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Steve_Mack_CT

The upside of down prices

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Posted (edited)

My latest HMN arrived yesterday, and I did what I usually do, skim marque sections of interest.  While not actively looking to buy this year, prices make me think maybe I should be.  Some quick examples:

1948 Lincoln Continental Coupe, looks generally good all around, an hour away from me in NY.  $22k

1957 TBird, again looks to be in good to vg shape, 30 year old restoration, local to me at $20k

1936 Ford Phaeton, looks pretty good, may need some work but presentable, usable at $22k

I saw a couple more but need to review those at lunch time.

 

Not looking for another hobby is dying thread, we have seen enough of those.  Simply asking if anyone else is watching and seeing nice cars at (as they used to say at the music store when 8 tracks, cassettes and eventally vinyl was being cleared out) the nice price? 😊 And, if anyone is planning an a new old X if price hits certain number?

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
Spellling (see edit history)

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I watch Hemi Cars and GTO's pretty closely.    There is a discernible downward trend if you look back 10 years,  but it is harder to see over a shorter amount of time.   What I do notice is the same cars stay for sale for a long time.

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Nice Allante prices are in the $4k-$6k range right now. Reattas are similar. Am biased but unusual, low production "halo" 2 seaters that were only produced for a few years around 1990 have a draw for me since understand ALDL. Nice thing is that both have marque vendors, and many spares are common to many other cars. Interesting ones are over 30 years old now and many low milage examples abound. All have AC. Even better they do not take up much space. Perfect for an empty nester.

 

ps My $600 (1985) 70 Judge (4-spd/AC) is not for sale.

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Same issue all three cars - more exist than buyers.

 

Basically, if you want something that appreciates in value then you need to look for rarity (though not obscurity though for the most part - sometimes the super rare just have no fan club large enough to justify a high price), it generally needs to be high horsepower, it needs to have a top that goes down, it needs to not have been a parts car prior to restoration, it needs to be some other color than green, and ..... 

 

Lincoln Continentals 40-48 - more cars available than buyers interested matched to being incredibly attractive but nowhere near the quality of a Cadillac or ... matched to taking some mechanical skills to run them successfully for CCCA touring.

 

Thunderbirds 1954-1957 - more cars available than buyers interested matched to being 50's rust traps and hard to really find a great one matched to marginal build quality  - a 100 point one does pretty well and always have, but it is all the in between and poor quality ones that have a defined price range (and always will).

 

Ford Phaetons 36  (and other Ford Phaetons of the period) - more cars than buyers too and acquired taste via body style (Cabriolets are more popular - always have been among the Ford set and always will be) - they have very defined values too.   

 

 

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Sidenote:  THIS IS A HORRID TIME TO SELL ANYTHING other than a lower dollar value car or something very coveted. 

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Agree John, which makes it a good, maybe great time to buy a very good example of xxx, the majority of older cars out there.  I am not as into 60s cars as AJ (muscle stuff), a couple vette pals and many others are, but I do like Lincoln slabs early 60s, Eldos later and a smattering of other stuff in between. Maybe prices are still high on a GTO Judge like Padgett's (IMO the curve is longer but muscle stuff seems like its highest priced days are past as well.  Best to buy, as always with passion not resale in mind avoiding a boat anchor if you can) but it seems deals can be had in the 60s as well. 

I agree with all of your assessments, btw on cars I listed, I suspect though, other cars with strengths and weaknesses can be had now at a good price for a good example.  Has market driven anyone here to get out and look?

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Actually I've seen some reasonably priced cars but not much in the deal department.  Otherwise I would have posted them on the bargains thread.  I see alot of cars still priced like they used to be if not higher,  especially some rougher cars.  I've been looking casually for a Saturn Sky bringing this into a newer mind set and almost all of them still seem to be priced above book.  The few I have seen that looked like deals,  all needed work equal to their shortfall in price.  With several available, even some dealers having multiples,  you think the price would be a little lower.  I'm not seeing alot of them sell either.

Back to old cars I have been casually looking for another old car or maybe even truck if the right thing comes along but haven't really seen anything spectacular yet based one price and what it was.  I was expecting more of a downward trend but the only places that seem to really being showing the bargains to be had were auctions through the spring.  Last Hemmings showed promise though in the auctions that prewar cars weren't dieing as several did above expectation or book. 

I know my old cars sales literature business according to ebay is down 57% in the last 31 days.  That may be weather,  now that it's nice,  less people inside,  some running out of money, or even less desirable offerings,  who knows without a crystal ball.  I do know I don't need Ebay to tell me my sales are down 57 % though,  I can open my wallet and tell them that.

If deals are out there lets keep posting them.  I'm sure many of us are still kind of in the market for just the right car.  Especially when the stars and price align.

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Last October a friend bought a modest, low stored 1935 Studebaker Dictator that was in quite good condition. It was missing a hood ornament and the taillights, which I think may have been sold prior to it being available to him. He paid $6500 and I thought that was a really good price. My guess would have been just a hair under $10,000. I went for a ride in the car yesterday and was impressed now that the parts have been replaced and some deferred maintenance completed. My first guess may have been right. He is in there between $10 and 12 now.

 

Funny thing, I can't find the receipts for the cars I got good deals on.

Bernie

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Posted (edited)

Prices here in SoCal seem to be holding as high as ever. I regularly check craigslist and find no bargains there. Project prices are laughable.

Whether they are selling or not may be a different story.

Greg

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)

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3 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

Sidenote:  THIS IS A HORRID TIME TO SELL ANYTHING other than a lower dollar value car or something very coveted. 

 

100% disagree. We just had our best June ever (18 cars sold so far, 3 today and there is still a weekend remaining), following our best May ever.  Our inventory went from nearly 100 cars in March down to 47 as of today. People are sitting at home and shopping online. Inventory is WAY down everywhere--all the dealers I'm talking to are seeing the same problem (mostly because auctions are closed). My experience says NOW is the moment to sell. I do not believe it will last and as soon as things go back to "normal" it will be all over and cars will flood the market--that will probably be the time to buy. But if you have a car to sell, get it on the market NOW because it will never be worth more and you will never have more buyers looking at it. We've sold all kinds of stuff, from common to weird, and at all price levels. People are buying.

 

There's a tectonic shift going on right this moment in the hobby and it will surely not be the same a year from now. If you are a seller, sell NOW. If you are a buyer, waiting might do you some good because inventory is down. And if you want to make a few bucks, it's not a bad time to buy a car, fix it up a bit, and sell it, which is what I've been doing. Just to get our inventory filled back up, I've purchased 9 or 10 cars in the last 6 weeks some of which need a little TLC and which I believe will sell easily right now.

 

I don't expect it to last and there's probably a big hiccup coming in the next 6-12 months, but as the old saying goes, you need to make hay when the sun is shining.

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20 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

People are sitting at home and shopping online.

My wife certainly is.

 

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

100% disagree. We just had our best June ever (18 cars sold so far, 3 today and there is still a weekend remaining), following our best May ever.  Our inventory went from nearly 100 cars in March down to 47 as of today. People are sitting at home and shopping online. Inventory is WAY down everywhere--all the dealers I'm talking to are seeing the same problem (mostly because auctions are closed). My experience says NOW is the moment to sell. I do not believe it will last and as soon as things go back to "normal" it will be all over and cars will flood the market--that will probably be the time to buy. But if you have a car to sell, get it on the market NOW because it will never be worth more and you will never have more buyers looking at it. We've sold all kinds of stuff, from common to weird, and at all price levels. People are buying.

 

There's a tectonic shift going on right this moment in the hobby and it will surely not be the same a year from now. If you are a seller, sell NOW. If you are a buyer, waiting might do you some good because inventory is down. And if you want to make a few bucks, it's not a bad time to buy a car, fix it up a bit, and sell it, which is what I've been doing. Just to get our inventory filled back up, I've purchased 9 or 10 cars in the last 6 weeks some of which need a little TLC and which I believe will sell easily right now.

 

I don't expect it to last and there's probably a big hiccup coming in the next 6-12 months, but as the old saying goes, you need to make hay when the sun is shining.

I should clarify:  Plenty has gone out the door and for good money (both to the US and to Europe/Asia), plus much of it only takes 1 to 3 phone calls and never hits the website, but AACA as a whole consists of a significant number 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's Closed/Sedans and there are a whole lot of people not happy with the market currently for such regarding their sale.   Also, over 100K project cars are pretty slow (my rule of thumb for the most part is that if it needs restored it better be $99,999.99 or less).  And as to inventory - the matching a buyer to a seller and visa versa is my favorite way of spending a day.  

 

As always, the brass stuff moves, the open nickle, open/convertible stuff in general, the CCCA open/convertible stuff, certain muscle stuff, sports cars last for about two seconds for sale, exotic cars last one second for sale, super nice stuff under 19K does fine too, and ....

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In my humble opinion the market is fluid..............generally speaking run of the mill stuff is soft. Project's are not moving at all. Good stuff is doing just fine...........read that as 500k plus. More than ever, condition, provenance, and the drivability on modern back roads are driving price.............the good news, it’s never been more affordable to buy an old car today. And I am seeing more young people across the board getting interested than in the last thirty years. The hobby is not coming to an end........and in fact, I think over the next ten years early cars will be more in demand.......

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

100% disagree. We just had our best June ever (18 cars sold so far, 3 today and there is still a weekend remaining), following our best May ever.  Our inventory went from nearly 100 cars in March down to 47 as of today. People are sitting at home and shopping online. Inventory is WAY down everywhere--all the dealers I'm talking to are seeing the same problem (mostly because auctions are closed). My experience says NOW is the moment to sell. I do not believe it will last and as soon as things go back to "normal" it will be all over and cars will flood the market--that will probably be the time to buy. But if you have a car to sell, get it on the market NOW because it will never be worth more and you will never have more buyers looking at it. We've sold all kinds of stuff, from common to weird, and at all price levels. People are buying.

 

There's a tectonic shift going on right this moment in the hobby and it will surely not be the same a year from now. If you are a seller, sell NOW. If you are a buyer, waiting might do you some good because inventory is down. And if you want to make a few bucks, it's not a bad time to buy a car, fix it up a bit, and sell it, which is what I've been doing. Just to get our inventory filled back up, I've purchased 9 or 10 cars in the last 6 weeks some of which need a little TLC and which I believe will sell easily right now.

 

I don't expect it to last and there's probably a big hiccup coming in the next 6-12 months, but as the old saying goes, you need to make hay when the sun is shining.

I agree.  I have purchased three cars in the last two months.  A 1911, a 1920, and a 1942 auto.  None are project cars and are all ones that we can use and enjoy.  There are people out there buying for sure. 

Edited by kfle (see edit history)

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I'm saving as much as I can, hoping to pounce when the time is right. It'll take me a while to save that much, hopefully it will coincide with the glut Matt is predicting. Knowing myself I'm not sure I will have the willpower to not spend it on my other hobbies first, though.

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Not sure how anyone can say all cars will be worth less next year . As with anything of value a year from now some will be worth less but some will be worth more . 

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Point is I got what I consider a great deal for a specific car/year I wanted and was about 100 miles away. Went down, inspected, hooked up and came home. I do not buy cars to resell (though at one time had an integer percentage of Reatta convertibles). Now have what I consider a nice mix of differing rustfree cars/hobby/lifestyle/learning experience all with service manuals. Not counting my daily drivers the yearly cost is quite l low and have my pick of what to work on/drive. Will be glad when convertible weather comes back about half past September, same time I have a feeling a vaccine will be available.

 

Really do not care much what they are worth, remember Henry Manney complaining that his Cobra was worth too much to drive. Just for my enjoyment and have little other expenses.

 

So whatever you want it is probably out there and the timing is of little meaning in the long run. Just it is cheaper in the long run to buy a car you can enjoy now rather that one you will pay more over time and not enjoy it.

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2 hours ago, kfle said:

I agree.  I have purchased three cars in the last two months.  A 1911, a 1920, and a 1942 auto.  None are project cars and are all ones that we can use and enjoy.  There are people out there buying for sure. 

I also agree.  I'll bet a lot of buyers are those who intended to spend their vacation money on a trip to Europe, or an ocean cruise who won't be able to this year, so they'll want to buy something to enjoy their saved-up cash on.  A vintage car is a sensible purchase as it will at least hold its value AND deliver a 'fun factor' to its owner.

 

Craig

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Matt

 

What ever happened to your Continental ?   Notice that it is no longer listed on your site.

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I bought a car dead in the middle of this.    But it was a slim set of circumstances that just happened to come together.  I had been interested in a particular marque for years,  so I was slightly book smart about them,  the car came on the market in January and the seller lived an hour south of Amelia Island.  So I arranged I moved my plane tickets from Monday morning to Monday night,  and my son, Ed and I drove down from Amelia to see it.    That was March 8th.  By the following weekend the country was shutdown.    We made a deal in April.     I convinced myself it was a better time to be buying than selling and swallowed deep.    For me it was the endpoint of almost 10 years of looking for something that just happened to be at a really bad time.    If we hadn't squeaked in the visit I would not have made the deal remotely.

 

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Posted (edited)

I bought mine,  right before it started. Mid February.  Don't regret it one bit.

I don't think I would have bought anything else even if I had the cash in hand if this hadn't happened along.  Though I will admit I kind of stopped looking as intently as I had been. 

IMG_1447.JPG

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

I have found in life that things find me, in their own time. If one always waited for the perfect moment and set of circumstances you would end up with nothing. Mozart needed music, W C Fields needed whisky, Thomas Jefferson needed books; and as car people, we need something in our garage. It’s just things coming full circle. The day I moved into my new and first home, I had stopped construction at 97 percent completion because we were over my budget and my extra pad. The crew was flabbergasted that I said, politely.......stop, and pick up you things, and go. When asking me the logic behind my decision I explained to them to me a home is just a place to live and I didn’t want to become “house poor”. The manager then asked me this question.......so the car parked in the driveway here costs twice as much as this house........and did you go over budget on it when you restored it? And my answer was yes, I spent three times more than I expected on the car.....(sound familiar?) ........and he said, Ok but you didn’t stop.....you finished it. Yes, I responded......but the car is more important than a house. That’s the world I and most of my friends live in. One particularly close friend has a home valued at 125k, and a collection of cars valued at several million dollars. Were are good friends because we understand each other..............car people NEED cars, just like air, and food. It’s what we do, and how we live. Asinine? Insanity? Or is it one living life as how they choose. They say we can understand our values by looking at the register of our check book. For me, I need interesting cars in my life just about every day........it’s my work, my passion, and my hobby. How is the car market? Who cares..........buy a car, play with it, and drive it. Let it come full circle.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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In terms of car values,  and buying, for me, I'd just like to see some economic stability. Covid has the financial markets swinging. Civil unrest is not helping. I love old cars. I'd love to buy more. If I had more confidence in the economy I'd build the shop with a hoist that I've longed for. My chosen profession is based off of natural resources. It's lagging these days. I don't have the confidence to spend much on discretionary things right now.

 

Sell? I can't decide. I don't need the money. My cars are paid for. I do use and enjoy them. They are my "get-away" from the day to day grind of work and life. I think I just made up my mind. I get to have my fun. We are hunkered down and ready for a possible storm. We'll be alright. I'll remain as-is and wait out the economic cycle we are currently in. I watch local classifieds for field or barn cars. I'll pay max $500 for a field find that I can scrap out to support my 1938 car.  So far that's not working LOL. My offers are ignored. Oh well, I am ok with that. While I wait out the storm, I don't NEED a spare parts car. 

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

 One particularly close friend has a home valued at 125k, and a collection of cars valued at several million dollars. 

One of the the most impressive collections on the globe has an owner that goes home to a 670K home - lived there for eons and likes their neighborhood friends. 

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