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Classic? Collectible? Special Interest? Just Old?



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    It's certainly collectible today--not a "hot one" necessarily, but it has always maintained a steady value and if totally restored and perfect, can even bust the $30K mark.

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  • packv12packv12 Posts: 95
    I always thought the definition of a collectible car worked off the bigger fool principle. You know, once you are done with the car, you need a bigger fool than yourself to purchase it from you.

    I dabble in what I find pleasing, but it is a strange list indeed. I recently sold my 1955 Imperial for a loss, but it is now road worthy and looks pretty sharp. The new owner even lets me tinker on it when the need arises. I guess that there aren't many who can adjust a dual point distributor any more.

    Trying to find a definition for the mundane words of Classic, Collectible, S.I. are very difficult. The Imperial was "Collectible" because it was a "Milestone" car; First year of the Exner Styling, first year Imperial was granted Marque status and the only year of the shift lever sprouting out of the dash. It was also "Collectible" because my dad had one, and it's the car I grew up with. I'd favor a 1967 Pontiac Catalina Convertible as a "Collectible", as it's the first car I ever owned, but in fact, it's an old car. (That hurts ;-))

    Most post WW-II cars are denied Classic status, but fall into the S.I. and Collectible classification. Most only recognize a car listed on the list as collectible, but wouldn't a '39 Packard 120 four door Convertible Sedan by classic, especially with dual side mounts. Well, yes and no. To me it would be, but to the C.C.C.A. it is not

    Bottom line is, buy what you enjoy and enjoy what you buy. Anybody who thinks any of this as an investment should place their money elsewhere. It's more of enjoying the fruits of your labors and being seen as slightly skewed for wasting your money on an old car. By all means, keep the hobby alive, but buy and enjoy what fits your needs and floats you boat.
  • packv12packv12 Posts: 95
    Can we ever agree on the terminology for automobile bodies? I see sedan and coupe used interchangably quite often, but in fact, they mean something quite different. I've seen the same for Roadster, Phaeton, Convertible Coupe, Convertible Sedan, and Opera Coupe/Sedan.

    My reasoning for this is; I've traveled to look at cars, only to find that they are not what is advertised. A Convertible Coupe is not a two door convertible, but a car that can carry two-three people. A Roadster does not have roll-up windows and has a minimum of weather protection, say it otherwise, and you're misleading the public.

    I know that the Big Three changed the terminology in the '50's, but there should be some consistency to it all. A Coupe De Ville is really a two door hardtop Sedan. A "Convertible Coupe" is really a convertible Sedan. People are basing their decisions on how many doors the cars have, but that's wrong.

    Coupe: Enclosed seating capacity for two or three. (One bench seat, but some may have a rumble seat.)

    Sedan: Seating capacity for five or six. (Front and rear seat.)

    Roadster: Minimum of weather protection, usually has side curtains rather than roll up windows. On many, the windshield folded flat for the true wind through your hair. Usually sat two, unless a rumble seat was included.

    Phaeton: A four door Roadster, except it never had a rumble seat.

    Convertible Coupe: See Coupe above

    Convertible Sedan: See Sedan above

    Opera Coupe/Sedan: Usually a gussied up "Business Man's Coupe" with jump seats in rear compartment for carrying the occasional passengers.
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 375
    'However, there were some bright spots in '73."

    Such as the 73 Pontiac SD-455 Trans Am...
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,664
    Obviously you're talking about prewar cars and a terminology that has changed over the years. The definitions of coupe vs. sedan for example. I'd suggest you request photos via e mail or snail mail to make sure of what you're traveling to see.

    I know a little about prewar cars but I wouldn't know a Convertible Sedan from a Phaeton. I do know the difference between a 30s Ford or Chevy coupe and a 2-door (Tudor) sedan.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    ...basically a 4-door convertible with snap-on curtains instead of roll-down windows? At least that's what I always took it to be. However, Mercury had a 4-door hardtop in the '50's that had "Phaeton" written on it. It was similar I think, to the way Buick used to call all its hardtops "Riviera" or DeSoto, "Sportsman".

    I also saw this big, long neoclassic-styled pimpy thing once that had "Phaeton" written on it. It looked like someone took a Lincoln Town Car and grafted a 30's style front-end and rear on it. I see this same thing done to a lot of '80's Mercury Cougars, too.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Andre, the Mercury Phaeton was actually something a little different from the run-of-the-mill four door hardtop. The top was "chopped" an inch or so shorter than the standard four door hardtop.

    There's a sadist who lives a few blocks from my parents' house who's had one--with OD no less--mouldering in his driveway for years. Many years ago I talked to this guy, apparently an elderly recluse, to see if he wanted to sell it. No, he wanted to watch it disintegrate in his driveway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    Oh, don't you just love that type? It's a power trip, the only power they have in their little insect lives, to control the fate of a car that someone else wants.

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  • Was there ever any cars imported from the Eastern bloc to the United States, pre or post collapse of communism.

    I was thinking it might be a good idea to keep a few running, just in case anyone gets the idea that maybe life under Communism wasn't such a bad thing after all.

    Maybe a nice Trabant, or a Lada for the future car collection?
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Yes, there were eastern bloc cars imported here. They were made famous because of their near bulletproof reliablity. They are highly desired cars today, and only the super-rich can afford them. What is the name of this brilliant brainchild of communism?
    Why, the YUGO, of course!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    Well, the commies weren't bad at everything. They made a helluva light assault rifle that shocked American troops in Vietnam for a while. You could pour dirt in that thing and then fire it. Amazing weapon. (AK-47).

    I think some commie cars did make it over here but not officially. Whatever German or Czech companies fell behind the "Iron Curtain" after WW II continued to make the same kind of German car under Soviet rule.
    Skoda, for instance, or EMW. I"m not sure where the Wartburg and Gogomobile came from, but I think West Germany....not sure?.Fellow commie car experts?

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  • I think I read some time in the past Lada exported cars to Canada, maybe small 4 wheel drives? I also recall Czechslovakia exported motorcycles to the U.S.

    I believe the Trabant had a two stroke motor. I think one of the car mags did a test of one right after the wall fell.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    Remember that great shot of a Trabant in a dumpster? it was in all the papers.

    Yes, Lada did go to Canada and I guess their 4X4s have won some respect up there.

    Also, Ural still sends motorcycles over here. I've inspected them and driven them and they may look like BMWs from 25 feet away, but believe me, it stops there.

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  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    was (I can't believe I'm saying this)a really attractive wagon-in a mini Studebaker Lark sort of way. They attempted US sales,but this East German car was a little more successful in England(that probably means they sold 300 there,as opposed to 50 here).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    I guess weirdo cars like this are "collectible" in the sense that something needs to go on the "curiosity shelf" of any department store.

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  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    I personally have no problem with the old guy down the street calling his cherished old Chevy a classic. This, however, is going too far:

    In case the link dies, it's an essay contest from Parade magazine asking people to describe their favorite car. The second essay states: "They now call the Pacer a classic. I knew that 20 years ago." What I want to know is WHO is calling the Pacer a classic, what are they smoking, and where can I get some?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    A classic failure.

    However, they are dorky enough to be amusing and I think some people will preserve them--that is, preserve the survivors, not restore them. You'd be out of your mind to restore a Pacer.

    The kind term for cars like this is "special interest", which of course means nothing.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,664
    who'll step up and save even the dorkiest car.
    It doesn't matter if it's an Austin Marina, a Nash
    Ambassador, a Trabant or a VW Squareback someone will save it and generally that's a good thing.

    I draw the line at Yugos and Subaru 360s (thanks for nothing Mal Bricklin).

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    who's always been a carnut, and owned many different interesting old cars since I've known him [since 1975]. Well, in 1975, he bought a new Pacer-white, red interior, big six and automatic. Kind of a "novelty" thing, I guess. As though it were kin to the Chrysler Airflow, or something. Anyway, at the time, some of us couldn't figure out why he'd bought one. Well, it was a fresh design, unique, and he was an Art teacher-if that had anything to do with it.
    Well, anyway, he's owned so many interesting old cars over the years, when I saw him a year or so ago, after not having talked to him for a few years, I was curious to see what he has now. Shifty, get this-he is and has been for several years now-ALL ALFA-he has 4 Alfa Romeos, of various year and model, most of them older, I believe. And nothing else. How's that for a former Pacer buyer?
    Shifty, was there ever a Pacer in your garage?
    By the way, as I remember, he sold the Pacer after only a year or so, because of the disappointing, poor gas mileage and lack of power.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    To say nothing of very unattractive. I'm surprised a lover of Art could even look at it.

    However, he obviously came around to a complete understanding of automotive styling :)

    No, I never had a Pacer. I did have a Checker once, which is just as bad, so I'm not above wallowing in my mistakes now and then.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    ...and Pacers were brand-new, we knew enough to make fun of them, and anybody who's parents drove one! I have to admit though, in a dorky sort of way they're kinda cool.

    I've never driven one, but I sat in a few. I think they're actually pretty comfortable, at least up front. The wagon model isn't bad in the back seat. One day I was at a junkyard that had just gotten one in. It must've been a nicer model, because it had thickly padded cloth seats, overly-stuffed vinyl door panels, and shag carpeting. I sat behind the wheel, just to get a feel for it.

    I think the earlier models are kinda neat looking, but they ruined it when they tried to give it more of a stand-up formal grille.

    I had a chance to get a free AMC Hornet wagon a few years ago, that some friends of mine just wanted to be rid of. I wonder what would've been worse...that thing or a Pacer? That Hornet was another car that was kinda cool in a nerdy sort of way. It was a real bright robin's egg blue, and really stood out.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Hey I owned a Hornet.

    Next you're going to tell me 1960 Corvair sedans aren't cool.
  • 20992099 Posts: 63
    Way back when I was in the used car business with my dad, we took in a 74 Hornet Wagon. This thing had a V-8 (305")(?) and every possible option...even some phony looking "wood" trim (like the old Ford Country Squires) on the outside. We did some repairs and sold the thing (good deal for us all the way around) to a local person who drove it for 10 years plus until it rusted apart. I remember it had a lot of pick-up and did run well, but it was ugly and that V-8 in that engine compartment was a bear to work on. Thanks for the memory jog.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    My friends' '77 Hornet had an inline-6. I think it was a 258, but I'm not sure. It was actually in pretty good shape...very little rust to speak of, but one of the rear windows would come off its track and fall down in the door.

    I would've loved to have had the thing, but I was only 23 when they were trying to get rid of it. Back then, it would've cost me another $500-600 a year to insure. I remember though that they couldn't find anybody to take it off their hands, even for free. They even called around to a few junkyards, and so did I, to help them out. Every place said they didn't have need for a car like that.

    Finally, we drove it down to a junkyard south of Culpeper, VA, about 90 miles away, and ended up getting $90.00 for it!

    If nothing else, I guess it would've been a nice little car for hauling stuff, but then again, it didn't have a full liftgate...only the rear window opened up. Kind of a hatchback wagon, I guess?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I got a good deal on my Hornet too, but that's probably how Hornets sold--the typical off-brand discount. At the time I really wanted a Road Runner but I was still listening to my Dad in those days and Dad likes a "deal".

    Actually a good little car. I think it was a '70, had three on the tree and the 199 six, manual steering and brakes, basically an improved version of the '61 Falcon I inherited from Dad (now you know his taste in cars). Kind of fun in a penalty box kind of way. A passenger told me I drove it "like a sports car" which I think is passenger code for "too fast".

    To sell it I had it repainted medium metallic blue, hosed it out and Armor-Alled the rubber floor mats. It looked pretty sharp. Should have done that when I bought the car and not waited.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    Isn't that 6 still in the new Jeeps? (Just kidding--I think).

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    ...with the demise of the Cherokee, unless the Grand Cherokee is still using it. I think they went over to the 3.7 V-6 though.

    I know the 6 was a 4.0 liter, which I think comes out to a 244. I remember when it first came out, it was a big deal because it had 190 hp. Wasn't that around 1988 or so? Was the 4.0 the same basic design as those other 6es like the 199, 232, and 258?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,609
    It looks like an engine right out of 1955 except for the fuel injection (only started in 1990 or 91 I think) electronic ignition and lots of those easily breakable plastic vacuum lines and expensive little black boxes placed here and there. Otherwise, I think a mechanic from 1955 would be very comfortable working on it. Hell, a mechanic from 1915 would do okay with a little coaching.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    You're right: Chrysler is still using the 4.0 six in the Grand Cherokee, and I believe 2003 will be its final year.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    ...It just hit me that the Jeep Wrangler is still using the 4.0 inline, as well. Guess it's not over with yet! Where are they getting the little 4-cyl that goes in the base Wranglers? It that left over from the old AMC days, too? (and probably a 6 minus two cylinders, at that?)
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