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Thread: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Anyone who follows the old car hobby knows how expensive classic-era muscle cars have become. It's routine to see six-figure asking prices for prominent/popular models such as Hemi-equipped (and even 440 powered) Mopars - 'Cudas, Challengers, Chargers, Super Bees and GTXs. Even 383 versions of these cars now command primo prices. Big block Chevelles, GTOs, Boss Mustangs, first generation SS Camaros and Z28s are also big bucks rides now - $40k and up

    Even the less desirable (for now) models built in the mid-late '70s are bringing as much as $30,000 (and more) vs. $10,000 or less as recently as ten or so years ago.

    The irony - blue collar cars that have become rich men's toys - is both remarkable and sad. As recently as the '80s, something like a '69 SS 396 Chevelle was a Hillbilly Special - the kind of car you saw loutish-looking younger guys with mullets and flannel shirts cruising McDonalds on Friday nights in. Primered quarters; Gabriel Hi-Jacker shocks - wrong-size Cragar or Keystone Classic mags - with peeling chrome. No respectable citizen with a college education wanted any part.

    But they were a way for average guys with not much money to have a go at the Yuppies in their BMWs - screechy burnouts to impress the girls (or annoy the high school principal). They were all over the place - and they were dirt cheap. I remember the summer of 1983 when I was 16 and the local consignment lot had a bumblebee yellow Super Bee with a 383 and a 4-speed. It was a little run down - but it was all there - and it was all of $2,300. A buddy of mine wheedled his parents into a loan that let him get his hands on a '71 440 GTX - again, for under three grand. Then there was the guy who had the 455 HO Formula Firebird. None of us were yet 18 years old.

    Can you imagine?

    This kind of experience is inconceivable today. Such cars are not only out of reach of feckless youth - they're getting out of range for middle-aged middle class working stiffs, too. Who has $40k in disposable income to plunk down on an old muscle car?

    I'm not po' - but I would have trouble swinging the purchase of my '76 Trans-Am if I had to buy the thing today. Back in 1990, I picked her up for $5,100. A stretch - but doable. Today - 18 years down the road - the same car in similar condition would probably run me around $25k. In another five years, it'll probably be $30k.

    I'm glad I got in when I did. But I feel sorry for those too young to have had a shot - and I don't like the way the hobby's headed, either.

    Part of the reason for escalating prices, of course, is simply the passage of time and the fact that they're not building these cars anymore. Attrition has done its work - and the relative handful of '60s and even '70s-era muscle cars that are left intact are usually either complete basketcases in need of major work or extremely nice restos (or well-preserved originals). Few "drivers" are left.

    You don't find cars like my '76 Trans-Am sitting in the back row of a second-rate used car lot anymore.

    But scarcity - and the passage of time - doesn't account for the tsunami-surge of average values in recent years. Credit for that belongs to the phenom of glitzy auctioneering and the transformation of hobby cars into quick buck investments. This has helped create a speculative bubble in the value of old iron very similar to the recently burst real estate bubble that saw the selling price of suburban McMansions in many areas of the country grow 20 percent or more in the space of a single year.

    The problem I have with this is not the rise in value per se. What gets my back up is the way the hobby's being turned into a rich man's Ponzi scheme - buy it to flip it, not to keep it. Ride the wave - and enjoy the easy money

    Many of the people acquiring vintage muscle cars have no real interest in the cars themselves. They're not gearheads, they don't wrench - and they often don't even drive the damn things. They just sit on them for awhile - to let them appreciate some more. Then they have the car trucked to Barrett-Jackson and milk it for all it's worth.

    That's capitalism, of course - but that doesn't make it right.

    Not everything is (or should be) a commodity - viewed primarily as an "asset" or some way to wheedle a profit merely by getting the next guy in line to pay more for it than you did. The muscle cars of the '60s and '70s, in particular, were conceived for the everyman - not orthodontists and real estate moguls with money to burn. It's sad that cars that were once accessible to just about anyone are fast becoming - indeed, already have become - remote, untouchable totems of the elite that most average Joes hyave no prayer of ever owning.

    I'm grateful I'm old enough to have arrived before it all turned to shit. And I feel bad for those too young to have had their shot. It's too bad there's nothing much that can be done about it. Values are going to keep climbing to ever more ridiculous heights; it won't be long before even the dregs of the late '70s and early '80s (think 301 Trans-Ams and 305 Camaros) also become all but unobtainable.

    I'm glad I got mine before the curtain came down.

    END



  2. #2
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Another great article....

    Here's a link to this article on the main page with pictures:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...4&Itemid=10824

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete
    Another great article....

    Here's a link to this article on the main page with pictures:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...4&Itemid=10824
    Thanks, Pete!

    Also - great pic.

    Those E Body Mopars are my next-best favorite cars; to behonest, if I could afford a 440-6 'Cuda in Sub Lime or Panther Pink, etc., I'd probably swap it for my TA...!

  4. #4
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Gawd why? Your T/A has a far, far, far superior chassis. Those E-bodies are undriveable pigs. They're overweight, have a high roll center, huge polar moment of inertia, and the tortion bar front end is a nightmare. Couple that with the worst sort of over-assisted power steering and brakes, and you have a miserable, uncontrollable driving experience. They were true pieces of shit. The lump under the hood is the only good part.

    MOPAR sucks, always have sucked, and always will suck.

    As crude as they were compared to contemporary vehicles, Ford and GM mid-size and pony cars of the late '60s/early '70s were a decade ahead of MOPAR for chassis development and driveability. And that's taking into consideration the Fords were all based on a 1960 Falcon platform.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    "Gawd why? Your T/A has a far, far, far superior chassis. Those E-bodies are undriveable pigs. They're overweight, have a high roll center, huge polar moment of inertia, and the tortion bar front end is a nightmare. Couple that with the worst sort of over-assisted power steering and brakes, and you have a miserable, uncontrollable driving experience. They were true pieces of shit. The lump under the hood is the only good part."

    The styling makes up for a lot! I think they were gorgeous machines... .

    "MOPAR sucks, always have sucked, and always will suck."

    I'm a GM guy - but I don't go that far. Every brand had its good and bad points in those years, GM and Ford included.





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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    misterdecibel,

    Very true. However the Mopar 440 Magnum and 426 Hemi motors were monsters. And Mopar's muscle cars were totally male, about 98% of the people who drove these high compression 440 Magnum and 426 Hemi powered cars were males. With such options as a pistol grip shifter - Mopar knew who their client base was. Essentually these were macho cars long before the "group research" type marketing which has femanized most cars.

    Mopar was "in your face" and didn't care with gawdy decals, gawdy wild colors, motors so powerful they could kill a driver in the wrong hands, etc. These cars were so outlandish that they stood out from the pack and became loved and adored. This is why the collectors can't get enough of these cars, and why Mopar muscle cars on the average command much higher prices than GM and Ford muscle cars.

    The second generation Trans Ams are the same way they are "in your face" with a big bird decal on the hood, spoilers galore, etc. These cars are now skyrocketing. By in large the most sought after mid to late 1970s muscle car by collectors is the Trans Am.

    It's a time never to be repeated.

  7. #7
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    I'm a GM guy - but I don't go that far. Every brand had its good and bad points in those years, GM and Ford included.




    MOPAR's good points were cheap horsepower and outlandish styling. That's it.

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    I'm a GM guy - but I don't go that far. Every brand had its good and bad points in those years, GM and Ford included.




    MOPAR's good points were cheap horsepower and outlandish styling. That's it.
    Well, aren't those two of the most important attributes a muscle car can have?

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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Sure, I like older American cars. They are somewhat nice to look at. They were mostly all big and comfortable. Many had powerful engines. Many of them were sold.

    I don't understand why big money people are so interested in these machines. In my mind old American cars had these drawbacks:


    No overdrive transmissions.
    Old, crappy bias ply tires.
    Rotten handling and suspensions.

    You would think that old British and German cars would have caught on before this craze started.


  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    Sure, I like older American cars. They are somewhat nice to look at. They were mostly all big and comfortable. Many had powerful engines. Many of them were sold.

    I don't understand why big money people are so interested in these machines. In my mind old American cars had these drawbacks:


    No overdrive transmissions.
    Old, crappy bias ply tires.
    Rotten handling and suspensions.

    You would think that old British and German cars would have caught on before this craze started.

    It's not the cars they're interested in; it's the money they can make off them. Shyster greedhead speculators.

    Again.

  11. #11
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    Sure, I like older American cars. They are somewhat nice to look at. They were mostly all big and comfortable. Many had powerful engines. Many of them were sold.

    I don't understand why big money people are so interested in these machines. In my mind old American cars had these drawbacks:


    No overdrive transmissions.
    Old, crappy bias ply tires.
    Rotten handling and suspensions.

    You would think that old British and German cars would have caught on before this craze started.

    It's not the cars they're interested in; it's the money they can make off them. Shyster greedhead speculators.

    Again.
    That and baby boomers wanting to relive their youth.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Aussie's Falcon GTHO also reaching high prices....collectors item's these days

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news...205572256.html
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    Aussie's Falcon GTHO also reaching high prices....collectors item's these days

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news...205572256.html
    Even Down Under... sigh!

  14. #14

    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    I agree that classics in good running order are on the whole out of reach..... but if you look long and hard enough you can find yourself the odd bargain. I've happened upon many a good deals in my lifetime. Bearing in mind that I was in high school in the early 1990's - when prices were already on their way out of orbit. Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time. Granted, it's not likely - but the bargains are out there somewhere. Just when you think every old car has been discovered you hear of another one being unearthed.

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by ReasonOne
    I agree that classics in good running order are on the whole out of reach..... but if you look long and hard enough you can find yourself the odd bargain. I've happened upon many a good deals in my lifetime. Bearing in mind that I was in high school in the early 1990's - when prices were already on their way out of orbit. Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time. Granted, it's not likely - but the bargains are out there somewhere. Just when you think every old car has been discovered you hear of another one being unearthed.
    I lucked out with my '76 Trans-Am (the car's on the inside cover of "Atrocities"). Found it by accident in 1991 and paid $5,500 for it. One owner car, 48,000 miles on it - all original and in what would be considered "2" (and close to #1) original condition. Rare Carousel Red, with Honeycomb rims, electric rear defrost, 8-track AC power windows and door locks. Virtually every option you could order in '76. No rust. Perfect interior.

    Today, the same car in the same condition would probably cost $25,000....

  16. #16
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Blue collar cars - Wall Street prices

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by ReasonOne
    I agree that classics in good running order are on the whole out of reach..... but if you look long and hard enough you can find yourself the odd bargain. I've happened upon many a good deals in my lifetime. Bearing in mind that I was in high school in the early 1990's - when prices were already on their way out of orbit. Sometimes it's just being in the right place at the right time. Granted, it's not likely - but the bargains are out there somewhere. Just when you think every old car has been discovered you hear of another one being unearthed.
    I lucked out with my '76 Trans-Am (the car's on the inside cover of "Atrocities"). Found it by accident in 1991 and paid $5,500 for it. One owner car, 48,000 miles on it - all original and in what would be considered "2" (and close to #1) original condition. Rare Carousel Red, with Honeycomb rims, electric rear defrost, 8-track AC power windows and door locks. Virtually every option you could order in '76. No rust. Perfect interior.

    Today, the same car in the same condition would probably cost $25,000....
    There was a decent looking red late-70s T/A parked outside at work a couple of nights ago. It got lots of admiring glances.

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