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Private collections going up for sale.


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As we are all aging out I'm seeing many private collections being auctioned off by the estate. Here in April 2020 with the current pandemic hitting seniors especially hard (me included) and an abundance of vehicles coming up for sale what's the popular opinion? I'm in Ontario Canada, can see more cars not being sold. Usually this is when (Spring) the market picks up. With all the gloom and doom from the IMF, WHO, UN, and general media coverage what's going to happen next?

  Seems most of the under 40 crowd has little enthusiasm for old cars?? As money gets tight prices drop. Discretionary spending on seldom driven oldies and lack of obsession has got to take it's toll.

  

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News today said auto sales were down 25% for the last month. Haven't seen much change in asking prices though.

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1 hour ago, Ed Luddy said:

 

  Seems most of the under 40 crowd has little enthusiasm for old cars?? As money gets tight prices drop. Discretionary spending on seldom driven oldies and lack of obsession has got to take it's toll.

  

Not everyone wants to drive them, they have to look right above all. Bob 

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I’ve said it before, but I for one just can’t wait for prices/values of all old/vintage cars come crashing down and more the better.

 

 

 

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Here is an example of car collections going up for sale. Vanderbrink auctions has 8 collections listed and that is just one auction house. If antique furniture is an indication of the future antique car prices I will be able to buy a custom bodied  Packard for under $300. a ton. But that price would be a good number 2 condition and less for a closed car.

https://www.vanderbrinkauctions.com/auction-schedule/

But here in Canada there are very few good cars around as they are sold out of country with the $ being so low and few collections around. Do a search in Canada on good vintage cars for sale and you will understand. Even brass Ts for sale you will have a hard time finding a total of 8 of them across Canada.

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, padgett said:

News today said auto sales were down 25% for the last month. Haven't seen much change in asking prices though.

 

The difference this time is all the plants are closed, so there isn’t a growing glut of inventory.  I’ll guess that will change when the fire the factories back up.

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The "crash" is happening right now, in real time; it's merely happening in slow motion. There won't be an overnight drop in prices that shocks everyone like the 1929 stock market crash. However, just as one example, in 2010 a really nicely restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible was a $100,000 car. They traded hands for six-figures for several years and it was no big deal. Today? You can buy a really, really nice one for about $60,000. That's a 40% drop in just 10 years. And they're still going down. The only ones who will fight this trend are the guys who paid to much to buy or restore the car, but make no mistake, they or their heirs are going to take a bath. And that's just one example. 95% of old cars are dropping in value and I've said it a dozen times--the days of "getting your money out of it" are over, never mind making a profit. We are going back to the "it only makes sense if you love it" days, which I think is only a good thing.

 

There are quite a few cars that are worth virtually nothing--orphan brands, restoration projects, and even nice cars that are boring. If you have a 1920s 4-door sedan that isn't a Full Classic or a Model A, it's probably worth little more than scrap even if it's the best of its kind in the world. What used to be starter hobby cars now have zero interest from younger people, who, as someone mentioned, either have no money, no time, or no interest, and often all three. And since most people collect the cars that connect them to their own pasts, well, unless their grandfathers had a 1928 Oldsmobile that gives them fond memories, nobody's going to want one. It's also why cars from the '80s are hot.

 

I am optimistic that dropping prices mean that some of these young people with an interest in obscure things for history's sake might pick up old cars as a curiosity and it starts all over. I don't know if that'll happen, and prices will have to get REALLY low, but the cars will continue to exist and someone will continue to own them. I think a lot of formerly nice cars will rot in barns and garages for decades because families are hung up on a price that they'll never get, but isn't that how today's barn finds were created 50, 60, 70 years ago? Maybe the hobby will be reborn a generation or two from now.

 

These big collections are great examples of guys hoarding things they think will be valuable in the future, but misjudging the market and when to get out. Prices only go up until they don't, but you have to be smart enough to recognize when that's happening. Most of these guys weren't, and now they have huge collections of relatively worthless cars that need to be fire-saled at an auction for pennies on the dollar. 10, 15, 20 years ago would have been the best time to eject, but they kept hoping for a little more, that prices would keep going up, that the cycle would continue forever. That's the problem with trying to make money on a hobby: you're never objective so good decisions are tough to make.

 

Your car will never be more valuable than it is now, Coronavirus notwithstanding. If you want to "get your money out of it" now is your best chance to get as much as possible. Otherwise, keep enjoying it, keep having fun, keep being a part of the hobby and let the chips fall where they may when you or your heirs go to sell. Be prepared to lose money, probably quite a bit, but as any other person in any other hobby will tell you, you're not supposed to make money by having fun.

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12 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

I am optimistic that dropping prices mean that some of these young people with an interest in obscure things for history's sake might pick up old cars as a curiosity and it starts all over. I don't know if that'll happen, and prices will have to get REALLY low, but the cars will continue to exist and someone will continue to own them. I think a lot of formerly nice cars will rot in barns and garages for decades because families are hung up on a price that they'll never get, but isn't that how today's barn finds were created 50, 60, 70 years ago? Maybe the hobby will be reborn a generation or two from now.

I've heard and read the concerns about too few young people coming into the "hobby" and your point I quoted may be just what it needs. Too many people with too much money, too big of egos, and not enough smarts trying to outbid the other bidders inflated the prices to put most out of reach, and the ones who really benefited were the B-J's of the old car world. Here comes the correction & I think it will be a long long period of dropping prices.

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I do not buy into the theory that the younger crowd has no interest. They lack access. I assure you, if the 50-70 year old guys stopped buying up the cars as the 80 year old guys pass, the cars would eventually trickle down the socioeconomic (and age) ladder and find homes. Perfectly usable antique cars at prices below, say, 25% of the US medium income are not sitting around waiting for someone to care about them. 

 

Another part of it is: most of the young people I know in this hobby participate in zero national events. I believe cost is the main factor, but others exist. First experiences for young car guys as they interact with the more established crowd are often bad, disheartening, or intimidating... even though I believe we are all trying to be very supportive and accepting. 
 

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18 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

These big collections are great examples of guys hoarding things they think will be valuable in the future, but misjudging the market and when to get out.

I think you're mostly correct on this point, however I do know some collections were amassed just because the collector liked to look at the cars he bought and/or it was a competition between him & another guy as to who would buy a car or cars at auction.

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From the mouths of babes: I told my sixteen year old that there was another conversation about young people having no interest in cars and she suggested that if someone on a tour would have a conversation with her about anything other than young people having no interest in cars it might be more fun. 
 

Honestly though, aside from the knowledge that most old car rides involve restaurants or ice cream stands, she has no interest in cars. 

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20 minutes ago, gossp said:

I do not buy into the theory that the younger crowd has no interest. They lack access. I assure you, if the 50-70 year old guys stopped buying up the cars as the 80 year old guys pass, the cars would eventually trickle down the socioeconomic (and age) ladder and find homes. Perfectly usable antique cars at prices below, say, 25% of the US medium income are not sitting around waiting for someone to care about them. 

 

Another part of it is: most of the young people I know in this hobby participate in zero national events. I believe cost is the main factor, but others exist. First experiences for young car guys as they interact with the more established crowd are often bad, disheartening, or intimidating... even though I believe we are all trying to be very supportive and accepting. 
 

 

You're not wrong--the interest is there, the ability to play isn't. There are gushing articles in every magazine about the booming health of the hobby, but they conveniently omit a great swath right through the middle. Sure, there are all kinds of awesome events to attend with spectacular cars... if you're wealthy enough. Likewise, free events like cruise nights and cars and coffee are packed with cars... as long as you consider late-models and daily drivers "collector cars." They say, "Hey look at all these kids doing car stuff!" Sure, that's great, but none of them are driving 1932 Pontiacs, they're driving 1988 Camaros and 2007 Subarus. I'm not judging the cars, I'm just saying that there's a whole chunk of the hobby that's withering on the vine and everyone ignores it because, hey, the trellis the vine is growing on is so strong and beautiful.

 

The place that the hobby lived from the 1950s to the 1990s, maybe a little later, the place where a lot of us grew up and played, is drying up. Antique cars are a non-starter for most people today, regardless of age. The concern is always "keeping up with traffic" and "getting my money out of it" and "who will fix it when it breaks?" and "I don't have time to mess with a fussy old car." There are always exceptions to the rule, but the number of young people getting into the hobby each year using a car older than their parents can probably be counted on one person's fingers and toes.

 

Part of that is simply experience--we collect the cars that resonate with us. Either our father had one or we had one when we were young or the guy we admired up the street had one or something personal like that. There's usually a connection that drives a collector to collect. That's why I'm not surprised that young people have no interest in a 1928 Chevrolet but plenty of interest in a 1985 Toyota Supra. It's what they grew up with, it's what they aspired to when they were young, and it's what they want when they have some disposable income. That's why 1969 Camaros are popular, too, by the way. The guys who collect them owned them or aspired to own them when they were young and the cars were new. The cars of this generation's youth are also cheap and relatively attainable, which is a significant factor.


The other part is simply that life has changed. Sure, wealthy people have a whole huge smorgasbord of great events to attend. At $300 a ticket, Pebble Beach is spectacular. But I can't afford to take my family there, not for $1200 just to get in the door, plus $2000 worth of airplane tickets, plus $3000 worth of inflated hotel room, plus $1500 worth of meals. Rich guys, sure, the hobby is booming for them--why shouldn't it? They've got it made. They have exactly nothing to worry about as long as guillotines don't make a comeback.
 

But for average people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, well, the idea of a collector car is a luxury that they may want but can't realistically attain. Sure, they can suffer with a $2500 1974 Ford Maverick and go to all the modest events with it, but just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's a viable alternative. Crappy cars are still crappy cars, no matter how cheap or old they get or how many doors they open. The hobby, like much of life, has been turned into a profit center for some and by virtue of that, it immediately cuts great swaths of participants out of the equation. And like many of those other things, the people on the outside are obligated to be happy with table scraps. The quest to constantly drive values upwards for a good 40 years has created a market where everything is unattainable and the resources to attain it are non-existent. Everyone insisting that their cars get 10% more valuable every year has turned the hobby into something it wasn't in the '50s, '60s, and '70s: a profit center.

 

Money, money, money. Eventually it ruins everything. It has ruined our hobby. Yet we still single-mindedly pursue it above all else. We deserve whatever misfortune we get.

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Kudos to Matt for his bullseye summary of the market.    Must remark however, that all the strong and shiny guillotines have been snapped up due to rarity in that market.

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I am new to the hobby in the last three years, in my 40's, and am just getting going.  My 19 year old son and my 22 year old daughter love the old cars.  My daughter drives a 78 VW westfalia bus as her daily driver.  I hope the prices come down as I would love to add some more pre 32 cars to the stable.  Now that being said, I looked through the Vanderbrink auction that was posted earlier in the thread and I am not really interested in a car like those that have been sitting in a barn forever and needs a lot of work.  I want to drive and have some fun with the cars and don't really want to spend a long time working on it and getting it running.  Don't get me wrong, I love working on the old cars and am learning every day, but I enjoy maintaining and improving.  I am currently in discussions right now with someone about a 1914 auto that I am looking to purchase, but not being able to lay eyes on it is slowing things down.  

 

Bottom line for me is that Return on Investment isn't a factor for me as it is all Return on Fun that I can have that drives my ownership decisions.  

Edited by kfle (see edit history)
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Anyone that thinks young people don't like cars needs to get out and expand their world view a bit. They love cars. 

What they don't love is old-guy stuff. I can't believe we have this same conversation so often. 🤦‍♂️

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35 minutes ago, gossp said:

From the mouths of babes: I told my sixteen year old that there was another conversation about young people having no interest in cars and she suggested that if someone on a tour would have a conversation with her about anything other than young people having no interest in cars it might be more fun. 
 

Honestly though, aside from the knowledge that most old car rides involve restaurants or ice cream stands, she has no interest in cars. 

 

While at 32, im twice the age of your daughter, but being as much of a car person as I am, and knowing many other people around my age with pre- war and  pre 90's cars, it does get a little old, constantly being reminded that my generation and I , have no interest in cars, when really i would imagine that the people saying that, just aren't around younger car people so they don't see it. Add to that, what different age demographics find fun and enjoyable, and what a 24yr old finds fun, and what a 65yr old finds fun, while still involving old cars, could vary.

Honestly, the 2 things that stick out to me, and what i hear the most from people who have an interest in getting into cars, is spare money and the thought that for ANY cool car, your going to have to pony up a lot of money, which i don't think is true and i believe i am demonstrating with my 1937 Century build done on a budget, and, secondly, i think people feel like they are afraid of what they don't know and assume old cars are these very fragile, confusing, antiquated,  complicated, pieces and just wouldn't know where to start.  

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Money, money, money. Eventually it ruins everything. It has ruined our hobby. Yet we still single-mindedly pursue it above all else. We deserve whatever misfortune we get.

I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for this comment but my experience has been that most baby boomers rate wealth as a major indication of success.  

I’m 44 and own 6 vehicles that I consider fall into the collector car category, one I inherited but the rest I have put my own hard work and as little money as possible to bring back to life, they aren’t blue ribbon cars but very presentable.

 I have a 66 F250 4x4 that I bought out of southern Oregon in 2008 for $4000, a very solid truck that I repainted and made look nice, bought a parts truck and chose the best parts of each and kept the total investment in the project to around $7500.  I’m happy with it and it’s a big attention getter, it’s fun, I know how to fix it, and I paid cash the way a little here a little there.

An acquaintance of mine in his 70s has a very nice 1997 F350 4x4 low miles that he bought new. At a family BBQ he commented on my truck asking me what I thought it’s worth, I said “ I don’t know, I might be able to get twenty grand for it”  to which his reply was “mine’s worth twenty five”.  I didn’t bother responding that he paid more for his truck in the first place and it’s worth less than what he spent on it.  In his eyes he’s got the diamond and his “investment” was a good one and he can go around comparing his success in life by the value of his possessions.  I’ll just carry on turning sad looking junk into better looking junk and get my satisfaction that way.

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14 minutes ago, Car-Nicopia said:

Anyone that thinks young people don't like cars needs to get out and expand their world view a bit. They love cars. 

What they don't love is old-guy stuff. I can't believe we have this same conversation so often. 🤦‍♂️

 

They love their own cars, as I did when the old people in my youth loudly voiced their disapproval of my choice in cars. Some still do. I realized their opinion was just a form of their arrogance and let them have their hobby while I had mine

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48 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

You're not wrong--the interest is there, the ability to play isn't. There are gushing articles in every magazine about the booming health of the hobby, but they conveniently omit a great swath right through the middle. Sure, there are all kinds of awesome events to attend with spectacular cars... if you're wealthy enough. Likewise, free events like cruise nights and cars and coffee are packed with cars... as long as you consider late-models and daily drivers "collector cars." They say, "Hey look at all these kids doing car stuff!" Sure, that's great, but none of them are driving 1932 Pontiacs, they're driving 1988 Camaros and 2007 Subarus. I'm not judging the cars, I'm just saying that there's a whole chunk of the hobby that's withering on the vine and everyone ignores it because, hey, the trellis the vine is growing on is so strong and beautiful.

 

The place that the hobby lived from the 1950s to the 1990s, maybe a little later, the place where a lot of us grew up and played, is drying up. Antique cars are a non-starter for most people today, regardless of age. The concern is always "keeping up with traffic" and "getting my money out of it" and "who will fix it when it breaks?" and "I don't have time to mess with a fussy old car." There are always exceptions to the rule, but the number of young people getting into the hobby each year using a car older than their parents can probably be counted on one person's fingers and toes.

 

Part of that is simply experience--we collect the cars that resonate with us. Either our father had one or we had one when we were young or the guy we admired up the street had one or something personal like that. There's usually a connection that drives a collector to collect. That's why I'm not surprised that young people have no interest in a 1928 Chevrolet but plenty of interest in a 1985 Toyota Supra. It's what they grew up with, it's what they aspired to when they were young, and it's what they want when they have some disposable income. That's why 1969 Camaros are popular, too, by the way. The guys who collect them owned them or aspired to own them when they were young and the cars were new. The cars of this generation's youth are also cheap and relatively attainable, which is a significant factor.


The other part is simply that life has changed. Sure, wealthy people have a whole huge smorgasbord of great events to attend. At $300 a ticket, Pebble Beach is spectacular. But I can't afford to take my family there, not for $1200 just to get in the door, plus $2000 worth of airplane tickets, plus $3000 worth of inflated hotel room, plus $1500 worth of meals. Rich guys, sure, the hobby is booming for them--why shouldn't it? They've got it made. They have exactly nothing to worry about as long as guillotines don't make a comeback.
 

But for average people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck, well, the idea of a collector car is a luxury that they may want but can't realistically attain. Sure, they can suffer with a $2500 1974 Ford Maverick and go to all the modest events with it, but just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's a viable alternative. Crappy cars are still crappy cars, no matter how cheap or old they get or how many doors they open. The hobby, like much of life, has been turned into a profit center for some and by virtue of that, it immediately cuts great swaths of participants out of the equation. And like many of those other things, the people on the outside are obligated to be happy with table scraps. The quest to constantly drive values upwards for a good 40 years has created a market where everything is unattainable and the resources to attain it are non-existent. Everyone insisting that their cars get 10% more valuable every year has turned the hobby into something it wasn't in the '50s, '60s, and '70s: a profit center.

 

Money, money, money. Eventually it ruins everything. It has ruined our hobby. Yet we still single-mindedly pursue it above all else. We deserve whatever misfortune we get.

 

Matt..., I am shocked ! Has your Wife heritage { All Canadians are rabid socialists after all } had that much influence on you lately ? Are you really biting the hand that feeds your Business ?

Has the prospect of the downward mobility that has effected many of us here in the steerage section finally struck close to home ?

 

All said in the truly genuine spirit that I have regarding the hopefully long continuing success of your business.  I definitely believe that your approach to the vintage car hobby / market is second to none.

 

Isn't much of your statement today along the lines of what I have mentioned for the last 3 or 4 years ?

Greg in Canada

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I also don’t buy the “cars from their youth” theory as a start and end point. Many people new to the hobby start there (so inflated prices of an era follow people of a certain age coming into disposable income) but many a guy I know started with the muscle car they wanted when they were 16 and ended up in a Model A that was an old car before they were born. 
 

It all comes down to actually getting into the hobby. 

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2 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

 

Matt..., I am shocked ! Has your Wife heritage { All Canadians are rabid socialists after all } had that much influence on you lately ? Are you really biting the hand that feeds your Business ?

Has the prospect of the downward mobility that has effected many of us here in the steerage section finally struck close to home ?

 

All said in the truly genuine spirit that I have regarding the hopefully long continuing success of your business.  I definitely believe that your approach to the vintage car hobby / market is second to none.

 

Isn't much of your statement today along the lines of what I have mentioned for the last 3 or 4 years ?

Greg in Canada

 

Well, possibly. My point isn't that some cars are good or some are bad or you're bad for having money, rather that I'm tired of the perception that old cars are investments and should be profitable when sold. That is what has driven the hobby to where it is today. Every year the cars have to get more valuable, more exclusive. There have to be bigger and better prizes to fight over and better classifications so your car is worth more when you sell it. Restorations can't just be good, they have to be perfect, better than the cars ever were new. Even an inexpensive driver-grade car without a highly detailed undercarriage is treated as an abomination, not normal, just because the only frame of reference is money buying perfection. The huge amount of money flowing through the hobby has distorted everyone's perspectives. It's really disheartening.
 

And yes, the reality is that all old cars except a select few are going to be less valuable tomorrow. That doesn't change the mindset that has been cultivated over the past 40 years that every year you own it is a dollar more in your pocket when you sell. Everyone who comes into my shop says they want everything they paid for it plus another 10% for the trouble of having fun with it. If we asked the guys driving around in V12 Packards with chipped paint and dirty whitewalls in the 1960s about the investment potential of their cars, they'd throw a wrench at us and tell us to bugger off with that kind of stupid talk. Today, even the guy buying a $7000 car from me asks if he'll be able to sell it for a profit in a few years. It hasn't ruined the hobby, per se, but it has certainly polluted it.

 

This was driven home recently, as I have a really nice 1967 Corvette for sale. It has won every major award a car like that can win, it has all the right parts and numbers, and it's completely impossible to sell because people interested in such a car are more concerned about their investment than the quality of the car or the enjoyment they'll get from owning it. More than one person has asked if it has been certified by some organization I didn't even recognize--yes, that's right, the Corvette guys need experts to verify the work of experts who verified the work of experts before they'll consider owning a car like this. My only thought is if the experts can't tell the difference, is there any difference at all? I'm reminded of that fake painting that kept changing hands for more and more money and nobody knew it was fake, and when it was discovered it was already so famous that they found a new reason for it to be valuable so that someone's investment could be protected. The only reason that kind of BS happens is because people want to make sure they can make money just by owning the car. It's completely stupid.

 

I'm not yearning for the return of $40 Model As, but I am saying that the middle part of almost everything in modern society has been desiccated by the relentless pursuit of profit above all else. It's no longer enjoying something for what it is, but rather for how big a pile of cash you can turn it into. Last time I checked, a pile of money isn't any fun to drive. And before you say, "You can use that pile of money to buy a car that is fun to drive," I'll add that the next thought will be turning the car back into a pile of money that they expect to be even bigger than the first one. It always comes back to the money, not the fun, not the memories, not the experience, just cold hard cash.

 

And that really takes the fun out of everything.

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43 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I'm not yearning for the return of $40 Model As, but I am saying that the middle part of almost everything in modern society has been desiccated by the relentless pursuit of profit above all else. It's no longer enjoying something for what it is, but rather for how big a pile of cash you can turn it into. Last time I checked, a pile of money isn't any fun to drive. And before you say, "You can use that pile of money to buy a car that is fun to drive," I'll add that the next thought will be turning the car back into a pile of money that they expect to be even bigger than the first one. It always comes back to the money, not the fun, not the memories, not the experience, just cold hard cash.

 

And that really takes the fun out of everything.

 

I remember last year, you posted/ started doing something that really stuck with me,  about trying to take an active position and picked up a few cars, while maybe not the most popular, were very nicely done, running cars with the intent on selling them at quite reasonable prices that wouldn't scare off people trying to get into the car hobby and just get out and enjoy! I think this is as important as anything else, as a price under $15k or even $20k, really moves things into the realm of possibility for the average person with an interest, where they are more likely to see an auction on tv, where "everything" is going for big bucks, and don't realize, you can be out bopping around for not a big financial commitment or risk.

 

Edited by Stooge (see edit history)
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Don't think much of MSN but interesting that they lauded RM Southby Palm Beach when looking at the sales indicated most sold for 30-60% less than the low estimate. Guess that does not count.

Agree the top and high dollar cars are in a class of their own, the rich are different.

 

OTOH used car sales are said to be off at least 25%. Advertisements for high priced domestics still show inflated prices and but are not selling so the market has not yet found its level.

 

Personally have been paying cash for cars for a long time (since '60s) and from disposable income I have earned. Usually made money on one to pay for the next. Planned for one more since selling my Crossfire, a Reatta 'vert, and my travel trailer. Thought I wanted an XLR but now leaning toward a 2001 C5 Targa with a 6 speed. Are enough advertised that I can pick a color I like.

 

So as I mentioned both the quantity and type of available interesting cars have been increasing every year, and a lot of the youth are interested in cars, just they are cars since the horsepower wars started up again in the min-90s. Or many interesting JDM cars. Or restomods. Today hotrodding involves a computer. All are alternatives competing for the same $$$ as cars made before Vietnam.

 

So no question that shutting down the country is going to reduce disposable income. Second a significant population will not be driving as much as before, many will find they like home schooling, home entertainment, and telecommuting. Expect boom times may come back, maybe by 2025. Maybe not. But doubt that it will ever be the same.

 

So the issue is complex. Much moreso than it was in 1970. Or 1990. or will be at the end of 2020. Personally am enjoying computer cars, even have reprogrammed my '88 which is now 32 years old. Judge is the only one that would survive EMP though. That said my last Corvette went away in 1973. Maybe time for another just will be older than my split window (first FI /electronic ignition car I had) was when I bought it.

 

Now if I could just figure out why am not sleeping at night. Of course it does not really matter.

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9 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

 

Thanks for sharing the article, Mr. Coyote.  I see that it's

like many other such articles:  sensational, and written by someone

who likely knows little about cars.  Notably, it repeats the oft-believed

notion that old cars are expensive and their owners are rich--

thereby hurting our hobby immeasurably.  Hey, Miss Reporter,

how about reporting the $6000 Studebakers, the $9000 Corvairs,

the $20,000 Buicks, that are the mainstream part of the hobby!

 

Here are a few quotes:

 

"Great cars many times change hands quietly between serious collectors, and rarely do these folks panic or liquidate collectibles that will make them happy when doomsday passes,” says Steve Serio, who specializes in finding and procuring expensive classics for high-net-worth clients."

 

"David Gooding can attest to that.  The Gooding & Co. founder and president says he has closed multiple private sales of several extremely high-dollar cars that he hadn’t expected to sell at all. The auction house has done more and better private sales in the last few weeks than it would have during any typical springtime, including one private transaction that would amount to a world-record price for that type of prewar vehicle."

 

" It certainly applied to a Lancia Delta S4 that belonged—until this week—to British artist friend of mine.  He hadn’t intended to sell such an expensive, rare Italian car... But when someone inquired through Instagram and made a rather decadent offer..."

 

"...at that RM Sotheby’s sale last month, a 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 topped sales with a $891,000 final bid."

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I think Matt has spotted the problem very properly. The collection car is a hobby, so when it was converted to an investment, many people got lost and confused. Now, due the recent crisis, many are still waiting the recovery of their investments, that they and their heirs believe were "gold". 

I bought my fist antique car when I was 24 y.o., against all trends and explanations of "people buy old cars of their past", it was a 1928 Chevrolet touring car. I am real fan of the 1920´s cars. I am now 45 y.o. and own and drive (and certainly restore and fix them many times) other late 1920´s cars. If I thought in the investment, I would be ruined, but if I consider the joy these cars brought me, I can easily say it made lot of sense for me the money spent to buy, restore and conserve them.

When I drive my old Chevrolet, in its steady pace, it is amazing to see the astonishment of the people on the streets. Its Klaxon horn sound sometimes scares people on the road, that suddenly smile when they see that time capsule running. It is a great and happy feeling.

I can say that is sometimes very hard to a young guy to be accepted among the old collectors, I suffered myself. Interestingly, I was the only one around buying and restoring these very old beauties. It was what I wanted, so I have moved forward, insisted for help and advise when needed, sometime annoying these old folks. After all, it is a hobby, not business or investment for me. I really love to drive them, but the restoration is also very pleasant for me. Investigating and researching for parts or manuals around the world is also a source of pleasure. I live in Brazil, my cars were restored here, and I had to talk to people all over world to get things done. Despite of all my cars are US built, I found my parts or advice for them in Australia, UK, Canada and Argentina, naturally, in addition to all the help I got from fellow collectors and parts providers in America.

I think an important challenge and question I have is the difficulty of fathers to bring their kids together in this hobby. For sure, many of them like to go for a ride, but few want to get involved on the fixing and restoration. Very few will keep some of the daddy´s car when they passes away. I have two boys, about to turn 17 and 15 y.o., they see these old cars with different perspectives, the eldest is more attracted to the mechanical things and restoration, but is more fan of 1950´s convertibles (that I do not own) and F1 cars. The youngest just like to ride them.

As we stimulate kids for sports, reading and other good habits, we as car enthusiasts may be failing in creating the next generation of antique automobile collectors and care takers. I believe the easiest way is to do this job in our homes, but, if the old car is an investment for you, forget it, your son or daughter can only understand it as a dollar figure.

Great discussion during these days.

Julio Albernaz

1926 Studebaker, Big Six, sport roadster

1928 Chevrolet, National, touring

1929 Chrysler, Model 75, roadster

1929 Dodge-Brothers, Six, brougham

1929 Hudson, Super Six, sedan

1929 Marmon, Model 78, touring speedster

1951 Plymouth, Cranbrook, sedan

1954 Willys, CJ3B, jeep

 

 

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I have suffered the same fate as others in my range of income. I have often said, capitalism only works when it has a strong moral foundation. The old car "hobby" is no exception. When people started seeing the value of cars going up and up and up, money became the driving factor and as Matt has so eloquently stated, the hobby turned into a business driven by profit and a large portion of hobbyists got sucked into it. My cars are all pre 40. In order to go on local or state tours I have to invest in the car, a garage to house the car, a full size truck and trailer to transport the car, hotel and food costs, etc, etc. Then, ego gets involved and I can't have just one car. Everybody else has a stable, I can't be outdone. Each car has to have new tires every 5 years, a new battery, and must be maintained with fresh oil and antifreeze. At some point the hobby becomes a burden and the joy is all gone. The hobby is too top heavy and must come crashing down, be it slow or fast. Let the tulip bulb fiasco be a warning to us all. I agree, we need to get back to the moral foundation of the hobby. It has to be something each of us enjoys for our own reasons. Then young people, who are very much turned off by the plastic fake world they find themselves in, will be turned on by the genuine joy they see.

 

I guess I should state the obvious. There are several different factions here. Some cars are not collector cars; they are works of art and as such will most likely continue to climb in value. The trick is not to equate those cars with the hobby type. Though some people delight in taking these works of art out on the freeway for a Sunday drive, they confuse the rest of us into thinking our Sunday drive cars are also works of art and therefore have no limit of upward value.

 

Let me just say, I had a hobby that morphed into a retirement plan that has now fallen into a burden to dispose of. Oh the joys of life.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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