

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I made every cent I have, work hard, and it is sad to see folks who don't want to work and just collect 'entitlements'.  How far this country has slid downhill over the years.  Fortunately, this is just enough to survive on, and it amazes me that there are folks out there who prefer to have nothing instead of getting up in the morning and going to work.  I was lower middle class in an area with lots of inherited wealth, and, when I was a teenager, I thought WOW, this is GREAT!  Unlimited funds and not a care in the world.  Sort of how I ended up, first degree, with one that wasn't so good.  I saw folks who did nothing and had a lot, and thought life was easy (nevermind my parents).  Found out the hard way about the School of Hard Knocks!  Life has never been easy and 1912Staver is right that it is getting far less easy.  Now, being in my mid-'40's, I think that inherited wealth is about the WORST thing out there.  First, it breeds entitlement, and secondly, we don't all start out on a level playing field.  If I have the money to get that Brass Era car someday, it will mean a WHOLE lot more to me than someone who simply wrote a check for it and barely made a dent in their checking account.  My 1917 Maxwell, to others, may not be much, but I worked hard to pay for it, and I enjoy it immensely!

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Having something handed to you is rarely a good thing.  However,  "inherited wealth" is such a miniscule issue compared to "I refuse to work and here are 100 reasons why I can't".

 

Also,  if you happen to be the guy that worked your ass off to create the wealth you should get to choose what you want to do with it.  Even if it means giving it to your potentially lay about kids.  It will be gone in one generation anyways.

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Actually when I mentioned my friend who inherited his father's self made fortune and described him as not important, I did him a disservice. He has a substantial car collection, and owned the restoration shop that I worked at 25 + years ago while I was attending technical college. I intended the comment in the narrow context of responding to 39BuickEight's remark about these being the "easiest of times"

   My friend's  head start in life has ensured that he has been far more able to achieve satisfaction in the old car hobby / business than my chronically underfunded efforts. He is definitely not one to sit around all day at the country club. He is way more involved in old cars than I can ever hope to be as he has both the time and money to do so , both factors that I am desperately short of.

  I am sure that there are many examples of people who inherit substantial sums and do nothing productive with their time or wealth but my friend definitely is not in this category. We grew up together; were both mad about old cars, and have lived our lives immersed in them.  He has been able to produce some stunning examples, I am surrounded by unrealized potential. The difference is for a good part at least the difference in resources.

  His father; the self made man, always thought we were wasting our time with old cars and gave us both lectures about it on several occasions.  To him anything two years old was "old junk" and to be traded in ASAP.

 

Greg in Canada

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I am going to shy away from the wealth / middle class debate. I will agree today it's a lot harder to get ahead. My main interest in commenting is on the price and availability of cars. I am VERY active in the car hobby, and there is no doubt that the brass stuff is overall soft right now. Prices remain elevated in relation to demand due to the fact that most of the current owners don't need the money and tend to hang on to cars longer than they can enjoy them. I think this will change in a big way soon. No, you're not going to buy a 66 HP Pierce for $50,000 but trust me, I know all the major players and dealers, the big brass is soft. The best of the best .......the top 5 percent is holding. Provenance is EVERYTHING ! Otherwise the market is soft. Demographics are changing fast, I don't think the younger money will chase the cars like they have in the past. Interestingly, I recently purchased my least deseriable and least expensive collector car I have ever purchased..........a 15 T. I use it more and have a better time with it than the 7000 mile 14 Caddy I had for a while and recently sold. The T looks like a toy parked next to one of my Pierces but it IS fun. You can buy a 45 HP car right now that is decent and turn key for under 50K. Not free, but also not crazy money either. 15 years ago I almost bought an open Model J Dusenberg, but I decided to build a home instead . I should of bought the car. If you spend enough time looking and look at enough

cars you would be surprised what you can find at an affordable price. I will look at 50 or even up to 80 cars before I buy one. If you shop long and hard enough you will find a bargain. Like most things in life it's just lots of work. It's human nature to want to own a toy that's a little bit out of our price range. I've managed to do it by being patient. I may buy three cars in one month or I might not buy any for a year or two. You have to be ready to move instantly. Keep looking and be patient you'll find your car.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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My main interest in commenting is on the price and availability of cars. I am VERY active in the car hobby, and there is no doubt that the brass stuff is overall soft right now. Prices remain elevated in relation to demand due to the fact that most of the current owners don't need the money and tend to hang on to cars longer than they can enjoy them. I think this will change in a big way soon. No, you're not going to buy a 66 HP Pierce for $50,000 but trust me, I know all the major players and dealers, the big brass is soft. The best of the best .......the top 5 percent is holding. Provenance is EVERYTHING ! Otherwise the market is soft. Demographics are changing fast, I don't think the younger money will chase the cars like they have in the past.

 

This is the answer I was seeking, although, of course, this is a double-edged sword.  I mean, I want someone to tell me that my house is worth double what I paid for it a few years ago, and, if I ask enough people, maybe I will get someone to agree to this, but, then again, when it comes time to sell, it's a whole different story.  (And, on a tangent, housing is a great example of how it was easier to make money in the past.  Folks who sat on real estate for 5 or ten years, in the past, witnessed gains of 30, 40, 50%, and yet, now, in a decade or so, you are LUCKY just to break even!)

 

But, anyways, back to topic #1, I THOUGHT this HAS to be true!  Go to old car shows, ask most Gen-X-ers, and younger (some who have NO interest in even driving at all, and would rather just text, and probably would never have any interest in rebuilding a carburetor.  Heck, in a generation or two, with self-driving cars, one won't even have to know how to drive anymore!). 

 

IT SEEMS LIKE TO ME, that the 70 to 90+ crowd has to own most of this Brass Era stuff, they don't wish to sell, don't need the money, but, in the next 15 years or so, as they fade away, and their kids just see the Brass-era car as a heap of steel in the garage taking up space, and with a relative few, just like myself, with an interest in this sort of stuff, it seems like prices have to soften...probably considerably!  I'm not saying I will be able to snag that Pope-Hartford for $10,000 some day, but it seems like to me that in a generation or so, it might be possible to purchase more than the run-of-the-mill brass-era car for substantially less than the few (older) major players in the game are keeping prices jacked up.

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I would agree with all of the above comments except for the one  above from 39buickeight .

 

Greg in Canada

Greg, thanks for your reply.  I as mentioned, my post is a generalization.  It does not apply to everybody.  FWIW, I am younger than you, and I am raising a family of 5 on a modest income.  I paid for my own college too.  Most folks who are on this great forum have had the great fortune of being able to have a fun collectible car, often through hard work of their own.  These people are mostly not the majority of people in the USA.  Most people can't afford a "spare" car.

 

However, if you don't think life is easier than it has ever been, I urge you to have greater perspective.  For one, we, the public, are not carrying guns in a foreign land and fighting in a war.  In addition, it has never been easier to find and move to where the work is, and make good money at that.  Jobs and opportunities are open all over this country.  The only way it is not easier would be if a person planned on working the same job and retiring at 65 without managing their own money at all.

 

I also understand my thoughts are affected by where I live.  In my travels, I see a different attitude in many places.  I deal with the general public and their finances everyday with my job.  It's pitiful here how unmotivated and content people are when the possibilities are endless.  Just adding a little more to my perspective.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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It is interesting to hear your perspective on the future prospects of the "brass" cars  edinmass. It gives me hope that assuming I live long enough prices may return to a more realistic level on at least the middle of the Brass spectrum. With any luck I may have 20 years of active participation left, and that may be enough.

  Also very interesting to hear the perspective of 39Buick, I find your comment about working at a stable job until retirement as a loosing strategey a little puzzling.  Well perhaps not puzzling as my own experience does somewhat follow the outcome of a slow but steady decline of inflation adjusted income, but what do you propose as a alternative? In my experience workers who undergo a mid career employment change are often in a worse situation, not better. The new wage  / benefit package is rarely a good as the previous one, esp. if the worker in question is mid 40's or so and above. The prospective employer knows the applicant is probably in a bit of a bind and will often use that situation to their advantage. Retirement plans have often become less attractive over time and a job switch might change a lot once the person in question reaches retirement age.

 There are a few young / driven / gifted professionals who can make climbing the employer ladder work for them , but in my experience they are the exception.

  The investment market route you propose is also one I have seen to have many pitfalls. For a few it has been rewarding, but for many it has been no better than taking a wad of cash to Vegas. The small time investor is at the mercy of the market and the competency of his or her advisor {who collects his fee weather things have gone well for the client or not}, I have little exposure to the market ; my wife somewhat more, but our experience has been more of a break even result as opposed to any real benefit.

 I know people have to make their own luck ; and I have perhaps made the error of being too conservative ,but I have always used the principal of slow and steady as being the best in the end. Inflation / stagnant wages are something I didn't bargain for, and have been my bugbear. .

 

Greg in Canada

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I am just saying, in general, in years past, if person wanted to work for a company their whole life, they could do that, and retire with company benefits and retirement pay.  That is gradually ending.  Employees now are having to fund their own retirement plans (which can actually be better if you know what you are doing).  It was just a reference to the way the American workforce is changing. 

 

To most, it is more difficult to plan for retirement rather than have it set for you after a set number of years.  Many people feel they are doing well just to get by, much less save for retirement.

 

The go-getters will always be who they are, but the majority of American labor has changed quite a bit.

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Doesn't your last comment tend to support my assertion that things have gotten at least a little more difficult over the last few decades?  Your catch that people will have to not only be skilled in their occupation, but also as investment managers will exclude many. And anyone with the required level of money management sense will generally not be the ones "frittering away" valuable time and money resources on a money pit such as old cars.

 A few of us choose the correct parents, some of us discover oil in he back yard or buy the correct loto ticket. But most of us just go to work and earn our wage. Doing that and having something left over for the Ford, Chev. or Duesy is the real challenge most of us face.

 

Greg in Canada

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Climbing the career ladder is a misnomer.  Sure, a few do it, but it is being in the right place at the right time, being well-liked by a progressive employer, etc.  When I was in college in the late '80's and early '90's (the first time around), there was talk of the 'new' economy, where, with lots of baby boomers retiring, and few to fill their shoes, unprecedented demand for goods and services, the information age, it seemed like I would be 'at the right place at the right time'.  Of course, attending a state institution, these were all great ideas by folks with little experience other than in the la-la land of a government (and not private employer).  Now that I have gotten older (and hopefully, wiser), I have come to the conclusion that employment is pyramidal in fashion--you cannot have more than a very few at the top, and most folks get an entry-level job and rise no further--myself included.  It cannot be OTHERWISE, in order to remain sustainable.  Another myth (I don't know what else to call it) is that there would be far more demand for workers than supply.  I reasoned, picking up a copy of the Wall Street Journal, that, with all those companies in microscopic print listed on the stock pages, many of which hire thousands of folks, that getting a corporate job would be incredibly easy.  I NEVER did land that corporate job, and I don't know why, other than there simply aren't more positions than folks to fill them.  I don't know if that was always the case, but it is certainly so in a post-NAFTA world.  Also, I have since come to the conclusion that college has become 'promoted' more than ever before, because there simply aren't enough jobs to go around, and, if one works approximately 40 years, and 4 of those years are spent in college (at a minimum), it 'artificially' causes 10% of working years of most folks to be spent not in the work force, thereby making unemployment seem less than it really is!

 

Also, the last few comments about life being easier than it ever was, or not being so...I think life has always been 'tough' out there, except for a unique period of post-WWI expansion, maybe 1945 to 1985, when things got progressively better for everyone.  So, in the 'old days', pre-WWII, life was tough for most, except for a few elite, then, after the war, it got good for all, and, since then, it is getting increasingly tougher for all but a few elite, so, in a relative sense, it is getting worse out there because it is not like that unique period of time which is now long gone.

 

As far as retirement...saving for one's retirement may be better for a select few, but most folks in America are not financially savvy.  It worked far better when one had to do nothing except put their time in and collect a pension.  Sure, there are exceptions, of course, but with stagnant wages and increasing financial responsibilities, in order to obtain the income one needs to survive, it is often done by decreasing the proportion of income devoted to retirement/IRA's/other savings vehicles.

 

Stable jobs...these are increasingly rare.  Change occurs far more rapidly than the time necessary to devote to a career (30-40 years).  Employers are aware of this.  Employers know that the job market out there, except for a select few, is progressively more dismal as one gets older (few opportunities, lots of folks in need of those few opportunities), so wages are flat or cut if one loses one's job/income once not much beyond age 40.  Hence, the reason why wages remain stagnant/flat.

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Incidentally, the nation's largest employer, the Federal government, is a POOR employer as far as 'climbing the corporate (or government) ladder' goes.  Most folks NEVER make it beyond their entry level job, and, if this is the nation's largest employer, and 'should' set an example for other employers as to what a 'model' employer should be like, what do you expect it will be like in the private sector?  Also, pay increases in the last 6 years if one works for the Federal government have been 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, and 1% (projected 1.3% next year), so Uncle Sam continues to set a poor example for others.

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Your view of economics is not what I have seen.   People that do really well get lucky,  but they put themselves in a position to be lucky.  Are you willing to work 80 hours a week and maybe get paid for 20?  Are you willing to work straight through a weekend, and again maybe not get paid?  Most people count every minute they work and want to be compensated for it at market rate.   They are unwilling or unable to take risks.  We all make decisions in life that have a bigger impact on where we end up than the hidden hand.

 

Expecting others,  your boss, a business, the government to give you what you want guarantees you will never be happy.  You need to make your own way or simply be content with what others give you.

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Doesn't your last comment tend to support my assertion that things have gotten at least a little more difficult over the last few decades? 

Greg in Canada

 

Yes, but as I wrote before, that is the only point to be made on that side of the argument.  Everything else is better.  It's never been easier to educate yourself, find a good job, find another good job if yours ends, raise your family in safety, and wake up every day with no fear.  Sure there are exceptions, but life is easier now than it has ever been.  You don't even have to go the grocery store, bank, or post office if you don't want to.  Finding a part for a car is easier than ever.  Cars are more reliable and comfortable than ever, and when they aren't, we usually have a phone in our pocket to call for help if needed.  Life is actually too convenient now and my assertion is that is really hurting the country as a whole. 

 

I am 38 years old.  I did not live in the adult world until the 1990's, but I am also appreciative and have a perspective of what life was like for the generations before me.

 

I think the internet and cell phones are actually very bad for society.  I use them because I can, but I think we'd be better off if they were never invented.

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I would have to agree completely with your comment alsancle, those that are really successful rarely do it as employees of others. Instead they make their fortune by their own skills , hard work, and a bit of luck. And then having gotten that task out of the way can enjoy old cars at whatever expense level they choose. That strategy has never been questioned, but is by definition for the elite only.

  But this conversation began with the question of if only the truly successful can participate in anything beyond the entry level of the old car hobby. And if a middle class income has fallen so far short of the bar that we are in effect wasting our time even trying.  I am not sure any of the comments to this point give many of us any reason to feel like there is hope.

  Even 39buicks contention that these are the easiest of times is based on the foundation of "for those that can afford it". The safety and security point tends to mean less to me as I am Canadian; and although I am probably a bit naive about all the dangers lurking in the world, have never felt much fear of danger either within or from the outside of my country. Canada is by and large a pretty safe and law abiding place. As for all the other things cited I tend to think of them as conveniences, nice enough but hardly of any importance compared to standard of living, and weather one has any useable disposable income once the basics are paid for.

  I make what is statically a somewhat above average income ;based on the cross Canada average, but live in what has evolved into one of the most unaffordable regions on the globe ;last rating I saw; from THE ECONOMIST I believe, put us at # 2 just behind Singapore. If I hadn't acquired a few projects years ago I would be more or less priced out of all but the most modest old cars. It also doesn't help that the Canadian $ has taken a big tumble over the last couple of years, I am facing a 25 % extra hurdle on any U.S. sourced parts , materials ,cars or really almost anything my household requires. I have received a 2 1/2 % pay increase over this same time period, I think you can do the math. As far as moving is concerned as I have stated I am married to a wife with a reasonably successful career ; and she has no real problem with her standard of living, but that is her income . I don't expect, and she would not contribute to my hobby. She increasingly sees old cars as a waste of time and money. From her point of view a relocation is the last thing she wants , and would negatively impact her income. When we were young she used both my "beater" MGA and my GS 400 Buick as daily drivers and enjoyed them a lot, but they were cheap wheels 25 years ago, not any more. They are both now in storage awaiting much needed restoration, really just  time and money.

 I have not given up hope; quite the contrary , but am frustrated by the snails pace my projects advance at. I am just concerned that I may not have enough time left to ever enjoy a finished product, but as I have stated before I still get a lot of enjoyment from the process. I don't hold any illusion that there is any positive solution to my situation other than to do the best I can over time.. The comments I have previously posted are primarily to give a point of view on mrcvs original and  subsequent posts as well as the posts of several others, anything beyond that are to provide context to my statements.

 

Greg in Canada

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Your view of economics is not what I have seen.   People that do really well get lucky,  but they put themselves in a position to be lucky.  Are you willing to work 80 hours a week and maybe get paid for 20?  Are you willing to work straight through a weekend, and again maybe not get paid?  Most people count every minute they work and want to be compensated for it at market rate.   They are unwilling or unable to take risks.  We all make decisions in life that have a bigger impact on where we end up than the hidden hand.

 

Expecting others,  your boss, a business, the government to give you what you want guarantees you will never be happy.  You need to make your own way or simply be content with what others give you.

Well, I am happy, with my modest cars.  My income is above 'average' whatever that means, but I am firmly in the middle class, and, unless I opt for living in a trailer on a lot with a cheap lease, the Pope-Hartford will remain out of reach, for now.  I am happy with what I have, but...I work for others, and the means of hitting it big working for others are extremely limited...unless others means working for a wealthy father or uncle!

 

I was never one to really take risks.  I was not one to work for free.  I have worked 48 hrs, or greater, per week, for as long as I can remember, sometimes significantly greater.  I 'thought', by going to college, I was setting myself up for a significant income to do things beyond my wildest dreams, but, then again, so did everyone else who went to college.  If I had it to do over again, business and engineering all the way, and form my own company.  At age 22, you have nothing to lose, so why not?

 

Of course, you can work for others and make it big, like Jack Welch did (General Electric), but those types are the exception, not the rule.

 

I had these big ideas, but so did everyone else...and this means competition, something I had little concept of.

 

I read something recently, written by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or someone similar, and it basically stated that getting a college degree, and going to work, that sets you up for a middle class lifestyle (hopefully!), you major in childhood education, it might be lower middle class, petroleum engineering, higher middle class.  The truly wealthy have an idea, a concept, etc., that is truly unique and that is rewarded with a lot, if it succeeds, and of course, the chances of failure far exceed that of succeeding exceptionally.  I NEVER thought of that when younger, and it is a novel concept to me, but the author is right.  I may not WANT this to be true, but it is indeed valid.

 

So, yes, I can be happy.  Did I succeed beyond my wildest dreams?  No.  Will I ever?  Probably not.  But, then again, of the HUGE number of folks on this planet, what percent does?  Infinitely small.

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Actually I never saw my  education and career as leading to rewards "beyond my wildest dreams".  I wanted vintage cars , but only cars that were generally achievable within my foreseeable standard of living. I now find not only the mid 20's Stutz or Marmon {at one time pretty overlooked and generally modestly priced} that I had at one time seen as a potential target beyond me , but I have a hard time sparing $ for the cars I have owned for decades, 1912 Staver, 1918 Packard 2 ton, MGA, Buick GS plus a big pile of Ford T parts {from what I have seen at swap meets the last decade or so the definition of valueless}. None of them were expensive when I bought them, time has hurt them, and todays restoration costs have rendered them all nearly valueless {OK a big Packard truck never was worth anything on the collector market}.

  It's a changing world, all any of us can do is adapt and make do.

 

Greg in Canada

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Hang in there!  The post from a few days ago stated that the Brass Era car market is soft, and it is a few moneyed folks who don't need to sell keeping it propped up.  I am OPTIMISTIC!  In a few decades we will get that Brass era car (maybe not the Pope Hartford, though) for a price far less than we ever imagined!

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You won't have to wait a few decades. Actually the smartest move would be to start looking now. Keeping many irons in the fire eventually a deal work out. If one doesn't try to make a deal on a car you can't make a deal on the car. I'm always fishing for my next ride. It constantly amazes me what's out there. I've been very fortunate to own a lot of great toys. Regardless of market conditions or the economy I'm sure I will own more in the future as I'm always trying to find something new . You have to never stop the chase....... Play it for the game that it is . Good luck on your future cars. Ed.

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You won't have to wait a few decades. Actually the smartest move would be to start looking now. Keeping many irons in the fire eventually a deal work out. If one doesn't try to make a deal on a car you can't make a deal on the car. I'm always fishing for my next ride. It constantly amazes me what's out there. I've been very fortunate to own a lot of great toys. Regardless of market conditions or the economy I'm sure I will own more in the future as I'm always trying to find something new . You have to never stop the chase....... Play it for the game that it is . Good luck on your future cars. Ed.

Edinmass,

 

Where would you suggest to start looking NOW?  Other than on-line, or through Hemmings (these generally being FULL retail venues), the only options I can think of would be to luck out and find someone who rolled their Brass Era car to the end of the driveway with a For Sale sign on it and an attractive price (UNLIKELY), OR to find one for sale at a local auction without internet bidding and not much interest in this Brass Era car.  Where else should I be looking?  Hershey likely has high prices as well.

 

I am just a wholesale kind of guy in a retail world.

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Many good cars sell quietly through personal relationships.  The only way to establish those relationships is to be part of clubs, participate and be likable.   Lots of people fail on the likable part.

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AJ is correct. Attend HCCA meets year round. Not just the tours, go to the lunch dates in the winter, keep your ear to the ground, the cars will find you. Ed.

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I would definitely agree that local  connections with the HCCA members in your location (assuming there are any} is a good start. I have been a HCCA member since the mid 90's but have never had a running brass car so I have sometimes felt a bit like the Kid from the wrong side of the tracks with his nose pressed against the toy store window.  None of the local members except one have ever been snobby at all to me {several years ago and he is now deceased } , but there is still the fact that they have paid the price to participate in the hobby and I am still working on the down payment.

  Pretty unlikely that I could afford the outright purchase of any of the local running cars; but I still like to hear about what is locally available, and sometimes local people have been able to help me out with parts and advice.  And they are in my experience a great group of people.  But the possession of a running brass car would sure make a difference, and would allow me to "actively" participate rather than be a spectator.  In my instance the crazy shift work cycle I follow makes it very hard for any sort of club participation, but I plan on retiring within the next 3 years so that will make a big difference.

 

Greg in Canada

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I only buy AJ lunch because he lets me sit in his cars. He keeps telling me someday I am going to see one of them run . Rumor has it I may even get to drive one. I've driven him around in a world class Packard and Pierce and I didn't even get a lunch out of it !

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Greg don't overlook a good running pre-16 T. You don't need 60 hp to have fun. Of all the clubs I have been in I've never had any complaints of the members being snobby. There was one club that I wanted to run a tour with that is an invitation only club. I had a good car that would qualify but didn't get any invitations to participate after asking several times. I think it was because I'm about 30 years younger than their average member. It could've been economic and not age-related. The crowd definitely was the top 1% of the 1% ers. I'm just a used car mechanic that likes to drive his toys.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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If you pay $45 to join for one year, would it be good for a year from now, or only until 31 December?  I am also into, among other things, percussion and Single Action Army Colt revolvers, and their club membership runs from 01 January to 31 December, and you pay the same amount no matter when during the year you join.  I intend to join the Colt Collector's Association on or slightly after 01 January to benefit from a full year of membership.

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Hi Ed; I actually have most of the raw material, decent earlyish frame, 1915 block, nicely done dropped axle, better than average brass rad and period accessory "Mercer style " seat and cowl , rough but genuine and commercially not home made plus  lots of bits and bobs for a circa 15 T speedster. I have held back on spending any serious money on it in order to pay down my mortgage {now accomplished} and build up a bit of a fund for parts for my 1912 Staver Chicago. I am also 6'2" and I don't fit in a T {or quite a few of the other small brass cars} all that well.

  The Staver is still years away from being a car ,but if I try to do both the Staver will end up being starved for funds. I picked up the Staver 15 years ago, and the T stuff over the last 20 +. At one time I assumed my money situation would improve with time and both would be possible. These days I realize the money hasn't gotten better over time, in reality at least a little  worse.  I am not in to the T stuff for all that much, but it probably is if anything going down in value so selling it would not put me in much better position than were I am now.  The T probably would end up costing $6,000.00- $10,000.00 before it was useable, not a lot but still a fair chunk of my hobby money. 

    It's a bit of a deliema that I have up to the present time deferred a decision on. Once I retire I plan a big sort out, and probably a big sell off. I have gathered up a fair quantity of parts, parts cars, potential project cars, etc.  and it is not even remotely practical to keep it all.  Once that is accomplished I will be in a better position to decide my next step.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Without getting into all the the haves and have nots what is your price range? Remember they are not making any more of these cars so a rare $275,000 Pope-Hartford is out of most of our means. (I see one Pope-Hartford for sale for $389,000 now!) Here is a brass 1912 Buick (1970s resto) for $42,000 http://classiccars.com/listings/view/649577/1912-buick-touring-for-sale-in-lake-oswego-oregon-97035  anda 1912 RCH Roadster (1960 resto) for $13,500  http://www.haggleme.com/Vehicle/58052/1912-RCH-Roadster.aspx...the latter looks like it needs work, depends on how handy you are. If you can't afford either I would go for a Model T, Model A or any number of 20s sedans for under $10,000 and build up to a car more in line w/ your dreams. Instant gratification doesn't come to most of us, so just have fun w/ something you can afford for now....just my 2 cents.

Edited by Bob Zetnick (see edit history)
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I would think that anyone looking at a Brass car purchase would consider $30,000.00 - $40,000.00 a reasonable entry level cost. The original question that started this conversation was if people who were not "rich" could afford to participate.  That sort of a cost while seeming reasonable in the context of overall vintage car prices, still represents a huge figure compared to many middle class household budgets.

  One either has to save up over many years, something that requires a great deal of discipline, a very understanding spouse, and the foresight to start young enough that there are still enough pages left on the calendar to actually use the car for a reasonable length of time.

  The other option is to borrow the buy in cost, these days many households are struggling to one degree or another with debt and a sum like this on a non -essential will probably be a non- starter. I know some other solutions have been proposed in the last 4 pages of content but at the end of the day they all depend on disposable income, something many in the middle class have precious little of these days.

 In my case I am involved in a project that will probably end up in the $40,000.00 overall cost range { it's a big project but I have quite a few skills and intend on doing almost all of it myself}. I am now 15 years in with a lot more to do, probably at least another 15 years. I will be in my early 70's by then; I can accept this as I am pretty dedicated to one day having a nice car, is this a reasonable  situation ?

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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I would think that anyone looking at a Brass car purchase would consider $30,000.00 - $40,000.00 a reasonable entry level cost. The original question that started this conversation was if people who were not "rich" could afford to participate.  That sort of a cost while seeming reasonable in the context of overall vintage car prices, still represents a huge figure compared to many middle class household budgets.

  One either has to save up over many years, something that requires a great deal of discipline, a very understanding spouse, and the foresight to start young enough that there is still enough pages left on the calendar to actually use the car for a reasonable length of time.

  The other option is to borrow the buy in cost, these days many households are struggling to one degree or another with debt and a sum like this on a non -essential will probably be a non- starter. I know some other solutions have been proposed in the last 4 pages of content but at the end of the day they all depend on disposable income, something many in the middle class have precious little of these days.

 In my case I am involved in a project that will probably end up in the $40,000.00 overall cost range { it's a big project but I have quite a few skills and intend on doing almost all of it myself}. I am now 15 years in with a lot more to do, probably at least another 15 years. I will be in my early 70's by then; I can accept this as I am pretty dedicated to one day having a nice car, is this a reasonable  situation ?

 

Greg in Canada

Yes, I would think $30,000 to $40,000 is SPOT ON the entry level 'reasonable' amount to spend on a Brass Era car, and it is an amount that, had wages kept up with where they should be, would be an amount that would take some scrimping and saving to accomplish, but would not be an impossible amount to achieve, nor incredibly painful to obtain when it comes to the time frame involved and the other sacrifices made.

 

'Middle class' households, when it comes to the various other commitments they have, are lucky to have five figures in the bank (meaning 'barely' $10,000)--most seem to struggle to get to the four figure mark.  Yes, some blow it going out to eat, etc., but for most, it is just the cost of living.

 

In my case, I DO put the maximum I can towards retirement and am really trying to pay down a mortgage (should be gone in a few months after almost 21 years (YAY!), but this is scrimping and saving to the point where it is uncomfortable (just ask my wife!)  Maybe once this mortgage is paid off, there will be money for more fun stuff.  Forget about borrowing for a 'new' old car.  Interest rates are ridiculous as it is considered to be a risky debt for a bank to take on.

 

Maybe due to all my sacrificing and paying down debt, my bank account balances are low (which makes sense, as debt is a higher interest rate than one gets on a bank account), but, being college educated and a professional, I cannot recall the last time I had five figures in the bank (my retirement account is a different matter whatsoever!).

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So I take it that you agree that even an entry level Brass; and probably nickel era, old car are outside the reach of many middle class potential owners. At one time I thought to myself that one way or another I would beat the odds and have a nice car without having substantial wealth at my disposal , these days I am a little less sure but it's kinda late to change direction.
Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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So I take it that you agree that even an entry level Brass; and probably nickel era, old car are outside the reach of many middle class potential owners. At one time I thought to myself that one way or another I would beat the odds and have a nice car without having substantial wealth at my disposal , these days I am a little less sure but it's kinda late to change direction.

Greg in Canada

Yes, I would agree.  An entry level Brass Era car is beyond the reach of most 'middle class' individuals, especially as the 'middle class' continues to be eroded by inflation and stagnant wages.  25 years ago, I would have thought I would have a nice car without having substantial wealth at my disposal, forget about beating the odds.  Of course, then, when I was young and stupid, I thought I might have substantial wealth at my disposal.  I don't know how it is in Canada, but in the USA, one's wages are determined MOSTLY by one's employer--there is no real negotiation, this is what you get paid, and that pretty is much it.  Going to college enables you to be competitive for some jobs one wouldn't otherwise qualify for, (or, narrows down what one can even consider for employment), but, after THAT, there is no real 'competition' amongst employers to get or retain you.  Get your one job offer, if you are lucky, and, if a competitor is interested in you (as happened to me ONCE), have them interview you, and then explain WHY they are a better employer than the one you have, because they don't even want to match your current wages.

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I think that there is at least some wiggle room on the middle class affordability issue. The basic income is a constant by definition. There is one variable involved that will be the critical factor for many and that is local cost of living, and most importantly local cost of housing.

Income in a given career will vary a bit from one geographic rejoin to another, but not nearly as much as housing cost. If a person is young and just starting out in a career it can make a very large difference in life long disposable income by choosing the best / lowest practical cost location to live.

There are many places where I could be a plant engineer rather than a Marine Engineer; earn roughly the same income, and probably get an apples for apples house for a third of what I had to spend for a West Coast location. That could potentially add $100,000.00 + to my lifelong disposable income, and would make a world of difference in my old car budget.

I am sure that at least some of the people who have commented on this subject live in a region where $100,000.00 - $150,000.00 buys a reasonably decent house. That is probably the key right there to middle class people who can afford old cars. California , Vancouver B.C. , New York city and probably a number of other locations have such a high Housing price that there is often nothing left over for admittedly expensive hobbies.

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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I am the wife of an old car enthusiast  My tips are these  Only do one project at a time. Allow your husband to store car parts in the family room. Try to trade work as in you do the paint and a friend do the carburetor and then the other way for his car. It is best if it is the family hobby as in it takes the place of golf etc., holidays are at swap meets or tours . A project may take ten years but stick at it. Don't allow the car to go on the back burner, get the kids involved. They can polish brass, find you parts at swap meets. Trust me, I am married 32 years, we have three antique cars, one has its senior first from AACA meet at Hershey. Husbands, listen when you are told the budget is tight and don't put that parts order in.  Just wait a little until other essentials get paid. And above all, don't send work out if you can possibly do it, because that is what takes costs out of control.Talk to older craftsmen, they will gladly teach you skills. Get books, learn how to do things. We ran a stove one winter on the wrongly made parts for our wooden framed car. But it now is on the road !!!!

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You sound like every old car guys dream wife, and my wife's worst nightmare. I suggest you take out a patent on your DNA and if human cloning becomes a reality you will be set up for life selling authorized replications of yourself. My wife went to a swap meet ....once. Every now and then someone in my regular swap meet group suggests to one of the wives that they can come along and join the fun, the look of shock and disgust is the same regardless of which wife has been asked. 

  My teenaged son will go to shows {to mainly look at the Tuners and Lo-riders} but draws the line at swap meets {just old guys with stalls full of old junk}.

I have been married about 30 years ; and involved in the hobby for about 40, but I find that as time goes by my wife has less toleration for taking any part herself.

  By the way I find most of your advice spot on. The only thing I do differently is I usually have a few back burner "parts accumulation" stage projects on the go at any given time. I find so little for my main project at swap meets that I would probably stop going to swap meets out of frustration and lost time / effort / expense if I was only looking for parts for that car alone. There are few things worse than booking a day off work ;I am normally scheduled to work 2 out of 3 weekends on my shift cycle, getting up a 4 or 5 Am, driving 2 or 3 hours, walking around all day, and going home empty handed.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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I am the wife of an old car enthusiast  My tips are these  Only do one project at a time. Allow your husband to store car parts in the family room. Try to trade work as in you do the paint and a friend do the carburetor and then the other way for his car. It is best if it is the family hobby as in it takes the place of golf etc., holidays are at swap meets or tours . A project may take ten years but stick at it. Don't allow the car to go on the back burner, get the kids involved. They can polish brass, find you parts at swap meets. Trust me, I am married 32 years, we have three antique cars, one has its senior first from AACA meet at Hershey. Husbands, listen when you are told the budget is tight and don't put that parts order in.  Just wait a little until other essentials get paid. And above all, don't send work out if you can possibly do it, because that is what takes costs out of control.Talk to older craftsmen, they will gladly teach you skills. Get books, learn how to do things. We ran a stove one winter on the wrongly made parts for our wooden framed car. But it now is on the road !!!!

 

I am fortunate.  Here is a picture of the bride and I this 4th of July in northern Michigan.

 

post-87831-0-88320200-1436321241_thumb.j

 

She does though not go to swap meets as she know that it is my time with the guys.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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