Raders Relics
 

 

 
CLASSIC CAR NEWS  

IN SOPCHOPPY NOT FAR FROM TWO EGG
By Reginald Restorer

Some of this is true. I was there myself.

In 1981 Winter Park Florida made the national news because a large sinkhole opened up just off Fairbanks Avenue. It was behind a car dealer and swallowed a couple Porsches. This happened a mile and a half down the street from Raders Relics, an antique car dealership.

Not many years later Bob Rader, Dick Schoppe and I were in Sopchoppy Florida, not far from Two Egg (real places) to pick up a 1927 Ford Model T Touring. The car had been stored for forty years in a barn across a large cow pasture. It had been raining for most of a week and we were prepared for anything but the mud and puddles were such that the long sandy driveway looked to be almost all water. We arrived at the south side of the barn, but the Model T was located at the north entrance. Several tons of baled hay was between it and us. It was decided to push the car out the other side and around to the truck and trailer. Fortunately there was a downgrade but no one was steering. This was both good and bad since the car got away from us and went in an unplanned direction. It went into a wide puddle and simply disappeared. We could not see it under the water and venturing closer didn't seem intelligent at the time. Sinkholes opening that quickly can take a while to stableize and it was raining hard again. We retreated and returned a month later, but were not able to find the car. The owner of the property wouldn't return the $3000 paid for it since he couldn't find it either, saying for all he knew we had it. Our legal adviser said we had a case to get a refund since the car was never taken off the property, but it would cost more in attorney fees than it was worth.

 

 

WE'RE NOT PRETENTIOUS

Does a fancy showroom mean your cars are worth more?
If you don't have a computer can you still enjoy getting to know your customers?

Our visitors and customers who drop in from all over the world after reading our ads all say that our atmosphere here is just like our ads--relaxed, honest, straightforward and fun, even nostalgic and not pretentious.


I must be humble and admit that all these international visitors might also plan to stop at Walt Disney World, Epcot, Sea World, Universal Studios and all the other "worlds" just 22 miles down the road.


The auction hoopla and the expensive showrooms don't make our competitors cars any more valuable. They just make them cost more.

Stop in. Meet some friends and see for yourself.

TIME EFFECTS ANTIQUE CAR VALUES

Yeah, yeah. We all know that, but it can sneak up on us as we age.
I saw no value in the Detroit cars of the seventies. They were cumbersome boats that couldn't run worth a flip with the mandated emission controls. I was reminded of this when reading in the new Hemmings about a 1976 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham. I further remember the most perplexing problem I ever had with a seventies car which coincidently was a big Chrysler. We were using it as a daily driver and it was driving us crazy not starting at strange times. Over and over it's happening. Wifey calls from the grocery store. Car won't start. Take her my car. Take groceries from the seat. Put them in my car for her to drive home while try to minister to the damn Chrysler. It starts instantly with no trouble.


This happens many times and after a couple weeks we realize that the packages sitting on the passenger side without the seat belt fastened prevent starting.


The news here is the time is coming soon when these cars aren't going to be cheap anymore. They've already started going up. And of course it's not just Chryslers.


ENJOY THE HUNT

What do I look for in an old car?

What do I like? We all have our prejudices. Quality talks to me - color - style.

Orphans move my soul or make me laugh. You should trust your intuition. There is nothing more wretched than remorse over the one that got away.

Life is too short not to take pleasure in every moment, whether it's your occupation or your recreation. I'm one of the lucky ones for whom hunting for old cars serves both functions. It also helps to have a tolerant wife.

In 2007 Collectible Car Connection wrote that collectible cars aren't just from the distant past - they're being built every day. But what will tomorrow's collector cars be, and how can you buy them all up and store them until they mature into pure garage gold?


They asked Hagerty insurance which cars were most likely to become future collectibles based on a variety of factors: low production numbers, popularity and style. I would add that there can be others such as engineering advancement and performance records.

Their list included:
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Mini Cooper
Dodge Viper
Acura NSX
Toyota Scion
Audi TT
Jaguar XK
Chrysler 300
Smart fortwo
Some I disagree with: the Toyota Scion and the Chrysler 300 (unless it's a hemi) are weak.
But they left out some super prospects like--
Plymouth Prowler
Saturn Sky
Volkswagen Phaeton

What would you add to the list? Write me your nominees and I'll publish them here.

UNDERDOGS GET RESPECT,
OR STEP CHILD DESERVES LOVE TOO 

(From Classic Auto Restorer, June, 1995 by Dan Burger)


"There are quite a few readers who can identify with an underdog like a 1960 Valiant. They appreciate loyalty to one's true feelings regardless of status or class. They like to know that someone outside their small group of friends recognizes their passion. Just because some people collect rare coins of the Roman Empire doesn't mean that those who collect Indian head pennies should be ignored or disrespected."

"Many of these hobbyists believe the hobby is most pure at it's grass-roots level. But as soon as cars are bought and sold like investments, it's ironic but something valuable is lost.....Like it or not, this system establishes that some things are more valuable than others. Typically we seek the things that are assigned greater value."

"It's fortunate though that we still treasure some things exclusive of monetary value and that there are people with a passion for these items.

When they point it out to me. I have say thank yoa. It's times like these that I realize this hobby hasn't lost its heart."

 

HENRY FORD'S RAREST CAR
By Bob Rader


While I personally have never seen one I do not doubt that it did exist. It was supposed to augment the Ford and Lincoln lines during the 1930's before the Mercury. Like Mercury it was to be a medium size with conventional layout. But Mr. Ford planned to use it also as a tester brand for new ideas. The new V-12 that went into the Zephyr which was smaller than the Lincoln model K V-12, was originally to run in the new car. Then Henry changed his mind and made the car smaller and actually built three with the V-60. They were seen around Detroit and given the name Snit by the press which was at that time busy covering Ford's big battle with the unions.


Henry Ford himself was seen driving one of the experimental cars. It was reported in the Detroit Free Press on January 12 1937 that after a long and contentious meeting with the leader of the UAW that, "Henry Ford walked out of the meeting and drove off in a Snit". Harry Bennett was supposed to have driven off in a Huff. I can only guess that was a misprint and they meant Hupp.

 

THE CAR THAT GOT AWAY
is the title of an article by Jennifer Saranow in an old Wall Street Journal about the lengths men will go to find the car they once loved.

I guess it's only logical. It's even more difficult to go back to our first human love, but not impossible to find our first vehicle.

"Middle-aged men are going to extraordinary lengths to locate the actual vehicles they drove decades ago. They are trolling on line car classifieds, cold-calling junkyards and hiring lost-car detectives to help. When they get desperate, they're begging friends in law enforcement to run serial numbers and even sending instant messages to strangers who live near the last known person to own the car."

EXCUSE ME while Dr. Rader, the philosopher takes over--
This phenomenon belongs with others just as important in today's society, like-
The fact that people consider it normal that the majority of the good looking women in LA are augmented.

The fact that Viagra and Botox are main line everyday normal.

The fact that families with children aren't eating supper together.

Let's get a sense of balance here. What brought this country it's incredibly high standard of living is being lost. We have the luxury of time to worry about things that should be unimportant while we forget the values that have brought us to this point.

Ok, ok, self centeredness and vanity aren't entirely new in human experience .
And truth be known, the chance of me finding a certain 49 Ford convertible after 60 years is impossible.

A word of caution to you who may be searching that certain car. Drive another one of the same type first. It's a fact of life that memories exaggerate and romanticize things. You may be sobered quickly when you try to get the larger you into the tiny MGTF or hit the first corner at highway speed in the he ox cart suspension of a 59 Rambler.
If you still love old cars and are sober we are here for you.

We see this as wise comment--

From Old Cars Weekly by Angelo Van Bogart January 15, 2015

For more than two decades, the annual collector car auctions in Arizona were considered a bellwether for the hobby for the year. But are they still the indicator they once were?
Our hobby has become mainstream in the past 20 years, thanks in part to the appearance of the Arizona auctions on television. In an interesting twist, the mass exposure of the old car hobby through televised auctions has led to more auctions held throughout the year. With those additional auctions comes a consistent market to which prices are continually established throughout the year.


The Arizona auctions are also becoming harder to compare to sales throughout the rest of the year, because many of the cars that cross the block are very rare and exotic automobiles . Such cars are bought by collectors or investors who have the financial resources to pick up their one-off dream car, which may never come up for sale again.


As much as the landscape has evolved in Arizona , the auctions here in January are still the most important of the year, but a different reason. It's become the place to see- and buy- the top collector cars in the hobby with auction dockets that rival the finest concours d'elegance event in the country.


Are the sales of these cars still newsworthy? You bet. But does the price of a Mercedes-Benz 540 K and other exotics tell the hobby where the value of bread-and -butter hobby cars, such as 1955 Chevrolet sedans, is headed? Not really.

 

From Fortune Magazine June 16, 2014
"How to Buy an Antique Watch"
(I have substituted the word watch with the word car in this quote and it seems quite logical)

"Whether you are buying it as an investment, to pass on to the next generation, or just to tell time (drive), high-end watches (cars) like Patek Philippe (Rolls Royce) can be a complicated purchase. Here are a few things to keep in mind.


When buying a vintage or contemporary watch (car), there's no guarantee your timepiece (vehicle) will appreciate. Buy what you love, not what everyone else loves.


Know who you are buying from. Frauds abound. A reputable dealer should be able to provide guarantees of authenticity and warranties on work and should be able to buy your timepiece (vehicle) back from you down the road.


John Reardon, head of watches (cars) at Christie's, says: "In real estate it's location, location, location. With watch (car) investing, it's condition, condition, condition." The less polishing and restoring and the more original parts that remain, the more valuable a timepiece (vehicle).
Keep the original box and papers. Original certificates are similar to a birth certificate, verifying its authenticity, and can add value at resale.


Look for rarity and originality. Pieces made in limited editions tend to draw the highest prices, especially at auction. At the same time, timepieces (vehicles) with complications like moon phases, tourbillons, and perpetual calendars have remained desirable over centuries."


( For cars that might be sidemounts, V12,V16, convertibles, limos, racing heritage, etc.)

 

A reprint here of an ad I placed In the Autorader in 1999. It's still true.

Remember When--
It was easy to tell which car was which. Any kid knew the difference between a Studebaker (can't tell if it's coming or going) and a Nash (no-tell motel) or a Pierce Arrow (headlights) and a Packard (red hexagons).

Oh sure, there were similarities based on the times; boxy twenties, Easter egg colors in the fifties, but everybody knew that was an Edsel not an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.

But nobody today can tell one new car from another, not even the younger enthusiasts (and technologically today I must admit there's much to be enthusiastic about). However, they all look alike, from the jellybean school of car design.

You can't show any individuality today in your car. Put your cell phone in it and it's just as generic as the phone.

Maybe that's why we love old cars more than ever. We can express our individuality.

 

"The View From Planet Kerth" by T.R. Kerth, Published July 5. 2014 in The Collier Citizen-Naples Florida
(This is an excerpt of a larger column "Have You Hugged Your Hardware Lately?")

Lately I have been developing a kinder, gentler relationship with the things in my life. For too long I have been kicking , cursing and disrespecting every gadget, doodad and thingamabob that has disappointed me. How can you expect an inanimate object to treat you well in the future when all it remembers of you in the past is abuse?
I think it all began three years ago then I turned the key in my 2004 pickup truck and was met with nothing more than a sickening click. It had been awhile since I had fired Abu up, and her battery must have decided that it wasn't needed any more. I dropped in a new battery, bolted it down and gently turned the key. When Abu roared to life, I patted her dashboard and sad, "I love you , Abu. You're the only one who understands me."


Since then Abu has run without a hitch, other than a driver's side window that tends to get a bit balky once in a while. But I don't let that anger me, because my shoulder acts like that once in a while, too. "It's ok," I tell her, "It'll be better in the morning." And in the morning it always is.
My other car, a 2002 Honda CRV named Cuervo, has also been a trooper, and I never fail to let her know how much I love her too. She's pushing 12 years old now. If she were a dog at that age, she would be nearing Betty White vintage, but with Japanese cars it means she's just beginning to mellow into a well-traveled beauty. Think Sandra Bullock.


So now I go out of my way to tell all the glass-steel-plastic-silicone gadgets in my life how much I love and appreciate them. And I think it has made a big difference in our relationship. They have all treated me well and stayed on the job, with only a few exceptions--like a refrigerator that quit on me though it had shown no sign of dissatisfaction before that.

From "Old Cars Weekly" of July 24, 2014, "Prewar Market Report" by Gerald Perschbacher.
This is his summing up idea with which I agree
.
"Ultimately, the best advice anyone can give for which cars to collect, value-wise, is to help the buyer/owner realize his or her wishes. If a high return is wanted, check the value guide for the top-end models that are listed, buy one at slightly lower cost, upgrade and enjoy , then baby the car until time to sell. If a car has been in your family since new, then cherish the car for its memories and be mindful of its value just in case it must change hands. But above all, whatever old car a person buys, the main thing is pride of ownership and a sense of real fulfillment in knowing that a piece of motoring history is being preserved as the wheels roll the car to shows, on tours and into the hearts of current generations.
Holding true to this precept makes every cherished old car a Blue Chip!


He concluded, "Maybe you're exclusively one type; maybe ... the combination of a number of these traits." He added, "Pursue your passion... After all, its your car."

 

Old Cars Weekly had a note about how our hobby takes all kinds.
I quote it here because after more than sixty years in the hobby I've met all these guys.

"William Shepherd gave unique thoughts in one of his recent president's messages for the Cadillac and LaSalle Club Northwest Ohio Region News, via Eldon Smith, Editor. He says there are various personalities in our collector car hobby. Such as: the Investor (often reviled as the person who takes the fun out of the hobby, nevertheless... helps determine the true value of collector cars"), the Nostalgist who "is transported back to a time...of enjoyable activities and relationships"); the Historian (who "wishes to preserve or return the collector car to how it came from the factory"); and the Mechanic (who enjoys maintaining and repairing old cars).
There are more:

The Resurrector (who brings vehicles from the grave); the Used Car Dealer (who likes a quantity of old cars whether they run or not); the Artist (who thinks an old car is "canvass for his personal expression"); the traditionalist (who "drives the same car he bought in his youth... or inherited" it), and the Comrade (who enjoys "sharing his car with like-minded individuals").


He concluded, "Maybe you're exclusively one type; maybe ... the combination of a number of these traits." He added, "Pursue your passion... After all, its your car."

 

From Hemmings Motor News, March 2014
Five Car-Hobby Predictions For the Coming Year

We capsulize here, just the gist.
#1 Auction prices for high-end cars will continue to climb.
#2 Seventies and eighties cars will become more attractive to hobbyists.
As blue-chip cars and sports cars continue to climb in value, look for those of us on a budget to continue to turn to cars that weren't previously attractive, such as big domestic sedans from the 1970s and even "disposable" cars from the 1080s.
#3 The Toyota Fj40 Land Cruiser will become the next Volkswagen 21-Window Samba bus. These restored buses in the rarest versions have topped six figures in recent auctions.
#4 Gas prices won't change (much).Though supply of crude oil from domestic sources now tops imported oil, and U.S. consumption has been declining, prices at the pump haven't dropped much in the past year.
#5 Hot rods, street rods and restomods won't climb much in value. Some of the recent sales of highly touted rods built by well regarded builders have sold for well below the cost of construction.

Update:
Three weeks into the new year and a Toyota Fj40 was sold for over $100,000.
As Jerry Reid said, "When You're Hot You're Hot."

 

From CNN Money Feb. 14, 2014

Bear Market for Classic American Cars


Baby boomers, who have been reshaping the economy for their entire lives, are doing it again, but in a less macro way. They are depressing prices in the collector car market because they're losing interest in classic American cars from the 1950s -- the cars of their youth.


The bear market in American classics stands in sharp contrast to the demand for historic exotic and foreign cars, which has strongly rebounded from its post-recession slowdown. Last August, a 1967 Ferrari was auctioned for $27.5 million -- a record for a road car. A few months earlier, a 1954 Mercedes race car went for $29.6 million.


Not so for '50s cars from the old Big Three as well as now-defunct makers like Studebaker and Packard. The evidence comes in the March issue of Car & Driver, in an article by Rob Sass of Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in insurance for antique and vintage autos. According to Hagerty's index of prices of '50s American classics, Sass writes, activity peaked in August 2007 and hasn't recovered. The decline affects everything from popular favorites like the Chevy Bel Air to rarities like the Packard Caribbean convertible.


In their prime, baby boomers were big buyers. But now, Sass writes, "their interest in the hobby is starting to wane." Nor does he see the market rebounding any time soon. The millennial generation doesn't have a comparable level of interest. "It's questionable whether they will care about the cars of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers -- or any cars," he adds.
Here are some data points from the post-war era of tailfins, two-tone paint jobs, and whitewall tires. The condition of the cars ranges on a scale from condition four (daily driver with visible flaws) up to condition one (perfectly clean, groomed down to the tire treads). In a few exceptional categories buyers have made money by catching the peak of the market, but the overall trend is down.


The best advice for someone considering a classic car as an investment is to buy what you love; any appreciation should be secondary to the pride of ownership -- and the satisfaction of preserving a slice of history for future generations

From Hemmings Classic Car April 2014.

Excerpts from Jim Richardson's column "All in the Family"

The author reminisces about a neighbor, an old man who drove his 1929 Chevy coupe regularly and the pride the man took in his car.


In the late 50s as a teen Jim says he would have treated the car without the respect it deserved.


"Today there is a lady nearby who has a pea soup green 1950 Ford two-door sedan that she drives wherever she needs to go, and that car looks only a couple of years old too. When I first tried to speak to her, she cut me off with a curt, 'It's not for sale.' But then when she was thoroughly convinced that I was not trying to pry it away from her, she warmed up. She told me she had bought it new, and that she had no reason to sell it because it ran fine, and she had a good mechanic who took care of it for her."


"I must say that I really admire such people for several reasons. First off, they have proven that most old cars will last a lifetime if properly cared for. Secondly, they aren't spending big bucks every few years to buy new and more eco-friendly cars with the delusion that they are somehow helping "the environment." The people who do are not taking into account the costs, pollution, and natural resources required to manufacture the new cars they are buying--ostensibly to further the common good."


" In fact at major car shows I would have a special trophy for individuals who have preserved cars from new and still drive them. The trophy would not be to recognize the car, but the owner."


"Such people have made good use of the earth's resources, and have provided all of us a window into the past. Keep that old car, take care of it and drive it at least now and then so those of us who have not been so frugal and rational can see what you've accomplished. No old car needs to wear out and be junked. For the most part, old cars are neglected to death. Those who don't let that happen deserve special recognition."

I have to give an Amen to Mr. Richardson's Thoughts.

 

This long article about investing in antiques and art can be compared is some ways to investing in cars. I reprint it here for that reason-- plus many of us old car lovers also appreciate and collect other old things.


Bob Rader

Art, antiques investing is for the long haul

 

 

From WashingtonPost.com via The Week, 9-20-13


"The best high end investment in recent years has been vintage automobiles. Prices for well-kept luxury automobiles from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s have more than doubled in the last five years, and have risen by 28 percent in the last 12 months alone. Fine art, once considered as safe haven for wealthy investors, dropped 6 percent this year."

Who have they been talking to?

While I love to see figures like this come from the press, I just don't see the facts this extreme here at ground zero.

Bob Rader

 

From the Wall Street Journal of August 28 2013
An article by Missy Sullivan

"Pedigreed race cars and sexy roadsters aren't the only vintage vehicles breaking records at the collector-car auctions this year. Auto aficionados are also driving up prices for less rarefied fare, from Jimmy Carter-era Japanese SUVs to fruity-colored microcars with wicker seats and fringed surrey tops. While not inspiring the same breathless headlines ($27.5 million for a Ferrari! $29.6 million for a Mercedes Benz racer), the large middle market for vintage vehicles priced between $25,000 and $150,000 is quietly expanding . Unlike trophy cars bought at Champagne-soaked concours events and housed like precious works of art, these automobiles often serve as weekend and vacation-home transportation, driven proudly to the ice-cream store, the collector rally or the Home Depot parking lot."

The article goes on to mention some examples. Corvettes ( 50s-60s small block variety) Toyota FJ40 SUVs Tiny microcars, Issetas, Fiats, Renault 2CVs Porsches (earlier 911s, not rare racers) Pickups (most any) Mustangs (garden varieties, not Shelbys) I agree with this list but it could be much longer. There are dozens more. Consider- Early Mercedes Benz SLs Almost any of the many post war mass produced cars such as Ford fliptops, Chevy SS, Avanti, El Dorado, Continental, MG, Healey, Deloren, pony cars other than Mustang, Studebaker, Jensen, VW

As I get rolling on this it becomes evident that the list is almost endless and includes some that are still well  below the Wall Street Journal's price range.

So you can play the game even if you aren't wealthy. And with a little intelligence your money is well invested. If you are interested in a particular car as an investment, my advice is free. Just ask. Bob Rader

What do you think? Let me know and I'll share your thoughts here.

 

Still good advice after six years-

From November 2007 Sports Car Market by Keith Martin
High Values Don't Make a Better Car.

"I continue to caution that those who buy second-tier collectibles at inflated prices just because top-tiers are doing well are fooling themselves in terms of return on investment. A mediocre $45,000 356B Porsche bought at $90,000 today is more likely to drop to a mediocre $45,000 when the market corrects than a stellar $170,000 car is to $85,000."

"Learn to define exactly what it is in a collector car that brings you satisfaction. Those things are different for everyone. Then analyze your budget and take your pick from the resultant group. few among us have the resources to simply buy what we want at any price . The secret to finding fulfillment in collecting is to realize that collecting cars comes with limitations (like everything else in life), and if you embrace those limitations and strive for the best decision within the parameters you have to work with , chances are you will  be much happier when you look into your garage."

What do you think? Let me know and I'll share your thoughts here.

 

From The Wall Street Journal - Is Investing in Collectibles a Recipe for Disaster?

By George U. "Gus" Sauter, a senior consultant to the Vanguard Group

Collectibles, like art, or stamps or comic books do not have a measurable fundamental value. Certainly, they provide enjoyment to some people who love to examine them . But the only way to make money investing in collectibles is to find someone who is willing to pay more for them than you did. If you have expert insight, it might be rewarding. but, "don't try this at home."

To which I reply:

Gus, I guess you're right, fine art doesn't have a measurable fundamental value if that means it doesn't have a useful purpose. But it does have a use as décor, and for that matter I've seen some other collectibles less prestigious used as décor;  barbed wire collections or stamps as wall decorations.

As for investment purposes Gus, you have to admit the auction houses that specialize in fine art are constantly making the news with new record prices, though there have been weak periods.

My main point here is that COLLECTIBLE CARS are one of the rare cases where there is some useful purpose. You can take a Sunday drive in your Packard. Let's see you do that with your stocks and bonds or CDs.

And right now most antique cars are returning more on your investment than any CD.

FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 3-13-2013
Excerpts from and article by Joseph B. White
Breaking Up With a Broken-Down Car Is Hard to Do

"Nearly half of the 250 million cars registered in the U.S. are now 11 years old or older, according to R. L. Polk & Co., an automotive-market data company. And while many people drive older cars because they can't afford a newer vehicle, there are plenty who could ditch their old car or truck, but don't. They like the values an old car reflects--dependability, frugality, a rejection of a throwaway, planned-obsolescence culture. Old cars can remind their owner of youth, family and adventures. some old cars are more that machines to their owners. They have personalities. They have names.

In a 2010 paper, researchers at the University of Michigan's psychology department found that subjects who were prompted to think of their cars in anthropomorphic, or human terms expressed hesitation about dumping an old one, even after they indicate it was unreliable....A trusty vehicle can inspire fierce loyalty....

...Here's what one automotive research firm discovered when it surveyed consumers who held on to their cars for 10-plus years.

*They like to travel overseas

*They look for security in their relationships

*They have a college degree

*They tend toward libertarian political views

*They like to garden and do their own home repairs

Interesting, but I kinda wonder what they would come up with should they research those of us that love old cars.

 

THE FOLLY OF FORECASTING.

In the May 2012 issue of "Sports Car Market" Sheehan Speaks column he says..

Any market forecast is worth less than the paper it's printed on, and just as the most solemn marriage vows are merely a statement of intent. Financial forecasting, in the words of the late economist J. K. Galbraith, "exists only to make astrology look good."

(Of course the same can be said for the antique car market.)

 

DOES THE CAR THE WOMAN IS DRIVING SEEM HER MORE ATTRACTIVE OR NOT?

FROM THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY

Don't you wish you could have done studies like this when you were in college? When women drive high status cars, it does nothing for their perceived attractiveness. For men, the hotter the car, the better they look. Experimenters in England took male and female models, matched for looks and facial expressions, and photographed them seated in a high-status car- a silver Bentley Continental GT- or a neutral-status car, a red Ford Fiesta ST, (This is called status manipulation.) Men rated the women equally attractive in both cars. Women, as has been the case in previous surveys, rated the Bentley guys more attractive. The testers didn't appear to suggest why this might be . One possibility might be ingrained gender stereotypes: The Bentley guy makes a good living, while the woman might have come into the hot ride through marriage or family money - or so some guys might think, following up with the thought, "high maintenance."

Your humble editor here totally disagrees. In my younger years every woman I saw driving a Corvette looked great.

In the Wall Street Journal of October 29, 2012

"So You Think You Want to Invest In......"

This two page article covers very well some alternatives to the usual paper investments (stocks, bonds, annuities, etc.) It discusses the various positives and negatives, tells why they are hot and what to keep in mind. They talk about watches, stamps, autographs, electric guitars and photography. But left out one of the most used and appreciated collectible category--cars. In their defense I have to say they did include motorcycles, but that makes it even more mysterious that autos were not included. A 1929 Brough Superior SS100 bike was sold in 2010 for $458,000. A hand written letter from Abe Lincoln replying to school children sold for $3.4 million. (One assumes they were all hand written in 1860)

But why not even a mention of vehicles?

Maybe art, sculpture and autos are large enough to be classes unto themselves?

A few aren't big enough to consider worthy of writing about, like, beer cans and barbed wire. Hummel figures and Thomas Kinkade art are going down, and remember Beenie Babies? They are out.

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL WEEKEND INVESTOR SECTION Oct. 20, 2012 

By Julie Steinberg and Joe Light
(Portions of a longer article)
 
After a decade of up-and-down stock-market returns and wide-spread fears that the bull market in bonds could turn into a bubble, money managers are pitching new asset classes-- from wine to musical instruments--that investors can use to diversify their holdings.

A few firms are even putting together private funds that let investors pool their money to buy portfolios of these assets, often charging hedge-fund-like fees of 2% and 20% of gains.

Skepticism is essential, but some of the sales pitches are compelling. Since 1980 for example, classic cars have appreciated by 13% per year, according to the Historic Automobile Group International, an investment-research firm in London--while large-company stocks have returned about 11% annually, including dividends, according to investment-research firm Morningstar. Expertise helps. "People who invest in alternative alternatives have to be interested and engaged in what they're acquiring, which raises the probability they'll reap both aesthetic and financial returns," says Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman Wealth Management. The article goes on to include stringed instruments, taxi medallions, wine and sports teams.  As you may guess, these funds are catering to the very wealthy who don't mind paying 2% plus 20% for the professional management  and just to be in the game. Those of us with less moola can of course enjoy the fun directly buying the cars we love and enjoy. (From a reputable dealer like Raders Relics of course)

 

From Sports Car Market November 2012 -
Part of Keith Martin's column about the Monterey auctions
 
There are a variety of reasons for this surge. (the rise of top-tier collectibles) Alternative forms of investment continue to be shaky--would you rather have invested $12m in 316,000 shares of Facebook at $38 each, or in one 1936 Mercedes Benz Special Roadster? Even to non-car collectors, the continued growth of the collector-car market, even taking account of the downturn in 2009 is enticing. Having outsiders jump in when things get hot is not unusual--the same pattern holds true in real estate, jewelry and fine art. I've been to several seminars on investing in the past year, and the most common theme in presentations is, "I don't know where you should put your money."

I predict we will see a continuation of blue-chip collectibles bringing blue-chip prices. All nice Gullwings will soon be million dollar cars. Ferrari SWBs , the most undervalued of all Enzo-era super-Ferraris, will cost $10m.

But the market isn't exploding at all levels. Tidy MGAs won't get $100,000, they'll stay in the $30,000 range. Common cars that are easily available in restored form will percolate along just as the did before Monterey, slowly going up slightly behind the cost of restoration. This isn't a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats prices market, but it's about the 1%. Perhaps we'll see Occupy Monterey signs next year.

 

 

From The New York Times
8-26-2012
Appreciation for Vintage cars, in two senses.

 
For solid financial returns, gold seems nearly alone among investments that are legal - and fathomable - to those of us who are not bankers. Gold's performance over the last five years has been overwhelmingly  positive, its price doubling since 2007.

But the skyrocketing prices of certain Ferraris built from the 1950s through the 1970s have in some instances have made gold's gaudy rate of appreciation look like a passbook savings account at the neighborhood branch bank.

"People who have been in the collectible automobile market and originally bought for the love of the object are now looking at it as a diversification tool and a strategic part of a well-organized investment portfolio." Claiborne Booker, an independent  financial consultant based in Virginia, said.

Certainly, Ferraris are not the only vintage vehicles whose values have outstripped inflation and conventional investments, but they have been one of the most reliable market indicators among collectible automobiles. And their sales at auctions are closely followed , so there is a reliable track record on which projections can be based.......

Following Carol Shelby's recent death , there were an unusually large number of Shelby automobiles offered in Monterey.

There were predictions of a Shelby feeding frenzy, but in reality the market seemed to have taken Mr. Shelby's death at age 89 into account quite some time ago. Even so, over the last 10 years, the most collectible Shelbys have done quite well......

Just as gold has had its share of peaks and valleys, so have collectible automobiles. Ferraris in particular have had periods of considerable volatility.........

Naturally, this raises questions about the wisdom of buying a classic automobile for its investment potential - after all, there are storage, maintenance and insurance costs to consider - rather than the pleasure that ownership brings.

Drew Alcazar, founder of the Russo & Steele auction house, said in a telephone interview that he had witnessed three previous boom periods in the collector car market before the current one.

"Some of the really big cars eclipsed the high-water marks from a few years ago that we didn't think would return this soon," ......

"You should do your due diligence and then buy what you like," he said.

 

 

FROM FORBES LIFE
SPRING 2012
LIFE LISTS, BUY, HOLD, SELL
By Wayne Carini

BUY
Mercedes Benz 1968-71 280SL
These cars are great fun to drive, good looking with the top down or the pagoda top on, and low maintenance. Prices are still right but are on the upswing.

HOLD
British sports cars: The Austin Healey 3000, Jaguar E type, and MG T series markets have softened in the past year. They needed a market correction but will be back up soon. concours restorations of these cars always bring the highest prices.

SELL
1920s, '30s, and '40s sedans
The baby boomer generation and beyond cannot connect with this era of sedans. Special cars of this period—such as convertibles, roadsters and touring cars – will be in demand but not the mass-produced sedan.

 

ROBERT'S RANT

I'VE BECOME THE AUTOMOTIVE ANDY ROONEY-- SOMETHING TO DO WITH AGE PERHAPS

Remember when you would be concerned about maybe buying a lemon? It doesn't seem to be a concern anymore. I can't remember the last time you could buy a car brand that was a lemon. They've all got good warranties and they last much longer--the cars as well as the warranties. They're running out of things to brag about.

So what are they advertising to show their superiority?

The number of cup holders! This started with the domestic manufacturers.

Now we see the foreign convertibles touting how fast the top goes up and down and how fast you can drive while doing it.

Oh, I'm all atwitter!

Hey, I'm just getting started. The buyers are another case. What's with the generation that thinks it's great to see who can make the most noise with their car stereo, or how high they can make their car jump?

The latest idiot trend is drifting. What a waste.

The tire manufacturers must be giving each other high fives.

 

GLEAMING, FACINATING MOVING OBJECTS
A portion of an article
By Robert Cumberford
In Sports Car Market April 2012

Shiny inanimate objects fascinate living beings. That's true for thieving magpies, pack rats, and – above all- for humans. From the first time an opposable-thumb primate picked up a glittering seashell simply to admire it,on through our prehistoric ancestors seeking and keeping translucent stones, we have cherished scintillating reflecting surfaces –ideally on objects we can hold in our hands. When, a few hundred years back, we were exposed to constructs that were not only shiny but also had moving parts, we were mesmerized. Who can look at the works of a clock, a watch or a steam engine in motion and not be entranced?

So it is not too surprising that the automobile should become an object of acquisitive desire. Cars are for the most part shiny, they move, and they can accept a tremendous amount of non-functional decoration. Even so, cars were for a very long time only seen as transient useful objects, not collectibles. I can remember Duesenbergs on offer for $500 when I was a child, and not a few of them went to scrap yards because there was so much recoverable metal in them.

It is really only in the last 50 years that we have seen serious interest in preserving older cars – in good working order – in the United States. Part of the reason lies with the huge population bulge we now call the Baby Boomers . The first of that immediate post- World War II coterie is now at retirement age, and a great part of the group is prosperous enough to buy the shiny object of nostalgia they covet as talismans of their youth.
Science fiction writer William Gibson, writing about his own obsession with mechanical watches, celebrated that they are "so brilliantly unnecessary." He also noted that Baby Boomers' toys were often ephemeral plastic things long since reduced to nothingness.

But their daddy's cars are still here, and they represent semi-useful possessions. Or so they can tell each other – and almost believe it. There must have been at least 10,000 Boomers at Arizona Auction Week in January , and as you can see from the results , they spent tens of millions of dollars on vehicles they never intend to use for practical transport.

The auction scene in Arizona was all new to me. It might have been overwhelming, with literally thousand of cars on offer, were it not for the fact that so few were really what I would consider collectibles. Thousands of cars, hundreds of trucks (trucks?), and many tons of automobilia changed proprietors, but I would put objects of true collectible value at considerably less than half the total. .Once you modify your mass-market, never-rare '57 Chevy in any way at all, it ceases to be a historical artifact and becomes essentially just a used car, however much someone may pay when it crosses the block. The "matching-numbers" mantra is tiresome, but there really is value in originality and authenticity.

I was really surprised that I admired hundreds of cars, but not one compelled desire. For me, the plenitude of vehicles in Arizona was as big a turn-off as an eight-page, small print dinner menu offering so many things that appetite dissipates at the mere thought of choosing. I suspect that a more restrained offering might have had me fidgeting with my wallet. After all, I only have three project cars and two drivers, and there were many truly worthy machines at "reasonable" prices I could easily convince myself I "really need." As did not a few other people during that high-energy week.

As fascinating as the multifarious vehicles at the main auction were, I was more entranced by the attending crowds. Family values were extremely high: I saw dozens of late-middle-aged men who were kind enough to bring their "nieces" to the auctions. These girls profited from the mild Arizona weather to wear the skimpiest summer dresses in January.

 

This is from The San Francisco Chronicle
By Mick La Salle

THE CAR THAT CRIED WOLF

Well, I have one of those cars that cry wolf----fairly new, just out of range of warranty, and it keeps crying wolf with that engine light. It goes on, but it's nothing. Then it cried wolf with the coolant light, but there was plenty of coolant . Then today, on the highway, the oil light went on . Checked. Plenty of oil. Called my mechanic. Sounded like a short. Called the dealership----sounded like a short to them, and anyway, the nearest dealership was 130 miles away. So I figured.....

Now for what I should have done. Pulled off to the side of the road and got a tow for 130 miles. I have the kind of coverage where that would have been free. But I wasn't thinking. The sun was shining. The CD was playing. Life was beautiful----for about 95 miles. Then suddenly a dead car. Now it looks like I'm going to be out five grand.

AHHHHHHHH!

Excuse that outburst.

One good thing. The car went dead while on a decline and I rolled out right by a service station. I seem to be lucky that way.
Anyway. That's why you haven't heard from me all day.
Five grand. I will now entertain all speaking engagements.

From Rader,
Mr La Salle, we old car lovers appreciate your last name. Don't ya miss the good old simple mechanical cars? You still have service stations out there?
Around here all we have are gas stations. Haven't seen any service in years.

Who among us wouldn't agree with this emotion about our first cars.....
WHEN A MAN LOVES A CAR
By Andy Garcia

as told to Cynthia Dermody
From Readers Digest 2006

My wife, Marive, and I regret selling our first car, an old Peugeot diesel wagon that we bought on our honeymoon in Europe. We shipped it home, but then sold it because it had trouble getting up the hills in L.A. I realize now how much sentimental value that car had. Perhaps it's why I tend to get too attached to cars today and hold on to then for a long time. My 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser, one of the first cars I bought when I moved to L.A., still has only 50,000 miles on it. In "The Lost City" the film I made about Cuba on the brink of revolution in 1959 (now on DVD), my character drove a red Alfa Romeo. I had always imagined him in that car. When I was growing up in Havana, there were a variety of state-of-the-art cars just like it. Driving the car was very nostalgic because I'm a product of that story. It's amazing the power of cars to a certain time in your life. I remember the old DeSoto-with the hole in the floor of the back seat-that my father bought when we first came to this country to build a new life. I don't chase the latest models. Just because a car is ten years old doesn't mean there isn't and aesthetic to it, doesn't mean it isn't a great vehicle, like the old Peugeot that started my family's journey together.

 

OBITUARY December 2011

Less than a month after he retired Dick Schoppe took a fall and was hospitalized. Two weeks later he is no longer with us. He is survived by wife Dana, three daughters and a world full of friends. For the last thirty years while he was at Raders Relics he became to me the older brother I never had. He was an influence always for the highest sense of honesty and integrity. He had more innate mechanical sense than anyone I know and was always helping others with their old car problems as well as in everyday life, never thinking about money. Before his first retirement he drove eighteen wheelers throughout the midwest. Still in love with travel, he and Dana were always ready to hook up the trailer and deliver or pick up a car from anywhere. They always came back telling interesting stories of new friends all over the country. I wish we had kept a journal of all our experiences at the shop, some scary, some funny, some bizzar, all interesting. It was the best time of my life. Thank you Dick, for being a major part of it. God speed, my friend.

DICK SCHOPPE'S GOING TO RETIRE....AGAIN

About a quarter century ago an eighteen wheeler truck driver from Minnissota came by the office. Said he was retiring to warm central Florida and wanted to open his own garage to pursue his first love, working on antique cars. Fortunately it didn't happen. He's been with me ever since and become the same as an older brother I never had. You can see his picture on our web site at "more info". He's the one whose rear you see working on a Model A speedster. From my perspective it has been like a marriage made in heaven. I could never have paid him what he's been worth and if I paid him nothing he would have still stayed around. In all the years, I can count on one hand the times we've been at odds with each other. Dick and Dana are planning to join a daughter and son-in-law in California. He always said he would stick around as long as it was fun and I felt the same. There's going to be a big empty space at Raders Relics. I don't think it's going to be as much fun any more.

COST VS VALUE IN RESTORATION
The November 10, 2011 issue of Old Cars Weekly News and Marketplace had a letter to the editor by Ronald Stanger of Classic Carworks Ltd.

I believe he had a logical approach to consider in putting a value on a restored car. If I can sum it up, he felt that we should value a car more on what has been invested in its restoration and less on some value guides' opinions. This is something to consider and I won't go in the old direction saying something is worth just what a buyer is willing to pay for it and the seller is willing to accept. This is the traditional knee jerk answer when someone is asked their expert opinion on an item that he is supposed to be expert on. It's valid but rather abrupt, dismissive and unhelpfull. Mr Stanger has a good point. Most people don't understand the real cost of restoration, especially a professional restoration. It is unfair.

This brings me to my old soap box positon on how to get the most for your money in a collector car.

Don't restore it yourself (The only exception being if you need the therapy)

The cost of restoration is almost always much more than the resulting car is worth in the market.

Let the previous owner take the loss. You get to enjoy the car.

 

FROM FORBES OCTOBER 24, 2011

Excerpts from "At Pebble Beach: Auto Auction Off The Charts" by Hannah Elliott

Pebble Beach's vintage car auctions typically set the tone for the rest of the year in the global collecting market, both in terms of pricing and trends. This year's results provided solid evidence that buyers are spending as much -or more- money than ever on the classics. All told, 31 cars sold for more than a million dollars each. (Note this was at Gooding & Company alone, just one of five auctions). Nearly $200 million changed hands, not including sales that happened outside the auction tents. It was $27 million more than last year and $82 million more than 2009.

Buyers are feeling bullish, but they are clearly more exacting than ever. Clearly, not just any car can command such premiums.

Big money is coming from America and Europe. Interest from China and the Middle East has grown exponentially, but only because it used to be nil.

The weak stock market and uncertain exchange rates are driving at least part of the pursuit from Europe and America. Buyers want to sink money into something solid.

Indeed, insiders say a renewed passion among buyers - rather than the exclusively investment-minded speculation that dominated the market a few years back- is buoying prices. This despite economic conditions that are less than buoyant in general.

 

 

Keith Martin in "Sports Car Market" speaks of the Monterey Pebble Beach Concourse and it's attendant shows and auctions in August.

"If you are purchasing today you may have to revise your budget upwards significantly to get an important car in impeccable condition. Why? It's simple. There are simply more people - with more money - chasing fewer cars. As the economies in India, Russia and China grow and produce billionaires, it's not surprising that they have decided they would like a few Maserati 250Fs and Alfa 8Cs in their garages as well. Why should the Western World have all the fun?


You'll have to make some judgment calls about condition. The two extremes today are "unrestored barn-find" and "concourse perfect." Either offers a comprised driving experience: one causing you to explain what a "survivor" is to everyone who wants to know why you have crazed, flaking-off paint and pitted chrome an your original Lamborghini 400 GT, and the other offering a "rock-chip-stroke" each time a pebble strikes your $30,000 paint job.


Personally, I prefer to own correct cars, with all the right bits, that were properly restored at least 10 years ago and have been driven since. Like an athlete who works out regularly, these types of cars are generally kept on the button and ready to go to anything from a coffee cruise-in to the Colorado Grand. They are also the hardest to find."

I agree.

 


THE WEB SITE JALOPNIC REMINDS ME

Many years ago in one of these editorials I explained that we old car lovers hear cars talking to us.

From the back row of a used car lot in Atlanta many long years ago a 1935 Ford Tudor called to me saying "I may look run down at the heels now but I was once beautiful and I can be again with a little help from you." It's happened to me since—with a 1947 Desoto ($275) a 1950 Packard ($250) and many others. It's still happening but the prices aren't anywhere near the same of course.

What does your car say to you?

"Please replace the oil I left on the floor during the last week" or, "Don't forget I prefer Hi-Test"

Let's hear from you . What do they say to you?

I'm liable to publish your thoughts here.

IN 2004 KELLY BLUE BOOK PICKED THE TOP 10 NEW CLASSICS UNDER AND OVER $100,000


I think you might like to see if you agree with their opinions after seven years have passed.

Under $100,000
2001 Acura type R
2003 Audi RS 6
2003 Chevrolet SSR signature series
2000 Plymouth Prowler
2003 Dodge Viper SRT
2003 Ford Thunderbird 007 Edition
2003 BMW M3
2003 Mazda Miata Club Sport
2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R
2003 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Over $100,000
2003 Aston Martin Vanquish
2003 Bentley Azure
2003 BMW Z8 Alpina
2003 Ferrari Enzo
2004 Ford GT
2002 Lamborghini Murcielago
1998 McLaren F1
2003 Mercedes SL 55 AMG
2004 Porsche Carrera GT Roadster
2001 Saleen S

We can see that a few are already going up. A few are holding at about the original new list price. But some ended up being produced in such volumes that it's going to take a long time before they stop depreciating.

Did they forget the Chrysler Crossfire?

Can you suggest some others they neglected?

 

Angies List Februrary 2010 Noted--

4 Tips for Classic and Custom Cars

"Before you dash out and purchase your dream car or start customizing the hatchback in your drieway, consider these pointers:

1. Don't trust the for sale photos you see online. An automobile might look perfectly restored on the surface, but you never know what lies beneath. Have a restoration mechanic or vintage car expert inspect the car before you buy.

2. Don't buy a car that was recently restored -- but one that was restored at least five years ago. You'll be able to see how the car has held up and determine if any lingering damage or issues exist that can't be hidden by a fresh coat of paint.

3. When customizing, make sure to do your research. Be wary of rough estimates for parts or services. Don't allow the shop to make a single change without a written order that includes the cost differential.

4. Double-check with your insurance company to ensure proper coverage. The use of a specialty insurance company might be required to make sure your antique car is properly protected."

Most of us will find these points rather elementary -- except for number 2. I hadn't thought of that before and it's an idea worthy of consideration. The super gloss of a fresh restoration can not only cost a lot more but hide some sins that will only become evident after time.

 

 

This from AUTOWEEK March 21 2011

Record Results by Dave Kinney

"The auction season began in Scottsdale, Arizona, and if it continues this way, 2011 is going to be a year when the record books are rewritten. Part of this can be attributed to the sheer number of cars coming up for sale. But that would not account for the high prices acheived if you thought that people were bringing cars to sales because thay had to. This time , it does not seem to be the uninformed investor or the country-club-parking-lot wannabes who are fueling the sales. These are largely end users who have done a good bit of research and who realize that putting their money into cars is an investment they can both enjoy and control, something that the stock market or commercial real estate might not always allow them to do.............."

Isn't this amazing. Still true after four years.

GAS PAINS
From Forbes June 18, 2007

High pump prices are not reducing demand very much because they are not imposing anything like the economic pain alleged by politicians. For instance, if we adjust nominal gasoline prices in 1949 (27 cents per gallon) by inflation, we get a price of $1.90 per gallon in today's terms. If we further adjust those prices by mean disposable income, we find that gasoline prices would have to be $6.68 per gallon before they were taking the same bite out of our wallets as they were in 1949. In 1962- a year writ large in the popular imagination as the quintessential year of muscle cars and cheap gasoline thanks to the movie American Graffiti-gasoline prices averaged 31 cents per gallon. When we factor changes in disposable income, today's gas would have to cost $4.48 to be a comparable burden.

Jerry Taylor, Cato Institute

So maybe in 2011 we're not in such bad shape after all.......

 

 

HOLY COW!

I just realized that this little business I started a while back is now older than some of the cars we're handling that people call antiques.

Forget that "I" because it has been "we" including a wonderous wife and three children who all worked here and now have their own kids and businesses.

Our first real employee was Doug McDuffee who now has his own business building street rods.

The oldest partner here (in more than one way) is Dick Schoppe who has more knowledge about old cars than anybody I know--- even me.

Dick says he'll stay around as long as it's fun and I agree. Our wives don't mind since it keeps us off the streets and out of bars.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if any of you youngsters out there want to move south and ruin a good hobby like I did I welcome your inquiry.

I PUBLISHED THIS THE FIRST TIME IN 2007!

 

BRIT SPEAK

We share a common language with the British NOT. And to prove it we provide here a British-to-American conversion chart for anyone wishing to converse about cars with a Brit.

   
British
 
Shock damper  
Spanner      
Dynamo     
Jubilee clip  
Tick-over                                      
Coke                                            
Gearbox                                       
Propeller shaft                              
Autovac                                        
Early/Late                                     
Contact breakers                         
Earth 
Accumulator
Core plug   
Crocodile clip  
Crosshead screw 
Crown wheel
Gudgeon pin
Ring gear  
Split pin
Cotter key         
Spring washer
Sump
Thrust bearing 
Silencer 
American
 
Shock absorber
Wrench
Generator
Hose clamp
Idle
Carbon
Transmission
Drive shaft
Vacuum tank
Advance/retard
Ignition points
Ground
Battery
Freeze plug
Alligator clip
Phillips head
Ring gear
Wrist pin
Flywheel gear
Cotter pin
Cotter pin
Lock washer
Oil pan
Throw-out bearing
Muffler
   
There's lots more of course, and we didn't even mention petrol or bonnet.

 

THOUGHTS

A letter in an old issue of "Old Cars" from John Harvey talks about judging old cars. He makes a case that we should not have judging shows.

"-or at least do it differently than it has been done for the last 30-40 years. Back when a decent show was 20 or 30 cars, the current system was quite adequate. Now, 500 or 1000 car shows are not a shock, unless the turnout was poor. It takes almost 9 hours to spend one minute to judge each of 500 cars. After you score 500 forms, the awards drag on and on.

Nobody judges art or antique shows. Mention judging to the owner of a Rembrandt or Van Gogh, and if his look doesn't kill you, his bodyguard may. But, all he can do with his Van Gogh is hang it on the wall and look at it. (More likely lock it in a bank vault and worry about who knows he had one.) Ever sit on a real Louis XIV chair? if the chair doesn't wreck your back, a body guard will probably wreck your something. Louis XIV may be grand to see now, but it never was much of a chair.If you are of such a mind, you can pile a family and friends into a collector car and drive coast to coast, see the sights, more friends, and have a grand old time. Cars are not only pretty, they still have a real function. Take your Van Gogh someplace and you do just that, but with a car ,it is a mutual aid action.

It is about time we recognized a car show for what it is--an art exhibition, not a visit to the cattlle barn at the state fair, Nobody would consider judging Rembrandt against Van Gogh, Chippendale against John Whitticomb, why do we need to judge Packard against Cadillac, Ford against Pontiac? Cars are at least as much art objects as canvas or furniture, with lots more in their favor. To appreciate art, you must see it, and also know how to tell a Picasso from grandpa's paint by number.

Why can't we just go to aour shows to enjoy ourselves . Knock off the hassel, quit playing "Oh, your restorer didn't do this or that", and appreciate each other's cars for what they are--pride and joy. Let's use the fight against those who intend to take our toys away from us."

 

 

A RETROSPECTIVE

In the Old Cars Weekly last December Ron Kowalki spoke about the trends and shifting focus in the old car hobby that he has seen in twenty years.

"The muscle car craze helped shift the old car hobby's focus from appreciation of the car itself to its "worth" or "investment potential." You might blame the gut of television collector vehicle auctions for promoting this monetary aspect, but I think it's more a natural progression that mirrors the rest of the capitalism-based society in which we live."

Hmmm.....

He continues.

"Another emerging trend, and one that I'm ecstatic about, is that original cars are getting their due. Call them legacy cars, unmolested or survivors, by whatever handle they're described as they have come on strong as a catagory at many collector vehicle events of late. While original-only is not a new trend in the old car hobby, it is new in that it has gained mass acceptance. Even four-door seans--- formerly picked last to the team based on the hierarchy of body styles ----are now revered if they are factory original."

I've been in the hobby over fifty years and this business more than thirty years (thus ruining a good hobby-----but that's another story) and seen many more changes as well.

 

BRITISH RACING GREEN

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of owning a British car, but want to know what it's like:

Next big rainstorm , wait till it's dark, rolldown all windows , leave off lights, heater, and wipers and go for a drive.

Stop at ever intersection and throw out a twenty dollar bill.

It's not exactly the same but it's real close.

No one has ever accused me of being politically correct.

Who should I attack next?

Fix Or Repair Daily Ford or Fix It Again Tony Fiat?

WHAT RECESSION?

(Assuming you are wealthy and love cars)


The results are in from the August big five Monterey auctions of high end collector cars and the figures speak for themselves.
Compare the total sales--
 
Bonhams:            2009 $13 million.    2010 $19 million.
 
Gooding & Co.:    2009 $ 50.7 million. 2010 $64.6 million.
 
Mecum:              2009 $13.8 million.  2010 $20 million.
 
Russo and Steele: 2009 $4.2 million.   2010 $8.1 million
 
RM:                   Highest total of all this year at $67 million
 
Autoweek quotes Bob Sass senior manager for media services at classic-car insurer Hagarty, "It was declared a recession-free zone in Monterey this week, as thousands of bidders, observers and regular car guys crowded into the tents, hotel ball-rooms and golf courses to look at- and bid on the thousands of cars for sale."
 
As you can see from Raders Relics inventory we cater to a more modest group.

 

As an editorialist I'm an equal opportunity offender and decidedly politically incorrect. I'm happy to publish any humorous redneck jokes to even the score. I don't think David Letterman will claim ownership of this but it supposedly came from him.

TOP TEN REASONS WHY THERE ARE NO BLACK NASCAR DRIVERS
#10 Have to sit upright while driving.
#9 Pistol won't stay under the front seat.
#8 Engine noise drowns out the rap music.
#7 Pit crew can't work on car and hold up pants at the same time.
#6 They keep trying to hijack Dale Earnhart Jr.
#5 Police cars on track interfere with race.
#4 No passenger seat for the Ho.
#3 No Cadillacs approved for competition.
#2 When they crash their cars they bail out and run.
And the number one reason why blacks can't be in NASCAR.........
#1 They can't wear their helmets sideways.

 

THIS IS A LETTER FROM BOB FORD OF VILLA PARK, CA. PUBLISHED IN "OLD CARS WEEKLY" JULY 8, 2010.

Wrecked Renault a Godsend.

It was in 1959 and I was in colllege in Los Angeles. My roommate was given a Renault Dauphine by his parents to use while he was going to college. Almost every week I recieived a call to pick him up at the dealer as his car was in the shop for repair (the dealership did not give loaners). I cannot remember all the problems, but one of the most unusual was that the steering wheel broke in two pieces. Also, the windshield wipers would come on without being turned on and could not be turned off. The transmission would stick in reverse. The braakes would lock while he was driving on the freeway and he would have angry drivers honking behind him. Also, there was always a fluid leak of some kind.

He tried to sell the car and had no buyers, no matter how low the asking price. In desperation, he finally took it to a high-crime area in Los Angeles, left the windows rolled down and the keys in the car. He went back a week later and the car was still there, but the gas tank was empty.

A few weeks later, he came home late at night and the parking structure was full so he parked it on the street. The next morning, he went out to go to school and the car was gone. He called the police to report the car stolen. The police told him it was not stolen. There was no overnight street parking and his car was towed to the impound lot, and there was a problem that he needed to address. He borrowed money from all his friends to get his car out of impound.

However, his luck was changing for the better. It seems something broke while his car was on the tow truck and it fell and was totally destroyed. The city was ready to pay him the full retail cost of the car. Never in history has anyone been more happy to have his car towed from a "no overnight parking" area.

 


WE LOVE OLD CARS BUT THERE'S A FEW THINGS WE DON'T MIND GIVING UP WHEN WE GET READY TO TAKE A LONG TRIP OR USE FOR DAILY COMMUTING. SUCH AS:

Bias ply tires
Grease fittings
Non dimming mirrors
Weak headlights
Vapor lock
Vinyl seats
Leaded gas
Tune ups
Overheating and boiling over
Pre-roll bars (front stabilizers)
Dynamos (generators)
6V systems
Oil bath air cleaners
No electric windshild defrosters
Vacume windshield wipers
No windshield washers
No adjustable wiper speeds
No seat belts
Sharp projectiles on dash board
Impaling steering columns
And if you're in the south of course, air conditioning

What have I missed?
(Don't worry, I still love old cars. Just thought we need to remember the other side)

 

DOES THE NAME ON YOUR CAR SAY SOMETHING ABOUT YOU?
 
The Dear Abby column in today's paper had a letter from a lady who said that when they traveled she and her husband passed the time coming up with the cars that fitted certain professions.

Such as:
Greek poet Homer would drive a Honda Odyssey.
A firefighter drives a Chevy Blazer.
An entomologist crawls through traffic in a Porsche Spyder (or Ferrari)
A meteorologist would drive a Honda Element.
An astronomer would drive a Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The optician would drive a Ford Focus.
Picasso would paint the town in his Nissan Cube.
The ornithologist drives his Ford Falcon.
 
Abby's readers grabbed the ball and sent in:
Jacques Cousteau has a Plymouth Barracuda.
King Arthur drives an Excalibur Phaeton.
Dog the Bounty Hunter has a Mercury Tracer.
Disney's dalmation hating Cruella of course drives a Cadillac Deville.
The warden drives a Ford Escape.
Clint Eastwood sports around in a Dodge Magnum.
Carl Sagan drove a Mercury Comet (or a Plymouth Satellite)
Bruce Jenner has a Javelin.
There are many others to think about. Send them to me and I'll publish them here.
Last but not least the Twelve Disciples, naturally, would have a Honda.
(All in one Accord)

 

ACRONYMS FOR CARS

Audi
Accelerates Under Demonic Influence
Always Unsafe Designs Implemented
All Unnecessary Devices Installed

BMW
Big Money Works
Bought My Wife
Brutal Money Waster

Buick
Big Ugly Indestructible Car Killer

Chevrolet
Can Hear Every Valve On Long Extended Trips
Cheap Hardly Efficient, Virtually Runs On Luck Every Time

Dodge
Damn Old Dirty Gas Eater
Drips Oil, Drops Grease Everywhere

Ford
Fix Or Repair Daily
Found On Road, Dead
Fast Only Rolling Downhill

GM
General Maintenance

GMC
Garage Man's Companion

Honda
Had One Never Did Again
Happy Owners Never Drive Anything else

Hyundai
Hope You Understand Nothing's Driveable And Inexpensive

Mazda
Most Always Zipping Dangerously Along

Oldsmobile
Old Ladies Driving Slowly Make Others Behind Infuriatingly Late Everyday
Overpriced, Leisurely Driven Sedan Made Of Buick's Irregular Leftover

Saab
Send Another Automobile Back

Toyota
Too Often Yankees Overprice This Auto

Volvo
Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object

VW
Virtually Worthless

 

DIDJA EVER NOTICE THE FUN OF SLOW CARS?

In a previous life I had a couple two cycle three cylinder mix-the-oil-in-the-gas Saabs. One was the rare GT with racing stripes and a Halda Speed Pilot for rallying. I had cut out the last muffler which was a sort of resonator so it had a wonderful racing sound not unlike some of today's crotch rockets. The two cycle with a power stroke on every revolution made it sound a lot faster than it was.

The point I wish to share here is that I had more fun squirting around in that car than any Ferrari or muscle car in all the years since.Have you ever noticed the Model T speedster or original Mini Cooper driver squeezing out every bit of his car's performance? He is invariably grinning like a fool while hardly breaking the law. Oh, what fun we have doing this. The same situation applied to some of the early Hondas, but that group has grown more powerful and faster so now they have become similar to today's sporty types. You can't begin to enjoy wringing out the performance unless you're on a race track or the autobahn. If you drive an M class BMW or any of the hotter Mustangs, Camaros, et al, it's like using a battleship to go duck hunting, not to mention the thoroughbred hitched to a milk wagon.

 

"Sports Car Market's Arizona Insiders Guide" has an article by John Stein that tells us -- NINE MUSCLE CAR SLEEPERS



1975 Chevrolet Corvette
The low point of Corvette horsepower rating, 165-HP. It was the last Vette convertible until 1986 and the engine can be built to be stronger if you wish. You end up with a $8000 to $20,000 car.

1962 Chrysler Newport
The coupe which can be bought for $2500 to $15,000 shares underpinnings with the 61 300C but has a 265-HP V8 plus the fancy instrument panel, push button transmission and cantilevered headlights.

1960 Ford Galaxie has a large greenhouse window area and was not popular at the time but has worn well in style. $5000 to $15,000--coupe preferred.

1964-1966 Ford Mustang
The earlier less muscled plain coupe (not fastback) with V8 can be had for $2500 to $15,000.

1964-1966 Plymouth Barracuda
Generally less appreciated, the first generation fastback is a nice smaller car with a 273ci V8 and still desirable with the famous forever running slant six. $2500-$15,000.

1968-1970 American Motors AMX
Came late to the muscle car race and the black sheep of the group for years, it could be had with a 315-HP 390-ci big block. It can be had for $22,000- $27,500, a fraction of what a big block Camaro will bring.

1964-1966 Dodge Dart
Another one late to the party, could be had in V8 in 1966 and actually won some races and began to rid itself of the "secretary's, school teacher's car" stigma. Plan on spending $10,000 to $20,000.

1964-1965 Chevrolet Malibu
Try to find the SS with a small block V8. The big blocks are too expensive. $10,000-$45,000.

1964-1965 Ford Falcon
The second issue with brick styling as opposed to the original bullet style can be had with a small block V8. A tidy car based on the same architecture as the Mustang. (Or more correctly the other way around since the Falcon came first) $5000-$25,000.

 

A FINACIAL EXPERT'S VIEWPOINT I DISSAGREE WITH

The Financial Times of August 29 2009 says:

“High-Octane Prices for Top Classic Cars Put Investors in Poll Position”

By John Reed in London
“ Someone who bought a rare Bugatti, Jaguar or Ferrari in top condition would have done better during the downturn than an investor in almost any other asset, industry observers say, including stocks, fine art or even gold.

“There has been a flight into real assets,” says Historic Automobile Group founder Dietrich Hatlapa, a former Baring Securities and ING banker and collector who designed the HAGI Top, a new index that tracks the prices of a cross-section of historic cars.

“People want something they can look at and touch in the evening, rather than a piece of paper in the bank.”

“While turnover at top classic car auctions has fallen since before the financial crisis, auction houses are still reporting brisk business, and setting records.”
The article continues........

“The HAGI index, which Mr Hatlapa designed with another former banker and which tracks 11 marques and 38 models, has risen by nearly 39 percent from it's launch at the beginning of 2008 to the end of July.”

“Artprice.com's Art Price Global Index fell by 29 percent in euro terms over the same period. The Liv-ex 100 Fine Wine index, tracking 100 sought-after wines fell by more than 10 percent. Spot gold prices have risen by about 15 percent since the beginning of 2008.”

From what I've seen, I find those HAGI index figures highly suspect. Bob Rader

PLAY THE MUSCLE CAR GAME AT YOUR OWN PERIL


From New York Times via Jalopnik by Murilee Martin October 11, 2009

You need nerves like bridge cables to play the muscle car auction game, as exemplified by the crazy up and downs of the famous Truppi-King and Tommy Kling Chevelle SS 454 convertible drag racer.
Back in 1970, Ralph King built an L6-equipped Chevelle convertible that utterly dominated the SS-EA class that season. After that, the car knocked around the country in your typical famous-race-car odyssey, eventually getting restored back to street-legal trim and selling for $1.2 million at Barrett-Jackson in 2006. Last month, the same car fetched....$264,000 at auction. What will it be worth when the financiopocalypse is over?

ARE AMERICANS GOING TO STOP LOVING THEIR CARS?


The just finished Woodward Cruise celebration of cars in Detroit was almost as big as ever even in this time of great economic uncertainty.

But what is the future of auto enthusiasm? Does the advent of computerized, alternative-fueled, utilitarian transport modules along with economic hard times and increasing federal and state control mean we will lose the spark of love that has been there in the past? Will the human drive to create something unique die? Will there be no more customizing done? No more modified power trains? You might as well ask will the human drive to create and individualize die.

The answer is heavens no.

We may not see how it's going to be done but you know that the human always adjusts to his environment and I just know there are kids right now playing with the bits and bytes and jiggering programs altering factory settings.
I can't even imagine what the cruises will look like in thirty years but I'm sure they will still be around.
How do the antiques fit in this situation?

The more drastic the changes the more value we put on what we lose, the more nostalgic we become. So I don't doubt the future of car collecting. Based on the fantastic changes taking place in the auto world there are going to be more and more people looking for the loves no longer available.

SECOND PAGE

From Funhumor on the net
What your car says about you
CONTINUED

Mitsubishi Diamonte - I don't know what it means either.
Nissan 300ZX -I have yet to complete my divorce proceedings.
Oldsmobile Cutlass -I just stole this car and I'm going to make a fortune off the parts.
Peugeot 505 Diesel -I am on the EPA's Ten Most Wanted List.
Plymouth Neon -I sincerely enjoy doing the Macarena.
Pontiac Trans Am -I have a switchblade in my sock.
Porsche 911 Turbo -I have a three inch thingie.
Porsche 944 -I am dating a big haired woman that otherwise would be inaccessible to me.
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow -I think Pat Buchannon is a bit too liberal.
Saturn SC2 -(See Honda Civic)
Subaru Legacy -I have always wanted a Japanese car even more inferior than Isuzu.
Toyota Camry -I am still in the closet.
Volkswagon Beetle -I still watch Partridge Family reruns.
Volkswagon Cabriolet -I am out of the closet.
Volkswagon Microbus -I am tripping right now.
Volvo 740 Wagon -I am frightened of my wife.

FROM FUNEHUMOR ON THE NET
Dated but still fun.


WHAT YOUR CAR SAYS ABOUT YOU

Acura- I have always wanted to own the Buick of sports cars
Acura NSX- I am impotent
Audi 90 – I enjoy putting out engine fires
Buick Park Avenue – I am older than 34 of the 50 states
Cadillac Eldorado _ I am a very good Mary Kay salesperson
Cadillac Seville – I am a pimp
Chevrolet Camaro _ I enjoy beating the hell out of people
Chevrolet Chevette – I like seeing peoples reactions when I tell them I have a 'Vette
Chevrolet Corvette – I'm in a midlife crisis
Chevrolet El Camino – I am leading a militia to overthrow the government
Chrysler Cordoba – I dig the rich Corinthian leather
Datsun 280Z – I have a kilo of cocaine in my wheel well
Dodge Dart – I teach third grade special education and I voted for Eisenhower
Dodge Daytona – I delivered pizza for four years to get this car
Ferrari Testarossa – I am known to prematurely ejaculate
Ford Fairmont – (See Dodge Dart)
Ford Mustang – I slow down to 85 in school zones
Ford Crown Victoria – I enjoy having people slow down to 55 and change lane when
I pull up behind them
Geo Storm – I wil start the eleventh grade in the fall
Geo Tracker – I will start the twelfth grade in the fall
Honda Del Sol – I have always said half a convertible is better than no convertible at all
Honda Civic – I have just graduated and have no credit
Honda Accord – I lack any originality and am basically a lemming
Infinity Q45 – I am a physician with 17 malpractice suits pending
Iszuzu Impulse – I do not give a damn about J.D. Power or his reports
Jaguar XJ6 – I am so rich I will pay $60,000 for a car that is in the shop 280 days a year
Kia Sephia – I learned nothing from the failure of the Daihatsu Corp.
Lamborghini Countach – I have only one testicle
Lincoln Town Car – I live for bingo and covered dish suppers
Mercury Grand Marquis – See above
Mercedes 500SL – I will beat you up if you ask me for an autograph
Mercedes 560 SEL – I have a daughter named Bitsy and a son named Cole
Mazda Miata – I do not fear being decapitated by an eighteen wheeler
MGB – I am dating a mechanic
TO BE CONTINUED ….............

BEST CAR-SHOW HORROR STORY
From Car And Driver January 2009
From Larry and Linda Adams

Several years ago, we were accepted for entry in the Pebble Beach Concours. I parked our 1947 Lincoln Continental coupe in our class, with an 810 Cord, a Brewster Opera Car, and some other really exquisite cars. It was going to be a tough class. After wiping down the car for 10th time, I decided to take a break and sat in the front seat with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.


Halfway through the sports section, I lowered the paper and saw a man at the front of the car with both hands on the hood ornament ! My first thought was to start the car and run over him. Sanity prevailed, and I hit the horn ring instead. The car had extremely loud horns. As the hood-ornament fondler fell over backward, the white cane on his arm came into view.
Three hours later, the judges arrived. Two of the three judges were Strother MacMinn and Phill Hill. Phil had entered his 1931 4.5 Blower Bentley in the concourse.


While checking the operation of lights, turn signals, etc., the unknown third judge asked me to operate the power windows. On this Lincoln they were operated by an electric pump with a brake-fluid reservoir mounted on the fire wall. I opened the driver's-side door and lowered the window. As I pushed the button to raise the window, the hydraulic cylinder in the door sprang a leak. The judges shoe was directly in the stream of brake fluid leaking from the drain hole in the bottom of the door. I saw it, he didn't.


I spoke to Phil Hill after the event. He told me that virtually the only difference between our first-place car and the second-place car was that we had authentic cloth-covered wiring under the dash whereas the other car had plastic-covered wiring!
No mention of the shoe.


Final score:
One blind guy knocked down. One judge's shoe ruined.

IS THE THRILL GONE?

In the May 30th issue of The Wall Street Journal an emotional article by P.J. O'Rourke is titled "The End of The Affair."
He is talking about the end of America's love affair with the automobile; how it has become more a utility and no more a romantic relationship. He says there is a similarity between the horse and horsepower. Cars replaced horses in our hearts. "Once we caught a glimpse of a well-turned Goodyear, checked out the curves of the bodywork and gaped at that swell pair of headlights, well the old grey mare was not what she used to be. We embarked upon life in the fast lane with our new paramour. It was a great love story of man and machine. The road to the future was paved with bliss."

When we first rode horses there was a connection between the man and the steed. It was a source of power, the prestige of a noble mount. A matter of status and being cool. He blames the current situation to some degree on pointy-headed busybodies who don't care about climate change, gas mileage or whether we survive a head on with one of their tax-sucking mass-transit projects. The car has become an appliance, an office, rec room, communications hub, breakfast nook and recycling bin.They want us to hate our car. "How proud and handsome would Bucephalas look, or Traveler or Rachel Alexander, with seat and shoulder belts, air bags, 5 MPH bumpers and a maze of pollution-control equipment under the tail?" he asks.

The long article should be read by old car lovers. It is elequent, biting and humorous as well.

BEST CAR-SHOW HORROR STORY
From Car And Driver January 2009
From Larry and Linda Adams


Several years ago, we were accepted for entry in the Pebble Beach Concours. I parked our 1947 Lincoln Continental coupe in our class, with an 810 Cord, a Brewster Opera Car, and some other really exquisite cars. It was going to be a tough class. After wiping down the car for 10th time, I decided to take a break and sat in the front seat with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.

Halfway through the sports section, I lowered the paper and saw a man at the front of the car with both hands on the hood ornament ! My first thought was to start the car and run over him. Sanity prevailed, and I hit the horn ring instead. The car had extremely loud horns. As the hood-ornament fondler fell over backward, the white cane on his arm came into view.

Three hours later, the judges arrived. Two of the three judges were Strother MacMinn and Phill Hill. Phil had entered his 1931 4.5 Blower Bentley in the concourse.

While checking the operation of lights, turn signals, etc., the unknown third judge asked me to operate the power windows. On this Lincoln they were operated by an electric pump with a brake-fluid reservoir mounted on the fire wall. I opened the driver's-side door and lowered the window. As I pushed the button to raise the window, the hydraulic cylinder in the door sprang a leak. The judges shoe was directly in the stream of brake fluid leaking from the drain hole in the bottom of the door. I saw it, he didn't.

I spoke to Phil Hill after the event. He told me that virtually the only difference between our first-place car and the second-place car was that we had authentic cloth-covered wiring under the dash whereas the other car had plastic-covered wiring!

No mention of the shoe.

Final score:

One blind guy knocked down. One judge's shoe ruined.

DIDJA EVER NOTICE?

A while back I wrote about how the magazines road testing cars were all hyper on the number and placement of cup holders. Come to think about it now it was probably twenty years ago. Anyway, I find they are off on a new tangent now. They are intent on reporting to us (Like it's very important) just how fast the convertible's top goes up and down. (twenty seconds is common) Like, who cares, really. Did you ever wonder how fast your intended new convertible's top took to retract? Never mind the warranty or the mileage or the comfort or the mechanical specs.


When I was first buying convertibles it took just as long as you wanted. If it was raining your date and you jumped out and got that sucker up lickety- split. I recently sold a 39 Buick four door convertible that two men and a boy working in unison and very carefully, would spend at least five minutes to do the job. After practice it could be done in two and a half minutes.
Ah, the good old days.........


From Classic Cars December 2008 Simon Kidston Opinion column says Never Mind Profit:



"There's not much cheer in the press at the moment- you'd be excused for wondering if the world is about to cave in. Yet this morning news landed on my desk from a well-known Swiss Ferrari historian that a 375 MM Pinin Farina Spyder has changed hands for $9 million."


"My advice? Many of us have been here before and I'm sure it won't be the last time either. If you own classic cars mainly as an investment, and have done so for any length of time, then you've probably done rather nicely already and now's probably a good time to take the money and look for the next Big Thing."


"If on the other hand, you're more interested in driving , polishing or just dreaming about your four-wheeled fantasy, forget about profit and loss and get on with making money in your day job. After all, what else are you going to spend your hard earned gains on? Sure, we all enjoy living somewhere comfortable, but is that house extension you hardly ever use going to give you more pleasure than Sunday drives in a classic sports car?"

Last month I asked you if cars ever talk to you as they often do me and a reply came from Ramon Littell, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida. In the early 60s he had a 1957 Ford Sunliner with 312 V8, 3 speed and overdrive. It was in Dresden Blue and he still has a picture of it. Just looking at the photo he hears the car say, "No matter what you get, you'll never have one as beautiful as I was."

Let's hear from more of you.


THE WEB SITE JALOPNIC REMINDS ME


Many years ago in one of these editorials I explained that we old car lovers hear cars talking to us.
From the back row of a used car lot in Atlanta many long years ago a 1935 Ford Tudor called to me saying “I may look run down at the heels now but I was once beautiful and I can be again with a little help from you.” It's happened to me since—with a 1947 Desoto ($275) a 1950 Packard ($250) and many others. It's still happening but the prices aren't anywhere near the same of course.

What does your car say to you?

“Please replace the oil I left on the floor during the last week” or, “Don't forget I prefer Hi-Test”

Let's hear from you . What do they say to you?

I'm liable to publish your thoughts here.

 

IN THE FEBRUARY 2, 2009 ISSUE OF FORBES MAGAZINE
PAUL JOHNSON IN HIS COLUMN CURRENT EVENTS WRITES--

ART IS FOR LOVE, NOT INVESTMENT

“In times like these when wealthy people are at a loss as to where to safely put their money, persuasive voices are often raised: Invest in art. That's dangerous advice- and I know a little about the subject. My father was an artist and the headmaster of an art school. I was practically born in a studio and heard art discussed throughout my childhood. I have drawn and painted since the age of 3. Much of my life I've spent visiting art collections the world over, buying drawings and painting and writing about art. But I think investing in art to make money is a fool's game. The art market—now enormous and global—is crowded with smooth-talking con men (and women) who make Wall Street fraudsters look like amateurs. Art values are determined by unpredictable trends that are rarely linked to quality. And who's the arbiter of quality anyway?”


“If you love works of art, read up on the subject and visit museums. Then buy because you want to possess certain objects and have them in your home to look at and enjoy. But don't collect in order to make money. You won't. And you'll have a painful, anxious time of it as well.”

Johnson goes on to say that he must admit there are a few examples of people who have proved outstanding art collectors.
Among them--- Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919)
King Charles I of England and especially the de' Medicis

I can only say the obvious-- Collecting cars fits this image just as well. Buy what you love. Don't even think about making money.

HOW OLD IS YOUR CAR IN PEOPLE YEARS?

Like dogs and fine wine, cars age differently than humans. Now there is a formula to tell us how old your car is in human years
Thanks to BLUE DONUT.COM (THEIR FORMULA)


A simple calculation can tell you your car's age in people years. Take the mileage on the car's odometer and divide by the model year. The result is your car's age if it were a person.


For example my 1977 Chevy pickup that has 93,000 miles (true first time around) is just 47. Still in the shank of life.

CLASSIC MUSTANG OWNER ASSESSES THE AUTO INDUSTRY

From The Wall Street Journal December 2008 by Kate Linebaugh

Mark Mosteller, a retired high school physics teacher, stood in front of his red and white Mustang, pondering the future of the U.S. auto industry.

“You know what I’d say? Take your money out of stocks and invest it in this,” gesturing to his car at a Mustang show before the reveal of the 2010 Mustang.

He cashed in his IRA in 1995 and invested the $15,000 restoring his car. It’s now worth about $72,000.

“I raised two kids in it, drove daily to work for 25 years, and of course, it was my hobby,” Mr. Mosteller, 76, said as the sun set on the Santa Monica airport showgrounds.

Joking aside, he looked out and said the redesigned Mustang is the wrong direction from where the government wants the industry to go. “These cars are the opposite of green,” he said. He worries about the economy and the future, and about government oversight. “But we’ll always drive on the highways.”
RADERS COMMENTS

Note that he did this some thirteen years ago. You can’t take your money out of the stock market now to put in anything else because the money you have there has gone down so much it’s a pittance. Don’t you wish you could have heard this news at least six months ago?

If things keep going the way they are now his car isn’t going to be worth any $72,000 either. Methinks I already see a softening of the classic car market. The real test will come in January at the big auctions in Scottsdale. Keep tuned here.
ALSO

Last month I mentioned words that are being lost in our lifetime (Hi-Test is now Premium) asking for your input.

Steve Sklute in Tallahassee says, “Anybody with a 1955 Ford that had dual exhausts from the factory, with any luck could convince mom and dad that Smittys would improve fuel economy. What a beautiful sound!”

Let us hear some more from you.

HUMOR CHANGES WITH AGE

I really hadn’t noticed the economic problems-- Until yesterday. I went out to buy a new electric toaster –And they gave me a free Bank. I told that story at a gathering or ROMEOs (retired old men eating out) while in the mountains of NC. It got lots of laughs. Came back to Orlando and told it to my kids and their kids. Nothing. No laughs. They have no memory of banks giving out toasters when you opened a new account. Which made me remember gas stations giving out glasses Amazing how time changes when you’re not noticing. I call it Hi Test gas. They call it Premium. Let’s start a list of the words that have changed or been lost during our lifetime. What do you miss? Running boards? I want to hear from you.

THE ECONOMY HAS GOT OUR ATTENTION


Even if we weren't looking at the most important election in our lifetime ( I feel free to say that since I'm older than the majority of you) there's something much more important that is afoot. The future of our way of life is threatened by worldwide economic chaos. What kind of attitude should one maintain in these circumstances? How should I, as an individual react to what the world is presenting? ( More directly the congress, the media, elected leaders) Our reaction to the presented problems is what makes the difference between a Chicken Little and a poised person in control of himself and his situation. I'm not sure where the truth is, and I don't believe I'm hearing anything but spin from the politicos as well as the bureaucrats. This should abate hopefully after the election but the much bigger problem of the economy will still occupy us and the unwashed masses who never took Econ 101 (and many who did) will be unable to understand what is going to happen.

Washington is going to have to run the presses around the clock just printing money. There is no other scenario possible. This means we are going to see inflation like we never dreamed possible in America. Your dollars are going to be worth very little. This means the hard assets you own will become the best investments you have. This includes many things, your home, land, equipment, gold, and many types of collectibles like art, coins, stamps, barbed wire, etc. This includes CARS. ( You knew I had to eventually get to this point)

Remember Rudyard Kipling's, "If you can keep your head when all those about you are losing their's and blaming it on you, you'll be a man my son."
I welcome your thoughts on the collectible car market and anything even remotely related (Like the subject above)

You don't even have to buy one of Raders Relics

HEY IT'S 1987 AGAIN............


On the weekend of June 26-29 2008 RM Auctions sold a collection of mostly #1 and #2 cars from the Art Astor collection in Anaheim California. It was a large collection too- over 200 cars. The point being it wasn't just a few isolated freakish results, but a large cross section of super nice cars. Again, I note they were only first class cars and not just heavy classics or just muscle cars or just foreign exotics, but some garden variety cars were included. The prices were out of sight.I don't know if there were any new records set but I can tell you the results seem to perfectly parallel what occurred in 1987 when the stock market fell 500 points in one day. Speculators got out of the usual investments in paper (stocks, bonds, et al) and went after collectibles. (Hard goods like old Dutch masters paintings early american furniture and OLD CARS) This led to the 59 Eldorado convertibles and Ferraris going impossibly high for the normal collector and about three years later the speculators taking a deserved bath when real estate fell and the bubbble including V12 Jaguars, Eldorados and Ferraris burst. These cars are only now, years later, achieving their previous levels.

This is going to be interesting to watch.

IF THIS ECONOMY KEEPS GOING THE WAY IT IS NOW....

Just watch. If you remember, not a long time ago we were all aghast that the Japanese were buying up expensive American real estate. Now we're crying because Budweiser is becoming a foreign company. The American dollar has lost so much value that our stuff is worth more to the foreigners than us. I remember a time when our best collectible cars were going abroad--being lost to us. All because of the dollar vs. the pound or yen.

Here we go again.

And globalization is assisting it.

We're going to lose some of our most valuable cars.

But don't worry because the worm always turns. The Japanese lost money when they had to sell off the American real estate and their Ferrari Testa Rosas.

And there seems to be a similarity between the economy and the weather. It always changes. I predict the cars we are about to lose (It's always the cream of the crop too) will be back if you and I live long enough to see it. Fifty years ago I wouldn't have been so sanguine about this, but age and maturity does give one a certain calm in crisis.

Plus, if globalization has anything to do with it we're going to see the major foreign currencies fall soon, not just in sympathy to the dollar but they are going to be paying more for their oil, copper, and other commodities just like we are.

It's a little late to jump on the bandwagon buying gold, but it's not too late to invest in a collectible car. Other collectibles are still growing. Rare watches are hitting new records at auction. Christies recently sold a Monet for $37,000,000.

From the January issue of CAR COLLECTOR, Edward Herrmann talks about our DNA........

" There is something about automobiles that simply speaks to us on a deeper level than the need to move from point A to point B. Is it nostalgia? Surely- the longing to return to a time that seems simpler and more manageable, kinder, and more gracious. But usually, if one if one has become successful enough to afford an old car or what is more imortant, to restore one, we want to experience even at a distance of time, a more elegant life. But to be honest, it isn't just elegance or style or refinement or even excitement. It's all of these things.

............The essential ingredient in our love for this hobby: the human response to something authentic. We seek in these wonderful machines an experience that satisfies us intellectually, emotionally, and physically. An experience that isn't fake and prepackaged as so much is in contemporary life. And from the smiles and shouts of good will from everyone we pass on a tour, I think all of us owners should get a tax credit for contributing to the psychological wellbeing of this wonderful country. I don't look for this to happen anytime soon- our lawmakers don't seem to have much imagination. Still, we have the cars, and we have the fun, and we have the friendships. And on the whole, I have to say it's a wonderful life."

It's nice to see a respected member of the hobby express the thoughts you have seen expressed here in our old editorials. Check them out when you have time to waste. Just click on archives. They go back nearly ten years, some maudlin, some humorous.( While we've been in business over thirty years we've only been on the net for about ten)

IT'S FINALLY HAPPENED
I AM PAYING MORE FOR A TANK OF GASOLINE NOW THAN I HAVE PAID FOR CARS IN THE PAST

(And it's not just because I'm old)

 

This was shared with us by David Donaldson in Orlando


How To Drive In New Jersey

1. First, you must learn how to pronounce Newark....It is New-erk, not New-ark.
(Actually, it's pronounced 'NORK'.)

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on the turnpike is
85 mph. On the Garden State Parkway it's 105 or 110. Anything less is considered 'Wussy.'

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However, in Monmouth County , SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.

6. Never honk at anyone. EVER. It's another offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit "more exciting".

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, cats, barrels, cones, celebs, rubber-neckers, shredded tires, cell-phoners, deer and other road kill, and the homeless feeding on any of these items.

9. Mapquest does not work here -- none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do. And all the Turnpike EZ pass lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been 'accidentally activated.'

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be 'flipped off' accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.

12. Do not try to estimate travel time -- just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday, and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.

 

DRIVING IN THE MIDWEST **
From funhumor.com


1. When the light turns green you have 3 more seconds to go throught the intersection.
2. It is not necessary to completely change lanes to pass another vehicle.
3.You are required to keep a two-tenths-of-a-second distance between you and the car in front.
4. Crosswalks are painted on the road purely for decoration.
5. You are required to speed up if it appears somebody will be changing lanes to pass in front of you.
6. Turn signals... purely optional. (Mainly because of rule #5.)
7. The actual speed limit is 20 mph faster than the posted limit.
8. Parking lots: Natures perfect shortcut.
9. At STOP signs, you must slow down to 20 mph and be prepared to stop if you see a police car.
10. People crossing the street are assumed to be walking fast enough to be out of your lane by the time you get there.
11. If you are waiting at a red light, and there is nobody there to see you go through it, did you break the law?

** Note from Rader: - Or the north or south or east....I kinda agree with #11-Like the treee that falls and nobody there to hear it.

 

THE CAR THAT GOT AWAY

Is the title of an article by Jennifer Saranow in the January 11 2008 copy of the Wall Street Journal about the lengths men will go to find the car they once loved.

I guess it’s only logical. It’s even more difficult to go back to our first human love, but not impossible to find our first vehicle.

“Middle-aged men are going to extraordinary lengths to locate the actual vehicles they drove decades ago. They are trolling online car classifieds, cold-calling junkyards and hiring lost-car detectives to help. When they get desperate, they’re begging friends in law enforcement to run serial numbers and even sending instant messages to strangers who live near the last known person to own the car.”

Excuse me while Dr. Rader, the philosopher takes over.

This phenomenon belongs with others just as important in today’s society like-

The fact that people consider it normal that the majority of the good looking women in LA are augmented.

The fact that Viagra and Botox are main line everyday normal.

The fact that families with children aren’t eating supper together.

Let’s get a sense of balance here. What brought this country it’s incredibly high standard of living is being lost . We have the luxury of time to worry about things that should be unimportant while we forget the values that have brought us to this point.
Ok, ok, self centeredness and vanity aren’t entirely new in human experience.

And truth be known , the chances of me finding a certain 49 Ford convertible after 50 years is impossible.

A word of caution to you who may be searching the that certain car. Drive another one of the same type first. It’s a fact of life that memories do exaggerate and romanticize things. You will be sobered quickly when you try to get the larger you into the tiny MGTF or hit the first corner at highway speed in the ox cart suspension of a 59 Flip-top Ford.

If you are sober and still love old cars we’re still here for you.

 

IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF, OR, A WORD TO THE WISE

After over thirty years in this business I can at least look back now and report some  things that may be of some interest to those newer in the hobby.

I never paid attention to what my elders told me when I was a sprout myself, so I really don’t expect anybody to pay much attention to what I espouse here, but do you remember what happened in 1987 when the stock market fell 500 points in one day? Many investors took their money out of the market and what did they do with it? Not all, but many decided to invest in collectables. Collectables like fine art, antique American furniture, and, yes, old cars. The values of collectable cars went up drastically. Now I realize there are some dissimilarities between 1987 and the situation today but there are also some similarities. Basically the money is coming out of stocks and people don’t want to just let it sit there not earning something or at least giving some opportunity for pleasure, which they certainly aren’t getting watching their investment in the stock market  go down. You can’t enjoy looking at the numbers go down on the monthly statement from your broker. You can at least look at and drive and have fun with your Packard or Model A while it might just go up in value too.

So I predict we’re going to see some rank amateurs bidding at the big auctions and driving up prices. Except for the muscle cars which are finally showing signs of deserved weakness, but that’s another subject.

1911 OLDSMOBILE LIMITED 7-PASSENGER TOURING

This car was the subject of an article in Sports Car Market’s January issue by Miles Collier.

He discusses the strange way we value originality versus perfection. Here we have an example of an unrestored genuine barn find to compare with the 1912 Limited that sold at Otis Chandler’s estate auction a year ago. That car was seen as “the finest and most desirable in existence” a very expensive restoration. It sold for $1,250,000.

The 1911 car sold at the recent William Swigart auction for $1,650,000.

Apparently we’re finally beginning to see greater appreciation in the marketplace for historic integrity. In the past perfect operating capability was more valued. The perfect restoration mechanically and cosmetically was the most valuable car. The car needing a total restoration was a pitiful heap. Collectors could only see immense amounts of costs to make the car correct.

This situation has been the opposite of the scene in other collectable markets for some time. Furniture, silver, porcelain, firearms, clocks and others like scientific instruments have been valued for their original patina. You only need to watch PBS’s Antiques Road Show to hear an expert explain to the unfortunate owner of an early American highboy that if she had left it with all its poor looking worn finish it would be worth $80,000 instead of just $10,000 now. Sure it looks beautiful with the new brass drawer pulls, hand made tapered legs and gloss, but spending $6000 has cost her $70,000.

Collier says, “By erasing the evidence of history, the car loses its identity as a historical object, which is the only real value in the first place. Without evidence of time, what does a real object offer the collector that a perfect replica does not?”

Obviously the collector car market has matured to takes its place along side the other older groups like numismatists and philatelists. Next thing you know we’ll have our own fancy name too

MORE BUYERS IN THE MARKETPLACE
By Gary Anderson
From Sports Car Marketplace, December 2007

Who buys collectible cars? Baby Boomers, that's who. When the boys in uniform got home from WWII in 1945, after postponing marriage for four years, they had one thing on their minds. The inevitable result was that the birth rate immediatly skyrocketed. As prosperity took hold in the early 1950s, plans for a second, third, even fourth child filled new homes in the suburbs.

By 1964, considered the last year of the baby boom, four out of every ten Americans were under the age of 20. This is the biggest single age group in the history of the world.

This was also the first generation that grew up with a garage by every house and an automobile, or two, in every garage. So we shouldn't be surprised that the Boomers are trying to recapture the magic times of their teen-age years through period automobiles

They are at the age when they have spare time, spare income, and spare garage space with which to indulge their hobby.

Bottom line: More customers than ever before are signing up for bidders badges at the big classic car auctions and roaming the internet looking for bargains in the cars they aspired to own during their teen-age years. Furthermore, this wave of first-time buyers won't abate for another five to ten years, when the last member of the Baby Boom reach their fifth decade of life.

Attention Baby Boomers:
Raders Relics is ready for you. Check out our inventory.

 

AN EXCERPT FROM THE FEBRUARY 2007 SPORTS CAR MARKET BY THOR THORSON

A friend of mine is an antique dealer who now deals in collector cars and he taught me what I consider the most basic rule of collecting: What was special then is special now: what was ordinary then may be rare now, but it's not special.

If you are going to collect old things and are concerned with the investment aspects, always buy things that were "special" when they were new. Steuben crystal will always be more desirable than Depression glass: a Ferrari will be a better investment than a Fiat. I find it useful to define this concept by adding rankings, sort of accumulating points for various characteristics. The most valuable set is for things that were special, even famous, in their own time (Ferrari GTO).
The second set is for things that were associated with special people or events (Clark Gable's Duesenberg), while a third can be assigned to simple rarity (a 3¢ stamp with the airplane printed upside down may just be a piece of paper, but it's the only one).

With something that can be played with, like a car, the question of how much and how easily you can play with it becomes vital in determining desirability. By looking at that factor you can get a pretty good feel for where virtually any collectable should fit.

Thorson says it well. Raders Relics has been saying it for thirty years now. Nice to see someone else independantly confirming my thoughts.

 

Eyes on the Road

The Wall Street Journal of Aug 21 has a column, "Eyes on the Road" by Joseph B. White. He discusses a subject we've covered here a couple times already. He quotes some respected people in the hobby and it's nice to find they are confirming what I've been saying.

Here are some excerpts.....
"So 25 years from now, what will classic car fanatics be parading down Woodward Avenue or bidding on at Pebble Beach? What cars will emerge from beneath oily rags to delight some middle-aged buff in 2032? It's not an easy question. There have been some fairly severe automotive-design droughts during the past 25 years or so. Will someone who discovers a 1982 Chevrolet Citation under a drop cloth in the old barn experience some form of excitement-- unless that person happens to need something to run in a demolition derby?

Still experts in the business of automotive culture, design and collecting say there will be a vibrant classic car scene years from now, particularly if car fans broaden their minds.

At the high end, the key will as always, be rarity. Exotics such as the Bugatti Veyron, limited run Ferraris and Porsches will likely grace the Pebble Beach Auctions. More attainable cars could find favor as well, The Datsun 240Z, Dodge Viper, Buick GNX and limited special Mustangs.

Also Corvettes Z06, Chrysler 300 SRT8, Viper, Prowler, convertible PT Cruiser, Cadillac CTS V, Audi's original TT, new Beetle and Mini Cooper S. Future Woodward Dream Cruises could have crazy hot Hondas. One challenge will confront preservationists: Maintaining and replacing the onboard computers. There will be a business for someone who can build a generic computer, plug and play, to allow a current car to keep rolling 25 years from now. People collect from their youth." We already see some  starting to collect AMC Pacers, Pintos, et al.

 

Subject: A/C-- Betcha didn't know.

The Goldberg brothers - Norman, Hiram and Maxwell - invented and developed the first automobile air conditioner.    On 17 July 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97 degrees.  The brothers walked into old man Henry Ford's office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him they were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.  Henry was curious and invited them into his office.  They refused and, instead, asked him to come to their car in the parking lot.  They then persuaded him to get into the car, which was about 130 degrees, turned on the air condition and cooled the car off immediately. 

The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3 million for the patent.  They refused saying they would settle for $2 million but wanted the recognition of having a lable which read, "The Goldberg Air Condition" on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed.   

Old Ford was more than just a bit anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put their name on a couple million Ford autos.  They haggled back and forth for two hours and finally agreed on $4 million and that just their first names would be shown.  So, even today, all Ford auto air conditioners show on the controls the names, "Norm, Hi, and Max."

 

GAS PAINS
From Forbes June 18, 2007

High pump prices are not reducing demand very much because they are not imposing anything like the economic pain alleged by politicians. For instance, if we adjust nominal gasoline prices in 1949 (27 cents per gallon) by inflation, we get a price of $1.90 per gallon in today’s terms. If we further adjust those prices by mean disposable income, we find that gasoline prices would have to be $6.68 per gallon before they were taking the same bite out of our wallets as they were in 1949. In 1962- a year writ large in the popular imagination as the quintessential year of muscle cars and cheap gasoline thanks to the movie American Graffiti-gasoline prices averaged 31 cents per gallon. When we factor changes in disposable income, today’s gas would have to cost $4.48 to be a comparable burden.

Jerry Taylor, Cato Institute

FUTURE COLLECTABLES, DO YOU AGREE?

Someone we wouldn't expect has picked out the ten most collectable American cars that you can buy right now.

AOL no less has made it's choices anyway and I don't necessarily agree with them in all cases, but it deserves thought and I'd be interested in your opinions, both pro and con and any alternates you would suggest.
They are:

2000 Plymouth Prowler (Why not other years?)
2007 Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible (No other of the special Mustangs?)
2002 Camaro 35th Anniversary Edition, ditto Firebird 35th same (Seriously?)
2006 Mustang Shelby Hertz GTH
2000-2007 Corvette Indy Pace car/ 50th Anniversary Edition and other commemorative editions
2000-2007 Dodge Viper
2007 Cadillac XLR-V (And no CTS-V?)
2006 Ford GT
2006 Chevrolet SSR (Why not 2005 too? It's got the same bigger engine)
2000-2007 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep SRT cars (All of them?)

So what do you think? What did they leave out? What shouldn't be here? Why?
Reply to - therelic@theraders.net

 

From The Wall Street Journal May 4, 2007

By Robert Frank.

"Rich Investors Deploy Money-Management Skills On Duck Decoys, Doorstops"

"The boom in collectibles is reaching unprecedented -and some say ridiculous- heights. And it's not just bottles of 1947 Cheval Blanc that are shattering price records. With a growing number  of rich people looking for rare objects that few others can own, prices are surging for everything from stamps to toy banks, duck decoys and Chinese snuff bottles.

Some of the buyers are longtime collectors who have been pursuing their quirky pastimes for years. Yet auctioneers and sellers say the real change in these markets is being driven by a new breed of buyer: young, newly rich financial traders and entrepreneurs who are using their massive cash piles and sophisticated business savvy to stake big claims in obscure markets. To some of these buyers, collectibles aren't just accessories for the mantelpiece: They're tradable  assets, just like stocks, bonds or derivatives."
 
Chinese snuff bottles? Doorstops? And to think that when we first went in this business with old cars thirty years ago, antique car collectors were considered a bit odd. Now we're astute investors. How nice.

 

FROM CLICK AND CLACK THE TAPPET BROTHERS ON NPR

You probably know of Tom and Ray Magliosi from their radio show or weekly newspaper column.

They have a term "Heapdom".
Heapdom is defined as that period of time when your car is inexorably sliding toward the junk heap. Heapdom begins when you can no longer simply toss the keys to someone. Once the keys have to be accompanied by special instructions (i.e., "don't forget to check the oil every time you get gas." or "You have to bang twice on the hood and jiggle the shifter before turning the key"), you have entered heapdom.

This defines almost every car I've ever owned. In fact most of them were that way before I bought them.

Perhaps they don't understand the working of the old car lover's mind. The cars talk to us telling us that they can be great again with a little help from us. We listen and we act.

 

AN EXCERPT FROM THE FEBRUARY 2007 SPORTS CAR MARKET BY THOR THORSON 

A friend of mine is an antique dealer who now deals in collector cars and he taught me what I consider the most basic rule of collecting: What was special then is special now: what was ordinary then may be rare now, but it's not special.

If you are going to collect old things and are concerned with the investment aspects, always buy things that were "special" when they were new. Steuben crystal will always be more desirable than Depression glass: a Ferrari will be a better investment than a Fiat. I find it useful to define this concept by adding rankings, sort of accumulating points for various characteristics. The most valuable set is for things that were special, even famous, in their own time (Ferrari GTO).

The second set is for things that were associated with special people or events (Clark Gable's Duesenberg), while a third can be assigned to simple rarity (a 3¢  stamp with the airplane printed upside down may just be a piece of paper, but it's the only one).

With something that can be played with, like a car, the question of how much and how easily you can play with it becomes vital in determining desirability. By looking at that factor you can get a pretty good feel for where virtually any collectable should fit. 

Thorson says it well. Raders Relics has been saying it for thirty years now. Nice to see someone else independantly confirming my thoughts.

 

CAR NAMESI don’t know about you but I find it hard to understand why FoMoCo would change the Lincoln Zephyr (the recent one, not the 1936 version) to a MKZ. The Zephyr was a good old name and we were just getting used to it. Worse yet , they seem to want to refer to it as the em kay zee when we have been accustomed to Lincoln’s using the Mk to mean Mark. Seems like change for the sake of change, and for the worse too.Cadillac is doing a better job at this with their CTS, STS, SRX and so on. They have a great name sitting unused with LaSalle. I really miss the good old days of names that were names, even if they didn’t always make sense. I don’t recall ever seeing a celebrity driving a Chevy Celebrity. To the extreme one doesn’t see a cougar driving a Mercury either.Names that suit the car’s nature are practical—Dodge’s Ram, Land Rover, Land Cruiser, Explorer.Some are ambitious and descriptive as well---Cobra, Viper, Barracuda, Diablo.Some are poetic and somehow cool too—Azure, Silver Ghost, Phantom and Phaeton. The latter, a VW market failure in America, is a theft of a regular word that means a four door convertible without roll-up windows. But then doesn’t someone else call their convertible a roadster when we all know a roadster is not a convertible, one has side curtains and the other roll-up windows.And we don’t appreciate it when they make a calculated attempt to play on class consciousness, social insecurities or glamorous lifestyles with—Diplomat, Executive, Country Club or Versailles.Another poor group is the cutsey misspellings—Luv or Aztek.
We’re ahead of the Japanese though. At the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show they had:

Subaru Gravel Express
Mazda Bongo Friendee
Nissan Big Thumb Harmonized Truck
Mazda Scrum
Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear Cruising Active
Daihatsu Naked
Mazda Proceed Marvie
Honda Life Dunk
Toyota Deliboy
And my favorite--Isuzu Giga 20 Light Dump
Maybe something is lost in translation.

 

THE MADNESS OF CROWDS   

By Michael Sheehan
From Sports Car Market of January 2007

" Back in the May 2004 issue of SCM, I wrote how muscle cars--Hemis in particular--had soared past comparable Ferraris.
In May 2005's SCM, I noted that prices for muscle cars and post-war American show cars had risen faster than anything since the Ferrari glory days (glory if you got out in time, Titanic-sized disaster if you held on) of 1985-90.

Since May 2005, a very nice Daytona coupe has gone from $150,000 to $225,000 while Hemi 'Cuda coupes have spiraled ever upward to a nose-bleeding $1.5 million. The muscle car crowd continues to say, 'this time it's different,' and that 'These cars are all being sold to end users not speculators.' Sorry, but I've heard that before.

I've survived four recessions; from 1973-75 (the first gas crisis); 1980-85 (21% interest, real estate tanked); and a mild one in ' 00-01 when the NASDAQ imploded and 9-11 changed our world.

Market run-ups are easy to trace. The Ferrari madness of 1985-90 was fueled by Japanese collectors with 2% bank money leveraged from  a property bubble. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers (my generation) celebrated their 'Big 40' by throwing money at Ferraris. Add in the fax machine, which allowed any car to be offered worldwide in hours. and speculation about Enzo Ferrari's expected demise , and you've gat the makings of a very frothy market.

Finally, combine it with the growing attraction of user-friendly events such as the Monterey Historic race and the Colorado Grand, where boys could display their new (and very expensive toys), and prices went mad.
After a run-up of 500%, the correction was ugly. Very ugly."
 
I am older than the baby boomers, well into Geezerdom, and I agree with Michael's thoughts. I don't think the factory show cars and one-offs will decline as much from their run-up
But with the fall in muscle car values what will be the next hot segment?
Station wagons and pickups are already well on the rise and of course.

 
I just started a new book  "Truck, A Love Story" by Michael Perry and I think some of you might like it as much as I do. Thankfully we don't sell the kind of vehicle he describes here, but his writing makes for fun reading.
 
" The front end of the truck is blasted with rust. The grille has deteriorated to the point that the headlights wobble in their sockets. You can stick three fingers through the gaps in both front fenders. The bumper is bent. Before I parked it the last time, the radiator was blowing green mist. The front windshield is cracked in the vertical, and the rain leaks around the weather stripping and streaks the dash. There is a boil the size of a grapefruit on the left front tire. The speedometer never has worked, and the deck of the bed is so riddled with holes that you could load a half a yard of gravel and just over three miles of bumpy road, sift the sand from the stones. To a large extent, the truck is, as they say, shot."
FOR THE "COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF" FILE

   

 

     
     
   
     
1896 Kentucky Ave. • 1/2 mile from exit #87 at I-4 and fairbanks, • Winter Park, Florida USA 32789.
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