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What Will Be a Future Classic?

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Old BMWs have been historically very poor performers as collectibles for some reason. There are a few rare exceptions but even those aren't worth the cost of restoring them (I was thinking of 2002 Tii and 3.0 coupes).

    As for Crossfires, it seems to fall under one rule of collectibles, which is "unloved when new, unloved when old".

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  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    One of the things touched upon by others that is lacking in the current automobile lineup is the option packages. The Honda Prelude that m1miata mentioned comes to mind as a good example of a potential collector car. However, Honda seemed to offer one or two factory options and let the aftermarket manufacturers take car of alternatives. The $1,000,000 Barracudas were generally for 1970 cars (an aggressive and desirable year for the body style) and had a rare option package. There were probably four or five engine packages in that year (318, 383, 440, Hemi, etc) along with carb options.

    If Honda, for example, made in the final production year a special factory assembled supercharger option with enhanced handling for the Acura RSX type S and sold 3,000 or so units, then this would likely go down as a collector car. As it is, Honda will only build the RSX and RSX type S base units and rely upon Jackson Racing or some aftermarket company to supply superchargers. In 20 years, if an RSX type S with a supercharger is on the market, the thought process of a collector will be if the supercharger was installed by a hack and this will likely decrease the value instead of exponentially increasing the value if the manufacturer did the install.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    I wonder if that would make a big difference. Not many limited production performance options anywhere these days. I see only minor difference for early M-series BMWs, and early AMG Mercedes are usually little more than curiosities sought by die-hard enthusiasts. I can't see Japanese cars being any different. Maybe time will change this, but I doubt there will be much change.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    If a car is even ten years old, 1996 models that is, it should already be showing signs of collectibility. If there's no buzz after a decade, there won't ever be IMO. If the ten year old car isn't bringing "over retail blue book", then it's not happening.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    Cars like old M3s and C36s (now 10 years old) have solid enthusiast bases, but no real common-market collectibility. I bet most non car people think of them as newer cars. I've actually had a couple people recognize my C43 as being unusual...but it's not a mass market thing.

    The same for Supras...they have a following, but aren't really appreciating from what I can see, and it seems impossible to find one that hasn't been messed with.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    That brings up an interesting point. The collector car hobbyists can't be told to appreciate certain cars, or prvented from liking ones that seem unworthy of admiration.

    Sometimes what is and isn't collectible doesn't make any sense.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    I think some of these low production tuned cars will be "collectible" in the special interest sense...I just can't see an explosion in values like the current musclecar fad. Should we have gas in 20-30 years, the Ms and AMGs and Supras etc will be worth something to someone - they won't depreciate to (relative) zero like normal cars...but I can't imagine prices 50x original MSRP for any of them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    No, I think you're right---these "special interest" cars will bottom out at some point and just sit there for eternity....like they are doing now actually.

    It's interesting to see how the "cellar price" works...let's say an old Mercedes 6.3 sedan or a BMW 3.0 coupe....they can't go above a certain price range no matter how nice they are and never seem to drop below a certain price range no matter how ratty.

    You'd think that normal attrition would drive the price up but it doesn't seem to---perhaps the number of cars that die off and the number of people who want them also die off at the same rate.

    With Mopar muscle, it seems the opposite. The number of Hemis is increasing as the dastardly counterfeit or honest clone market increases (both are booming) and the number of buyers who like them are still only in their 50s and 60s, so they're survivors, too.

    What's interesting to me is that this supply and demand equation doesn't need large numbers to operate.

    e.g., there seems to be 100 Citroen DS cabriolets out there and 101 people who want them, so the price stays strong ($40,000 and up!!) even though it's an obscure car pursued by equally obscure collectors (they rarely own anything else). And yet, if a gaggle of these old cabriolets is found, say 3 or 4, then the market is "saturated" for a few months...it's that close in balance.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I wonder how far the value of a DS would drop if they had an international owners club meeting, and 50 of the owners were wiped out in a building fire but their cars were spared.

    I can't find anyone my age (mid-late 30s) that would pay significantly more for an original Hemi than a '60s Camaro, Jag, Porsche, etc. I hope the current buyers plan on holding those cars for a long time.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    I guess it all comes down to buying what you like, and don't expect to make a penny. There will always be a good amount of affordable fun old cars out there.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Sooner or later, all these wild speculative purchases will collapse in on the speculators, returning the market once again to the faithful.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    Just like with so many old Ferraris....not that they aren't wincingly expensive still, but compared to 1989.]

    Oh well, there's really just as much if not more fun in the under 10K market.
  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    I wait for the really old collectors to pass on so I can pick up a Mercer Raceabout or a Simplex Speedster on the cheap.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    Some of those higher end cars still bring good money. Same for the highest end brass cars, although I don't know who is buying them.

    I really like the early pre-1905 material, and you can get simple 1-2 cyl cars from that era for not a fortune. But the huge locomotive like things still carry big pricetags. I wonder if that will change.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Don't hold your breath on those. They are established classics and very highly respected pieces of automotive history, and a museum would snatch 'em in a minute. You are supposed to genuflect and slightly bow your head as you whisper those names.

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  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I think despite the fact that the market for pre-WWII cars in general is probably not the greatest, the classics will remain classics. Nobody is going to 'forget' about Stutz Bearcats, Deusenbergs, Cords, custom-bodied Lincolns or V-16 Cadillacs, even when the people who grew up around them are gone.

    Coming full circle....I half-watched some car restoration show recently (computer and TV in the same room, bad combo for the ADD-inflicted), where the restoration shop bought a '71 Pontiac LeMans coupe for $1000 and 'transformed' it (sort of) into a '70 GTO. The show was really irritating to me on several levels. I mean, the shop probably did an excellent 'quality' job of physically and mechanically creating the end result, and I don't think the shop/seller was trying to deceive anyone into thinking this was a 'real' 1970 GTO, as if that were something exotic anyway (presumedly, the process wouldn't be on video). The mission was basically to create a fast, pretty car with a high profit margin, I guess. They spent ~$45k (according to seller, probably grossly inflated) to 'restore' this car, which included, to the ire of the shop owner, having to graft an eBay-bought nose of a '70 GTO onto the '71 LeMans (not an exact fit: a surprise to everyone). The car was beautiful, and I'm sure quite fast, but I guess I just didn't see anything like $45k in value. Um, it was a '71 LeMans hardtop tarted up with a big engine, a 'cool' interior, nice body work and a '70 GTO front end...pretty much what my uncles did when I was a teenager but at a higher level, except beginning with the real thing. I mean, as a buyer, if all you want is a nice real '70 or '71 GTO hardtop, couldn't you buy one for less than $45k? And if you just want something fast, aren't there better ways to achieve that? The whole excercise just seemed really stupid to me. The shop owner had zero interest in maintaining any vehicular integrity, other than his perception of the market value of a 'correct' GTO, which isn't what he had anyway (he wanted pie-in-the-sky GTO money with a 'GTO' he created). I guess I just think it would have been smarter to fix up the '71 LeMans nicely, not over-restore and represent and sell it as such. End result, the car went unsold at $40k 'real money', which was less than break-even for the shop (so much for the Grand Plan). It was laughable, but like I said, irritating, only because it really put the level of greed into perspective, and for the fact that the 'builder' jumped through many hoops to make one car into another, had it all on video, had an idiot with too much money, IMO (who clearly didn't care that this wasn't a real GTO, either) in hand to buy the car, then turned it down. Oh yeah, and the 'restoration' was mostly done by students. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    When the muscle car market collapses, which it will, all the "clones" are going to take vicious hits in depreciation. The "real" and documented cars will of course drop in value but maybe only a 25%-35% correction I think---although even the real cars bought on TV on Speedweek might take an even bigger hit, since they are overinflated anyway. A few very very rare cars might just sit tight.

    And if the muscle car market correction co-incides with an actual economic correction in the U.S., then it could get ugly, because the first things to go out most people's doors in a recession are the "toys".

    All that is fine with me, as corrections return the market back to the hobbyist, so I can hardly wait.

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  • teds1teds1 Posts: 180
    This seems prety clear to me. There are a few reasons behind why anything (not just cars) becomes collectible.
    1. Rarity (increasing over time)
    2. Performance (not applicable to baseball cards and the like)
    3. Nostalgia (Things you wanted or used to have when you were a kid )
    4. Historical Value or fame (a specific race car for instance, or a old master painting)
    5. Mob mentality (ex. "investors" buying muscle cars because everyone else is)

    I really think that covers pretty much the whole psychology of value appreciation in collectibles. It is a mix of the personal and the social values we set for these objects.

    A lot of the muscle car Barret Jackson freaks are in their late 50s-60s etc... they are Boomers looking for the cool car they wanted as a kid. That's why the 50s style stuff was so big in the 80s (not that it isn't still but there is much less direct connection now because guys who drove the 55' chevys new off the lot are not neccesarily driving anymore)

    Now my generation (I'm 26) loves the cars we saw as kids and teenagers as well. For me despite the lack of perfomance typified by 1980s vehicles there was a certain square design esthetic which I loved. Cars I would collect would be Volvo 240s, The Volvo Bertone Coupe, BMW 6 series cars, any 80s ferrari or lambo obviously, Jag xj6s (nightmares I know) grand wagoneer jeeps, etc... these are the cars we drove around in with our families or aspired to at an impressionable age.
    In high school I would have killed for a last generation M3 so I still favor it over the newer more powerful version. Supras, the 96'ish Impala sleeper, or Mazda Rx-7s were also cool at the time. Even the Mitsubishi eclipses before they got fat and slow. Wrxs and evos will probably be the big thing for current high schoolers if any last long enough to be collected. All of these cars fill one or more of the needs listed above.
    The muscle car segment will slow down significantly I predict as the years go on because the late 70s-1990s American muscle cars were anemic to say the least. I just don't see anyone saving up to buy that Mustang 5.0 or mid 90s firebird anytime soon. For me the fact that Vanilla Ice had a white 5.0 in his video pretty much killed it for me.
    I think though that rarer good conditioned higher performing German Sports sedans and Japanese sports cars will rise sooner rather in later. These segments really didn't exist until the mid 1980s so they are only hitting 20 years now. I bet in 15 years you will be kicking yourself for not having picked up that 87' M6 for $15k when you had the chance, or not holding onto that low milage Supra with the full hoop wing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    Well you never know, that's true, but in spite of your very well-reasoned arguments, cars like old Supras and M6s and old Volvos are deader than doornails, even 30 years later. Why is that? They aren't doing what we hoped they would and given three decades in passing, one has to question when it is they intend to get started.

    If I may throw in my two cents, the only item missing from your very thorough list is that every single really "hot" collectible today generated a LOT of excitement when it was new. The cars people went completely bonkers over back then they are still going bonkers over. They still love the Hemi 'Cuda and they still yawn at a 318 Satellite.

    The Bertone put them to sleep, the Ferrari 308 disappointed them ultimately (too slow).

    Of course, if you are talking about "collectible" as a cheap hobby car under $10K, or even under $5K (the XJ6 qualifies here) then some of the cars on your list will or have made the colectible gradesomeday I think--just because they have some character to them. But I think the only person who will kick themselves over an M6 is the one who paid a lot of money for it expecting it to rise in value. It's a car you buy, enjoy and use up doing fun things with it.

    If anyone wants to kick themselves, it should be over cars like the early 911s, which have only recently nearly doubled in price. But that took 35 years and these cars were always well-liked and admired....the problem was that there were too many surviving---so now attrition is working in the early 911s favor.

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  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Hope that the future museums for automobiles feature all the significant cars of each decade. While I too love the 'Cuda, Hemi or not, or a fine Stang, I do recall how cars like the Datsun 510 and Z made the day for Nissan. Supra's to Falcons, fast or slow, there were a lot of significant cars. I did see a Corvair in the National Auto Museum in Reno, and some other cars, like the first Toronado. This is good. This Hemi and performance car craze is just like the other poster said, a mob mentality. Sure we all knew a friend or two in high school that had a quick car, many of which ended up totalled, but for the most part, they are more dream cars of the era. A classic slant six Dart or Demon is just as important to preserve as is a more limited sold V8.

    This deal about popular or unpopular is interesting. Most popular in the 70's is gonna be the four cylinder and six cylinder gas saver cars. Maybe it is popular dreams. I admit to a major lapse in judgment in buying a four cylinder Mustang. Please, preserve only the V8 in this case -- OK, unless you own one, sorry about that folks.
    I think the cars, like the first Z, are precious for collecting. Excellent example of a great car - not your typical appliance car from Japan, but a true fun, performer with looks. A good one, without rust would be cool. I may not want to drive one around California freeways, with all those SUV bullies, but it truly is a collectable, and I think a classic. Not many good ones, without rust out.

    What of the Pinto Stangs? I heard they sold like hotcakes. Now I see very few on the road. Perhaps a classic. If you don't mind the Pinto stigma. :shades: More ya think of it, they looked OK. For awhile there, everyone and their brother collected those '79 Sevilles, but I see few these days. Actually, what of the Eldo's? Many people liked the rectangular ones. I really liked the last rendition. The 2002 last of Eldo should be a classic. And what about the last Cadillac Deville which looked classic Caddy, back in say 1998? Maybe it is just me, but the new ones, while good cars, no doubt, lost that Cadillac image somehow.

    How about those BMW which still looked BMW, like the 325? I bet people are mistaking some of the new ones for say a Japan make. Seems to me the most popular of all times though was the 320. I know, too bland. How about the 633 csi?
    -Loren
  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    I would like the following cars, which I think might become collectible, but would really want one just to drive. Problem is, in my ornery middle age (just tuned 40 :( ) I can't see paying more than 10K for a plaything. Y'all speculate when I'll be able to purchase the following for under 10K:

    SSR, stick shift
    Crossfire coupe, stick
    GTO, stick

    TIA!

    Turboshadow
  • rowlandjrowlandj Posts: 254
    In the 'older classics' with pure mechanical components like points and condensers etc... it is relatively easy to keep the older cars running. What happens to these computer and sensor driven classics years from now when these components have issues? Not to mention the future potential lack of suitable fuel to work with these very emission driven systems.

    It has been something I have been considering for a while and I wonder what other folks think about this?

    JR
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    I think hobbyists will be force to make modifications to keep the cars of today running. I suppose some folks are already hoarding ECMs, etc, but some cars have over 75 computers in them of various types and over 5 million lines of computer code, so...er...lotsa luck.....

    Possibly on the really prolific cars, like Mustangs, aftermarket vendors might try to repo new or repair old circuit boards, etc. but with some of these very high powered chips, I dunno.....

    Ditto on all the plastic panels and interior vacuum molded stuff---this stuff is going to be really expensive to re-make.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    I've wondered about too. I mean, at least with some of the earlier attempts at complexity, when things failed you could often just disable them or swap an older, more reliable component in. I'm thinking stuff here like Chrysler's Lean Burn, the Caddy V-8-6-4, etc. Or if a catalytic converter rusts out and you can't find a replacement, just run a straight pipe.

    Nowadays though, the electronics and emissions are much more complicated. And if someone wants to try keeping an old PT Cruiser or Focus running decades down the road, it won't be quite so simple. Although I have seen 426 Hemis in PT's and Ford 351W's in Focuses, so maybe there is some hope. :shades:
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Couldn't be too long. Almost nobody wants any of those cars new.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    SSR and Crossfire will soon be in the value basement and they will probably stay there. You won't have long to wait.

    The GTO might take a bit longer, since it has decent and serious horsepower and is fun to drive.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    ...Chrysler didn't put a 5.7 Hemi in the Plymouth Prowler instead of a V-6. It would then be a sure-fire collectible. I wonder if the Stealth has a chance at collectibility despite its Mitsubishi origins?
  • au1994au1994 Posts: 789
    Ditto on all the plastic panels and interior vacuum molded stuff---this stuff is going to be really expensive to re-make

    hmmm...I smell a business opportunity.

    2013 335i Sport Line Alpine White over Coral Red w/Black Trim

    2005 330cic ZHP Monaco Blue over Natural Brown w/Black Trim

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    I agree, Stealth is totally dead and forgotten. Whoever designed the interior on that car should be put up against a wall and shot. .

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  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    OK, I'll bite, what's bad about a Stealth? I do know the clutch should have been closer, so scooting up to get close enough meant the gas pedal and brakes were a bit close. Should not be a problem on automatics. I owned a Stealth and it has a good interior in my opinion. One of the best looking cars of all time. -Loren
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