Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
8/26/11 12:08 p.m.

After spending the week at Monterey it became clear that most cars prices are definitely on the move. before you say but those are auctions and not real, I have also noticed that private party and ebay prices are also on the move, especially for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo cars. I know this as I am actively seeking quite a few cars for my collection and keep missing them. Opinions? Anyone else out there noticing any trends with other marques?

As for the Monterey prices while most people say that the reason for this is that people are moving money from the markets to cars. While this is true to a certain degree, what I also noticed in Monterey is that there have been a great number of extremely rare cars on the market for the first time in decades. Basically I equate the record prices to this. I mean how often does a single sale have a one of prototype Ferrari 250 Testarossa, A one of Graber bodied Aston martin drophead and the first Bentley customer car. That just scratched the surface at Gooding. RM had much of the same.

Opinions? Chime in here. :)

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
8/26/11 12:16 p.m.

It's a bit out of my realm, but it's easy for me to imagine investors picking the classic car market as an alternative to more volatile markets.

If you buy a classic Ferrari, it will never be worth less than the purchase price, assuming you bought wisely and don't wrap the car around a tree. You can't say that about anything sold by a broker, and it's hard to show off a portfolio to buddies over a beer.

I'd like to see that effect spread to some other marques; I'm surprised if it didn't nudge up Jaguars, especially for this year's auctions.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
8/26/11 12:22 p.m.

There were some indications that other cars were going up as well. My friend Richard sold a Pagoda Mercedes 250SL for crazy money, more that 100k! Also saw a Jaguar XK150 DHC sell for more than 200k.

NOHOME
NOHOME HalfDork
8/26/11 2:01 p.m.

This merry-go-round has done a few laps.

By definition Investments do not require storage, maintenance and insurance.

Back in the early 90s a bunch of insurance companies got caught up in this craze figuring it was like buying fine art. There were even investment funds that made a business of it. Then it all went bust.

rconlon
rconlon HalfDork
8/26/11 2:10 p.m.

I think the changes are uneven. I see that 1960 and earlier cars while holding value are also stabilized. The 60's and 70's and 80's cars are gettng noticed more as an investment. Alfas and pagoda Mercedes are good examples. I wonder if the buyers of a certain age are the driving facors. It always shocks me when nice 1930ish cars go for the price of a Honda Accord and you don't see them in large numbers at auctions any more. Cheers Ron

Raze
Raze Dork
8/26/11 2:20 p.m.

While I'm not into the auction scene, nor am I very knowledgeable about the upper echelon of 'fine driving' machines. I have noticed an online 'shortage' of project/driver cars of the 60s-70s vintage. First I noticed about 5 years ago the market for anything small, cheap, and British began drying up, now it's a ghost town with prices on worthless TR6s running over $5k, don't even get me started on Stag prices. Within the last year or so, I've noticed this same trend in anything 'low-end' Italian. This includes makes such as Alfas, Fiats (not spiders but the less common and IMO increasingly rare and potentially valuable AC/BC/CC Sport Coupes), Lancias, etc. The price changes haven't been large to most people, but in relative terms ($1000 parts cars running $2000) prices have skyrocketed. I don't know if this is part of a larger trend or not.

pete240z
pete240z SuperDork
8/26/11 3:55 p.m.

I see a lot more $16,000 - $25,000 Datsun 240Z's on ebay recently.

Also a few Datsun 2000's in the $10,000 - $15,000 range telling me they are going up in value.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
8/26/11 9:16 p.m.

Hey Pete, the 240Z and the roadsters are going up. I have seen a early 240 sell for 55k. A big number but I am happy to see this finally happen.

NOHOME
NOHOME HalfDork
8/29/11 8:30 a.m.

I have never met a bearish stockbroker or real estate rep in my life. They would have been the guys re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Course, they would also have a reserved life-boat stashed away.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition Reader
8/29/11 2:22 p.m.
NOHOME wrote: I have never met a bearish stockbroker or real estate rep in my life. They would have been the guys re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Course, they would also have a reserved life-boat stashed away.

+1 on that.

I get mixed information on the prices of collector cars. I definitely think there has been some infiltration of speculators at the top end of the market. With real estate dead and the stock market volatile, those with big money are looking for other places for a return. The ability of the collector car market to sustain and increase values has (unfortunately) attracted more demand, which increases prices. Problem is, when these type exit the market, prices deflate again to levels representing the true collector demand. This happened in the 80's, as well.

The lower end of the market is harder to figure out. I've heard it both ways-- that collector cars are hard to sell and have lost value, and that they are tougher to find and have increased in price.

Maybe that is just telling us that buyers are fickle. They will pay up for a certain car, but demand will vary car by car. I remember in the 80's seeing projections that a MGTD, for example, would be going for over $100k by now. As far as I can see, they have been $15k to $25k cars for the past 20 years. In the meantime, big Healey's have gone from $30k cars to $70k+, even approaching $100k in some cases.

For all those reasons I think the best advice is still to buy what you will enjoy owning, rather than what you think will appreciate.

NOHOME
NOHOME HalfDork
8/29/11 5:30 p.m.
Basil Exposition wrote:
NOHOME wrote: I have never met a bearish stockbroker or real estate rep in my life. They would have been the guys re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Course, they would also have a reserved life-boat stashed away.

+1 on that.

I get mixed information on the prices of collector cars. I definitely think there has been some infiltration of speculators at the top end of the market. With real estate dead and the stock market volatile, those with big money are looking for other places for a return. The ability of the collector car market to sustain and increase values has (unfortunately) attracted more demand, which increases prices. Problem is, when these type exit the market, prices deflate again to levels representing the true collector demand. This happened in the 80's, as well.

The lower end of the market is harder to figure out. I've heard it both ways-- that collector cars are hard to sell and have lost value, and that they are tougher to find and have increased in price.

Maybe that is just telling us that buyers are fickle. They will pay up for a certain car, but demand will vary car by car. I remember in the 80's seeing projections that a MGTD, for example, would be going for over $100k by now. As far as I can see, they have been $15k to $25k cars for the past 20 years. In the meantime, big Healey's have gone from $30k cars to $70k+, even approaching $100k in some cases.

For all those reasons I think the best advice is still to buy what you will enjoy owning, rather than what you think will appreciate.

The big Healey and Jag bubble has pretty much burst. There are some nice cars to be had in the 30k range.

For about 20 years (one generation) You had a core demographic that bought and restored these as a no cost barred labour of love. It is a nostalgia thing that harks back to the desires of their youth.

The same gang is getting a bit too old and trying to cash out. They are finding that the current generation does not have the nostalgic ties to the marque. Certainly, the Nintendo generation does not have a tolerance for cranky cars that require endless devotion. That kind of attention is reserved for themselves!

TR8owner
TR8owner Reader
8/30/11 8:25 p.m.

"The same gang is getting a bit too old and trying to cash out. They are finding that the current generation does not have the nostalgic ties to the marque. Certainly, the Nintendo generation does not have a tolerance for cranky cars that require endless devotion."

Took the words out of my mouth. Once us boomers die off it will be interesting to see which cars still continue to hold value.

AndreGT6
AndreGT6 Dork
8/30/11 9:03 p.m.

Hmm might have a shot of a DB or E type after all... But that means parting with my Triumph.

Raze
Raze Dork
8/30/11 9:17 p.m.
NOHOME wrote: For about 20 years (one generation) You had a core demographic that bought and restored these as a no cost barred labour of love. It is a nostalgia thing that harks back to the desires of their youth. The same gang is getting a bit too old and trying to cash out. They are finding that the current generation does not have the nostalgic ties to the marque. Certainly, the Nintendo generation does not have a tolerance for cranky cars that require endless devotion. That kind of attention is reserved for themselves!

I call BS on the tolerance for cranky cars with a cheap shot at how self-centered you think we are. I'd consider myself a Nintendo G'er (the original, not the later upgrades) and I enjoy my cranky Fiat that's never satisfied. I do agree there is less nostalgic ties to marques of my youth but I think that has more to do with the fact that you had some sweet brands growing up whereas we got exciting vehicles like the Chevy Astro.

Most exciting cars in the late eighties or early nineties just weren't all that special IMO because of the huge push for autotragic FWD vehicles across the broader market. Even BMW and Mercedes moved to automatics as Americans have simply phased out the 3rd pedal (the trend continues today btw).

To be fair, the cars of my youth, you would call rubbish, Hondas, Toyotas, fox body Mustangs, 3 and 5 series BMWs, maybe the first Taurus SHO, a Mitsubishi Starion, ok a Grand National is a pretty cool one, but given its limited run and short staying power in the market, not really a big player (though they are still recognized even by my generation as bad-ass) and others just don't have the zing of a Jag E-type, MGB, Triumph, Fiat. We didn't get a plethora of sports cars and roadsters to play with, we got the Miata, which IMO has the same level of excitement as a Camry. I do have a bastard child of the 80s, an XR4Ti, and it's as annoying as the Fiat, I mean a West German built turbocharged Ford isn't exactly the pinnacle of automotive reliability...

Another thing to remember, 80s were a serious transition period due to emissions regulations, so in many respects cars you remember as cool, we got as castrated lumps...

I think all this combined equates to this in classic car pricing long term: Many in my generation lust after the same cars older generations have, restore, cherish, and adore, but we don't have the $$$ to keep up. We also recognize there are very few exciting cars from our youth and those cars' prices are holding as the little money in our generation gets poured into them (try pricing an early Toyota Supra or Acura NSX). I think older collectors/hobbists may have to hold their cars longer until the middle generation can make enough to buy them to keep the prices up, or they may not, in which case prices on older cars may crash unless its a truly special make.

All this is pure ramblings...

Raze
Raze Dork
8/30/11 9:25 p.m.
AndreGT6 wrote: Hmm might have a shot of a DB or E type after all... But that means parting with my Triumph.

I want a newer DB(9/S), I think they'll be of collector status one day...

gjz30075
gjz30075 Reader
8/31/11 7:07 a.m.
TR8owner wrote: Once us boomers die off it will be interesting to see which cars still continue to hold value.

Yes, it'll be interesting. The generation that collected prewar stuff is gone but the the cars are still here and holding value. To a car guy, an interesting car is ....an interesting car, period.

There will be a thinning of the herd and the market will determine which go and which stay.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
8/31/11 11:30 a.m.

I agree with much that has been said. I believe that the top cars in history will always be tom cars. I am 44 years old and want a Stutz Bearcat. Does this make me weird? Not really, just a admirer of historically significant cars. I also love Ferrari 166 and 212 series cars. These cars are always likely to be valuable as well many Ferrari cars from the 1950's till the 1970's.

These cars and others like it, such as the Aston Martin DB cars of the 50-60's, will always be desired. I wish that I could see a point that these cars were going to go down in value but I honestly cannot and am trying to buy these cars while they are still somewhat below stratospheric in value.

NOHOME
NOHOME HalfDork
8/31/11 3:58 p.m.

Here is my touchstone as to what will be a valuable collector item. My theory is based on the fact that collecting valuable items is an exclusionary act, in that those who pay premiums to acquire an object do so to prove that they can have something that you cant have and(consciously or unconsciously) derive some sense of superiority.

Any car where you can open a MOSS Motors, Year One or equivalent catalog, is NOT going to appreciate in value at a rate faster than inflation.

There is no exclusivity to the Catalog Car group and there is a well established large pool of cars. I dare say that the pool of cars at this point is such that many of the restorations are going to outlive the owners and the receiving pool will not be big enough to support the supply.

Not to say that the Catalog cars cars are not a great deal. Any well bought MGB will recoup its purchase price 5 years down the road if well maintained. What new car can you say that about?

naparsei
naparsei New Reader
9/1/11 10:28 a.m.
NOHOME wrote: This merry-go-round has done a few laps. By definition Investments do not require storage, maintenance and insurance.

I guess people who own Real Estate and Gold are going to have to come up with a new category for what they formerly called investments.

The higher end cars are moved by: racing eligibility/history, rally eligibility, rarity. Most of the cars are rarely driven, and usually driven for a purpose. The rise in rallying has changed the values in the market. Many rally cars are used 1 or 2x per year and the owners want a pleasant experience, so that means a more modern driving car. This explains why 300SL and Daytonas are very popular in this venue. My wife prefers A/C, and I prefer rallying with my wife, so we take a GT car with A/C instead of a full-on sports car.

I agree that demographics/aging move the balance of the market; and also with Andy's comment that top cars are always top cars.

I also think that as Emerging Markets get better roads and more and more millionaires, the "branded" 50s and 60s cars will see a big move upward, especially Ferraris and Mercedes.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
9/2/11 10:38 p.m.

I also think it is definitely time to take a long look at Japanese cars as collectibles. The 240Z is a mover and if you want one get a nice one now. There are other collectible Japanese cars as well, the GTR Japanese market cars, 1st generation MR2 and early Celica cars, especially with rare engines like the 18RG.

These are all still bargains but will not be bargains forever.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
9/2/11 10:42 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

Any car where you can open a MOSS Motors, Year One or equivalent catalog, is NOT going to appreciate in value at a rate faster than inflation.

Well MGA roadsters are now regularly selling north of $50,000 for truly great examples. They were $35,000 for like cars 2 years ago.I would have to say that is ahead of inflation.

There is no set perfect formula for this stuff as that one of the biggest factors effecting cars values is emotion which is a bit hard to quantify. I always say buy what you like and live with the consequences. If it goes up in value great, if not you still own a car you like which is a reward in itself.

Rupert
Rupert Reader
9/4/11 2:41 p.m.
Andy Reid wrote: I also think it is definitely time to take a long look at Japanese cars as collectibles. The 240Z is a mover and if you want one get a nice one now. There are other collectible Japanese cars as well, the GTR Japanese market cars, 1st generation MR2 and early Celica cars, especially with rare engines like the 18RG. These are all still bargains but will not be bargains forever.

Don't rule out other Japanese rides like the PL-510 either. People fall over themselves worshiping the 1600 BMW. Can they have forgotten that P. L. Newman and John Morton beat them all the time at the track?

I believe the PL-610 is an excellent alternative to the BMW Bavaria of the same era. It sure is cheaper to keep up and the ride, handling, etc. are really similar. The Gen 1 RX-7 is still, I believe a very worthwhile ride too.

Bottom line, an auto doesn't have to come from Northern Europe or North American to be a quality car. And if you're hoping generation X members will get into the market, Japanese is where you want to be. We love British and Italian cars because they were the sport of our era. To an X'er who is now over forty, the sport is in the CRX SI, the Celica, etc.

Rupert
Rupert Reader
9/4/11 2:50 p.m.
Rupert wrote:
Andy Reid wrote: I also think it is definitely time to take a long look at Japanese cars as collectibles. The 240Z is a mover and if you want one get a nice one now. There are other collectible Japanese cars as well, the GTR Japanese market cars, 1st generation MR2 and early Celica cars, especially with rare engines like the 18RG. These are all still bargains but will not be bargains forever.

I believe the PL-610 is an excellent alternative to the BMW Bavaria of the same era. It sure is cheaper to keep up and the ride, handling, etc. are really similar. The Gen 1 RX-7 is still, I believe a very worthwhile ride too.

OOPS! Sorry,

I meant the PL-810 is an excellent alternative to the Bavaria. The 610 is the alternative to the BMW 2002.

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