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Where has all of the interest gone in Pre-War Buicks?


Dynaflash8
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I've had my 1939 Buick Special 4-door convertible for sale now since January.  So far the dealer doesn't seem to be getting any interest.  He says he gets calls, but I doubt it.  This is a very good car, no rust ever, many NOS parts in the restoration and it won an AACA Senior in 2004.  Yes, it is an old restoration, but it's always been protected.  The top is fairly new and the radiator is just re-cored.  It has the rare stream boards and good rubber stone pads to match.  I'm confused.  It runs as good or better than my other straight 8's.  It's priced at the market and there is good flexibility.  Maybe I should have sold it myself, but I couldn't advertise it like the dealer can and I hate selling cars even though I've done it many times.  I think the interest in Pre-War cars is waning along with my life span and that of many of my friends I've known over the  years.  What do you think.  I've gotten some advice about changing the wheel color or removing the factory fender skirts.  NADA says the skirts add $1,000 to the value of the car and if you've ever bought and restored any that's about half of what it would cost you.  All of this stuff could easily be done by the buyer too.  The car comes with a quart of paint (free).  So, all of you guys are younger than me I suspect.  Do you agree that Millenium's simply aren't interested in the wonderful old straight 8 Buick's anymore.  There was a time when 1936-1941 Buicks were steaming hot.  I have maybe loved mine too long.  Think so?

Our 1939 Buick 41-C convertible sedan.JPG

Disk Princess.JPG

39 Buick Special 41C one of 714.JPG

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It is not just pre war Buicks (or any brand for that fact) , it is most cars in general.  This market condition is lamented in just about any organized car event one attends.  I am not certain there is an answer, or plan that can be activated to change the observed course. 

 

I believe that most people interested in cars are attracted to those that they had in High School.  If there is any validity to that, then todays youth would have to first have disposable income and then would long for what was popular when they were 16- 18 years old.   This does not mean they cannot appreciate older cars, nor that they enjoy seeing them.  But if the choice for a 30 year old was between your '39 and possibly a hot car from 1990, then chances are they would opt for the 1990.   

 

I also believe that there were very few hot cars in 1990.  And that most cars were just considered to be transportation.  As such, a vast majority of teenagers in 1990 learned to just view a car as a means of moving their bodies and personal property around.  In other words, there are significantly less people who developed a love for cars as a hobby.  And I would also suggest that it is very difficult for a huge amount of 30 yr olds to justify spending money on any vehicle that is not their daily driver.  

 

Besides the lack of earning power, there is the inability to save any excess income because it seems there really is no excess income.  I offer as proof of that the fact that several appliances are readily considered to have a life span of 10 years.  My washer and dryer, 10 year life expectancy.  Hot water heaters, 10 years, Refrigerators, 10 years.  Everytime you turn around you need to replace another major appliance.  And for many years I had to do that on credit, which adds to the drain on the finances.   So even if many lust after your car, chances are good they cannot  swing the financial end. 

 

Lastly there is the technological gap.  Where-as you and I grew up with the cars we own, and learned to take care of them and do minor repair jobs,  todays cars seem to be so complicated that the parents of todays youth have to bring the car for service when it is needed.  The kids see this and in my opinion come to believe only service technicians can work on any car, new or old.  So the kids may not develop the confidence in their ability to repair an older car and in what I've noticed, seem to believe that old cars are more complicated to own than new cars.  There-by scaring many younger folks from entering the old car market. 

 

OF course, this does not answer your needs, selling your car.  It is sad to say but the fact is our cars will survive us.  And at that point we will not control their destiny.  It will be a hard financial hit to all of us in this hobby.  Our choice is to take the financial hit now while we are alive, or pass it on to our survivors.  

 

All of this is just my opinion and open for discussion of course. 

 

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I found the Hemmings ad for the car. The ad is fine and displayed very well. For the actual sale, January through May is not a very good time, in most of the United States, to sell much of any car. A buyer thinking about transporting in snow and slush to hurry home and get it under cover and warm is not a big motivator. Summer is sale time, when a buyers first thought is "Where will I go first!".

Online listings tend to have cars lumped into a big pile for perusing, siting in an easy chair browsing doesn't burn a car into your brain like being next to one. I can tell you about quite a few cars I have seen at Hershey, various auctions, or along side the road. A few hundred cars I looked at last week online are just vapor this week. To get the price that cars needs to be out in circulation. At some of the meets with a good draw you would have the best chance to find a buyer.

Doing that takes time and money as well as the patience to talk to those interested and the lonely whom just need someone to talk to. Selling usually has a value of about 20% with 6% going to the salesman. So, in the case of this car about $9,000 out of the pocket to allow for toting it to a few shows plus another $3,000 for the deal striker (and money handler) would be fairly realistic. Maybe even a little light.

I think a lot of cars go unsold due to bad timing, the concept that great cars will sell themselves, and a resistance to fund a real sales campaign. Those three points come to mind because those are the situations that allowed me to buy a few cars that I sold to make few bucks.

Bernie

 

I wrote all that without even mentioning my millennial son in law who loves his new Lexus, probably as much as the new '39 Buick buyer in Washington, D. C.

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I have two daughters and two step sons.  Between them and their spouses they heve appreciation for but no intetest in classic cars.  "Better things to do with our expendable income."  Between them and their spouses there are two Volvos, a Mini Cooper, an Infinity, a Kia, a Hyundai, a Ford Explorer, and a VW Passat. Most are leased and considered "just transpotation." On the other hand, I'm not well enough versed to discuss thie world of electronics and the digital world in which they live.  Steve's big thing right now is to update his 3D ptinter and get a scanner for it.  Jessica and Evan probably know all the flight attendants by name between home and Florida and Cancun.  They'd each probably like one of my Rivieras but only to find out what it's worth and turn it into a cruise.  Evan has a 914 Porsche, but it's in storage and I doubt if he's seen it in 5 years. Classic cars are just not part of their world and never will be.  One car per driver and only for getting from point A to point B in comfort.  Only one of the four couples has more than a two car garage even though their houses are in the $350K to $450K range. 

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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By observation, there can be "interest cycles" for particular cars and model years thereof.  No doubt many of the cars languishing on the showroom floors are very nice and credible vehicles!  Many even have some rare features, for when they were built.  MUCH of this rareness of features can tend to go "over the head of" many potential purchasers, too.  Bad part, to me, is that many just see "a car" rather than a great car with many desirable items/attributes for when it was built.  Fender skirts may have been an upscale "custom touch" back then, but others can see them as "a pain" should a flat tire on the rear wheel occur.  Different ways to look at it.

 

BUT I somewhat suspect that there are other issues at play, too.  I would suspect that so many potential purchasers, in the USA or otherwise, are having many other strains on their finances over the past months.  WEATHER issues!  Floods, historic snow levels, fires, etc.  ALL which can be more serious to deal with AND take a potential purchaser's mind away from investing in a nice car as they are dealing with bare survival and getting their lives put back together as best they can.

 

To me, the car's color, the various chrome items, the skirts, are whatever else some might point to as to possible reasons it hasn't sold, which can all be valid "personal decisions/likes", but the potential purchaser will need to be able to focus on the purchase, even the DESIRE to purchase, before any purchase can happen.

 

Yet, a Buick restomod did over $400K at a recent Barrett-Jackson event.  There is NO generic vintage vehicle purchaser, by observation.

 

Perhaps you might have a better shot with a contracted broker that has several different locations?  There are a few which have about 6 locations each.  Streetside Classics and Gateway Classics are two of them, for the record.  Check their websites for good measure.  Just a suggestion with no endorsement of those mentioned.

 

Don't loose faith!

NTX5467

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It is clear that the market for prewar cars of any type is down, and Buicks seem to be especially hard hit. When I look at my own collection, even though it is varied, I am probably on the wrong side of most of them. That said, even though I will probably reduce my collection by one or two this year. I plan to just enjoy them and let my estate worry bout the reduced value. A lot of us worked many years to be able to afford our cars, and I for one enjoy driving them every bit as much now as I ever did. If we have to sell, we will probably take a hit. Think of the hit we take whoever we buy a brand new car. and the loss taken on a collector car does not seem so bad.

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A couple of thoughts....

 

Without having looked for an ad of the car, I don’t know what sort of price range we are looking at, but I can imagine it is comparable to a pretty nice new car.  So, in this world of financing everything, how many have the disposable income / disposable savings to get into such a vehicle?

 

I’m the son of a farmer, so I learned to drive a manual transmission.  With the decrease in the number of manuals available, how many people know how to drive them any more?  That could be a factor affecting all the pre-war market.  That’s a pretty sum of money to leave sitting in a garage or shop if you can’t drive it.  I suspect there will always be some who know how to drive a standard, but how long before the idea of double-clutching is forgotten by collective society outside a few of us who remain in the old car hobby?

 

I don’t know what the market overall has done recently.  I don’t pay too much attention, but there do seem to be increasing concerns about recessions again...if anyone is thinking ahead, they may be concerned about their future and tying money up in a vintage car may be an issue.

 

Another question may simply be how is it being marketed?  If the dealer is being lazy about it, and you don’t seem to trust what they are telling you about the calls being received, then this may not be the best way to sell it, at least with this particular dealer.

 

I certainly seem to have more questions than answers, but using a very nice convertible may not be the bellwether for the market for pre-war cars or Buicks in particular as it is a narrower market.

 

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3 hours ago, Jack Welch said:

It is clear that the market for prewar cars of any type is down, and Buicks seem to be especially hard hit. When I look at my own collection, even though it is varied, I am probably on the wrong side of most of them. That said, even though I will probably reduce my collection by one or two this year. I plan to just enjoy them and let my estate worry bout the reduced value. A lot of us worked many years to be able to afford our cars, and I for one enjoy driving them every bit as much now as I ever did. If we have to sell, we will probably take a hit. Think of the hit we take whoever we buy a brand new car. and the loss taken on a collector car does not seem so bad.

 

 Agree.

 

  Ben

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3 hours ago, Thriller said:

I’m the son of a farmer, so I learned to drive a manual transmission.  With the decrease in the number of manuals available, how many people know how to drive them any more?  That could be a factor affecting all the pre-war market.  

There certainly is a shortage of people able to drive a manual trans vehicle. My son-in-law is a UPS driver and they have a real shortage of drivers that can drive a stick shift. And (around Los Angeles) that is for a job that is six figures with the crazy overtime around almost any holiday where folks buy gifts.

 

One thing I've noticed watching the large car auctions on TV is that while there isn't a shortage of interest (and willingness to pay $$) in old cars provided they have a new V8 (sadly almost always a SBC 350), automatic transmission, revised suspension, air conditioning, etc... Beautiful stock restorations of pre 1950 cars seem to go for much less than one would expect. Different strokes for different folks... Good luck selling your beautiful car.

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The issue of "stick shifts" can be a variable one.  The more modern manual transmissions usually don't "shift" like the '40s transmissions did.  Or even the earlier '50s, either.

 

On the older ones, you did it by feel of how the engine felt, rather than by looking at a tachometer on the instrument panel.  You accelerated moderately and got into high gear as soon as the engine would allow.  Then drove around "shiftlessly" until you had to stop and do it all over again.  

 

The national economy is getting more slippery than in recent history.  People do have jobs, but have cautiously gotten deeper into debt at the same time . . . which some economists see as a good thing.  Especially after these same consumers finally dug themselves out of the GWBush-era debt they acquired.  Expect "tankings" when interest rates finally do increase AND crude oil prices might spike.  Make your plans now!  When the smoke finally clears out, the mirrors fall down, and the Emperor's magic wands' Energizer batteries go dead . . . the return to normalcy will not be easy for some.

 

Where do vintage vehicles and such figure into that?  It/they can be stress relief and provide memories of times past, which can be good for general mental health.  Get one while you still can!

 

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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15 hours ago, Jack Welch said:

It is clear that the market for prewar cars of any type is down, and Buicks seem to be especially hard hit. When I look at my own collection, even though it is varied, I am probably on the wrong side of most of them. That said, even though I will probably reduce my collection by one or two this year. I plan to just enjoy them and let my estate worry bout the reduced value. A lot of us worked many years to be able to afford our cars, and I for one enjoy driving them every bit as much now as I ever did. If we have to sell, we will probably take a hit. Think of the hit we take whoever we buy a brand new car. and the loss taken on a collector car does not seem so bad.

Trying to enjoy driving an old car in Sebring, FL is like changing your mind halfway down after jumping off the Empire State Building.

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11 hours ago, Thriller said:

A couple of thoughts....

 

Without having looked for an ad of the car, I don’t know what sort of price range we are looking at, but I can imagine it is comparable to a pretty nice new car.  So, in this world of financing everything, how many have the disposable income / disposable savings to get into such a vehicle?

 

I’m the son of a farmer, so I learned to drive a manual transmission.  With the decrease in the number of manuals available, how many people know how to drive them any more?  That could be a factor affecting all the pre-war market.  That’s a pretty sum of money to leave sitting in a garage or shop if you can’t drive it.  I suspect there will always be some who know how to drive a standard, but how long before the idea of double-clutching is forgotten by collective society outside a few of us who remain in the old car hobby?

 

I don’t know what the market overall has done recently.  I don’t pay too much attention, but there do seem to be increasing concerns about recessions again...if anyone is thinking ahead, they may be concerned about their future and tying money up in a vintage car may be an issue.

 

Another question may simply be how is it being marketed?  If the dealer is being lazy about it, and you don’t seem to trust what they are telling you about the calls being received, then this may not be the best way to sell it, at least with this particular dealer.

 

I certainly seem to have more questions than answers, but using a very nice convertible may not be the bellwether for the market for pre-war cars or Buicks in particular as it is a narrower market.

 

It was advertised in the Bugle and only one man called me.  Perhaps my mistake was treating it like a home sale.  You know.  You start of high and see where the offers stick to the wall.  I have no idea that it will bring what the NADA Price Book says it is worth, but the dealers get those prices.......or, say they do.  I sold my '39 convertible to a midwest dealer.  That's the way to go if you can find one with some cash to spend.

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12 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Where has all the interest gone?

 

Arlington+National+Cemetery.jpg

 

 

The ones in the above photo were alive when owning a Buick really meant something Today, Buick is totally lost among all the lower-to-mid priced offerings from the Japanese, German, and other domestic manufactures, where it doesn't mean a thing to a Millenial.

 

Craig

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I attended my first Buick meet in 1983 in Columbus, Ohio.

A friend and I and our fathers went as spectators to see the cars.

 

I remember that there were plenty of Buick roadsters of

the late 1920's, and the 1937-1941 group of Buicks was

especially large.  Buicks of the 1950's, some not even

30 years old, were already desirable.  Prewar cars still

exist, of course, but I think many are stuck in older collectors'

garages and don't see the light of day as they used to.

 

Does anyone have statistics of how many cars of,

for instance 1939, attended national meets then and now?

That would be a good way to measure cars' popularity.

One person today might say, "I love prewar cars," and 

another might say "I don't pay attention to them";

but overall statistics would be a better indicator. 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Dynaflash8 said:

 I have no idea that it will bring what the NADA Price Book says it is worth, but the dealers get those prices.......or, say they do.  I sold my '39 convertible to a midwest dealer....

 

Earl, if you look in the preface of the NADA price book

for old cars, they admit that their valuations are higher than

those in other books;  but they say their values are for

ALL-ORIGINAL cars.

 

I don't believe that dealers' high asking prices are often realized.

They are often double a car's actual value, and double what the

dealer just paid.  To illustrate:  about 10 years ago in the Buick Bugle,

there was a near-perfect 1934 Buick Series 50 victoria coupe for

sale by its owner;  he started out, I recall, at $37,500 and couldn't

sell it.  The price went down to $35,000, then to $32,500.  A dealer

bought it, and immediately the asking price was $62,000!  

I'm sure dealers love cars and love their business, but who needs a

100% mark-up--and how that hurts the hobby by making old cars

appear unaffordable to many potential owners!

 

By the way, that dealer had that car for at least 4 years.

Remember:  the first owner couldn't sell it even at $35,000.

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3 hours ago, Dynaflash8 said:

  You start of high and see where the offers stick to the wall.

 

I have found that starting high scares off the serious buyers and they never come back.

 

I know their are certain socio-groups that have to purchase at less than asking price and I will ad a small amount that I can reduce to meet their needs.

 

Most of my experience comes from selling less expensive items and trying to seek out the uninformed buyer, which is quite successful. I wonder what kind of discretionary money TV script writers have.

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I am attending the pre war show at the Gilmore Museum in Mich this weekend and I know of at least 4 Buicks that will also be there.  If the topic of this post is the popularity or viability of this part of the car hobby I will ask around and report next week with the opinions I find.  If the point of this thread is the best way to market a pre war car the answer IMHO is to drive, show and attend events which highlight these cars and encourage people to want one because it is a good, fun and useful hobby.

 

Maybe see you there, look us up, Gary

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I love your car. I would take the fender skirts off for a more sporting appearance and place them in the trunk. Maybe take photos for ads with both versions.

 

I am 55 and can not afford your car.  I don't even know what the price is!  I just know it's probably, what? $30,000 to $65,000?   I have a daughter going to a state college next year where tuition room and board is $25K a year, I have 20 years left on my mortgage which means at least 5 years into retirement, I am "catching up" on my 401k and retirement savings and can't retire until I am 70, and will probably work PT until 72-73. 

 

If I took out an ill-advised specialty car market loan to purchase your car, it would likely be in lieu of a new vehicle loan cost. So, no issues there but how and where do I enjoy this new purchase?  I would certainly drive it around Des Moines, take it on ice cream runs, identify a few in Iowa "festival" car shows, maybe 4-5 a year, drive it in fall until bad weather approaches, etc.  BCA National Meets?  Yes, probably every other year, BDE tour events yes. 

 

But like many my age, I have other (many) hobbies and interests which pull me away, I work 60 hours per week, so what happened with my recently sold 1990 Reatta convertible is it mostly sat.  I did ONE festival car show, I drove it 3 times per month, exercised it mostly, it was outside under a car cover all winter. (Can you imagine your pristine car being OUTSIDE under a car cover all winter!) 

 

The garage could certainly be cleared out of the 2 Reattas in it - both sold for extreme losses - so this admittedly better option would be inside. 

 

I just point this out because I am one version of the market out there.  A guy with some money who can with a lot of work, buy your car, but has to place real world best interests ahead of this clearly passion driven, emotional decision.  Both of my Reattas were relatively cheap cars to buy, not likely even 10% of the value of your car.  If I hem and haw over purchasing your fine car, how do you suppose a 40 year old, even one who handled his finances better - must be thinking? 

 

Next to consider, is as others have noted - market correction due to lose of demand, and somewhat over-supply.  NOT over-supply of 1939 Buick Special convertibles, but painting with a broad brush - a lot of cars are available from the teens to modern era collectibles.  At many price points.   Now you can ask what you want, and much of the market pricing is still culturally influenced by the speculation driven price increases from the late 1980's.  Sellers STILL have it in their heads that their cars are investments and not just a hobby.  No one wants to leave any money on the table, selling wise. 

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My observation is the current hot market and will be for a long time are the muscle cars.   Each decade, the interest in cars from the 20s through the 50's  is waning as a whole. Soon the 60s through 70's will have lost interest.     It could be for several reasons.  Some mentioned.  Manual transmissions.  Younger people today did not really grow up with a passion to get a license and own a car.   It was big doings when I was a teenager.   Available monies to buy something that is a hobby(luxury) for most.   Or as Kongaman posted in a picture, those interested are no longer here with us.  The picture, for me, speaks truth.   

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Some interesting thoughts coming out.  I don’t recall seeing the ad in the Bugle specifically (I do look them over, drool a bit, and when a price that is out of range is listed, I move on), but that doesn’t mean much.  I have a broad collection myself, and a wide interest in automobiles...years ago a decision was made to stick with Buick and I can’t say I regret that.

 

The reality here is that the price for this one car is about 40-50% of what I place the value of my entire collection at.  I recognize that with my current leanings, I am unlikely to own a nice pre-war convertible.  It isn’t that we couldn’t come up with the money, it’s that I can’t justify putting that much into one hobby car that I can use for perhaps 6 months of the year.  That’s just me though and I have a tendency toward frugal overall (not that one could judge that based on my involvement in this hobby).

 

Wealth, relative interest, perceived value, and such are likely all factors.

 

As for asking price, if it’s out of my range, I don’t call.  I don’t want to waste the seller’s time or mine.  Far too many folks out there nowadays with higher prices are basing that on televised auctions, regardless of what they have.  Yes, I may miss out on some nice autos that way, but I can live with that.  We are talking about wants, not needs after all.  

 

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7 hours ago, cxgvd said:

I am attending the pre war show at the Gilmore Museum in Mich this weekend and I know of at least 4 Buicks that will also be there.  If the topic of this post is the popularity or viability of this part of the car hobby I will ask around and report next week with the opinions I find.  If the point of this thread is the best way to market a pre war car the answer IMHO is to drive, show and attend events which highlight these cars and encourage people to want one because it is a good, fun and useful hobby.

 

Maybe see you there, look us up, Gary

 

I too will be at the Gilmore this weekend with Gary and on tour Friday with other prewar cars.

 

I would like to say that the car market is a very fluid exchange and prices go up and go down.  Just like the stock market.  Currently the market for most cars are struggling because of personal debt.  This includes credit card debt and student loans.  The most recent discussion that I read if I remember right, student debt is higher than credit card debt in the US.  Mortgage debt in the US is #1, and student debt is #2.  Much of the younger generation does not have the money to buy a luxury extra car, especially when they might be starting a family, buy a house, etc.

 

The lack of interest in old cars to a great extent is the fault of the "collective us".  How many of us have taken our sons and daughters out and let them drive our cars???  Or for many of us our grand children.  By not letting them drive our cars, we have told them that our cars are off limits and not to be touched.  They have then gone on to other interests.  See my editorial in the Bugle, November 2018 for further discussion on that topic.   My son has been driving our '15 Buick truck since he was 16, with me and by himself with friends.  I have already had my soon to be son in law out driving both the truck and my '13 car and he is not official "family" for a few months.   It makes his day every time we go driving.  He is also in love with the old cars.  He and my daughter are getting married in Sept. and will be touring with us probably next summer.  They are getting hooked on the joys of old vehicles.

 

The one area of vehicles that keep their value are Brass Era cars.  Those cars 1915 & older.  The owners of those cars are a relatively small fraternity with a fair amount of inner connected groups and members. I would guess that most of those cars are never advertised and generally trade by word of mouth among the members and friends. That is how I bought two of my pre '15 vehicles.  Those vehicles for the most part always in demand.  1916 to the mid twenties do OK in holding prices without a lot of swing in price, but nothing like the '15 & older.   I went to a 1 & 2 cylinder tour last year in NW Ohio and there were 10 Model F Buicks along with a Model G.  The interest is there, but just not at the BCA meets for prewar vehicles.  If I remember, last year at Denver, there were about 28 prewar vehicles and 8 or 10 were 1929 cars. There were only about 7 pre 1929 cars.

 

At the end of the day, the value of a car (or any item) is the price that a willing seller will sell to a willing buyer at that moment in time in the market.

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I know little about cars – pre-war or post-war — so I hope it is not disrespectful or presumptuous for me to weigh in on this discussion. And maybe it is “off-topic” and for that I apologize. Aside from the fact, that I understand why someone wants to sell a car at a decent price, my broader question is what do people expect or hope to get out of a hobby that they enjoy? Any hobby — cars, boats, golf, knitting, artwork, writing, etc. etc. At my age, I think about this a lot because I’ll be retiring in February — and because I already have more time to devote to hobbies than I did when I was younger. 

 

I love creative art projects – all kinds — mostly on the computer these days. Half of them get started and then abandoned, and I don't get paid for most of them. I do them for fun – for myself. It would be totally depressing if I totaled up the thousands of dollars I’ve spent over the years on hardware, software, classes, canvasses, specialty paints, fancy art brushes, etc. Some of that stuff is sitting on the shelf in my art closet – unopened! I’ve sold a few paintings, and I get paid to design magazines, but none of it has ever come close to the amount of money I’ve spent on “supplies”. Has it been worth it? Hell, YES! 

 

My husband bought a houseboat when our twin boys were in 4thgrade. Sold it years later when the kids no longer wanted to spend weekends at the lake away from their friends. It was my husband’s “hobby” for all those years, and we sold that dang boat for a fraction of what we had spent on it, even though we had added all sorts of extras and spent way too much money keeping it running well. When we now ask our grown sons what their favorite childhood memory is, it’s always the same – spending time on the houseboat. So it was an investment that reaped rewards, though not financial ones. Was it worth it? YES!

 

When I try to explain to people what the BCA is, I always start by saying that it’s a group of people with the same interest – CARS (in this case, mostly Buicks). Whether it’s collecting cars or working on cars – or driving them – or showing them, or just conversing with other people who also love cars, it’s basically a hobby, not an investment. I know it would be good to get back what you’ve put into your cars, but really – isn’t it so fun to have something you love doing - to feel passionate and energized by your car(s)? If you can afford it, just let someone else worry about these cars when you are gone. As trite as it sounds, doesn’t the quote “the journey matters more than the destination” apply to our hobbies? 

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Retiring?  Say it ain’t so!  We’ll miss your work.  I’m hopeful any replacement is as interested in getting involved as you have been.

 

Larry - at supper tonight, Luke asked if he could use the Skyhawk in the morning.  No problem.  He’s got a clean record and has enjoyed being able to use the Skyhawk and pace car in the summers.  He tried driving the 1941 once, but couldn’t get the coordination with the clutch and accelerator.  I guess it’s time we give that another shot.  Joseph will be leaving at the end of the month to got to Halifax, where he starts school in September.  He wants to do some driving before he leaves...right now it’s either the Skyhawk or the 1959 LeSabre Estate Wagon...I suspect he’ll get some time in the Skyhawk.

 

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8 hours ago, Thriller said:

Retiring?  Say it ain’t so!  We’ll miss your work.  I’m hopeful any replacement is as interested in getting involved as you have been.

 

Larry - at supper tonight, Luke asked if he could use the Skyhawk in the morning.  No problem.  He’s got a clean record and has enjoyed being able to use the Skyhawk and pace car in the summers.  He tried driving the 1941 once, but couldn’t get the coordination with the clutch and accelerator.  I guess it’s time we give that another shot.  Joseph will be leaving at the end of the month to got to Halifax, where he starts school in September.  He wants to do some driving before he leaves...right now it’s either the Skyhawk or the 1959 LeSabre Estate Wagon...I suspect he’ll get some time in the Skyhawk.

 

 

Talking to many others, I think we are in the minority letting our offspring drive the cars.  My daughters have not gotten into the saddle with the very old cars, but they have driven their Mom's Corvette many times.   Given time, my younger daughter will end up driving the old vehicles I am quite sure. Now I need to get the wife behind the wheel of the old truck.

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It may hurt some to suggest this, but advertise it in British, Australian, and Japanese old car publications.  There seems to be a bigger market in these countries than there are here.  Have you ever read the British publication, 'Classic American' magazine?  They can't seem to get enough U.S. cars.

 

Craig

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33 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

It may hurt some to suggest this, but advertise it in British, Australian, and Japanese old car publications.  There seems to be a bigger market in these countries than there are here.  Have you ever read the British publication, 'Classic American' magazine?  They can't seem to get enough U.S. cars.

 

Craig

about 5 years ago, I was in the market for a Volvo PV544 or 120s. I had accompanied my wife to a medical convention, that she was attending in Sweden and I was on the prowl for a Volvo. While engaging in my other passion, fine art photography, I had taken the train out to the Swedish countryside, where I was sure I would find a Volvo. Parked at a restaurant right next to the train station was a 1948 Buick convertible.  I never did find my Volvo on the trip, but I met a lot of Swedish Buck and Cadillac owners, and they are very passionate about prewar and early postwar American machinery.

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On 5/13/2019 at 9:47 PM, Cindy Livingston said:

Some of that stuff is sitting on the shelf in my art closet – unopened!

 

Cindy, ask Buick club members how many new parts that fit their cars and are sitting on shelves in their garages and basements.

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I think John S. in Pennsylvania hit it right square on the head.  If I had a $50,000.00 car that I was asking $80,000.00 for, I don't think that my door would be beat down with offers.  This sounds like a case of a non-motivated seller.  There is nothing wrong with wanting top dollar out of a vehicle (if the condition warrants it), however, IF the vehicle is needing to be sold, some concessions on both sides will normally be made.  Just something to think about.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

 

 

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Hmm, if I was looking for a car and had $35k in cash, I would not be looking at cars that were over $50K. And that is where the car is priced today, $52,500.

 

http://www.mjcclassiccars.com/1939-buick-special-phaeton/

 

 

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Your original post: Where has all of the interest gone in Pre-War Buicks?

 

The number of Buicks (1916 and older) listed in the 2017 BCA roster = 145.

The number of Buicks (1916 and older) listed in the 2016 HCCA roster = 490.

 

The HCCA roster does not list nickel era 1916-1942 Buicks, but it would be interesting to see the total pre-1942 numbers. 

However, this clearly shows that the HCCA holds much more interest for prewar (brass era) Buicks. 

 

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On ‎5‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 10:29 PM, Frank DuVal said:

Hmm, if I was looking for a car and had $35k in cash, I would not be looking at cars that were over $50K. And that is where the car is priced today, $52,500.

 

http://www.mjcclassiccars.com/1939-buick-special-phaeton/

 

 

That's a 'very recent' $10,000 drop.  If not already done, I would run some ebay auctions with reserve.  I would want to see how many 'watchers' and bids.  Start it at ? $25,000??   Then see if it gets an initial bid, which with a reserve it likely will get since the bidder knows he is not obligated.  If it is a 10 day auction, enough eyeballs should see it to get serious bidding - because it is a truly beautiful car.  

 

Auction results from that Limited auction that Pete Phillips just went to do indicate there are buyers with money.  But reaching them is the key. 

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4 hours ago, B Jake Moran said:

That's a 'very recent' $10,000 drop.  If not already done, I would run some ebay auctions with reserve.  I would want to see how many 'watchers' and bids.  Start it at ? $25,000??   Then see if it gets an initial bid, which with a reserve it likely will get since the bidder knows he is not obligated.  If it is a 10 day auction, enough eyeballs should see it to get serious bidding - because it is a truly beautiful car.  

 

Auction results from that Limited auction that Pete Phillips just went to do indicate there are buyers with money.  But reaching them is the key. 

 

It has been on ebay multiple times. The dealer has been starting it at $30,000 and more recently, $29,500 and it has been bid up to $33,433.33 fairly recently. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1939-Buick-Other-SPECIAL-PHAETON-AACA-NATL-AWARD-WINNER/192895974716?hash=item2ce97efd3c:g:eE0AAOSwqKNcOVGp&vxp=mtr

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If I saw an auction for a car with a reserve and an opening bid of 30G I would expect the seller probably wants atleast 50G so I would just pass.  Reserves are strong deterents in interest especially when coupled to high opening bids.  If you are going to use a reserve start the sucker at 10G and get some interest in it.  The problem is it's already been run through and the more it's run through with the high number the less interest you will garner.  People can also quickly look at completed sales and see it had a high reserve so even starting it with a low number will tell them it can't be bought for 30 or 34,500.    In fact previously interested parties won't even click on it when they see it listed.  I know I don't on similar items I had an interest in.  

There is also the problem that you need two bidders to bid something up to meet the reserve.  There was a lot of literature I wanted and I kept bidding on it,  several times it went through once or twice I bid against someone but a few times no one.   The reserve was never met,  but each time I contacted the seller and said I can't win it or meet the reserve if no one bids against me.  Finally the seller contacted me and told me they would take x  number of dollars,  a good 50,  lower than my highest bid.  So it was a done deal. Who knows what that top bidder was willing to pay. 

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17 hours ago, MCHinson said:

 

It has been on ebay multiple times. The dealer has been starting it at $30,000 and more recently, $29,500 and it has been bid up to $33,433.33 fairly recently. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1939-Buick-Other-SPECIAL-PHAETON-AACA-NATL-AWARD-WINNER/192895974716?hash=item2ce97efd3c:g:eE0AAOSwqKNcOVGp&vxp=mtr

 

Thank you.  I am back to looking at ebay after many years away.  My playground was CL due to the free ads and easy to use Search Tools.  Now, even though $5 is not a lot, there is a huge drop off on CL.  So I am checking back into ebay. 

 

If it has been on ebay many times, then that is worrisome.  To me, it means those geeks who have specific search interest have seen it.  Time for a regional auction with some more money available? 

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16 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

If I saw an auction for a car with a reserve and an opening bid of 30G I would expect the seller probably wants at least 50G so I would just pass.  Reserves are strong deterrents in interest especially when coupled to high opening bids.  If you are going to use a reserve start the sucker at 10G and get some interest in it.  The problem is it's already been run through and the more it's run through with the high number the less interest you will garner.  People can also quickly look at completed sales and see it had a high reserve so even starting it with a low number will tell them it can't be bought for 30 or 34,500.    In fact previously interested parties won't even click on it when they see it listed.  I know I don't on similar items I had an interest in.  

 

 

Interesting.  I am also surprised it's not in Europe by now.  Those buyers seem to pay for what Americans won't.  Still I find it amazing that a well sorted, well presented 30's convertible sedan in nice colors won't reach $40,000?   Granted $62,500 seems to have been too much but it was not that long ago buyers would push each other over to get a car like this.  This bodes poorly for sedans and closed cars too.

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17 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

If I saw an auction for a car with a reserve and an opening bid of 30G I would expect the seller probably wants atleast 50G so I would just pass.  Reserves are strong deterents in interest especially when coupled to high opening bids.  If you are going to use a reserve start the sucker at 10G and get some interest in it.  The problem is it's already been run through and the more it's run through with the high number the less interest you will garner.  People can also quickly look at completed sales and see it had a high reserve so even starting it with a low number will tell them it can't be bought for 30 or 34,500.    In fact previously interested parties won't even click on it when they see it listed.  I know I don't on similar items I had an interest in.  

There is also the problem that you need two bidders to bid something up to meet the reserve.  There was a lot of literature I wanted and I kept bidding on it,  several times it went through once or twice I bid against someone but a few times no one.   The reserve was never met,  but each time I contacted the seller and said I can't win it or meet the reserve if no one bids against me.  Finally the seller contacted me and told me they would take x  number of dollars,  a good 50,  lower than my highest bid.  So it was a done deal. Who knows what that top bidder was willing to pay. 

 

Great thoughts.  Yes, it makes sense that it takes two to tango...or bid against each other.  If the right eyes aren’t on it, it won’t sell.  Perhaps it can be resolved with a Buy-it-now price.  

 

Out of curiosity, I’d imagine people have gotten comfortable with eBay, but how many “high dollar” cars sell there?  If one is looking to sell for over $50k, then perhaps Mecum or RM Auctions is the better venue, or in a well-advertised online sale / showroom.  The car corral at a BCA or AACA meet may do a better job of getting the car in front of those interested parties who may have the wallets to make a deal.

 

Also, how many people will pay $50k or more based on online photos and a description?  Someone who can pay that can also afford a plane ticket to go see the car in person, or find a trusted third party to look it over.  I’ve made too many deals where it was more spur of the moment and I wouldn’t necessarily have made the purchase either with sober second thought or a thorough inspection (granted, we are talking about lower value vehicles, so travelling didn’t really make economic sense).

 

I think that there are multiple questions going on in the background.  I don’t think it’s fair to say there’s no interest in pre-war Buicks based on the lack of ability to sell one nicely done car at the seller’s price.  I think there is quite a bit of sales activity with respect to pre-war Buicks if we look at lower values.  Not everyone can afford that level of car in the first place, and the price point may deter some who are more interested in a nice driver they can have some fun with.  I’m not saying one can’t have fun with this car (I think it would be a blast), but concern over stone chips or other damage may have potential buyers looking for a car that isn’t as pristine.  The reality is that we could put out the money for this car, but storage is tight and I wouldn’t be able to use it enough to justify the investment.  I have other fun cars that I was able to procure for under $10k that I can enjoy driving without fear of the additional costs to repair the inevitable nicks and scratches.  Different strokes for different folks.

 

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On 5/22/2019 at 12:26 PM, Thriller said:

Also, how many people will pay $50k or more based on online photos and a description?

 

I always figured if they were smart enough to know how to get the money they would be smart enough to cover all the bases on the purchase. It is just an assumption, but even I know how to take nice pictures of a pig. AND if you want to , innocently, misrepresent a car with photos take pictures in a garage or location with collectible items in the background. They get distracted looking at the other items and overlook the subject. You can test this yourself today. Find a picture of your car with stuff in the background, anything. Then take it to coffee Saturday morning and show it to your friends. I guaranty you will get more comments and questions "What's that?" about background stuff than the car. People just have a propensity to do that. Expect it and use it.

 

I gave up on the "two to tango" effect on Ebay years ago. I know how much I want or will get for everything I own. Two clowns bidding give me no confidence and I undervalue nothing.

 

A year or so ago Ebay broadcast that that something like the 2 millionth car was sold through them. I look at completed sales. At least 20 million had to be listed to achieve the 2 million.

 

I firmly believe that an active and participating hobbyist, with a fairly priced car, should be able to pick up the phone and say "I have decided to sell my car. Are you still interested?" Many of you should be able to do it. And if you can't you should know why.

Bernie

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