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



  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I was just thinking of old "smokin Olds 442" and his arguments.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Old smokin' got smoked.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood 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 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    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.

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  • kinleykinley 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 Posts: 23,025
    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 Loudon NHPosts: 18,394
    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.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,025
    ...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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    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.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift 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 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    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.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift 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 Loudon NHPosts: 18,394
    as to which if any, postwar cars(1946-48) are already recognized by the CCCA. anybody know?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • speedshiftspeedshift 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    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.

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,394
    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?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • jrosasmcjrosasmc 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 CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    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.

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    The Stovebolt Six cars are really doggy, even with 120 hp?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,025
    ...the base inline 6 put out 145 hp gross, which is probably around 110 net. I'd guess 0-60 in what? Around 17 seconds or so?
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Now that's slow.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yes, if you're racing it. Around town it would be adequate.

    In high school I had a friend with the same engine in a '62 Bel Air, a car that weighs 200 lbs. more than a '57 210 according to the Encyclopedia. His car had decent pickup around town, partly because all the stovebolt puts out is low-end torque and partly because the car was geared to get off the line. Reality caught up in third gear.

    '57 Chevies are light and that's why they were so quick even with a 283.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Here's a link to the CCCA's list of what they call "full classics". I like that phrase but unfortunately it's their registered trademark so every time we use it we have to pay them a nickel.

    I wonder if they'd consider this car?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    My, my--I've never seen a car made out of Spam before.

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  • ballparkballpark Posts: 41
    After visiting the above linked site I think I can understand Shiftrights point of view on what constitutes his definition of a "classic". Obviously engeineering and workmanship count heavily in that world.

    My opinion is that this really shouldn't play any part at all. Especialy when, for the most part, these cars are no longer driven ("true classics" that is.) and eventualy there will come a time when no '57 Bel Aire or old T-Bird or 60's muscle car will be driven either. At that time the remaining examples will only be admired for thier styling, like a piece of "classic" artwork, if that even. There is always the possibility that they will only be looked upon in the same vein that we view covered wagons and horse drawn cariages today, quaint artifacts from a bygone era.

    I would say that aside from styling, anything that insures the car will be remembered from a historical perspective is important. Hence my nomination of the Model-T. After all, if a car is lost to antiquity, can it really be considered a classic? As the first of it's kind, (the lowly mass produced car), and it's impact on modern society, (prior to this it was rare for an individual to venture more than 20 miles from his birthplace in a LIFETIME), this car is likely the only car that will be universaly recognized in the far far future.

    I only nominated the Bel Aire because of it's ability to please the eye of the non automotive enthusiast. (people who don't care one way or the other about cars seem to gravitate to this particular car) and because it has embedded itself into the public mind as the quintesential '50s automobile. The fact that the 57 Ford outsold it is a surprise to me, but goes to show that a true classic design will endure, and one that is "popular at the time" will not nescessarily do likewise.

    SO, having said all that, I will concede that TODAY the Bel Aire is not a classic. Nor are any of the other 50's and 60's cars, pedigreed or not, since the people that care about them grew up with them and can't help but entertain some bias about them. If our great grandchildren view them as classics then they will be at that time.

    The Dusenbergs and Cadillacs that Shiftright favors, well those are classics, but I'm not sure that they will remain such. The design elements of those early "supercars" are very very similar. Surely a few examples will be remembered and thus remain classics, but the rest will be largely forgotten since they have no real historical significance to sustain them in our collective memories.(I could not believe how many cars are listed on that website as "true classics". Outside of the organization of "Classic Car Official Status Giver Outer Of-ers I doubt if anyone even recognizes or remembers most of these cars anymore. I can apreciate why Shiftright wants to eliminate entire classes from consideration.)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 56,773
    Sure, the list may change as some cars fade into obscurity. But the Deusenbergs and V-16 Cadillacs and the like are such magnificent machines (in real life they are HUGE cars and very imposing), and command such high prices, that it is unlikely those cars will be forgotten.

    The styling could go out of fashion, that's true, and maybe someday some of these old cars will look ridiculous to us, but another element of a "true classic" is "timeless" design. Unlike trendy styling, which comes and goes, really 'classic' styling appeals to all generations for all time.

    That's why a true classic is somewhat rare. A Model T is rather homely to modern eyes, and I doubt whether even the original owners thought them very beautiful.

    If you had pictures of the CCCA's cars, I doubt you'd find an ugly one in the bunch.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,468
    Our host isn't the person who decrees what is and what is not a "Classic". As he pointed out, certain cars fit into certain catagories within the old car collectors arena.

    Now, if you want to consider a Model T or a 1964 Dodge Polara to be a "classic", that's fine. Few would agree with you.

    The term "classic" is way overused when describing an old car.

    This is the point I think you are missing.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    I think there's some confusion to "Classic"and "Milestone".

    I mean, take a BMW 2002. They made a TON of them. Now, it was special in that in it really started the trend towards truly successful, mainstream sports sedans. Yes, Shifty, there had been the Alfas, but the 2002 was signifigant :)

    It is a classic? Nope. Collectible? Starting to appreciate in value? A milestone car? Owned by a very enthusiastic and passionate bunch? Yes.

    Ditto my 356A. Never be a "Classic" but they are actively sought-after, reasonably valuable, they have a great and strong following, and are great little cars.

    Maybe a 550 Spyder will someday be considered a classic.. But not a 356.

    Ditto 57 Chevies, etc... On another note.. you guys seen what the 58 Impala Ragtops have been selling for? Suckers have caught the 57s!

This discussion has been closed.