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

124

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,052
    No, these were 440-equipped (and, in the case of one 1969 Road Runner, equipped with a 383 and floor-mounted four speed) Mopars from the late 1960s and early 1970s. We knew very well what was under the hood, and the distinctions between the high-performance engines and the "regular" V-8s.


    Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if, once the oil embargo set in, a slant six or 318 Satellite or Coronet might have been worth more than the 383, 440, and even the Hemi models! Nobody was thinking about performance by the mid 70's; it was all about fuel economy. The first and second oil embargos actually sent a lot of those old musclecars to an early grave, as people could hardly give them away, so they'd just scrap them.

    I'd imagine that the Hemi might have been the hardest sale of all. Usually they were little more than street-legal racecars, with no air conditioning, stick shift transmissions, very little in the way of creature comforts. Not exactly a winning formula for a used car back then.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    That's not how I remember it at all :P

    Any car with that much HP is never ever going to be ignored. I don't wish to arm wrestle in a friendly bar but I think some Hot Rod magazines from the 70s and 80s would prove the point.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I was a kid in the '70s, and I remember people putting blowers and anything else they could think of on their underperforming V8s. Gas mileage didn't seem to be a concern.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    Especially since any American muscle car from the late 1960s looked better and ran faster than anything made anywhere in the world from 1972 up to the GNX I'd guess.

    So there were at least 15 "dry years" when nothing new could touch an old Hemi or Big Block car.

    That's why they never were out of the collector's eye.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,230
    In reviewing the comments of this discussion, there's minimal mention of Japanese cars. We're supposed to be looking forward in this discussion, but we seem to be stuck in the present. Given the rising popularity and market share of Japanese cars in the last few decades, and the fact that collectors are attracted to the cars of their youth, it seems like a no brainer that, as we look forward a decade and a few years beyond, Japanese cars are underrepresented in this discussion.

    I have no idea which cars will be in the top tier or even second tier classics categories in 2018, because the air up there is too rarefied for me. Therefore, I'll leave the predictions about the high end classic cars to those of you who are much more knowledgeable about this segment than me. All I know is that these won't be Japanese. However, when it comes to affordable collector and special interest cars, I have little doubt that the Japanese cars of the '70s (the very few that remain), '80s and '90s will be much more prominent at car shows than they are today. I mean, how could they not be?

    The Hyundais and Kias of the world will have to wait until 2038, and the '48 classic car shows will be sprinkled with models from Tata, Chery and Brilliance Motors, etc. Chery and Brilliance et all will have luxury divisions to compete with Tata's Jaguar and Land Rover by then, and maybe Toyota, Honda, and Nissan will be the new Detroit 3, struggling to survive against the mighty and creative Chinese brands. Looking further ahead, the Brialliance Century and Roadmaster, and Chery Corvete (new spelling), Impala and Malibu will be the stars of the '58 new car shows, and the Tata Camry will debut in '68.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,230
    edited January 2011
    I think the classic and collector car hobby will shrink in the coming years. Look at the ages of the attendees at the shows. While I have no statistics to support my perception, there seem to be fewer people under 40 that are really passionate about cars than there used to be. The reason, if that's correct, may be that there are too many competing distractions, mainly of the digital kind. Add to this the fact that cars have become much more electronically complex in tha past 20 years, and you have the explanation for my hypothesis. There are increasingly fewer repair and restoration tasks that can be tackled by owners, making it ever more difficult to justify the expenses associated with this hobby.

    Is this view realistic or overly pessimistic?

    Sorry if this post recycles some of the arguments made when this discussion was introduced, but maybe it'll prompt some new perspectives on where this hobby is headed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    There is no doubt that the bulk of the collectible car hobby is fueled by an aging population. Younger people have *some* interest in cars, but they are much more into tuning, driving, drifting, customizing....and those forms of car interest tend to wane with age. You don't see too many 40 year olds driving slammed or bagged Japanese imports.

    Also, once the aging population starts to die off, their cars will all appear in the marketplace within a decade or so, put there by disinterested family members who have neither the space nor budget to maintain fleets of old cars.

    Of course, it has to be said that the creme de la creme of the classic cars--the truly rare classics, will always be treasured.

    But I agree, the hobby is going to shrink in the next 20 years or so, and aside from the very top of the heap cars, the prices will probably drop as well.

    Added to this, restoration costs are pretty staggering these days, so I think that end of it will also shrink.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,338
    "fewer people under 40 that are really passionate about cars than there used to be.". Agree. The under 40 men are more in tune to "family" activities i.e. their kids Soccer programs. The average under 40 guy's interest is accumulating funds for his kids education if not trying to keep up with his health insurance costs. Spending priorities for the under 40 are not the same as they were for the under 80. The under 80 men worked on their cars because they could. The under 40 is handicaped by not having the electronic and sophysticated tools required to work on today's cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    The car hobby is certainly tied up to the concept of "discretionary income" and given that America in particular seems to be racing towards a huge gap between rich and poor, I suspect that as the middle class shrivels up into oblivion, along with the inevitable drop in the American standard of living that seems to be unavoidable in the 21st century, that "playing with cars" will once again return to its roots as per 1900--as the toy of the very wealthy. You know, like private jets and Riva speedboats are now.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    edited January 2011
    The problem for me as I get older is that I've pretty much already owned all the beloved cars of my youth. I think Generation X has been much less likely to deprive themselves of things so there is less of a need for a reward as we age.

    Well, maybe we'll still want a reward. But for me it won't be a pain in the butt car that I've already owned.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    edited January 2011
    One other thing, until the crunch hit guys in their 50s were often buying their toy cars with easy credit, sometimes through their business, sometimes through home equity lines.

    Is anyone these days thinking they should maybe take out a $35k home equity line of credit on their house to buy a Ferrari 328? I think that kind of freewheeling is dead for a while.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    Well that seems to be the deal right now...there is a small percentage of people who seem awash in unlimited amounts of money and then the far larger number who are cutting back. Of course there will always be people with a few thou to burn who will putter around with under $5K sedans and things like that.

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Yeah, the rich seem to be doing fine. Really fine. But the middle class is not where it was and even the upper middle class seems a little nervous about buying frivolities these days.

    Do you have a short list of "puttering around" cars you might like to own?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    Lessee...some cheap 'n cheerful puttin' around cars I'd like to play with?

    90s Suburban (I want to experience real "hurtling" down the road--I want to scare Smart car drivers and obnoxious motorcyclists).

    '65 Corvair (call me crazy)

    4X4 Ford 1-ton van (see "hurtling", above)

    Triumph Spitfire

    70s American convertible, preferably shabby

    Bigass cadillac 4-door

    ex police car, black on black, with spotlights

    Toyota MR2 turbo

    I think any one of these could be had these days for not much money.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,052
    90s Suburban (I want to experience real "hurtling" down the road--I want to scare Smart car drivers and obnoxious motorcyclists).

    I remember back in 2004 or so, going to a GM test drive event with a friend. They had GM cars and competing models that you could drive and compare. It was around a closed test course at Fed-X Field (Redskins stadium), and you could get a bit rough with the cars. I took out a Suburban, and as big and bulky as that thing was, I felt at home behind the wheel, and had no problem getting rough with it. But then I took out an Equinox, which was downright petite in comparison, and it just felt unstable, wallowy, numb steering, etc. I even remember my friend hollering "DON'T FLIP US!"...yet my handling of that mammoth Suburban didn't seem to bother him a bit.
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    90s Suburban (I want to experience real "hurtling" down the road--I want to scare Smart car drivers and obnoxious motorcyclists).


    My first wife worked for Budget Rent A Car back in the day. I found that a nice shiny Ford Expedition and a good head o steam would definitely clear the left lane on Interstate 80 when some clueless twit was gumming up the works...

    I have my eye on an old police car too...LOL... A body shop near my house has an old Dodge Monaco (think Blues Brothers) black and white parked on the side of the shop. I would love to ask if it is for sale, but my wife would kill me... :sick:
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,647
    We enjoyed our '95 Suburban for 13 years. My wife loved it, it was her car. I always felt in control, size was only a problem in tight parking situations. And the load capacity was just about limitless...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,052
    I have my eye on an old police car too...LOL... A body shop near my house has an old Dodge Monaco (think Blues Brothers) black and white parked on the side of the shop. I would love to ask if it is for sale, but my wife would kill me..

    Okay, that made my ears perk up! How far from the DC area are you, again? :shades:

    One ex-police car I wouldn't mind having is a '76-77 Pontiac LeMans. Sheriff Justice drove a '77 in "Smokey and the Bandit", but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a real police car, just a regular LeMans painted up to look like a police car. In fact, I heard that GM only gave them 2-3 LeManses and 2-3 Trans Ams (always forget which was the 2 and which was the 3) for that movie, so they had to keep repainting the LeManses to represent the jurisdictions from various localities, as well as putting them back together after the variety of wrecks they put them through.

    I remember reading a 1977 police car test that MT or C&D did, and the LeMans Enforcer was actually kinda lame. 0-60 in 11.4 seconds, for a 400 V-8. It got good marks for handling as I recall, but that was about it. I think the midsized Monaco/Fury pretty much owned the market in those days.

    I guess a '76 LeMans, which would've had a 455, might have been a bit better in performance.

    I'd also love to find a C-body '74-75 Fury or Monaco, the more basic quad headlight models (as opposed to the single headlight for the upper Furys or the hidden headlights for the Royal Monacos), but preferably a hardtop coupe or hardtop sedan. Probably near impossible to find, these days. They weren't popular when new, as most of them were 4-door sedans that were pushed into police, taxi, or other fleet use. And the 4-door hardtop was dropped after '75. So were the quad headlights, as the cheaper models adopted the headlights of the upper models.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,974
    Those are the most fun old cars, IMO...the affordable ones you can actually drive and repair. You don't need a 99+ point car to enjoy it. The robber barons can have their trophies...they won't be able to keep them forever.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,834
    edited January 2011
    so we are going back to the Jimmy Carter days.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    edited January 2011
    Oh no, economically more like the Reagan days I think, with massive deregulation and increased government spending + low taxes, with the added wrinkle of high unemployment and flat wages + unwinnable, obscenely costly wars + peak oil +environmental degradation. It's the "perfect storm" really. The worst of any group of presidents' policies all wrapped into one.

    it's not that we'll all be tightening our belts that's scary, it's that we'll be doing it at a high rate of speed---that's the difference I think between now and past economic shocks.

    it goes without saying the the hobbies and perks of the middle class will suffer.

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  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,834
    so what you are saying is that low mileage 20 year old mustang gt convertible i have is going to be worth about 1 college text book? ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    edited January 2011
    Nooooo....only that you'll have fewer people to sell it to and thus, using the equation of supply and demand, the value may stagnate.

    It's like what's happening now with real estate. Nice properties are certainly not worthless.

    it's not like we'll all be poor--only that we won't have as much to throw around.

    And the uber-wealthy don't want mere Mustangs, so they won't be scarfing those up.

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  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    Okay, that made my ears perk up! How far from the DC area are you, again?

    Hey Andre

    Unfortunately, I am on the West Coast (20 min south of SF). The good news is that the car should be pretty solid, just on the wrong side of the country... I will swing by this weekend and take a pic of it for you ;)
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    edited January 2011
    Interesting discussion here. As I write this, I'm watching the Mecum auction. So, if we're saying the collector car hobby will decline, that would not bode well for collector car auction companies. Perhaps the major players like Barrett-Jackson, Mecum and RM will be able to survive. But, there are a lot of 2nd and 3rd tier players (Worldwide, McCormick, Hollywood Car Auctions, etc. and maybe Russe & Steele and Leake) that may go by the wayside.

    To counter that, I will note that this evening, Mecum announced their website recently reached a record number of hits. And, naturally, last week, Craig Jackson and Steve Davis (BTW, would somebody PLEASE either tear off those ridiculous sunglasses or give this guy a red-tipped cane and a seeing-eye dog) touted their annual mantra that an increased percentage of their bidders (at least those who ponied up for a bidder's pass) were first time bidders. So, if you believe these are "market indicators", the health of the collector car market may become more robust.

    PS. - please indulge me for another Steve Davis rant . . . would somebody please tell that buffoon he's inside???? Fashion Tip 101, loose the Oakleys! And, not every car that crosses the auction block is a "once in a lifetime opportunity". OK, thanks. I feel better now. :blush:
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    touted their annual mantra that an increased percentage of their bidders (at least those who ponied up for a bidder's pass) were first time bidders. So, if you believe these are "market indicators", the health of the collector car market may become more robust.


    I wonder how many first timers were investing in Dot.Com stocks in 2000 and in Real Estate in 2008...

    Craig Jackson and Steve Davis need to learn the lesson of the "shoe shine boy". I didn't spot him prior to the Real Estate crash, but I sure as heck spotted him prior to the Dot.Com collapse. The local news ran a story about a 12 year old kid investing his allowance to buy Dot.Com stocks over the internet... This was in Dec 1999...

    Rockefeller was getting his shoes shined by a young boy, and the boy offered him some free advice on a stock. A tip if you will. Its assumed the boy had no idea who Rockefeller was and wanted to help the guy out. Rockefeller took a tip alright, but not the tip the boy gave him. He realized that if a shoe shine boy had advice on the market it must be overbought, and if it was overbought it was about to crash, about a year later it did just that, and Rockefeller pulled out just in time.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,279
    edited January 2011
    The last thing you want to do is swallow the optimism from the very parties that profit from the optimism. Listen to some of last year's Cramer predictions on stock. Hilariously wrong.

    You have to look at these auctions as real time entertainment. Ever been to a "real" auto auction---it totally sucks. But these things are "events"---you go to socialize, and to be fair, it's a great place in terms of convenience. You don't have to travel all over the country to see the type of car you might be interested in.

    These guys are marketing geniuses.

    The downside? In most cases, you are going to pay 20-25% over market and so you have to be in for the long haul.

    It would be the very rare B-J car that could be sold in the private party market for more than 65% of what you see as a closing price on the block.

    That's what it costs to be "in the show".

    With the very high HIGH end stuff, it's sort of a different story. Where I live you can't swing a cat without hitting a '69 Chevelle, but if you're hunting for a rare muscle car, or a vintage American race car, or a concept or prototype this or that, B-J might be the place to find it.

    I've been to B-J a number of times, and I can tell you that a lot of the cars are not worth the money. But, oddly enough, when you're there and the bidding is furious, they *seem* like they are worth the money---all the paint chips and scratched trim and wobbly paint seems to disappear.

    Now and then, you do see really superior cars, of course, and it's a great place to drool and fantasize.

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  • parmparm Posts: 723
    edited January 2011
    We've touched on this before in other threads, but I am stunned by how many dealers are buying cars at these auctions. I've been watching the televised auctions several years and can now recognize who many of the dealers are. How do these guys make money buying cars at retail prices and expect to make a reasonable profit????

    Now, admittedly, the bulk of what dealers buy are on Tues, Weds & Thurs before the high-dollar iron rolls out on Friday & Sat. And, I will say I do see some nice deals from time to time during these early days of an auction. But, with all of the major auction companies posting their sales results online, any schmO with internet access can see what a car sold for at auction.

    Some of you might remember I ran into this situation this past summer with a 1965 Tempest convertible that was tweaked and badged to look like a GTO. It was a tasteful job and the dealer was up front that it was not a real GTO. But, I happened to find out he bought it one year before at a Mecum auction and paid what I (and Shifty and others in this group) considered to be the absolute top dollar for this car - $19K. I offered him $19K, but he was adamant about wanting to make a profit (swore he'd never taken a loss on a car before) and refused to take anything less than $23K or $24K - so I walked.

    Yes, I agree that most of the sale prices at Barrett-Jackson are obscene. But, when you have more money than God (as many in that crowd typically do), I guess it really doesn't matter.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,647
    Well, you seem take it a bit more serously than I do:

    You say: " most of the sale prices at Barrett-Jackson are obscene. "
    I'd say: " most of the sale prices at Barrett-Jackson are silly. "

    You say: "when you have more money than God"
    I'd say: "when you have more money than sense"

    Like Shifty says, it's just a show, one put on by the best used car salesmen in the land. Nothing against that, but why would we expect something other than what we get?
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    edited January 2011
    B-J is a show. No question about that and I buy into it as I find much of it entertaining. Guilty as charged. But, at the end of the day, when all the hoopla has died down, real cars have changed hands for real money. So, even though it is conducted under a big top (literally) in a circus-like atmosphere (though not as outlandish as a Russo & Steele auction), its still a business.

    To get back on point, I wonder how (or if) the business of collector auctions will be as successful as they apparently are today, given the downward direction of the hobby that is being predicted here.

    Personally, I don't think the collector car market has anything to worry about in my lifetime (I'm 50). People will always want old stuff and cars are usually at, or near, the top of a lot of guys (and gals) list. From what I can see, the public's interest in collector cars seems to be getting stronger, not weaker. As an example, just this week, the History channel debuted a new show (Desert Car Kings) about a salvage yard in Arizona where they take an old car in bad shape and fix it up in two weeks and sell it at auction. That's just one of several cars about old cars that weren't on air a few years ago. TV networks spend a lot of money researching to provide programs the public wants (though that still doesn't explain Laverne & Shirley!) and there's apparently a big enough demand from the public to warrant that investment.
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