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Is hobby interest in pre-WWII cars Dying?

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13 minutes ago, PreWarQc said:

Those cars (from what I see) have little to do with the list you showed from Hemmings... Why try to prove your point by showing me (what seem to be) extremly good deals? Good deals are not representative of the market as a whole and are very rare.

 

Disagree, and I know because I do this for a living. In fact, all of those cars took quite some time to sell. If they were screaming bargains and rare finds, they would have been snatched up quickly. All sat for well over six months waiting for new owners. And ultimately, the guy who bought one of the Pontiacs needed two visits to make sure it was right and his hang-up was that it wasn't perfect and cheaper. In fact, I offered one of those Pontiacs and the Buick to you during your last thread about "too much money, too little car."

 

14 minutes ago, PreWarQc said:

Never said I wanted a Pierce-Arrow. I would of liked a model A but there is none in GOOD shape under 16-18k

 

Sold this one for about $12,000, a MARC touring award winner:

 

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And this handsome and unusual victoria, an older frame-off restoration, for $15,000:

 

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If $18,000 was actually your threshold, you could have had this one (until last month), an AACA National First Prize winner:

 

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Or either of these with overdrives (the coupe is still available, by the way):

 

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I don't feel that any of these was an unusually amazing bargain. If you couldn't find a really decent Model A for $16-18K, you simply weren't looking very hard. 

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12 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Disagree, and I know because I do this for a living. In fact, all of those cars took quite some time to sell. If they were screaming bargains and rare finds, they would have been snatched up quickly. All sat for well over six months waiting for new owners. And ultimately, the guy who bought one of the Pontiacs needed two visits to make sure it was right and his hang-up was that it wasn't perfect and cheaper. In fact, I offered one of those Pontiacs and the Buick to you during your last thread about "too much money, too little car."

 

 

Sold this one for about $12,000, a MARC touring award winner:

 

001.jpg

 

And this handsome and unusual victoria, an older frame-off restoration, for $15,000:

 

001.jpg

 

If $18,000 was actually your threshold, you could have had this one (until last month), an AACA National First Prize winner:

 

001.jpg

 

Or either of these with overdrives (the coupe is still available, by the way):

 

001.jpg 001.jpg 

 

I don't feel that any of these was an unusually amazing bargain. If you couldn't find a really decent Model A for $16-18K, you simply weren't looking very hard. 

 

16-18k (Canadian... yes, should of specified.)

I have not been looking at the market in over a year but if those cars represent the current trend (or market price-even in us currency) well I have to say that it is true, prices have started to go down.

But I made my choice and I'm happy with it!

 

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Posted (edited)

There might be the $ exchange involved. As I have said several times it's just as hard to earn a dollar in Canada as the U.S. but Canadians face a substantial exchange obstacle on our money. Someone in a particular job making say $60,000.00 a year in the U.S. would most likely also be making $60,000.00 a year in Canada doing a apples to apples  job. But that would be $60,000.00 Canadian. That 33% or so shortfall makes even a Model A expensive to many Canadian's. Like I said in the craigslist thread most Canadian sellers price the better quality cars at about 85-90% of the U.S. market knowing a U.S. buyer is the likely target buyer. By far most Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. So distance is generally not a problem.

Actually I was the one who said I liked Pierce 80's.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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Seems to me that too many folks get sucked into a competitive mindset, wherein those who don't do a frame-off or obsess over every screw or whether the wires are made from copper ore from the original mine somehow feel inferior.  IMHO, if it goes, stops, turns, and keeps you dry, you're 90% of the way there.  If you've got seat covers instead of new leather, or a temporary MDF floorboard, BFD.  The view through the windshield is the same, the smile's just as big, and the stress is a lot lower.

 

Having said that, a modified frame-off can be a matter of efficiency.  If you're going to have a go at the engine, transmission, brakes, shocks, axle, etc., the time spent pulling the body might be repaid several times over in the ease of accessing all those systems from above rather than below.  Clean them, fix them, and put it back together.  You don't need to completely disassemble everything, or have anything blasted, or paint the frame, or polish every bolt, or touch the body or finish at all.

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I don't have much interest in a pre-war car these days. I don't have a garage or cheap storage close by me. Traffic is very congested and distracted drivers is a real serious problem. No signal lane changes and just really poor driving skills is the norm around here in the city of London Ontario. But we do have an abundance of country roads to rediscover, I just don't have the time or desire to go do it in a 40's or earlier car.

 I'm getting far too nervous to drive very far in a poor braking,handling car in today's traffic. Still love to look at them. Just not drive 'em. I just took a 1967 Buick Wildcat in very good mechanical condition into Toronto via the 8 lane QEW highway. No fun at all. In my world I'm getting too cranky to drive pre- Viet Nam War cars in traffic! Last year bringing a 57 Oldsmobile and then my former 63 Studebaker Hawk through the same 8 lane mayhem caused a few gray hairs. And it had factory front disc brakes!

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The thing with pre war cars is they are reminder of history.  FDR was elected to four terms and was loved by the voters, the Hoover Dam was a marvel of the day, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis made movies and the government was not 22 trillion in debt.  As well as the pre war culture we get to drive on modern highways, looking along a long hood with twin side mounted spare tires following a chrome goddess, bird or some other piece of artwork in a 4000 pound, straight eight engine car.  Beautiful.

 

What was Henry Ford going to do next?  Should I buy a Duesenberg or a 16 cylinder Cadillac or a Marmon?  Did Chamberlain make the correct decision?  Will the market come back?  IMHO history is the reason to have pre war cars and they will I am sure they will persevere.

 

On a related topic I agree the Mustang is a great car.  I drove a six year old English sports car during my high school days and it was horrible.  The heater as almost non existent, the top would not hold out the rain and if you tried to make a turn it would spin out.  Why anyone would pay large amount of money for an old sports car is unbelievable to me.  BMW, Audi TT, Mustang or Fusion is a far superior product, IMHO.

 

Regards, Gary

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Posted (edited)

Gary, I think you had the wrong sports car. Most don't try to spin out on every turn.  The rest is just part of the experience. 

 

Greg in Canada

 

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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14 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

No car needs a frame-off restoration and if that's your only standard, well, enjoy riding the pine for the rest of your life.

 

This is how I arrived at my "dogma" comment; a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.  Many areas of life have situations where there is an underlying authority that is the reference of the ideal. Participants unquestioningly comply to the standard. Expectations are implied when the comments at a car show tend to be :When are you going to fix that" more often than "This looks good."

 

This topic started as prewar, but it is about retaining interest in an aging car, in general. And, somewhat, the circumstances around the car's survival. It really is not a prerequisite to have a restored car, or be the jack of all trades who restored it. This reminds me of the time I joined The Sierra Club. The first magazine I received had an editorial mentioning a visit to the head office by a member. The member was described as thin and muscular, showing signs of the desert sun in his tanned skin, and wrinkles around his bright blue, knowing eyes. The epitome of a Sierra Club member, the editor implied. Well, living in the half frozen wilds of western New York, I knew that I would never "look" like a "real" member. I lost interest. Similar statements are made in many instances. People do take things personally.

 

I am very happy with this "new" 15 year old, well 16 already, BMW I bought as a quasi collector car. It is not a huge stretch for me to compare the purchase of this car to the buyer of a 1935 Duesenberg in 1951. My car stickered at $126,000, not far from equivalent 1935 money, and the engineering for time is pretty close. I am sure that 1951 buyer was told he was getting into a very complicated car just like I was. The list of similarities is entertaining to think of. The difference? I will have to wait for it to get old. For me it is a hobby interest.

 

Matt's place is a four hour drive from mine. Looks like a good excuse for a ride some day.

Bernie

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cxgvd said:

The thing with pre war cars is they are reminder of history.  FDR was elected to four terms and was loved by the voters, the Hoover Dam was a marvel of the day, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis made movies and the government was not 22 trillion in debt.  As well as the pre war culture we get to drive on modern highways, looking along a long hood with twin side mounted spare tires following a chrome goddess, bird or some other piece of artwork in a 4000 pound, straight eight engine car.  Beautiful.

 

What was Henry Ford going to do next?  Should I buy a Duesenberg or a 16 cylinder Cadillac or a Marmon?  Did Chamberlain make the correct decision?  Will the market come back?  IMHO history is the reason to have pre war cars and they will I am sure they will persevere.

 

On a related topic I agree the Mustang is a great car.  I drove a six year old English sports car during my high school days and it was horrible.  The heater as almost non existent, the top would not hold out the rain and if you tried to make a turn it would spin out.  Why anyone would pay large amount of money for an old sports car is unbelievable to me.  BMW, Audi TT, Mustang or Fusion is a far superior product, IMHO.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

You can be cold and wet in a pre- war car and it does not seem to spoil the attraction.

 

Greg

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Regarding Kongman's comment on removing the body for easier mechanical servicing, exactly what period repair manuals suggest on early Fords.  I imagine others as well.  

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I'll be testing the PreWar market with my 1912 Ford Touring  that was restored in 1950 in time to run the Glidden Tour three months before I was born, we both look pretty good from 20 feet away. Bob 

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On 6/10/2019 at 7:59 PM, Bhigdog said:

Hmmmm. 371 pre war cars all at a reasonable price and all looking for a buyer. Hmmmm. Kind of says something......bob

Interesting thought, but then again, there are ALWAYS more collector cars than there are collectors.

 

Simple math.  It's rare that any antique car collector owns just one car.  I have 11, many have more, but few have only one.  Thus, there are many more cars than there are collectors.

 

At any one time, what's your guess on cars that are for sale that fall in the "collector" category?  I'd guess 10,000 or more, that's only 200 per state, so probably a low number estimate.

 

All that said, there is still a huge interest in pre war cars, and there always will be.  Anyone waiting to buy the car of their dreams "for pennies on the dollar when the market crashes" is playing a fools game, and all they're doing is robbing themselves of enjoyment and friendships that ownership and usage of car would provide.

 

Yes, the market has ups and downs, but taking individual cases and making that the norm is not a true indication of market...

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Here is a great entry level pre-war car for sale on our site for a great price. https://forums.aaca.org/topic/328178-1938-studebaker-state-commander-4-door-sedan-for-sale/

I grew up in the hobby around pre-war cars, it just was not me, while I do love them and even stuck my toes in the water and owned a few. It is important to for those who are looking, EVERYONE of us started with something other then what we wanted to get involved. 

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That Stude and the olds are neither smoking deals. Both are tired and the Stude even says the engine is knocking.  There are other cars that are better with a little looking in the pre war category. 

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32 minutes ago, John348 said:

EVERYONE of us started with something other then what we wanted to get involved. 

 

I'm not so sure you can say EVERYONE... I started with a 1927 car and, when the situation permitted moved backward into brass cars. I've never had any interest in even the mid to late 30s, much less newer although I have owned several of the cars members here are now restoring. I just thought of them as used cars... I used them and either sold them or scrapped them.

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24 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

 

I'm not so sure you can say EVERYONE... I started with a 1927 car and, when the situation permitted moved backward into brass cars. I've never had any interest in even the mid to late 30s, much less newer although I have owned several of the cars members here are now restoring. I just thought of them as used cars... I used them and either sold them or scrapped them.

 

Alright I will walk back everyone, but many of the people I know worked their up to the car of their dreams. Owning a brass car is sort of like owning a horse, you need a place to play with it. But even yourself, you started with a 1927 and worked your way to what you desired. 

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Posted (edited)

True, but I'd still be happy with a 20s Cadillac and, should I live long enough, I may get another though I admit 27 is kind of late. Teens or early 20s would be more my style today. That said, the cars I like best were out of reach then and still are.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, trimacar said:

 

All that said, there is still a huge interest in pre war cars, and there always will be.  Anyone waiting to buy the car of their dreams "for pennies on the dollar when the market crashes" is playing a fools game, and all they're doing is robbing themselves of enjoyment and friendships that ownership and usage of car would provide.

 

 

I made a similar statement a while back as I’ve seen many restoring cars that will pass on a critical part because they feel the price is too high and that part is keeping them from finishing their project so they can enjoy it. Now I realize some parts are price by some way too high but the example was a 35’ Chevy engine I believe. The buyer needed an engine, the seller had a good running one complete with manifolds, carb, starter, electrolock, and trans for $600. The sticking point was the engine needed to be freighted and the cost of the freight. Shipping a palletized engine is not that expensive and even if it was $600, for $1,200, the buyer would have that critical part with all the extras. My point is that $1,200 really that much that someone would pass and try to find something cheaper which could take years? Doesn’t make sense to me. While I enjoy restoring my cars and that journey, I much rather have it done and driving. The restoration process takes long enough on its own never mind extending the process looking for the next deal. 

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6 hours ago, John348 said:

EVERYONE of us started with something other then what we wanted to get involved. 

 

Nope.

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There is an exception to every rule. Sometimes the difference between a used car and a vintage car is a very gray area. 1985 isn't new, but not very old either. And Corvette's are hardly rare unless one gets into miniscule option variations. But it is a big hobby, there is room for everyone. 

 

Greg in Canada

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7 hours ago, John348 said:

EVERYONE of us started with something other then what we wanted to get involved.

Not me.  All I ever wanted (the most) was a 1939 Buick, and my first car ever was one of those....followed by 12 more over the next 65 years.

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When I was young ,early 1960's , about 8 years old, there were a couple of early 1920's cars in the neighborhood. A T pickup, a Dodge pickup and a Dodge coupe. And a pair of MGA's were also local. I really didn't know what a Brass Era car was because I hadn't seen one.  

As I grew older my early interest in average circa 1925 cars waned and I became much more interested in the 1908-1912 era. And  "better quality" later teens / early 1920's cars but MGA's remained a firm favorite.  So part first love and part maturing tastes.

 

Greg in Canada

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, 1912Staver said:

There is an exception to every rule. Sometimes the difference between a used car and a vintage car is a very gray area. 1985 isn't new, but not very old either. And Corvette's are hardly rare unless one gets into miniscule option variations. But it is a big hobby, there is room for everyone.

 

:)

 

I should have been more precise and less concise.

 

My point was that when I decided to purchase a C4 Corvette, neither year nor color were optional—I was either going to buy a Light Blue Metallic 1985, or I wasn't going to purchase any C4.

 

Closer to the topic at hand: I've been interested in pre-war cars since I was about eight. I saw an Auburn 851 Speedster in either (I believe) Empress Beige or Palm Beach Tan, and I was smitten. My taste in pre-war cars runs toward the ridiculously expensive, so it is quite unlikely that I will ever own one. However, I—and many others I know—are not remotely interested in getting a car from an age or a marque that merely reminds me that I don't have the one I really want. If I am going to have any Auburn, I want that 851 and I want that color.

 

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Edited by j3studio (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Different strokes, to me color is about the least important variable in my choice. Unless it is completely jarring I am much more concerned with many things other than color. I agree that the right color can make a given car look better, but rarely will it sway me one way or another when considering a purchase.

A couple of times I have bought cars that were in a color I thought ugly. But over time they grew on me and in one case is now my preference.

 

Greg in Canada

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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When you do the math, 2019-25, 1994 is the cutoff to be considered antique.  That gives 90 years give or take to choose from to buy a vehicle that fits the definition of antique.  It certainly opens up lots of possibilities to purchase a car from an era that interests you. In 1970, the cutoff was 1945, with about 40 years to choose from and pretty much all candidates were pre WWII era.  Even the 1955-57 Chevy models were still mostly just well used old cars at that time.

 

A 1959 model is now 60 years old.  Hard to believe time has passed that quickly.  In 1970 I purchased a 1951 Pontiac Chieftan as my first car.  Compared to a 1970 car it was old technology and markedly different from the contemporary cars of the day.  Even with this obvious difference it still was not technically an antique.  Today I would truly enjoy having that old tin Indian back in all its two tone paint, straight 8, fender skirts and light up Indian on the hood glory. I continue to this day to have a soft spot for 1950s cars, the ones I longed for so many years ago.

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