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How Will The Classic and Collector Car Hobby Differ In 10 Years?



  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Mr. Shiftright: Well step down Hudsons bring a pretty penny today, because of their racing prowess, so the rule still holds. Nobody much cared about the new 49 Chevy or the 49 Packard and they still don't.

    People cared enough about the 1949 Chevy to make it the second best-selling car in the country (the 1949 Ford debuted early, in June 1948, so Ford had the benefit of an extra-long model year).

    But your original point was that the Tucker caused a sensation, which is why it is collectible today - but virtually every all-new car caused a sensation in the late 1940s, because people were excited to be able to buy ANY brand-new car. All-new models were even more exciting. When the 1949 Ford debuted in 1948, well over 20,000 orders were taken the first day, and that was at a time when credit standards were much tighter, and the total population much smaller, than they are today.

    Mr. Shiftright: As for big block Mopars, they were always dearly loved because they were street raced and drag raced. They were celebrity cars in their day, and nobody ever forgot them.

    No doubt those Mopars were widely respected, but the bottom line is that by the time I graduated from high school (class of 1980), they were available for a song, because no else one wanted them. It wasn't uncommon for my fellow classmates to drive late 1960s Road Runners and Chargers, and they weren't the rich kids in school. There weren't any Hemis, true, but there weren't that many Hemis sold when they were new. I recall someone telling me that the local Chrysler-Plymouth dealer refused to stock them, because they were tough to sell even when new.

    Mr. Shiftright: There WAS no collector car hobby in 1970---it was just Model As and the heavy iron of the 1930s. That was the hobby back then, small and very careless about restoration.

    I was referencing the Hershey Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) shows from about 1979-1983. They were already big events even then, and there were plenty of cars recognized as collectibles in that era beyond Model As and prewar custom-body cars. People just were not collecting muscle cars at that time. They were just old used cars, even the Mopars and various Chevys.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    Mr. Shiftright: You can bring anything to Hershey but you can't bring anything to a vintage car race.

    While it's true that any type of car can be entered in an AACA meet (including Hershey and Macungie), to be allowed on the showfield, a car must be at least 25 years old. If the car is to be judged, it had better be in good shape and either all original, or restored to originality, if the owner wants to take home any sort of AACA recognition.
  • Yes but best-selling has no relation to collectibiity or excitement. They bought '49 Chevys because they were cheap and good. No serious collector cares about a /49 Chevy. It's as dull as a rock. Dull then, dull now. Same rule applies.

    Again, I think you may be confusing true muscle cars with common 318 Road Runners or Chargers, etc. Not the same thing at all.

    A 440 Charger R/T 4-speed is worth $70,000. A 318 Charger is worth maybe $12,000.

    You and your friends got what you got because of supply and demand. Lots of 318s, just a handful of 440 4-speeds.

    The big block Mopars were always respected and coveted because they were the only thing that had any HP in the late 1970s. They never went out of "classic-dom". Just like a 55-57 T-Bird or early Corvettes. These cars got smashed up but were rarely junked. Always found a home I guess you'd say.

    That's why they bring what they bring today. it's not like someone just "woke up".

    People even wrote songs about muscle cars. Don't recall any songs about '49 Chevys or "Giddy-up, giddy up.....Charger 318---woo, woo!"

    One thing for sure---the rather anemic cars of the late 70s really did stimulate the collectible market.

    The collector car market is very very discriminating. It's not like it was in 1979, when really few people knew what they were buying and selling---or to put it more fairly, it was strictly a hobby then, with careless restorations and not much regard for dollar value.

    No everybody knows what's valuable and what's not, pretty much.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    "Dull then, dull now..."

    I only agree with the second part of your statement, Shifty, because the late '48 introduction of the first all new post-war Chevy was exciting stuff. It may not have featured ground breaking technology, but people loved the new exterior and interior styling. Even the all new '49 Plymouth was exciting. Remember, most households didn't even have TVs yet.

    The first post-war redesigns were generally well designed and well made products, in their day, better than their predecessors.

    The one thing that would have made the '49 Chevy and Plymouth better would have been a 4-speed, or overdrive. The top (third) gear was just too low. Ford and the independents offered overdrive as an option. I think Plymouth began offering it in '51 or '52, but it wasn't until '55 that Chevy gave buyers the choice of a manual overdrive transmission.
  • They used to say that in 1949 you could sell people a barrel with baby carriage wheels nailed to it. People were so desperate for cars and of course with steel rationing most automakers kept building 1941 cars through 1948. In 1949, cars started to look a bit more modern. The pontoon fenders were disappearing and the fenders and trunk started to melt into the body.

    Engines were still primitive for Chevy however. Only Olds I think got people's attention with the Rocket 88, but really how exciting is a 216 cid stovebolt six with babbitt bearings and 15 lbs of oil pressure?

    "Excited" sounds like wayyyyy too strong a word for a '49 Chevy. Same old engine, same old dashboard, same old colors. Just a little swoopier.

    I don't recall reading about people tearing the hinges off the doors at Chevy dealers, or camping outside to buy one, starting bidding wars or fistfights over them, like with the sensation caused by the '55 Chevy or '65 Mustang. That simply did not happen.

    The exciting and modern American car had still some time to be born. 1955 changed everything.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,067
    When I was in high school in the early 1980s, there was student who had a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and another with a 1970 Dodge Super Bee. I also recall somebody's older brother had a 1970 Chevelle SS 396. Hope those guys all hung onto those cars.
  • Well those guys were noticed, right? Wasn't that prestigious machinery for high school?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    Well those guys were noticed, right? Wasn't that prestigious machinery for high school?

    Probably not by the early 80's. I remember when I was in high school, 1984-88, I think the coolest car in the student parking lot was a '57 Ford. I forget which series, but I'm thinking it was a Fairlane 2-door sedan...the swoopier style that basically looked like a hardtop with a B-pillar welded on, rather than the cheaper, more upright looking 300/Custom 300 series. I don't think it was a true hardtop, though.

    Also in the running for coolest car was this kid whose parents bought him a brand-new '86 Trans Am his sophomore year. It was black with a gold chicken. The kid was a total nerd without that car, but I'm sure that because of that car and that car alone, he was getting some. Moreso than the other nerd who drove a 2-tone burgundy/red St. Regis (and no, that nerd wasn't me...I had a 1980 Malibu back then, although I wanted to buy my 12th grade English teacher's 2-tone burgundy 1978 Catalina 400). I remember a kid in my class who had a nice black '72 Riviera. He was short and could barely see over the dashboard.

    Otherwise, most kids were either getting their parents' hand-me downs, mostly late 70's/early 80's cars, or if they were new cars, they were bottom feeders like a stripper Lynx, Chevettes, Tercels, or a Yugo. I think there might've been a few late 70's Camaros out in that parking lot too. But really, nothing exotic.

    One of my friends who's a few years older than me had a 1971 or so Pontiac T-37 hardtop coupe when he was in college. This would've been early 80's. He told me about one time when it got hit in the parking lot. And then he discovered that the car next to him had damage that matched up to his! The driver admitted fault but had the nerve to say "Yeah, but that was just an old car so I didn't think it mattered!" :mad:
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,890
    Back when I was in high school (1991-1995), I remember what I thought was the coolest car was a 64 Impala 2 door HT, black on red, I think it had a 327. The kid kept it immaculate, and I drooled whenever I walked by it. He graduated when I was a sophomore, so it wasn't around all the time. He wasn't especially nerdy or cool, just a normal guy. He was good at taking car of his car.

    A few kids who tried to be cool were able to con their parents into new Toyota 4x4 trucks - seemed like a big fad back then, and the little lowrider pickups came and went quickly. A really geeky guy I knew got a new Toyota 4x4 extra cab in 1993, and a few months later destroyed it on an icy morning. You don't live down something like that.

    There weren't many old cars at the school - the kids just didn't care for them I guess. Lots of crappy 80s compacts and small pickups, S-10s being very popular. I knew a kid who had a ca. 84 Firebird, all decked out with the tacky trim. He hated it, it was a hand me down. I thought that was funny as most 16 year old boys would want such a car. My best friend in school had a Mitsu Precis...I nicknamed it the 'Zero'. I think a few kids liked my Galaxie, as it was big and loud with the 390 and dual straight pipes. After it got hit, I drove the old Tempo for a bit, and then got the fintail right before high school days were over. Many people thought I must have inherited that car, always amused me.
  • I think one good point to make would be that in the future the Collector Car Hobby is going to be much more discriminating in the next decade than it was in the last decade previous to this one (1990s).

    Due to the degree of same-ness about modern cars, they'll be more hair-splitting as to what is really special and unique.
  • I disagree. I think there has been quite a bit of "hair-splitting" in the recent past and it will continue to be that way.

    I tend to agree with your point about "sameness" but its more that there are fewer cars people want as kids that they'll finally be able to get as adults. While GM, Ford, and Chrysler made a number of these vehicles in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, you can't name too many of them from the 1980s or 1990s.

    Perhaps Vipers like the 1992 (no fixed windows, no air, etc) or special editions, and Prowlers, and particular Corvettes (ZR1s and Grand Sports). But there aren't too many of those SS-like or Hemi-type vehicles from this particular generation of cars. Engineers were just trying to get past regulations and not working too hard at making special editions.

    Even the special editions (IPC, Shelby models, etc) were made in far greater volumes than those of the past.

    My limited list of potential collectibles in the future includes:

    Chrysler's TC by Maserati (first year with the Maserati head)
    Dodge Daytona IROC and Spirit R/T (Lotus 16-valve head)
    Early Ford Taurus SHO
    Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible
    Last generation Mazda RX7
    Chevrolet Impala SS (GM300)
  • We didn't disagree I don't think. I implied that this decade has already seen the hair-splitting that the next decade will exhibit more fully. It's the 1990s that people were not discriminating. The hair-splitting relates to the behavior of hobbyists in that period, not the cars.

    The Mazda RX TT might have a chance, as prices are holding, and the Impala SS has held up very well indeed for a 4-door car, but only the 1996 model (again, the hair-splitting, as it has the floor shift console). Might be something in the future for the Dodge Daytona if they haven't all blown up yet. First SHO, very limited audience but could struggle into collectible-dom. Has the Taurus curse on it though. Hard to say.

    The Cutlass and Maserati TC are total dead ducks IMO. Write them off.

    But I don't see any of the cars on your list as top-tier collectibles in the future---more like Datsun 240Z status or MGB, that level of value. In other words, if they aren't too far gone, people will save them.
  • I was avoiding the "top tier" collectibles like the F50, Enzo, McLaren F1, XJ220, and the like. And I don't know of any mainstream vehicles from this era that could reach the same arena as the old Hemis or other such rare-Big3 models.
  • I was trying to project that very thing into the future myself and I couldn't come up with any vehicle.

    I think the hobby will break down into:

    1. Top tier extremely expensive collector cars (most of which we know already)

    2. second-tier cars that might be restored for love, not money (as we discussed above)

    3. Curiosities, such as one-offs, race cars (unrace-able race cars, probably)

    4. Survivors -- ordinary cars in a pristine original state (grandpa's 2007 Buick)

    5. Cheap and cheerful old beaters (the Dodge Darts of tomorrow? A 40 year old Corolla?)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    In that type of category, what would something like my '57 DeSoto or '67 Catalina convertible fall into? Second tier?

    I would say some Dodge Darts, like the convertibles, GTS, and Swinger 340, would be something more than just a "cheap and cheerful old beater". And a '68 Hemi Dart would be top tier, I'm sure. But something like an old slant-six Dart 4-door will probably be little more than an old used car, no matter how nice.
  • yeah, they are 2nd tier collectibles at best.

    The modern day "Dodge Dart" wouldn't have any derivatives like a 340 or a Hemi---modern cars are pretty much all the same, so in the future there will be less variety upon which to base differences I think.
  • saabgirlsaabgirl Posts: 184
    An interesting theme I've noticed in car mags that seems pertinent to this thread is the preservation vs. restoration debate. If you watch the auctions, some cars are described as restored to a "better than new" condition while others are criticized for minor flaws in chrome or paint. To me there's something sterile about the "better than new" standard. In contrast, the preservationists follow a "get it running" tactic and are willing to accept with enthusiasm, not just a bit of patina, but rust and other inescapable signs of honest aging. I think Automobile mag ran an article on the topic and, in the January issue, page 123, has a photo of a 1911 Oldsmobile in fairly atrocious shape that sold for $1,650,000 at Hershey and the buyer "plans to get the car running and fit new tires." I think I'm with the preservationists in the debate, but I have to confess that I was startled at this example of preservationism in practice. I mean if you were to write a one-word caption for the pic of this old Olds (perfect brand) it would be "entropy."
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,887
    Problem is, we can't predict what will happen in car manufacturing. Muclecars, by and large, became collectible because, thanks gas and emissions issues of the '70s and '80s, they were forced from mainstream for a long time. Many fell into disrepair during this time; written off as gas-guzzling monstrosities by the general public. At least, this is my perception.

    It really is relatively recently that manufacturers have gotten back to producing these high-powered variants. Now, what would happen if fuel becomes $6-$7/gallon and the new CAFE scare forces all the manufacturers to return to fuel-sipping econocars? Then we go through 15 years of 300Cs, Mustang GTs, and G8s falling through the cracks, winding up in the crusher, and being thrashed by Junior in the high school parking lot? We could very well see a repeat of history and things we never thought would be collectible suddenly are.

    The short of it is anything is possible.

    All that being said, I agree with the aforementioned RX7 TT, and would add in the Supra, as well. Seems to me the latter already is a collectible, based on prices and demand I've seen.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,890
    That's a very good sidenote. I think preservation will become much more common as time goes on, both as it is financially easier to maintain an original car than to do an all-out restoration, and because more people are becoming aware that a car is only original once, and there's something special to that. There's something about old paint and old upholstery that just doesn't seem to be repeatable.
  • That Olds sale was pretty shocking--- I mean, it's true that there are only 3 of these cars left in the world, and it's true that this one was completely original, but still---it's only a 1911 Oldsmobile. Bizarre result. I'd love to know the story behind the bidder, etc. and what plans he has. I mean, even in a museum that's a whole lotta admission tickets.

    Why wouldn't a completely original stage coach bring this much? I bet a Roman chariot could barely bring this price. That's a LOT of money.
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