Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Convertible vs. Hardtop Coupe - which is better for a collector car?



  • Formulas usually crumble into dust with the collector market today, again because the collectors are so much more savvy, and they know a lot and vote for their high level of discrimination with their checkbooks. It's not about the "merit" of the car, it's about what people want and don't want. Why is a '96 Impala SS worth 30% more than a '95? Supply and demand. It's basically the same car both years with a few gizmos added.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    "Right now, they look to be within 10% of each other---that's a lot closer than one might have thought. I was a bit surprised myself".

    10%? Are you sure? In considering a '64 Coupe Deville that's for sale, the seller cited the NADA value guide. I don't have the figures right here in front of me, but NADA's values show a difference that's waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than 10%. For a Deville in average condition, I think they show the coupe at around $8,500 and the convertible around $11,500. I know these numbers aren't spot on, but they're pretty close. That's considerably more than 10%. I'd be curious what the figures are in the CPI guide too.

    Shifty, not that I'm questioning you, but . . . . . . . where is your support for the 10% price differential?
  • Comparables mostly.

    Just remember this piece of wisdom:

    Price Guides only put you in the right "decade". That's as close as they get.

    Okay, CPI has a Sedan Deville in "good" condition at $7500 and a coupe de ville at $10,000. So that's......more like 25% in the good category but about 10% in the fair category.

    The better the car gets the wider the margin, it looks like. I'd go along with that.

    I'm so used to people calling me up and saying that the car is 'excellent" and then I go look at it, and it's barely a #3 or a low #4.

    So okay, let's say for nice stuff that a Coupe DV is outpricing a SdV by 25% then.

    Still not a lot.

    Hemmings Muscle Car Magazine has an interesting article in the Jan issue about this (last page), how 4-door prices are going up a lot.
  • parmparm Posts: 723 ront_3-4.jpg

    Since this discussion is "coupe" related, here's a nice one that will sell at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson auction. A 1964 Buick Wildcat. I'd take this car in a heartbeat regardless that it's not a convertible. I've always liked these. I was only 3 or 4 when these were produced so I don't remember this car as being the "gentlemen's muscle car" as the write-up says, but with the 425 ci motor and this car's sporty nature, I can see how that would apply.

    Who want's to guess as to how much this car will sell for? Here's a hint, come up with what you think this car is worth, then add 35% - since it's Barrett-Jackson. ;) This car goes across the block on Friday. So, here's my guess. I think someone there will be willing to pay something in the mid $20'sK. Perhaps if it was on Saturday, it would bring a bit more.

    Gentlemen, the floor is yours . . . . . .
  • About $22,500 would be about market correct. Too much more than that is the "B-J Effect", which will cost you $$$ down the line because you are in too high.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Didn't know whether I should start a new discussion group on this or not. =

    In looking at some alternative to big parade float convertibles, I reacquainted myself with the 1966-67 Fairlane GTA convertible. First of all, these rather simple cars look very good to my eye. If memory serves, the Mercury counterpart (a red Comet) was the Indy pace car one of these two years. Usually, being named the Indy pace car was a pretty good indicator of consumer appeal, or at least would help foster it. So, this body style must have had somewhat of a following "back in the day".

    This looks like a nice one. It's received recent suspension work, a rebuilt motor, a new interior and the convertible top looks to be fairly new. But, the paint is older. The seller wants around $25,000. I've seen others (390 engine models) with asking prices around $29K+. Are these cars really SELLING for that much in the market? My last CPI book (Dec. '05) shows a "good" at $13,175 and an "excellent" at $23,725. Recent values from NADA are: $20,670 & $36,720 respectively. Surely CPI's values haven't changed that much in two years. So, it's hard to understand why there's such a big disparity between these two publications. But, it seems like CPI always establishes the low-end of values. Nothing new there.

    Taking both publications into consideration, I'm thinking this particular example is worth somewhere around $18K which is quite a big difference from the $25K asking price. I also saw this car posted on another service with a listing date of Oct. '07. So, this car hasn't been lanquishing on the market for a year or anything too terribly long which also makes me think the seller wouldn't be too anxious to take $18K.

    I know it's tough to tell from photos, but would anyone like offer their opinion as to what this car is worth in today's market?
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Add'l price guide info. from Manheim Gold for a 1966-67 Fairlane GTA convertible (390 engine):

    Good: $14,000
    Exc.: $22,000
    Show: $27,500
    Loan: $12,500

    Perhaps my $18K estimate isn't too far off??? Of course, I'm guessing the seller would challenge that.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    "Why is a '96 Impala SS worth 30% more than a '95? Supply and demand. It's basically the same car both years with a few gizmos added."

    The answer is pretty easy, Mr. Shiftright...the '96 is the last model year produced, plus the '96 has the floor shifter and round analog gauges missing in the previous models.

    Bill P.
  • So, being the last year makes it more valuable? Makes no sense. Most collector cars are the opposite (e.g. 71-73 Mustang). And a floor shifter is worth $5,000? It's very strange. I wonder if fewer '96s were made. At least that would make sense.

    67 Ford GTA --- yes, I agree, about $20,000 is all the money for that car in #3 condition.

    "Asking" price is the exercise of your First Amendment rights. It doesn't mean the car is "going" for the asking price, or anything remotely like it
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I guess the only difference in that analogy is that the 95-96 Impala SS's were generally nearly identical - at least from 10 feet away. Whereas, the 71-73 Mustangs were a totally different animal from the previous 1969-1970 model years.

    Case in point, it's generally my impression that '67 Corvettes tend to sell for more than the other "mid-year" Vettes (excluding '63 the split window). So, because it was the end of a model run, I guess I can see where a '96 Impala SS might sell for a bit more than an otherwise similar '95. I think the '71-'73 Mustangs were pretty homely which would partially explain their decrease in value - that and their detuned motors.
  • I bet you though if the '96 didn't have the floor shifter and gauges, it wouldn't be worth any more. I mean, it IS still a 4-door sedan, not a Corvette. This "last year" business isn't really a solid kind of market indicator. It depends a LOT on the car involved, as you said.

    I guess a good rule of thumb would be to imagine someone patting Car X on the fender and saying "Yessir, this here is the last of the breed", and then seeing if anyone laughs or genuflects in respect.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    The '96 was also a much shorter model year. The last big GM RWD's, including the Impala SS, were built in December 1995.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    The '96 was also a much shorter model year. The last big GM RWD's, including the Impala SS, were built in December 1995.

    True, the 1996 model year run was shorter. However, the Impala SS was gaining in popularity even if the regular B-bodies (Caprice, Roadmaster, Fleetwood) were falling from favor. I'd have to dig out my old car book to verify, but I think they built something like 45,000 Impala SSes for 1996. I believe it was actually the most popular B-body nameplate that year! They only built about 100,000 total, so that leaves 55K spread across the Roadmaster, Caprice, and Fleetwood.

    Didn't they also expand the color choices for 1996? IIRC, the 94-95 was only available in black, but they added a greenish-mica and a deep burgundy color later on.

    As for whether the final year means anything or not, I think it depends on whether the car originally went out with a bang or with a whimper. GM cut down the B-body simply because SUVs were much more profitable and they wanted to devote production to 4-door Yukons and Tahoes. Another problem was the EPA and CAFE. The B-body, even with the LT-1 350, was rated at a respectable 17/26. Commendable for a car of that size and performance. But it was still just enough to drag down GM's CAFE averages and risk getting them fined. As a result, I think GM purposely under-produced the B-body in those past few year, and then cut it the moment something more profitable came along. A Yukon/Tahoe was probably rated around 16/21 with a 350, so while it was actually more of a guzzler, trucks were rated differently, so it didn't really drag down their CAFE numbers.

    So in this case, the buyers wanted the SS, but GM didn't. The Caprice was generally considered a better police car and taxi than the Crown Vic, so after GM pulled the plug, these things became really in-demand. Police departments would often rebuild an old Caprice before they'd buy a new Crown Vic, and taxi drivers loved them.

    Another possible issue with the 1996 B-body was that new side impact protection standards were enacted for 1997. It's possible that the B-body, with its low beltline, huge windows, and body that hung out well beyond the frame rails, would not have passed the standard. And it would have been cheaper to just drop them than redesign them. A similar fate befell the A-body, which was still hanging on in 1996 as the Cutlass Ciera and Century. It was still selling well enough that, IIRC, the Ciera was the most popular Olds and the Century was #2 for Buick, right behind the LeSabre. But it dated back to 1982, was really getting long in the tooth, and wouldn't pass those standards. So for 1997 the Century was moved to the W-body platform, becoming a downscale version of the Regal, while Olds badge-engineered a Malibu and called it simply "Cutlass".

    Another good example of going out with a bang is the Buick Regal Grand National and GNX. The Grand National got better and better each year, with the turbo putting out more hp, suspension tweaks, etc. And the 1987 GNX was the icing on the cake. Again, an example where the people wanted the car, but GM just wanted to axe it and move onto newer, more economical vehicles.

    Now some other "final" vehicle, like, say, the 1983 Malibu, 1981 LeMans, 1993 Imperial, 1981 Newport, 1981 Catalina, etc, aren't worth anything, simply because they had run their course, the market was changing, and people just weren't buying them anymore. Or, like the "final" 1974 GTO, the car had been reduced to a mere caricature of itself.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    So, being the last year makes it more valuable? Makes no sense.

    In this case, though, we're dealing with the chronic GM "get it right, then kill it" syndrome, where the vehicle is steadily improved during the model run so the last one is the most desirable of all: Impala SS, V6 Fiero, Grand National, etc.
  • Yeah but the last Fiero and last GNX and the last Cadillac Allante were much improved models. The Impala SS was just the same old car with a few geegaws. Big diff.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    The Fiero and Allante were also cars that were sub-par enough to begin with that by the time GM had the bugs worked out of them, the damage to their reputation had already been done. And they were also never really leaders in their class. Caddy tried to go after the 560SL with the Allante, and were pretty much ridiculed for it, even once it got the Northstar. And I don't think the Fiero ever got into the same league as stuff like the MR2.

    But the Impala SS and Grand National were pretty much cars in the top of their league and desireable from their get-go. They were decent cars to begin with, and only got better. BTW, the GNX was a one-year only model that they only made 546 copies of, with a 276 hp version of the 3.8 turbo. When it comes to regular Grand Nationals, would the 1987 be worth more than, say, a 1984? IIRC, it was 1985 that they really got a boost in power, and 1986-87 that they started scaring Corvettes. The 1985 and earlier models are much more rare, even when they were new. They only built a few thousand per year, but I think jumped to around 10-15K for 1986 and around 24K for 1987. I think most Grand Nationals have been modified by now, anyway, regardless of model year, so that may close the gap with value.
  • I think what's possibly misleading you is that the cars you mention are priced like USED cars, not collectibles. Used cars are worth more the newer they are. These cars are too new to behave like collectibles IMO. You see the same in C4 Vettes, NSXs, C5s, Porsche 911s etc. Naturally with a used car the last year is always the most valuable, whereas with a collectible the older the car the more it tends to be worth.

    Not always, but it's good to remember that cars need a good 25-30 years to start acting like true collectibles. It's possible the Impala SS will slump in value. It seems like the 94s and 05s are slipping already.

    My "theory" is that first of all a car has to depreciate fully as a used car. That is, it has to hit a bottom price and stay there. Then, once its collectible status is secured, it starts to climb back up.

    So time will tell if the Impala SS will slide down like a used car, stay stagnant (like say the "minor" collectibles like Avanti or Delorean) or start to climb like the potentially strong collectibles.
  • parmparm Posts: 723 =

    Quick update. This car just recently sold. The sale price? $25,000. Looks like Shifty and I were both off.
  • Well one sale does not a market make; besides, without seeing the car, maybe the price was correct. I was working on the assumption of a #3 car. If it were a little nicer than that, then $25,000 is an okay price. In the photos, it looks nicer that it was originally presented to us for evaluation. I didn't know it had brand new total interior and rebuilt suspension. This could be a high #3 car.

    The BIG question always is: well, can you turn around tomorrow and sell it AGAIN for that price?

    How do you know it sold at $25,000?
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    Well first off, let me say that you were closer than me. LOL! My $18K estimate was probably more wishful thinking than anything else, because this car looked pretty decent to me.

    I exchanged a few emails with the seller and he told me the car just recently sold for $25,000. Admittedly, he could be fibbing. However, based on his emails, he seems like an honest guy. So, I can't technically document the sale price any further than that. But, given that this car did not sit forever on the market, I'm inclined to believe the car sold for $25,000.
This discussion has been closed.