Collector car investments I wish I had made...

30 posts in this topic

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It takes money to make money Harry. And even if you could afford those cars back then, do you have a place to store them? Would you have money to insure them? And don't forget about money to maintain them as well. A LOT of people don't think of those things when they go to car shows & cruise nights and just figure on the price of a car they would like. I know of one guy who recently bought a Buick Grand National and has to pay $175 a month for a garage to store it as he lives in a condo. He shoulda thought about that first.

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Posted · Report post

The Cobras are realistic - the other two you would have been rich to begin with.

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Posted · Report post

The Cobras are realistic - the other two you would have been rich to begin with.

So true Erik, nicely put.

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I once worked for a family owned company and the father and son were car collectors, to the point where they had a separate facility for their cars that had been restored or were all original.

During the first week of employment, my boss walked me into the back of the warehouse and showed me an original 57 T-Bird with Supercharger that had once been owned by Clark Gable. It was parked in the loading dock area, covered in dirt and semi trucks backed in everyday to load/unload just a couple of feet away! Then he takes me to another part of the warehouse where sitting under a dirty canvas tarp is an original Cobra 427! It was on jackstands and supposedly the owner had been working on it 10 years earlier and then had some health issues and left it as is. I offered to finish it if I could drive it and was politely told "NO" ! In a separate storage room he shows me a 426 Hemi, a 409, a couple of 427 Twin Cam Fords and other assorted engine blocks and heads from various 60's muscle cars.

Most of us, given the opportunity to own the cars I mentioned, would probably have them in a climate controlled garage and wax them dutifully because we would be honored to have them, while a guy who is a millionaire and bought these cars when they were cheap doesn't think anything about leaving them sitting out in a warehouse exposed to all kinds of potential damage!

The old adage is true- some people have more money than brains.

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Posted · Report post

I thought the old adage was more dollars than sense?

Later-

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Posted · Report post

Those Bugati's are classy cars, they should be worth loads of money.

I've been saving up about 500 dollars so that I can buy that Gremlin I've always wanted. I hear it might be worth some money one day. LOL.

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Posted · Report post

I thought the old adage was more dollars than sense?

Later-

Kinda the same thing isn't it Tom, or are you a stickler for perfection? ;)

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Posted · Report post

I have read that in the early '50s there was a dealer in Chicago who specialized in Auburns Cords and Dusenbergs.Back then a nice SJ Duesy coupe would run about 3500 dollars about the price of a nice Buick back then.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Back in the mid-60s I could have had a Graham identical to this one, with all its Cord-related parts, for under $1,800 at a small, very seedy used car lot. My Dad wouldn't spring for it.

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Edited by sjordan2

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Posted (edited) · Report post

But the gist of it is still, storage , up keep and insurance. ;) Just as Nick pointed out.

DSCF0037.jpg

Edited by Greg Myers

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If you follow the markets, the guys who do the best, buy the cars because they are passionate about them. That means they buy something they really like and because of that they tend to hold onto them for a very long time. If you heard the story behind the Ferrari NART spyder that just sold for 27 million it illustrates this point well. The owner of the car picked it up in Marinello along with Luigi Chinetti and they drove around Europe before they brought the cars to the U.S. He owned many other Ferraris over the years, but this was his favorite and he drove it frequently. He didn't buy it or keep it as an investment, he just loved the car.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

And foresight is usually 20/400, like the folks who paid over sticker to get a '78 Corvette pace car replica or '76 Eldorado convertible to put away when they could have bought a used Cobra for the same money.

My former boss has about 170 cars, but the one that was the best investment was the '89 Porsche Speedster he bought new and drove very sparingly (it now has 8,000-something miles). He's had almost 25 years of enjoyment out of it, and the nice ones are now hitting the $100,000 mark at auction.

Edited by ChrisBcritter

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Posted (edited) · Report post

There should be an emenent domain statute for "collectors" of desirable (note that I didn't mention perceived 'value') vehicles !!

For an instance ; around 10 years ago , I spotted a 1973-1977 Chevelle in someone's driveway . It had "454" bezels around its front side marker lights ; a very sunbleached "FOR SALE" sign was placed-upon the rear package shelf , and was faintly visible through the backlight .

I had it all planeed out in my head ; casually check the car's V.I.N. for that precious "W" engine code , then go inquire about the selling price , while remaining naive to what the car "really was" .

Well , I found not only the desired "W" code (LS-4 454) , but also a 4 speed shifter jutting-out of the trans tunnel !

I held-in my excitement ; I casually approached the house's door.

The house's inhabitant answered my knocks at the door , meeting me with a jeery-snare and the verbage of "You here about the car ?"

"Yes" , was my reply .

" Do you know what it is ? "

" Well , it's a seventy-three through seventy-sev--- "

** I was interrupted with a :

" If you didn't know what it was , you wouldn't have bothered asking ...
" It's a 'dangerously-fast' car ; sixteen-second quarter-mile times ..."

After a brief pause , I continued :
" Well , with that out of the way ; what's your asking price ?"

She snapped back with :

"Sixteen thousand , and not a penny less ."

Then I pointed out its condition ; I directed her line-of-sight to the front of the forlorn car :

" Y'see the license plate ?"

"Um , yeah ... what about it ?"

"Everything behind it needs replaced or restored !"

At that point , I'd figured that this lady watched too many Barrett-Jackson auctions (the bane of real enthusiasts) , and simply left her with the final word :

" It's painfully apparent that you'd rather let it sit and rot in your driveway , than let it go for a reasonable price to someone whom recognises its value in the automotive historical archives . Good luck with ever selling it . Have a nice day ."

The End.

Case-in-point : My assertion that an "emenent domain" be instituted for cases like this is based-upon "fair market value" for said vehicle , and removal of said vehicle from its "collector's" property . Something similar to what historical socities utilise to prevent further disintergration of buildings / houses / etc.

Edited by 1972coronet

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Posted · Report post

I seem to remember that Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason paid about £20,000 for his 64 GTO.

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Posted · Report post

Once again Fox New's car articles look like they were written by a female summer intern with a one hour deadline.

There is a guy in my model club who had a Superbird back in the 1970s. Note that dealers pretty much gave these away since they were near sales proof. In fact some dealers took the nose and wing off them to sell them as Roadrunners. He had the car for years, and sold it for a pittance once the nose rusted through on the bottom. And what are these worth today??

As said, any of the cars we see selling for big dollars today had to be stored and cared for in the past 30-50 years. That cost would dwarf any return you may get today.

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Good point! One thing I like about Mecham auctions is that frequently you hear them saying " You couldn't restore that car for what it is selling for." There are a handful of restorer/ resomoders out there who can make money at it, but most often a great car is a result of someone who was a dog. That is they had unconditional love for the car and would spend whatever it took to make it right, whether it was money, time or both. They never figure on getting back what they put into it.

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I have a friend who has some nice, collectible muscle cars and while he has restored some of them, he prefers to drive the others despite them being worth some serious money as he would rather enjoy them than to have them sit on display. His cars have been featured in magazines and many people admire his "balls" for driving them like he does.

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Posted · Report post

Those Bugati's are classy cars, they should be worth loads of money.

I've been saving up about 500 dollars so that I can buy that Gremlin I've always wanted. I hear it might be worth some money one day. LOL.

You can't touch a Gremlin for $500 these days. A cheap rusty one that needs engine work is $2000 now.

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The End.

Case-in-point : My assertion that an "emenent domain" be instituted for cases like this is based-upon "fair market value" for said vehicle , and removal of said vehicle from its "collector's" property . Something similar to what historical socities utilise to prevent further disintergration of buildings / houses / etc.

What historical societies do is purchase properties or get lucky enough to convince owner to donate. Eminent domain is mostly used by governments. Rarely does a foundation or private party get to practise it.

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Michael Lamm wrote a piece for Motor Trend back in 1975 about future collectible cars that had some correct predictions; most particularly saying that Superbirds and Daytonas would become "tomorrow's Auburn Speedsters". He also said two-seat Thunderbirds had "probably peaked" at $5000. I'll post it here when I find it.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This is always a popular topic! I had a few clapped out muscle cars in the 70s when the garden variety ones were cheap. I had a 63 Impala SS with a 283, 4 speed, buckets, 66 Chevelle SS 327 and 70 Chevelle SS 396. They were all needing lots of work and who wants to store them for 30-40 years until they become valuable? I had a good friend who had a Boss 429 Mustang which he paid $2000. for. He kept it about 6 months and sold it for the same! He also had a Cougar Eliminator 428 SCJ, 4 spd which he sold to buy a new Ford 4wd pickup! I passed on the 60 Cad Convert beside a gas station for $200. It was complete and worthwhile but it was heavy and slow!

I knew one fellow who knew what he was doing. Larry Nicklin of Fort Wayne , IN. over the years bought and sold many collector cars. In the late 50s he bought one of the Ferrari Mexico coupes for $3500. Big coin for that time but the car must have been about $12,000 or so in 1952 when it was new. He kept it about 10 years and sold it for about $4500. In the late 70s one of the other Mexico coupes (only 3 were built) came up for sale in an ad in Road & Track. Larry bought it for $80,000.!!!! It sold at auction last year for over $5,000,000. Larry knew exactly what he was doing and had the means to do it at the time.

Edited by Modelmartin

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Posted · Report post

What historical societies do is purchase properties or get lucky enough to convince owner to donate. Eminent domain is mostly used by governments. Rarely does a foundation or private party get to practise it.

Thanks for the clarification and distinction between the two .

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I just wish I'd been smart enough to hold on to some of the cars I turned for small profits over the years...Porsche 356s, including a Speedster and a Convertible D, a first-year 911, several E-types and Alfa Romeo convertibles, 2 Jensen Interceptors...the list is heartbreaking when I realize my present poverty could have easily been otherwise.

Oh well. Maybe my 2-owner Geo Metro convertible will be a home-run someday, ya' think? It's already worth 10 times more than I paid for it. :lol:

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

Kinda the same thing isn't it Tom, or are you a stickler for perfection? ;)

No. It is a play on words. More dollars than sense (cents).

Later-

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