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trimacar

Old Car Market going to hot place in a handbasket

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I get amused, my wife just reading me an article about the "only 245.5 million dollars in sales" at the recent auctions, and how the old car market is in a slump.

 

Really?  Where can I find all these bargains?  The auction problem is that the auctioneers and media have filled the owner's heads with dreams of hundred dollar bills, so they set a reserve that's not realistic, and they don't sell.  That's not an indication of ANYTHING other than greed.

 

I had a friend visit the other day, he doesn't like original old cars at all, he's totally into hot rods and customs.  We were talking about a few cars, he pointed at my 1910 Buick and said "Well, those cars are worthless, anyone who would have wanted one is dead now....."

 

He was dead serious, that's his belief.  It's called projection, I think, in psychology, "I have no interest in that kind of car, therefore NO ONE has any interest in that kind of car.

 

I proceeded to explain to him that the HCCA is alive and well, early cars are bringing more dollars than they've ever brought, there are tons of tours nationwide for early cars, the Model T clubs are strong and have a lot of young members.  He looked at me like I had three eyes, really?  he asked, that's hard to believe.....

 

Taking one event and saying that's the harbinger of things to come is not the way to analyze the market.  Besides, it's a hobby, and this whole investment thing has taken away a lot of the focus from the hobby itself.

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Well at least here house prices/rents are jumping 10% every few months. Normal people cannot afford collector cars.

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David, in the1970's I remember all the hand wringing about brass cars and that no one will want them!  Not that there are no challenges but those of us who want to see the hobby remain vibrant need to create our own destiny despite what the naysayers say.  You are correct that the epitaph has not been written and I pray it won't ever be.  While not everyone has a respect for history and heritage, it is important!

 

Padgett, I think it all comes down to what you call a collector car.  Can most of us afford a Bugatti, Duesenberg or the like?  Not me!  However, every day, and I do mean every day, there are nice cars that are for sale at reasonable prices.  Cars under $10,000 are out there and they offer a good bang for the buck.  

 

 

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My memory is of the Harrah's sales, hundreds of cars going over the block.  Everyone I talked to said that was the end of high prices for old cars, flooding the market like that.

 

Steve, I agree, the hobby changes but it's kept alive by so many people loving old cars.  Happy Motoring!

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17 minutes ago, Brass is Best said:

What ever happened to just buying a car because you like it?

It went out the window the first time a guy buys a project and loses his shirt when he has to sell it before getting it completed.  Now most people want a hedge that it won't happen again.  We even preach it on here to every newbe. 

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52 minutes ago, Brass is Best said:

What ever happened to just buying a car because you like it?

 

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Wow, that one hit close to home, Matt's finger is correct.  I'm guilty of preaching chrome and upholstery and paint costs myself.

 

Why don't we start saying "Man, you'd have a lot of memories restoring that one" or "Get your son or daughter involved in the restoration" or "Let us know how we can help you restore that car"....the list is endless for positive thoughts.....

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Part of the cost is the enjoyment whether its the time building your car or using it. I think we have to take that into consideration when we sell a car at a monetary loss. How many hours of enjoyment did it bring you. Almost all our entertainment whether its golfing or going to the movies cost x amount for a amount of time.  If I have $20 k in a vehicle and enjoy it for ten years and sell for $10K as long as I feel like I got $1k enjoyment a year out of it I don't feel like I lost anything. I am not up there with some  who have $50K or more in a vehicle so that might be a whole different story. 

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Can anyone name another hobby where you get most of your money back when you're done?

 

Sporting events? Nope.

Concerts? No.

Vacation? Nay.

Golf? No way.

Boating? LOL

Fishing? Bigger LOL.

Woodworking? Meh, if you're good maybe you can sell some stuff but your time is still free.

Electric trains? Unlikely.

Music? Only if you really get the gig, which you won't.

Stamps? Maybe, but only if you can find someone else buying--you guys think OUR hobby is dying? These poor guys are already dust.

Coins? See Stamps.

Video games? Um, what?

 

So tell me what other hobby can you do where you get a big, fat rebate when you're done with the fun? And why the hell should that rebate be 110% or 120% of what you spent to buy the fun you had?

 

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5 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Can anyone name another hobby where you get most of your money back when you're done?

 

Sporting events? Nope.

Concerts? No.

Vacation? Nay.

Golf? No way.

Boating? LOL

Fishing? Bigger LOL.

Woodworking? Meh, if you're good maybe you can sell some stuff but your time is still free.

Electric trains? Unlikely.

Music? Only if you really get the gig, which you won't.

Stamps? Maybe, but only if you can find someone else buying--you guys think OUR hobby is dying? These poor guys are already dust.

Coins? See Stamps.

Video games? Um, what?

 

So tell me what other hobby can you do where you get a big, fat rebate when you're done with the fun? And why the hell should that rebate be 110% or 120% of what you spent to buy the fun you had?

 

I've said the same thing many times, and I've lost money on almost all the cars I've bought and sold in the last 15 years.....well, I made $1800 on one, or I think so.  I guess I'd convinced myself.  The '39 convertible sedan was a little hard to take.  I thought it would never stop going up........and I think I did make about $1,000 when it was all over if you don't count the incidental repairs along the way.

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Hobbies are what you do to immerse yourself into some other distraction that keeps you sane, at least that’s my definition of them.  Fun, interesting, learning are all part of it and the occasional spent more than I should have outlay is just part of the game.  Investing your money in a CD at the local bank will make you some extra $$$ but in no way will ever generate that same feeling you get from a hobby.

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25 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Can anyone name another hobby where you get most of your money back when you're done?

 

Sporting events? Nope.

Concerts? No.

Vacation? Nay.

Golf? No way.

Boating? LOL

Fishing? Bigger LOL.

Woodworking? Meh, if you're good maybe you can sell some stuff but your time is still free.

Electric trains? Unlikely.

Music? Only if you really get the gig, which you won't.

Stamps? Maybe, but only if you can find someone else buying--you guys think OUR hobby is dying? These poor guys are already dust.

Coins? See Stamps.

Video games? Um, what?

 

So tell me what other hobby can you do where you get a big, fat rebate when you're done with the fun? And why the hell should that rebate be 110% or 120% of what you spent to buy the fun you had?

 

 

Off shore powerboat racing... oh wait never mind.

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All markets have thier ups and downs. There are many economic signals that could be leading people to hold off on discretionary spending. Some political factors have folks raising their eyebrows. The economic outlook is not great where I am. I can’t say that for all of North America though. 

 

I am seeing similar slow sales and soft prices in the vintage guitar amp market. Demand is low. So supply seems high. Prices plummet.  This does not mean its all over for good. Things will pick up again eventually. Could be a while though. 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)

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The pendulum swings back and forth. Back and forth. And is in the MIDDLE twice as much as either extreme.   Little woman complaining about mine a few days ago when she asked how much I had spent on the car.  I then told her it was just a little more, over the 11 years, than her TV and cable.   And I still have the car.  

 

  Ben

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8 hours ago, trimacar said:

He was dead serious, that's his belief.  It's called projection, I think, in psychology, "I have no interest in that kind of car, therefore NO ONE has any interest in that kind of car.

 

So that is what it's called. Too bad this is an old car forum. I have had many bosses at work who suffered from that malady. The ones who hid and peeked were the most entertaining.

 

To the car hobby, look at its history. It is one of the most adaptive interests ever. And it has one major division, prewar and post war. Roughly 44 years of fixed and defined cars; and a growing, apparently infinite number on the other side, at about 75 years now.

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13 minutes ago, keithb7 said:

There are many economic signals that could be leading people to hold off on discretionary spending.

 

I've noticed that too. I think a lot of it is people have their money tied up in the stock market and bonds and don't want to touch it. Around Detroit, which has some decent suburbs, the job market is still fair and better, the real estate market prices are dropping, real estate is slow gain compared to the stock market. The Dow is back up over 26k today. One thing that doesn't help is the media continually reporting a crash is coming, a little research often shows it's a few economists out of several claiming that. The dollar is very strong right now compared to what it was, which is a good economic indicator.

 

-Ron

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How much is the upper stratospheric end of the market - the multi million dollar stuff - due to it being much more international that it was back in the day?

 

It is interesting that the top end American classics - Duesenbergs etc are really just climbing steadily whereas they have been overtaken by other, more modern,  'foreign' cars.

 

In that sort or price bracket you could build another one from scratch in solid gold.

 

I saw a interview with Jay Leno from not too long ago where he said he has been offered 18 million for the McLaren he paid #800,000 for about 20 (?) years ago. Not a bad investment.

 

In the meantime, as always, the majority of 'production' cars will continue to sell for less than their restorations costs.

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My bus aide who is about 40 or so told me today that her and her husband’s 78 Olds Cutlass won it’s first trophy at a local show over the weekend.  Proud as all get out. I told her that was great and we talked cars through the afternoon. And it is a nice car on top of everything.

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What ever happened to the hobby, that takes us away from all of the problems of the world, and  the day to day nonsense that we have to deal with? Who cares about  how much was made or lost the auctions, or what is correct placement of a side view mirror on a 1957  ??????. I thought we were supposed to have fun with our old cars, trucks, motorcycles, literature, toys and such.  If you are worried about bringing in kids, I think this is part of the problem. Ponderous, folks!

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The trick for the savvy is to approach a hobby as an entertainment, forget about monetary gain altogether.   Treat every use of the old car as one would any other form of entertainment or diversion.   All forms of entertainment require some type of expenditure to gain access or be equipped to participate.  The experiences shared and memories made are what keep a person centered and sane.  

 

Better yet, for those seeking those experiences with modest means, there are myriad less popular makes and model years of cars available to acquire at reasonable money.   Half the fun of owning a rarely seen collector car is explaining to the curious what it is and who made it.  Look where other have bypassed for the real value.

 

The most popular and widely recognized collector cars will always command the higher prices but its a pretty limited selection of choices if that is one's main criteria.  To paraphrase Auntie Mame: "Automotive history is a banquet of choices and those poor blighters are eating the same stale biscuit over and over". 

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4 hours ago, Buffalowed Bill said:

The answer to that one is, don't sell and you won't be disappointed.

     Problem is, we tell ourselves  "I've always liked those" as we walk the frequent car shows that we visit.  Then we find

    one that's affordable. but needs some TLC,  Then we have a storage problem, but fun with a fresh project..  Trying to

    downsize we think,  "If I sold this one, I could buy one of those.  Recently I had a guy hunt me down and offer what I

    thought my vehicle was worth.. But I wouldn't sell it.   I told him, that if it was for sale, I'd take his offer.  Right now,

    I'd rather have the vehicle than the money..    I don't feel that way about two others.   (I have to move 3 to get a

    different one on the lift) and will have to be disappointed when I sell 2 of them.). I know what I want next!

 

 

Edited by Paul Dobbin (see edit history)
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I have spent all my money on Whiskey, Women, and Pre War cars..........I’m broke but having a great time!

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