Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

Which cars are classics /"collectibles" /curiosities /or scrap metal?

speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
edited March 2014 in Ford
I thought maybe we should formalize the discussion we've been having in the Crown Vic thread, kind of an unlikely place to be talking about classics.

I'm wondering if we should make a distinction between cars that are "classics" and cars that are "desirable".

For example, most car collectors would agree (I think) that a V-16 Cadillac is a "classic". It's an example of superior engineering and styling (depending on the coachbuilder, I guess) and this superiority can be measured objectively. It's styling and engineering were far above the norm in 1931.

Also, it has a history of being highly valued--it got through the "it's just a used car" phase quickly and emerged as a classic.

Desirability, on the other hand, is subjective. Do most people desire a V-16 Cadillac? My guess is probably not. That car is most meaningful to a steadily shrinking group of buyers. I think most of the collector car action is in musclecars these days, because those cars are far more meaningful to the typical collector.

Does that make a musclecar a classic or just a desirable car? Does the shift in the market mean that a V-16 Cadillac isn't a classic anymore?


  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    A paragon or exemplar of it's kind. To me that means a muscle car could be a classic but only if it's one of the better and more sought after. Only time can make a classic and at this point I'd say there are very few post-WWII cars that are potential classics but some do come to mind:
    1956 Lincoln Continental MkII, Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Bentley T, Mercedes 300SL, Jaguar E-Type.

    Once a classic, always a classic. That Caddy V-16
    might drop in value as the generation that can remember it dies off but it'll always be a classic
    and there'll always be some who remember and desire it.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Some good thoughts Andy, speedshift!

    I think the term "desirable" is too vague and unreliable, because how can you measure such a thing? If one person thinks a '77 Cutlass is the "best", then they desire it, so that makes it a classic? No, all that means is that one person thinks so.

    The term "collectible" includes the idea of desire, but even there we need to have levels of collectibility. Some cars are sort of "cult" cars with a small following....they are "minor" or "second tier". Others, like muscle cars, are very "hot" collectibles. This is usually what the Price Guide people do when talking about what is classis or collectible, and this may be the best we can do.

    Actually I give a good stab at it on my website at www.oldcarpricing.com

    Basically, I divide them up into three categories

    Classic--recognized pre-war cars registered by the CCCA. Legends, champions, exceptional cars when new, prized, priceless, never to be forgotten cars.

    Collectible--cars with a high degree of collectibility, with consistently increasing values, large clubs devoted to them, and usually an active aftermarket. Maybe someday to be a "classic".

    Special Interest--basically any car that is "second-tier", oddball, orphan, weird or old that might appeal to just a small niche of people. Usually there are no clubs or very small clubs, few or parts. e.g., Ford Consul, Triumph Herald, Skoda, Daf.

    Old used cars--type of car that nobody in his right mind would save or restore once it is used up (but which might be saved or driven if it is an original survivor in good shape).

    Now these categories might overlap a little, depending on your point of view.

    My point of view of the postwar cars you mentioned is:

    1956 Lincoln Continental MkII --"minor collectible"--people are losing interest in it. Prices have been stagnant for many years.

    Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Bentley T--future scrap metal

    Mercedes 300SL--possibly a classic of the future. Still red hot collectible

    Jaguar E-Type--early cars might become a classic, later V-12s probably not, but both models still highly collectible. E-Type Series II coupes with automatic maybe parts cars only for the early cars.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    According to the state of Texas, anything 25 years old or older qualifies as "Classic" and can get the classic plates, or use plates of the same vintage as the car, provided they're in good condition and legible. My Mercury's 24 years old, and I hope to have it up & running soon, and maybe next year I'll get the "Classic Car" plates.

    Of course, tru car entusiasts would scoff at the notion of a '78 Grand Marquis being considered a classic, but it is a lot simpler than trying to decide which car is worthy enough to go on some list, why such & such car didn't make it, ect. Certainly, a '54 Chevy sedan will never have the collector's value of a '57 Bel Air fuel injected convertable, but there it is a classic in a sense that any car, when sufficiently old enough, will at least be "cool" when compared to all the Accords and Corrolas running around, even if the car was that common in its day. Certainly, a Honda Accord will never be valuable, but in 2052, there will be few of them around, compared to 2052 model family cars, and they will have the styling and spirit of an era gone forever (what that is, I'm still trying to figure out), and the fact that the guy picked it up fr $2,000 (not adjusting for 50 years inflation), will be a side issue. It will be a cheap, cool old car. That's my defination of a classic (well, not neccesarily cheap.)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Not all old cars are regarded as cool, though. Many of the 20s cars are ugly, boxy and impossible to drive, and nobody wants them. Their values are slowly sinking, and I suspect they too will be discarded as time or accident or weather beats them up, and the cost of restoration exceeds anyone's desire to spend money on them or drive them, or even look at them. Think of all the buggies and carriages there were in the world, and how few there are now. Why? Because they were of no use or beauty. Just old carriages.

    Old age in cars is not meritorious in and of itself. If the car was a dog when it was new, it'll be a dog in 50 years. If it was an honest and beloved everyday working car, that's what it will be. A '52 Chevy can never be more than it was built to be. There's nothing "classic" built into it, no fine craftmanship, no particular styling or quality beyond that of mass production.

    I seriously doubt anyone would pay much attention to a 2002 Accord in the year 2052. They hardly notice them when they are 5 years old, much less 50. Most will just be scrapped to make room for other cars. We certainly can't save every old car, can we? And so we make thoughtful (hopefully) judgments as to what to save and what to scrap.

    I know some people think it elitist but it's really not at all. You save a Rolex and not a Timex because one is well made and beautiful and the other is made to use up and discard. The maker had no other intention, that's why they are $29.95. And I respec a Timex for what it is and what it does for the price I pay. Same with an Accord. It's just an assembly line car made to use up and discard after doing good service.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    Sorry I have to disagree, Shifty. The Silver Cloud and Bentley T were possessed of a stateliness that harks back to Edwardian times.
    Neither Rolls or Bentley has made anything like it since. I think they'll be regarded as classics and so will the Bentley Continental.

    The 300SL was easily the greatest sports car ever built by Mercedes-Benz and had a storied (and tragic) competition history. If that's not a classic, what postwar sportscar is?

    Sorry Rea98, I'll listen to the CCCA long before I'll pay attention to what the State of Texas says. Your plate should say "Antique"(It was when it was brand new).

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Andy, it's hopeless for those old Bentley Ts and SCs. We can see the trend already, as plain as day. People are shunning these old tubs in droves and they will not survive. At $6,000 for a brake job, who would buy one needing any work at all and try to fix it? Not only are they slow and clumsy, they break down all the time, and the expense of repair is horrendous, sheer blood-letting.

    These postwar 4-door Rolls and Bentleys from the late 60s and early 70s, unless bearing a special history or a special coachbuilt body, are doomed, I'm afraid. The 50s cars have a better chance, as many are coachbuilt, not factory bodies. The early Bentley Continental is already a very hot collectible.

    Nobody cares about T1s and most Clouds. You can buy restored ones for $25,000, about 1/4 the cost to restore one! So how many more people are going to take $75K hits on these cars? The sucker list is drying up, I think.

    They've had 35 years to become desirable, and it hasn't happened yet. The only people who buy them are bottomfeeders / bargainhunters who want to look rich for cheap, hardly the kind of buyer that drives a car up and up to stardom.

    Now a 300SL, they are worth 1/4 million restored, and they still perform beautifully and reliably.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    That's interesting about the second Continental. That's a car that sold for $12k in 1956 (at least that was list) yet for years no one cared about it. Then it finally took off but it sounds like that fizzled out. I've never really understood the lack of interest, especially compared to the '56 Bird, which was basically a snarky Fairlane.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    As much as I like musclecars, I have a hard time giving any of them "classic" status. I can see calling the best ones "classic musclecars" but they're really more a triumph of marketing than leading-edge engineering or styling.

    The formula initially was to take a warmed over (but not radical) 6.5 litre V8 and put it in an existing intermediate body. The Tri-Power 389 in the first GTO used parts that had already been developed for full-size Pontiacs. The Judge was a Ram Air III with cartoon decals. The '70 Hemi Cuda had more engine (at least potentially) than anyone else but the styling was warmed-over Camaro.

    Are these cars desirable? They sure are to me. Are they collectible? The market tells us they are. The big question is, Are they classics?

    I really don't think that's an elitist position. When I go to the local concours I gravitate to the "non-classics". In fact, often the most interesting cars are the old beaters for sale in the parking lot. It's just that I don't want the word "classic" used on a clapped out Chevelle with a Miracle paint job.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's hard for an ordinary mass-produced car to become a classic in any meaningful sense. For one thing, there's no craftsmanship, these great old musclecars were slammed together by hardworking and often discontented assembly line workers and by unthinking robot welders. All the parts are stamped chunka-chunka, and lots of parts are shared with stripped down sedans and the like. If you took that honkin' engine and 4-speed and some chrome trim and glitzy bits of upholstery off a musclecar, it would be a taxicab.

    But collectible, most certainly and some of the rare American muscle cars are pushing over $100K. Now personally, I myself would hesitate to pay over $100K big ones for a Plymouth, but apparently I am not in charge of this market with my opinions.

    Supply and demand can dictate collectibility, but "classics" are, as I've said, a category I feel should be reserved for true "champions", in style, performance and craftsmanship.

    It's tricky, like judging "what is great art" or "what is great music". Is Paul McCartney really just like JS Bach? Hell, I don't know!
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    Since we have a new thread I will re-state my position here:

    Put simply my position is that if the car is desirable by the masses 25 to 30 years after it was produced, that is to say widely resto/restomodded, then it is a "classic".

    They don't need to have represented craftsmanship, or cutting edge technology, or performance. I am not excluding these traits I am just saying they are not nescessary 100% of the time. All that really matters is that they, to the masses, represent a style of the time, or an emotional response strong enough, again for the masses, to render them worth saving, preserving, or restoring.

    I would say theat the Model-A is definately a classic despit Shiftrights attempts to render this car as a vehicle riding on the coattails of Ford and the Depression era. I agree that it was a clunky, primitive machine. But I posit that the fact that there are still "half a million" in existance as proof of this status.

    Remember that the term classic was first applied to the world of art. Some automobiles are simply artistic expressions of thier time. Those automobiles are "classics". And like many great artists who died before thier work was apreciated by the masses, some of the cars of today are destined to be made classics by the generations to come.
    In this light it is possible that the minimilist body styling of contemporary cars will someday be apreciated by future generations in much the same way that the fins and chrome of the 57 Bel Aire are appreciated today.
    In the end it is this "art of the automobile" that will endure. Those that we like to "look at" will endure.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ballpark, I don't mean to be contentious, but I will challenge you because you are trying to undermine a long tradition, a historical lineage, and the opinions and scholarship of hundreds and hundreds of experts, and thousands of well-researched books, as if they didn't exist or don't know anything.

    I think the problem might be that you are confusing the word "classic" with "collectible" or with "emotional attachment". The Ford Model A is no more classic than a tractor or a shovel, but it is "collectible" because people are fond of it and it has an interesting history. I would myself much rather drive a Model A than some big classics anyday. Also, if you were born in the back seat of a Model A, you might think the car was the most wonderful set of wheels there ever was. But that's just your opinion. One individual does not dictate the public consciousness of the highest forms of beauty and excellence. A "classic" is chosen by the collective culture as the "best of the best". Maybe I thought Police Academy II should have won an Oscar. But it didn't and it won't, so I'll have to live with it. (I really didn't think that, but you get the point).

    No Model A car owner is going to claim his car the equal of a Cadillac V-16 or an Alfa Romeo P3, so I don't see why you have to demand it of the car either. The Model A has enough to be proud of without being made to fit a role for which it was never intended.

    You make an interesting point about artists. Indeed some are appreciated only after their death. This is not true of cars, however. No spurned, ridiculed or failed new car ever became a classic, and few, if any, ever became highly collectible. Some "ordinary" and "popular" cars did become collectible, though (like the Model A), but never, ever classics. Classics are champions, special, exceptional, totally superior types of cars. If you make a Model A a classic, the word becomes meaningless. You might as well call every car a "classic" and be done with it. Come drive my "classic" Hyundai Excel!! Doesn't that sound wrong?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, that's the point I was trying to make when I started this.

    There's "classic"--let's call them the top .01% (one-tenth of one percent) just for the sake of argument. It may be less.

    Then there's "interesting/collectible/I've always wanted one" and that's what, maybe 5% of total car production? It includes a number of cars most of us would gladly trade an organ for.

    Then there's the remaining 94.9% that no one (should) care about but sometimes does, either for sentimental reasons or because the car is available and cheap. These are old and usually rare cars (either due to low production or attrition) but these qualities don't make them "classics".

    Again, the point of making these distinctions isn't to put down everyone who can't afford to own the top tenth of one percent. I'm in that boat myself. The point is to allow the word "classic" to have some meaning.
  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    All I'm saying is that the term Classic is defined not by the "intelligentsia", but by the masses.

    I liken your position to someone refuseing to acknowledge that Abraham Lincoln was a great leader, simply because he was not "royalty".
    Not of the proper "lineage".

    If the entire planet is calling the Model-A a classic then it is. This has nothing to do with it being the equal of the Cadillac V-16. This is irrelevent. If it were relevant then the Cadillac V-16 would have been pushed out of the category by every car that superseded it's capabilities since it ceased production.

    You may not agree, but all the cars that you consider classics are classics because they are pleasing to the eye. They are beautiful pieces of art. How they performed in thier day is of no consequence today. Totaly irrelevant. They are literaly works of art. By design at that I would concede, as well any supercar should be.

    When it happens to an ordinary car by confluence of form and function, it is no less a work of art. So if I, as the common man say the 57 Bel Aire is every bit as beautiful(classic) as a Cadillac V-16, does it make it so? No.
    But if it the general consensus of the population, then the answer is yes.

    My point about high production numbers facilitating an after market was misinterpreted as saying that high production numbers meant a healthy aftermarket. The car still has to have "mass appeal". (My last post in the Crown Vic thread)

    I'm not seeking to undermine anything. I am simply expressing an opinion.

    I would say that your narrow interpretation of the word Classic is at odds with the general public. Let's look at the word as defined in Webster:

    1 : a literary work of ancient Greece or Rome

    By this interpretation no car can be labeled a classic. Next.

    2 a : a work of enduring excellence; also : its author b : an authoritative source

    Ahh. We now have room for cars and their makers to boot. Next

    3 : a typical or perfect example

    Wow, the word "typical" hardly something that would evoke images of a "champion". And "perfect example". Of what? Of it's kind, that's what. Not of every car ever made, of "it's kind"

    4 : a traditional event

    Well, again cars exluded.

    So I again say the Model-A is "typical" of the kind of car available in it's day, of which there are many "perfect examples". A work of enduring excellence, well, with half a million still around after several generations, I would say yah.
    If not they would been allowed to rust out of existance long ago.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    ballpark, you said:

    All I'm saying is that the term Classic is defined not by the "intelligentsia", but by the masses.


    I dont think so. The "masses" is just a term for an undifferentiated number of people. There really are no "masses".

    There are only people who have a keen knowledge of a subject (rich or poor) and those who don't.

    "Classics" are defined by people who have a keen knowledge of the subject, and who have applied research, study and careful consideration to give meaning to the term. You don't have to be rich or important to know what a "classic" is and to appreciate one. If this were so, only the rich would be allowed to enter museums, become artists or major in art history.

    It is not a "narrow" interpretation of elitists. It is a very broad, carefully worked out definition that takes hundreds of factors into consideration. It is the basis for "culture", which is by nature discriminatory. Willie Nelson is not a "classical musician" and he doesn't mind nor does his fans.

    I don't really get what you're trying to say. Why insist that every discriminating word in language be "broadened" so as to become meaningless? When I say "table" I mean table and you think "table". This is good. So when I say "classic", most people think "oh, special, beautifully made, a champion in its class, something out of the ordinary, timeless, noble, a leader in style and performance, etc".

    Human communication depends on putting some discrimination to a word. If you call a Model A Ford a "classic" then you might as well call every car ever stamped out of a factory a classic, since a Model A is about as humble and common a car as any Hyundai or Daewoo.

    Make 'em all "classics" if you wish, but nobody will understand you I'm afraid. I sure don't know on what foundation you could call a Model A a "classic". It seems, well, just impossible to me, knowing what I know about cars.

    Maybe you need to drive in a Model A and then in a V-16 Cadillac and experience the whole difference for yourself. Perhaps we are getting too conceptual here, when there are real objects out there to prove the point.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    just as this conference is called "Classic cars", even though we all know it isn't really all about true classic cars. Lots of people refer to collectible and special interest cars as "classics", even though they know that these are not true classics, and they don't try to argue the issue. If Shifty and I and someone else were talking about some old cars, and one of us referred to some collectible car as a "classic" we'd all understand that we're really talking about "collectibles" and wouldn't try to argue or force the issue about tue classics. Hey-call em anything you want.
    I agree that there are probably some future classics out there that may deserve to be in that group of pre-1948 cars that are identified by the classic car society. But I do think "collectible" is a better word for most of the old cars that we talk about here in this forum. I think even to be a collectible, part of Shifty's definition "ever increasing value" or at least a steady value, way beyond any other car of that age, fits. And, I agree that the Crown Vic will NEVER even be a collectible-any more than any other 4door Ford, postWW11, is. I mean, who EVER valued a 61 Ford 4door, even as a collectible? In fact, how many 4door sedans are even collectible? No, I think we should just leave the true classics alone, and talk about what we think might deserve to be a future classic [like some of those mentioned here] and leave it at that. Most of what we talk about are collectible and special interest cars, and what's wrong with that? Like I said, in every day talk with friends, etc, we may refer to some old cars as "classics" when we know they're not. Just a way of reffering to old cars by lots of general public. Doesn't mean general public makes all old cars "classics". Why force the issue by trying to discredit a bunch of people out there [who are not arrogant, narrow minded, wealthy elitists] who have spent their lives dealing with old cars? I would just add that I've met a few people in the Packard club who might qualify as arrogant and elitist, but that's another story.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    And I've met people with a 100-car collection who are the most gracious hospitable and friendly people you'll ever met. Fact is, the proportion of angels and devils is the same in any strata of society.

    But carnut pose an interesting questions:

    Are any 4-door cars really "collectible" in any meaningful way? (that is, more than someone "collecting" them in his back yard).

    Maybe: I'd venture to say the following 4-doors are pretty "hot" collectibles:

    Hot Collectibles

    1. coach-built (custom made by a coachbuilder) Rolls and Bentley from late 40s, early 50s (NOT the factory body steel cars!)

    2. Jaguar Mark II sedan, 3.8 (less so 3.4, way less for automatic, way way less for right hand drive)

    Lukewarm Collectibles:

    some of the large 4-door hardtops (pillarless)American luxury sedans from the 50s and 60s. 90s Impala SS are creeping up in value slowly--too soon to tell if trend or if a solid future collectible.

    Oddball collectibles:

    Alfa Super TI 4-dr berlina

    Maserati Quattroporto

    I'm sure there are some others I may have missed, but those are the obvious ones that come to my mind.

    Probably Not Collectible; Any 4-door that is still "a dime a dozen" (you can find them anywhere) and which don't command more than a few thousand dollars in value and which cannot justify the cost of a restoration, or even a partial restoration.

    This might include most postwar 4-door "pillared" or "post" sedans, and even quite a few 30s and 20s cars which are surprisingly cheap today.
  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    Why don't we just go with how Websters defines the English word "Classic" and forget about our own interpretations and "conditions of inclusion".

    You are imbueing it with more meaning than it actualy has. Perhaps in the days before we began using it for sporting events, in the days before the car was invented even, your strict interpretations may have held water, but like many many words in the english language it's meaning has changed. I have looked up it's definition in several dictionaries and found it's accepted usages to apply from anything to a fine tailored suit to simply being "historicly memorable". It would appear that the General Public has already shifted this words meaning to allow it to be used quite liberaly. Hence I can now say the 57 Bel Aire is a "Classic Automobile".
    It would appear you are going to have to select another word to use for those Cadillac V-16's. Just make sure it is sufficiently obscure and hard to pronounce so that the "masses" don't get ahold of it and transmogrify it as well.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    The English language has now been taken over by marketing and advertising. Any word that has positive connotation is now being applied to anything that someone thinks they can make a buck. "New", "Improved", and "Classic" are examples of words that are becoming pretty much meaningless to the general public.

    Forthwith, McDonalds now has restaurants called "McDonalds Classic", which basically means it doesn't sell Quarter Pounders to me.

    I agree the word classic amoung serious collectors means something different than to the average Joe on the street. The problem is if the word classic means different things to different people, it confuses everyone over what you are talking about.

    I don't consider my 67 Galaxie a "classic" from a collectible standpoint anymore than any other 1960's mainstream large convertible. In a sense compared to today the whole car type could be considered a classic by some, since full size convertibles have not been made in 25 years, and there is enough interest in them that prices are firm, and people do spend the time and money to restore them.

    Enough said. When serious collectors use the term, I know to what they refer. When others use it, I know they just mean "old but maybe worth restoring or maintaining"
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    It's a topic that deserves discussion because it goes beyond old cars. I'll give you a "classic" example of how words can easily lose their ability to communicate important ideas.

    Our company is launching a new web site and each one of its salespeople will have a profile page on the site (look for me under "speedshift"). Each salesperson will write and enter their own profile. However, before the profile makes it to the net it'll have to be approved by the salesperson's office manager. Otherwise, as the PR type said at the rollout, "there'll be 6000 number 1 agents".

    Not only would that be unfair to the real number 1 agents, it would mislead the public.

    We've got a similar situation with cars or anything else that's collected. If every car is a classic then we eliminate the distinction between exceptional cars and ordinary cars that just happen to be old. This takes away from the accomplishments of the engineers and stylists who create exceptional cars and wrongly enhances the accomplishments of those who create ordinary cars.

    I'm getting the sense that the real question here is, should we recognize great accomplishment or should we just lump every effort together regardless of its excellence.

    I think great accomplishment deserves recognition, that there is an elite of cars that deserves to be called "classic" and that it's not elitist to recognize that fact. It's simply a matter of honoring the best, something we do all the time in this country.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ballpark, it doesn't matter what the masses think. Thinking doesn't make it so. They can think the Chicago Cubs are the world's greatest baseball team to ever take to the field, but the record books won't back them up. The truth comes out sooner or later. The "masses" are historically the worst possible source of good information. The slogan is "education for the masses", not "the masses for education".

    Same with cars. Don't look at the dictionary, look at the actual cars!

    Saying that the lowly Model A is a classic opens up a complete nest of absurdity. Why? Because if Model A Fords, 1928-31 are "classics", what about 1928-31 Chevrolets? Certainly rarer, very popular, too, and much better looking than a Model A. Also historically significant. The first American cars designed by an actual Styling and Color department.

    And if 1928-31 Chevolets are "classics", why not 1928-31 Buicks? Handsome cars, much better built with finer materials than a Chevy or Ford, and with an ohv 6 cylinder engine, very rare in American cars at the time. And why not the 1928-31 Pontiac? Very rare today, quite sporty? And let's not forget the 1928-31 Oldsmobile, and the Oakland and the Durant and the Star.

    You see the problem? By calling a Model A a "classic", your "filter" is too gross.

    You let the lowly Model A in, you have no right to exclude every ordinary car ever made.

    At least when I call a car a "Classic", I can give you many logical reasons for INCLUDING a Cadillac V-16 and EXCLUDING a Model A Ford.

    But really, ballpark, I bet you there is no good reason you can come up with for INCLUDING a Model A Ford, but EXCLUDING a 1928-31 Chevrolet. I sure couldn't take up that challenge.

    The whole purpose of Knowledge is discrimination. A complete lack of discrimination really fosters human ignorance IMO.

    Both rich and poor can be ignorant. The poor because they may not have the motivation or the opportunity to learn about something, the rich because they do not have to struggle to own it, and hence have no appreciation or discernment for what they buy.

    In my case, I feel I know more and appreciate more about old cars because I cannot afford most of them. I had to study, learn about and save for every one I ever owned.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    Collectible might include the 57 Chevs & 65/66 Mustangs for they need to be older to be legendary. Now, if the vehicle was hand made, very few built, unique, and in original shape, it has maybe the qualifications of a true classic. For example the '48 Tucker is more of a classic than the '57 Chev.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    Legends or Legendary works for me. I agree with shifty that the designation "classic" should be reserved for cars of particular distinction and outstanding style and performance. I also think there's a special class of cars that go beyond the ordinary collectible/special interest car by virtue of widespread popularity, historical significance and emotional response.

    Some of these"collectible legends" include:

    The Model T and A fords, VW Beetles (not New Beetles), '57 Chevys, '65-'66 Mustangs, '32-'37 Ford V8s, '49 Olds and Caddys, MG-TC/TD/TFs and
    Myers Manx.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    ...for the "true" classics to diffferentiate them from "classics" like the Model A and such! Heck, Detroit (GM in particular) has done enough to devalue the word. Malibu Classic, Caprice Classic, Cutlass Supreme Classic. My grandmother's '85 LeSabre has the arrogance to wear a hood ornament that says "Collector's Edition". And if that wasn't enough, they were using leftover '85 LeSabre hood ornaments for the '96 Roadmasters!

    We have Classic Coke, and watch "Classic Television" on Nick-at-Nite or TVLand. I'd say that pretty much, the masses have dictated that the word "classic" just doesn't mean that much anymore. So I suggest they just find a new word for all these current "true" classics to put the purists at ease!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Andre, it's not really about the purists. Just a few days ago Shifty was turning himself inside out over an old Corvette updated with C4 suspension and running gear. That's not a purist.

    With me, maybe it's because I've worked with words for so long, first as a copywriter and now in sales. If nothing else you begin to understand the consequences of using words carelessly.

    The problem with finding a replacement for "classic" is that a) good words are hard to find and b) as soon as you do the hoi polloi and the marketers glom onto them and start debasing them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Like the word "genius" in Hollywood you mean? Or "brilliant young filmaker"? Or Wall Street "guru"? ("buy tech stocks NOW!")
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    It's time to talk about some candidates for classicdom once they move the date up from 1948.
    I, after careful thought, nominate these cars of distinction for their style and performance--

    -Porsche 911/934 Turbo
    -Ferrari 250GT SWB/California Spider
    -Maserati Ghibli
    -Mercedes 450S (ca. 1976)
    -Alfa Guilia Sprint GT (Bertone)
    -Lotus Elite
    -NSU RO-80
    -Myers Manx

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    >>Ballpark, it doesn't matter what the masses think. Thinking doesn't make it so. They can think the Chicago Cubs are the world's greatest baseball team to ever take to the field, but the record books won't back them up.<<

    Allow me to turn your words against you. While I would agree with you that the masses may not be the best source of information, their collective judgment is pretty much infallible when it comes to determining which information is valid, and which is not. Which is exactly why they will never view the Cubs as the greatest team of all time, and why I am willing to let them decide what constitutes a classic; Especially if the work in question is one which is and has been an intricate part of their everyday lives.

    >>The whole purpose of Knowledge is discrimination. A complete lack of discrimination really fosters human ignorance IMO.<<

    Why are you arguing this point? I am not proposing that every car ever made should be considered a classic. I am arguing that there are cars that are considered classics by the general public and that because of this they are indeed "classics". We are talking about a very very few cars here. I just take umbrage that you would exclude them because they do not meet your very narrow requirements which, among other things, include a proper lineage, or "pedigree" of sorts.

    >>But really, ballpark, I bet you there is no good reason you can come up with for INCLUDING a Model A Ford, but EXCLUDING a 1928-31 Chevrolet. I sure couldn't take up that challenge.<<

    I don't really care about the Model A, but when I make my argument for the Model T, a much lowlier car even than the 'A' Model, they will be based on the official accepted definition of the word as accepted by the english speaking people of the world, i.e. "the masses". At this point you will be able to apply some of that argument to the 'A'.

    I guess you and I are going to have to agree to disagree or we'll never get around to argueing about the cars themselves. Perhaps after we get into that segment of the argument I will be better able to make my points.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The masses, ( a disagreeable term, but let's go with it) if you mean by that randomly picked passers-by on the street, don't know enough about classic cars and automotive history to make any judgments about it. What they say doesn't count without the knowledge and research to back it up. It's just bar talk filled with hot air, isn't it? Would you, say, take say investment advice from the masses? "The masses think all lead is gold. So all lead is therefore now gold". Nah!

    If the masses can explain to me why a 1928 Model A Ford is a classic, but a 1928 Chevrolet isn't, I'll listen, very attentively. Or if both 1928 Chevys and Fords are classics, what about every other run of the mill car made in the millions? But you know, I'm guessing the masses can't explain that to me, because they have no standards in place. They have this...."feeling" about classics.

    I'm not trying to play with semantics, ballpark. I don't like word-play games, really I don't. I think I've got a valid and fair question on the table for us to chew on:

    Why is an old Ford a classic but not an old Oakland or Plymouth? And if all old 20s cars are classics, why not all old 30s and 40s?

    What are your criteria for a "classic" in other words. How do you discriminate, or do you use the word indiscriminately?

    Now if your point is that a "classic is whatever I think it is", then no further argument from me! I don't want to force you to think a certain way, only to caution you that knowledgable car people will never agree with you, because you aren't applying any "limiters" to your opinions (that I can see anyway, at this point in the discussion).
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    You might want to stop embarassing yourself by arguing with our very patient host!

    You are totally missing the point and are whistling in the dark.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    I was just thinking of old "smokin Olds 442" and his arguments.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Old smokin' got smoked.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    I agree.

    I mean, you can call a VW Beetle a "Classic". Is it? No. They made a zillion of them and they were quite largely responsible in getting the middle class population of western Europe mobile after WW2. They also were quite largely responsible for imported cars transforming from quirky and odd (As viewed close to the end of ww2) small sports cars to viable transportation.

    Does that make them great cars? No. Dynamically is a Beetle a great car? I dont think so. It was mass-produced, cheap transportation.

    What is is, is a Milestone car. A historically significant vehicle, but, when "viewed on paper" not a really special car.

    The 1957 Chevrolet is a perfect example of this. Heck, in 1957 the Ford outsold it!

    I dont even consider my Porsche 356A coupe a classic. I do consider 550 Spyders classics.

    See where I am going with this? In my opinion, and from what seems to be the consensus, classics are cars that were very special when they were new.

  • ballparkballpark Member Posts: 41
    >>You might want to stop embarassing yourself by arguing with our very patient host!

    You are totally missing the point and are whistling in the dark<<

    Gee, I apologize for dissagreeing with the host. What was I thinking? OK I agree with whatever the host says. Well, now, I guess we'll just sit back and wait for whatever Shiftright says next. How exciting.

    Hey Shiftright, I think the Model T should be considered a classic. It's a "historicly remembered" automobile. It had a tremendous impact on the American way of life, literaly "got us behind the wheel" so to speak. It is also universaly recognized by the general public as a classic automobile. It has a classic design typical of the cars of it's era and of the era directly following it. Because of it's success it also widely influenced the way cars would be produced to this day.

    I also think the 1957 Bel Aire should be considered a classic. It's design has become iconic, used in almost every form of mass media whenever anything having to do with classic cars is advertised, and again recognized as a "classic" by the general public.

    There you have it. One nominated for it's historical impact, which to me far outweighs any possible technological advantages its' contemporaries may have had, and the other which has become a part of the American "mindscape" because of it's artistic design. I guess you could say I am nominateing this one as a work of enduring excellence from an artistic standpoint.

    But hey, if you dissagree then I change my mind to whatever you say. I don't want to embarrass myself.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You'd be pleased ot know that a huge number of automotive journalists actually nominated the Model T as "The Car of the Century". That's right. THE CAR, above all others.

    But.... they didn't nominate it as a classic, because they know the difference between what is historically significant and what is classic in cars.

    Ballpark, you aren't just disagreeing with me. You are disagreeing with just about every credentialed and recognized automotive historian in America. I'm just telling you what they have concluded, so don't go killing the messenger--LOL! These aren't MY exclusive ideas I'm throwing out to you.

    I dunno, maybe "the masses" think a Model T is a classic. Then the masses are wrong, what can I say? The only way they could be right is if all the other "real classics" disappeared.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
    why is the 57 more desireable than the 56? They all had V8's, Model 150, 210, and Bel Air. What makes the 57 so special?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    I have a couple theories on why the '57 is so special. First, 1957 was the first year for the 283 and for fuel injection, so the '57's could be had with much more powerful engines than '55-56.

    Also, while the Ford outsold Chevy in 1957, and Plymouth was good enough to recapture 3rd place, a position it hadn't seen in years, those cars had a lot of built-in problems. First, a Plymouth or Ford is larger and heavier than a '57 Chevy. That was a strong selling point in 1957 when they were new, but in later years just became symbolic of wretched excess. Also, 1957 was a bad year, quality-wise for Ford and Plymouth bodies, so while they sold in record numbers, they also rusted away in record numbers. So the '57 Chevy just had a better survival rate.

    I'm not sure how the Ford engines compared back then, but the Chevy smallblock was small, light, modern, and cheap to replace when it blew. The Plymouth engine was a boat anchor in comparison. Might run forever, but in an era where the latest fashion became obsolete in record time, longevity is not necessarily a strong point! And further up the Mopar line, especially when you get to the Hemi engined-models, they're a bit scarce because it was pretty common back in the day to pick one up for a song, scrap the body, and drop the Hemi into something else. For example, I think I've seen more DeSoto Adventurer engines in my time than I have DeSoto Adventurers, because people yanked those 345's out and put them in something else to race!
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    the '56 was much niocer looking then the "almost a Caddy" '57 with its exaggeratted fins and excessive chrome.

    The '56 had much cleaner lines, almost European flair to the side and tail of the car. In year's to come the'56 will be recognized as the best-looking '50s Chevy and one of the 2 or three Det-roit designs of the era to stasnd the test of time.

    The Tripower V8 of the '56 put out almost as much power as the '57 fuelie and was much more reliable.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,668
    ...I think the '56 is my favorite, too. I just didn't care for the '55's Ferrari-esque grille, although the '56's grille does have a bit of a Ford resemblance.

    I always thought the 1 hp per cubic inch hype of the '57 is over-rated, too. Especially considering that Chrysler actually beat it in '56 (355 hp out of a 354) and DeSoto was technically the first to offer it standard in '57, with the Adventurer's 345 hp Hemi. Chevy actually hyped it up in their advertising though, while DeSoto, a traditionally conservative division, acted as if they were almost ashamed of it!

    How much did the fuel injection option cost for the Chevies anyway, back in '57? I'm sure it wasn't cheap. I read somewhere that when Mopar tried offering it in '58 on their 300D's and Adventurers, it cost about $800.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think the '57 is just flashier and has become more of a "legend" for whatever reason. True, the fuelie brings a lot more bucks, but every 57 Chevy convertible or hardtop attracts a LOT more attention at auctions and car shows than a '56. I've seen it too often to not believe it. The '57s are just stuck in people's minds a lot more than the '56s.

    Now the '58s, nobody much likes and you can see this in the values. The styling is part of it, also that 348 truck engine that many of them use.

    "Collectible" car buyers are much more sophisticated and knowledable than they were 10-15 years ago. They know what they want, very precisely. You take a '57 Chevy 4-door sedan with a 6 cylinder automatic and you have a hard time getting any body interested.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I have a price of $550 for FI. I think that's the 283-hp version with Duntov cam. A Bel Air two-door hardtop started at $2399 with six and without options.

    As I recall the 250-hp fuelie with standard cam was a little cheaper than the 283/283, the 283/270 with dual quads and Duntov cam was a lot cheaper and the 283/245 with dual quads and standard cam was barely more than the four barrel 220-hp Power Pack.

    The Duntov 283s had special pistons relieved for valve clearance and HD main and rod bearings. That's not much difference compared to later factory performance engines, but I have a feeling they were assembled with a lot more care and attention than the average 283. For example, the rods were probably specially selected because they were all very close in weight--sort of a factory blueprinting.

    It's estimated that about 1530 Chevy sedans had FI.

    There was never a factory three deuce setup but the top sedan 265 in 1956 had 225 hp with single four barrel and the "early" Duntov cam. It could do the quarter at 86.2 mph and 0-60 in 9 seconds with stick. Apparently there isn't much data on the fuelie sedan's performance, but based on the numbers a 283/283 Corvette put up, it's thought that a sedan with the same engine could 0-60 in just under 8 seconds.

    I think the '57 is the favorite because it's got more "stuff" (fins, stainless steel insert on the Bel Air, big chromey Dagmar grille, chrome spears on the hood) and Americans like stuff. Nowadays it'd be called "content". The '57's popularity could also come from the FI's halo effect. To most people the '56 looks a lot like a Buick. The '55 is the cleanest, actually too clean for most people then and now.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Just off the top of my head there might be four American cars from the 1950s that have classic potential. If you called them classics I wouldn't argue but I might have reservations.

    1955-57 Thunderbird: pros are exceptional styling and initial popularity. It was a big hit when new on both sides of the Atlantic but of course the four seater was an even bigger hit so it's relative. Cons are lack of a successful competition history in stock form (although they've certainly been rodded for the street) and rather ordinary engineering--it's a Fairlane with a Mercury engine. Introduced a new market niche.

    1953-57 Corvette: pros are styling, especially the '56-7 and some better-than-average engineering (some great engines in a '53 Chevy chassis). Cons are lack of initial acceptance (there almost wasn't a '56) and a slow start in competition. The first American sportscar and I guess the only one.

    1955-58 Chrysler 300: pros are advanced engineering (we'll forget Powerflite) and outstanding competition success--the '56s were just about unbeatable in stock car racing. Too expensive to be a volume seller but very highly regarded when new. I also think they have great styling, although it may not be different enough from the regular Chrysler sedans. Cons are that I remember them taking awhile to come out of the "just another interesting old car" phase. The engines were more valuable than the car until at least the early '70s. From what I've read these cars were the real deal, dual quads, lumpy cam, leather interior and optional ratios in the 5s in case you wanted to go dirt tracking.

    1953-4 Stude Loewy coupe: pros are styling that looks great even today, and what else? I can't think of anything. Has the orphan thing going for it but then so does Olds. A great car to put a Cadillac into. Cons were lack of initial acceptance and some pretty ordinary engineering. Sabotaged by poor build quality the first year. Much more exciting to look at than to drive.

    Maybe "icon" is a better word for these cars. That's still pretty heavy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The 53-54 Vettes would probably be more valuable than they are today if Chevrolet had stopped making Corvettes in 1955 (which they almost did, as the car was not a big success right off, until somebody got the BRIGHT IDEA---hey, 4-speeds and a Big V8!). I think 57-62 has a better chance. Of course, the '63 Split Window may surprise us all and be one of the very first post 1948 "classics". Look at this---it is one of only two cars I can think of where the coupe version is worth more than the convertible! (other is the Mercedes Gullwing).

    The later Corvettes really make the 53-54s look bad. 6 cylinder automatics? Ugh! No "champion" there.

    55-57 T-Birds have this real problem. The problem is that there are way too many of them out there. You see them at every auction and car show. Until the supply dwindles, it's going to be tough for them to become "classics". But they are a landmark car and very much in the American Dream. Too bad they are a dime a dozen. This has already stagnated the price. It's $25K for a nice one, all day long, year after year.

    Studebakers are...well....Studebakers, I'm afraid. Don't bet large on this one.

    Chrysler--they do have their cult, no doubt about it. People in the Bay Area are nuts for them. But the '55 is such a gem compared to the others that I don't think they can stand as a "unit" from 55-58. They won't all make the cut IMO. Maybe 55-56, due to their racing prowess, but by '57 (even though it's the first 300 convertible) Exner was beginning to go completely mad and it shows.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Yeah, the '53-4 Corvette (and even the '55) is a lost cause on a number of grounds and I shouldn't have included it. Hard to believe now but people laughed at the 'Vette when it was new, never a good sign. The car was neither fish nor fowl, although that didn't hurt the T-Bird two years later--but that was a "real car" with V8 and rollup windows. A Blue Flame six with some speed parts wasn't such a bad idea for the time but bolting it to Powerglide was. I wonder how a warmed-over Jimmy 302 and Hydramatic would have gone over? The sportscar Hudson never had ;-). Not everyone thinks the lines are timeless, although it's great Buck Rogers period styling.

    I think the '58 restyle really works against the '58-61 'Vette but the '62 is a big draw with the ducktail rear end and 327. Maybe a fuelie with some of the factory racing parts is a classic, but you've still got that '53 Bel Air chassis of champions.

    No, I don't have any illusions about the Stude although for years it made the "can't miss" lists along with the Corvair turbo. New they were "the weird-looking car from the weird car maker" and they haven't made much headway with the masses since then. But they're gorgeous. Timeless styling for cheap.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    as to which if any, postwar cars(1946-48) are already recognized by the CCCA. anybody know?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I think it's the Lincoln Continental, the first one, even though it was heavily restyled after the war.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There are some. A few Packards (model 2106 and 2126, all Darrin bodies, A few Cadillacs (1947 Series 62). I'm sure there are a few others I can't think of right off hand.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,385
    given that most cars of the '46-'48 period were rehashes of prewar cars or do I have the wrong idea (come to think of it my Dad's '47 Frazier was
    unrelated to any prewar car).

    How 'bout the Tucker?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    If I wanted to locate, say, a really basic '57 Chevy 150 two-door, with just the Stovebolt Six and three-on-the-tree, what are my chances? And how much do you think these babies would be worth today, or what is the current collector interest in it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    yeah, sure you could find one easy. A show car would bring no more than $9K-10K, so you should be able to find a clean runner for 1/2 that. Collector interest, as you can tell by the pricing, is "modest", since the cost of restoration exceeds the value of the car--always a deterrent to collecting these cars. Still, it is a recognizable '57 Chevy, even if a rather drab version of them, and gutless, too, with the 6 cylinder. So you don't get much of a car for the money.
This discussion has been closed.