Where I Have Been And Why I Am Back

December 26, 2013

1970-Ford-Mustang convertAs an “Internet Journalist” I have the opinion that people want to hear what I have to say. Now that does not mean you have to agree with me.  And it certainly does not mean you need to hang on every word I say or follow along with any of my business practices.  What it does mean is that I feel there is something I have to share and to enrich you or the automotive community as a whole.

This being said, the internet is full of companies claiming to give a journalist the platform to share his or her opinions with the promise of actually getting paid for it.  The problem is those companies all seem to be blowing smoke when they make their claims. They want you to be a member for months and months before you qualify for payment then they give mere pennies while they rake in dollars.  Typical B.S. for today’s society yet sooner or later it all comes to light and those Multi-Million or Multi-Billion Dollar companies end up being worth the mere pennies they pay out and the only person who makes money is the guy who started the business and then sold out to “Investors” who now own “Toilet Paper”.  The actual “authors” move on to the next new deal and keep plugging away.  To them it is the words that drive them not the profit.  In the collector vehicle business the money is in the cars and the concepts behind buying and selling and even restoring them, not in writing about how it was done.

Enough of my rants and ramblings and onto the subject of discussion.  The New Year is almost upon us and January means the “Auction Season” is here.  As I have stated in the past… to most it means Arizona but to me it means Florida.  The hype and “show biz types” tend to go local and stay in Arizona since it is in their area of the country.  That is fine with me because there are more cars and more bargains in Florida at the Mecum Auction.  This has grown to become the “Largest Auction” of the year with around 3000 cars crossing the auction floor.  And that number is still climbing every year.  The 1970 Mustang Convertible shown is up for sale this year.  Even with its 302 V8, it makes a nice summer driver.

1986-Pontiac-Trans-Am 305 ttop Also crossing the block will be this 1986 Pontiac Trans Am with its 305 “tuned port” V8.  These vehicles and ones from its era are gaining traction as “Collector Cars” due to the fact that in most states they are now “emission-exempt”.  That means you are now able to retune or replace the engine without needing to install catalytic converters or smog devices.  Despite the 200 to 300 horsepower available from “factory versions” of these, you can now legally get 400 plus from the GM small block V8′s without spending more than the value of the car.  The added benefit of using this car over its 1960′s or 1970′s counterpart is that you gain better handling for the street or the track in stock form.  You also get vastly improved brakes with discs VS. drums (for earlier versions).  Third reason and most importantly for “new” collectors is that this car can be bought for around $10,000 in most parts of the country versus $20-30,000 for a “Bandit Trans Am” or even $50-60,000 for a first generation T/A.

1971-Dodge-Demon-GSS 340 tripower Then for the “hard-core gearheads” we get to a vehicle that probably represents a “Last Hurrah” for the Muscle Car Era.  This is a 1971 Dodge Dart Demon GSS.  The GSS designation is due to it being sold and equipped through “Grand Spaulding Dodge” which was better known as “Mr. Norms” dealership.  Mr. Norm was a “Muscle Car Icon” during the time of the Muscle Car Era and vehicles left his dealership with certified “dynamometer” papers to show what they were putting out in the power department.  He was the driving force behind several of Mopars “enhanced” models.  Because of the fact his dealership would drop a bigger V8 into your new car even if the factory didn’t offer it, he was also a driving force behind the “Horsepower Wars” of the 1960-70′s.  This particular car has the “Six-Pack” setup on its 340 cid engine.  And because it is a Mopar with “history” it will probably sell for serious cash and deservedly so.

70 Torino 351 4v convertible Final car for this post is this 1970 Ford Torino Convertible.  It retains its 351 Cleveland engine and 4 barrel carburation just as it left the factory with.  The Torino does not get the following of the Mustang but it was Fords true “Muscle Car” representative.  It was a midsize vehicle and every power option was available for it that Ford offered up to and including the 428 and 429 Cobra Jet engines.  Add a top that comes down and for around half of what a Oldsmobile 442 hardtop or Buick GS 455 hardtop will cost you.

So while these are only 4 of the 3000+ cars waiting to run through Mecums January Auction, they represent a wide range of what is out there.  Happy bidding.

Davey Boy

Expanding The Hobby and What Needs To Be Done To Save Collector Vehicles As a Business

December 23, 2013

ImageImageAs the photo from the January 2008 Gooding Auction in Arizona depicts, the “Collector Car Hobby” is decidedly an “Old Caucasian Guy Hobby”.  Therein lies the problem.  Whether anyone likes it or not, and despite claims to the “increasing” health of the  hobby of “Collector Vehicles”; there needs to be fresh blood or the “hobby” will eventually die.  That is because the hobbyists are eventually going to die and as every auction has shown the heirs seem to be more interested in “cashing in” than they are in continuing the legacy that was started.

While everyone in the “hobby” dreams of finding that million dollar car that puts them on the map as a collector, most simply collect cars that mean something to them personally.  The Auctions that come every January in Arizona are big draws for buyers as well as the casual fan of the “Old Cars”.  But those over priced multi million dollar Ferrari’s and the like are not helping to draw anyone new into the hobby.  A first time buyer sees the auctions on their Cable ( or Satellite ) Television feed and thinks these are what the “hobby” is all about.  The truth is they amount to very little in actual count.  There are somewhere around 10,000 cars a year that are run through “major” auctions and few draw the million dollars you see on television.

Average prices are closer to the $50,000 mark and even that is a steep price for admission to the hobby for a first time buyer.  I don’t have a solution to the problem of getting new people into the hobby, except to say the way to grow the hobby is to bring in a bigger demographic for your base.  That means “minorities”.  Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, any minority.  The Rappers and “Hip/Hop” artists seem to be into flashy big dollar vehicles that are new and the “Pro Athletes” are as well.  Most Hispanics in my area are into vehicles that cost much less than the $50,000 for an average auction vehicle.  I cannot count the number of $2000 cars I see daily with $3000 worth of rims and tires on them.  Hispanics who are into cars still want “flash” but are on a budget it seems.  The 1972 Ranchero with it’s 351 is a great choice for a vehicle with “Hispanic Appeal”.  There are “Rappers” who are into cars as well.  Snoop Dogg comes to mind with his Bonneville convertible and for athletes we have Reggie Bush with his Shelby Mustang to name 2 off the top of my head, but there is a serious shortage of “Color” in the collector ranks.  And that needs to change.

I would like to partner with someone who belongs to a “minority” to put a new “face” on the hobby and bring this “Collector Car Business” to a whole new level.

davey boy

Again With The Auctions

December 9, 2013

ImageThose who have read posts from me before know I am a fan of Mecum Auctions.  Their just completed Kansas City Auction sent many reasonably priced vehicles to new homes.  Those who have read my posts also know I prefer to deal more with “fringe” vehicles rather than “popular” Muscle Cars.  The reason is simple.  Instead of forking out $50,000 or more for a single car, I can find 3 or 4 to buy with that amount of money.  And to be honest, a 1971 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler with a 429 CJ is as quick as a Chevelle SS 454 from the same year with the average driver behind the wheel.

The 1969 Dodge “flat-nose” pickup shown is not close to being a “Muscle Car” but is still a very good “Collector Vehicle” with a large following and for the mere $5750 spent for its bid price, the new buyer should have enough cash left to repair or replace it’s needed interior.  It did have a 318 V8 engine with a 3 speed manual transmission for some pep…. most common for the vans and the van/trucks during this era were straight 6 cylinder motors.

1972 ford econoline 100 super van- $ 4250Another “flat nose” would be this 1972 Ford Econoline 100 Super Van.  It had the aforementioned 6 cylinder with a 3 speed manual transmission and for the $4250 winning bid its new owner can afford to get a nice “Hippie Van Mural” paint job done on it as well as the shag carpeting and 12 volt mini-fridge.  You simply do not find a lot of older vans still running around even at “Car Shows” anymore.  Somewhere there needs to be a “Restorer Shop” that still cranks out “Hippie Van Conversions” for those of us who still appreciate them.  Maybe there still is on the West Coast.

1965-Plymouth-Sport-Fury- $ 12000 1966 Mustang conv. floodcar-$ 13500 1966-Ford-Mustang-$ 9750Then we have a trio of interesting vehicles.  The red Plymouth Sport Fury with a V8 engine went for $12,000 despite being a convertible and also being a Mopar.  They tend to go for twice that amount and that is when they are in a lot worse condition as well.  This one with its decent paint and new convertible top should be valued in the $30,000 neighborhood.

The “Powder Blue” 1966 Mustang Convertible had a 289 under the hood and went for $13,500 which was not a bad price even for a car that had been in a flood.  The 1966 models did not have the extensive electronics we have today so minimal damage should have occurred to the vehicle.  Early Mustang convertibles usually run in the low $20,000 range due to the fact there are so many still around.  During the 1965-1966 model years the Mustang was the best-selling convertible in America in fact.

The red 1966 Mustang went for $9750 with its 289 V8 and automatic transmission which is about $6000 less than its value in most areas of the United States.  Again this is because they built 607,568 total 1966 model Mustangs.  First thing to change on this one would be to return to the stock 14 inch tires and rims and get rid of those 17 inch ones.

1991-Cadillac-AllanteThe final entry for this post would be this 1991 Cadillac Allante which sold for $4750.  Even missing its hardtop this car values in the $12,000-16,000 range and with a hardtop can fetch close to $20,000.  Hardtops can be found for around $2000 and paint it for another $600.

So basically for the price of that $60,000 big block Chevelle, here are  6 vehicles with potential to double your money on and that is something the Chevelle will take years to do.  But none of these can outrun the Chevelle…… even with a bad driver.

Davey Boy

Absent and Off The Rails

December 1, 2013

1971 Mustang Mach 1 Limegreen

Despite the larger size in appearance, the 1971 Mustang only gained 1 inch in it’s wheelbase.  While looking much bulkier than it’s previous incarnation, it was Ford’s attempt to bring the Mustang into the actual “Muscle” class and out of the “Pony Car” class that was named for it.  Length went up slightly more than 2 and a half inches as well and width gained just over 3 inches.  All this added 50 pounds of weight as well compared to the 1970 version.  Base price went up only $4.  The catch was that the 351 Windsor with it’s 2 barrel carb as the base engine was now replaced by the 302 with a 2 barrel.  This meant a loss of 40 horsepower in base model configuration.  Horsepower was down slightly on most engine options but the former Boss 429 engine with its 375 horsepower was now an engine option instead of a special model vehicle.  While not named as a “Boss 429″ it still carried the formers 375 horsepower when optioned with the Ram Air option.  The base 429 without Ram Air chimed in at 370 horsepower as well.  The trick model for 1971 was the Boss 351 which due to gearing changes and lower weight was actually the quickest Mustang to date….with only a claimed 330 hp.  The Boss 351 was a much better handling car for the street as well without all the added weight over the front wheels creating push when attempting to turn around corners.

1971 Torino Mediumgreen

The other “news” for Ford for 1971 was the Falcon/Fairlane/Torino conglomeration was now cleaned up into the Torino model.  Sales dropped to only a few hundred less than the Chevrolet Chevelle model but would rebound for 1972 and outsell the Chevelle by over 100,000 units.  The Torino offered most of the Mustangs engine choices and with it’s longer wheelbase was a true midsize vehicle at the time and therefore a full fledged “Muscle Car” when properly equipped.

I realize it has been a while since writing for the blog here but time has been scarce for me and other business ventures have taken priority.  I hope to get things sorted out and return to more timely contributions in the future.  In the meantime, keep the faith and most of all…. enjoy life.

daveyboy

Ready for Sale

December 14, 2012

After enjoying this Woodie Wagon for about the last 5 years and during that time doing the previously neglected maintenance to bring it back to daily driver reliability: my friend Jim is finally putting his car up for sale.Pontiac Woodie Wagon 1946 Streamliner 008 Pontiac Woodie Wagon 1946 Streamliner 003 It is a 1946 Pontiac Streamliner 4 door Woodie Wagon.  It has its original Straight 8 cylinder flathead engine with its original 3 speed manual trans (column mount shift of course), and its original 6 volt electrical system.  The vehicle is 100% solid with no rust through now or ever in its body panels. The stainless trim is in great shape and chrome is really good condition.  It has a new starter, carburetor, generator, front shocks, bushings, pins and arms.  New professionally done vinyl roof and interior carpets.  The wood is all original NOT replaced - and in very decent shape.  If it was ever repainted it was long ago and the paint is decent with a couple of rock chips and minor blemishes, but no HOLES.

I realize this is NOT a Muscle Car and only put these pictures on here so you understand where a lot of my time has gone lately.  It has been to help get the Pontiac ready for market.  Any one looking for a really nice Woodie let me know.  By the way the 1946 models were the first year car production resumed after WWII. There were no cars made during the war.

Davey Boy Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving 2012

November 18, 2012

  No matter what make or model of “Muscle Car” you may personally prefer there are what most consider “Icons” of the genre.  One of the milestone vehicles would be this model year 1968 code 138 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396.  Being an intermediate or “mid-size” vehicle and having a big block V8 makes it officially a “Muscle Car”.

If you are a collector or have a collection, then odds are one of these is in said collection.  While some prefer the look of the single headlight 1971 and later models, you need a dual lamp 67-68-69-70 to call it a “Collection”.  That is of course my opinion.  I actually know several collectors who have a single manufacturer collection and that in itself does not diminish their enjoyment in the least.  And bottom line is that how someone spends their money or how they enjoy the hobby is ultimately their decision.

When I refer to the hobby, I do so in terms of appealing to the widest segment and do not try to interject my personal bias.  Key word in that sentence is “TRY”.

The internet “Shows” I have personally been on or involved with may think I am a “dinosaur” in terms of what I consider collectible or valuable, but I remain true to the consensus that “Muscle Cars” were made and marketed from 1064 to 1971 inclusive.  The few that survived beyond 1971 are continuation models and while receiving refinement to handling and suspension are not the power monsters of their predecessors.  And for clarity, there are no Muscle Cars being produced today.

  This 1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 is another example of the genre, although because of its size it is actually a subclass termed “Pony Cars”.

While there are current vehicles being produced and marketed as Muscle Cars and they include the current Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger and Charger, these are NOT true Muscle Cars.  The problem with them is that the average person cannot work on them or tune them and without an advanced degree or computer training.  I give full credit that these cars put out more power and greater refinement and even the fact that they can hold a tune up for thousands of miles of use without spending an extra dime.  That is something none of the true “Muscle Cars” can say.  But the hobby counts on people with rudimentary mechanical skills being able to pull and rebuild an engine without needing $100,000 worth of computer equipment to do the job.  Add the smog requirements that 90% of the country has to meet for a road vehicle and proper factory maintenance is what dooms currently produced vehicles from achieving collector status.

For 2013 I plan on coming out with more information on what every collection should include as far as specific models.  These are vehicles that for some reason made a milestone in the evolution of the “True Muscle Car”, or at least an indelible mark on their own manufacturer or model line.

Davey Boy

1967- Dodge and Plymouth

October 23, 2012

  The introduction of the Dodge Charger in 1966 was a success for Dodge, so in 1967 it received minor improvements.  The most obvious was the elimination of its full length interior console that gave it seating for only 4 people.  Getting in and out of the rear seat was the “big” complaint that Dodge chose to deal with.  With the optional front seat flip down armrest the Charger could actually seat 6 now.  The exterior now received the Coronets new side indents as well and front fender indicators for the turn signals mounted on the leading edge of the fenders.  The 426 Hemi was added to the option list during the “66″ run and continued to be an option.  It added $712 to the Chargers base price of $3128.  Due to the steep price only 117 were ordered with the Hemi.

The 361 was eliminated and in its place the 383 was offered and new to the engine choices as well was the new 440.  Having sold 37,300 Chargers in 1966, the 1967 model was a disappointment as far as sales and only 15,788 were produced.  Clearly the similarity with the AMC Marlin as well as the Chargers overall “puffed up styling” was not winning over the “Performance Crowd”.  Restyling was in order for 1968.

  The Coronet continued with minor changes including the aforementioned side indents.  The executives at Chrysler decided that other than the Charger they would limit the availability of the “Street Hemi 426″.  The official stance was the Hemi would only be available in the “Letter-Series” vehicles.  That meant the R/T series package for the Coronet.  Despite this there were several Coronet Deluxe built with the factory installed Hemi engine as well as at least 1 Coronet 440, 1 Coronet 500 and 55 Super Stock Drag vehicles known as WO23 models.  The 440 and 500 designation were merely trim level packages and had nothing to do with engine choices.  Some people believe since the 440 was an available engine choice that 440 models came with that engine but such was not the case.  The top engine for Coronet was to be the 383 unless the R/T package was ordered, but this was ignored in most cases and many Coronets received the larger engine.  An interesting fact on Dodge and Plymouth vehicles was their use of “fender tags” to indicate options used on their vehicles.  While Ford and GM only listed basic info on theirs Mopar would routinely use 2 or 3 added tags for “loaded” vehicles that help make them the easiest to authenticate even today.

The styling department did a total makeover for the Dodge Dart for 1967.  Now its 4th makeover since the model first came into being, the Dart had gone from Full-size to compact and now into the Pony Car segment.  Standard engine was the 170 slant 6 or optional 225 slant 6 engine.

V8 choices were the 273 small block or if you ordered the GT or GTS you could get the 340 or even the 383 in the model.  The Dart saw an increase in production from 112,900 in 1966 to 154,500 for 1967.

  At Plymouth they had the same engine restrictions on their Belvedere model as Dodge did on the Coronet.  Their Valiant was restyled since it was the “corporate clone” to the Dart.

Sales for the Belvedere/Satellite fell from 189,752 in 1966 to 148,080 in 1967.  Similar to the Coronets fall from 250,900 in 1966 to 184,200 in 1967.  Plymouth still managed to outsell Dodge as far as cars by over 210,000 vehicles.  636,893 compared to 410,088.

  The Plymouth Barracuda got restyled and sales went from 38,029 in 1966 to 62,534 in 1967.  The Barracuda was standard with a slant 6 cylinder engine but options included the 273 as well as the 340 and even the 383 with the right option package.  The “Fish” was clearly trying to take aim at the Mustang but by 1967 there was no way any “Pony Car” was taking the top seller title from the Mustang.  After all Mustang alone counted for 472,121 units built and sold for Ford in 1967.

Davey Boy

1967 – Ford Makes a Statement

October 9, 2012

 When Ford created the 1965 Mustang, they were building a car to compete with the emerging import market.  It was to be a compact vehicle with seating for 4 or 5 people and with its 6 cylinder engine it was aimed at being an economy car as well.  The small block V8 was to make it competitive as being a sporty vehicle to appeal to the younger buyer.  What they did not count on was the fact that they created the most successful new car to come along since their own Model A in the 1920′s.  While Plymouth actually got the jump on them a few weeks earlier with the Barracuda, it was the Mustang that set the pace and the market segment now known as the “Pony Cars”.  These were vehicles smaller in size and less powerful than the midsize vehicles touted as “Muscle Cars”.

For 1967 Ford made the Mustang wider and longer than before.  This was in part to make the vehicle now capable of installing a “big-block” engine under the hood.  With the addition of the 390 cubic inch motor they had a performer capable of taking on the Muscle Cars and in a smaller package.  While Shelby was creating their “350″ and “500″ versions of the Mustang, these were not Factory vehicles and in fact Shelby was classified as an Automobile Manufacturer at the time.  Ford learned a trick or two on styling from the Marlin from AMC/Rambler and the Dodge Charger and made the fastback model smoother and wider to where it no longer looked like they just added a chunk of metal and glass to the coupe.

During this time Ford also grew jealous of Shelby getting all the credit for “Performance Mustangs” and was deeply involved in improving their image as such with the addition of special models.  There was the “High Country”, “California Special” and “Hertz” Mustangs plus now the GT and GTA factory models.  Various trim pieces and engine choices designated the respective packages but the top factory option for 1967 was the GT and GTA- both carried the 390 with the later being an automatic transmission hence the “A”.

  The Fairlane continued with minor revisions for 1967 and the GT and GTA versions as well.  Ford was going to change its look to separate it from the full size Fords but that was due for 1968, so 1967 saw minor change.

  The Ranchero was now solidly based on the Fairlane for both its sheet metal and engine choices.  While few people saw the Ranchero or its rival the Chevrolet El Camino as real trucks, they did appeal to the market for people who wanted a vehicle capable of hauling things but without the harsh ride of pickup trucks from the era.  The added benefit was they had a vehicle with some style and with the right equipment checked on the order form - a vehicle capable of serious performance as well.

  Mercury still had its Comet based Cyclone model and the 427 was available as an option although the main engine choice was now the 390.  Some Fairlane GT and GTA models also left the factory with the 427.

 But the big news was that Mercury finally got into the “Pony Car” market with the introduction of the Cougar.  Once again it was Lee Iacocca behind another hit for the Ford Corporation.  Based on the Mustang with a stretched frame and sharing no sheet metal similarity it was to be Mercury’s shot at the market.  The downside was the bigger vehicle meant it needed more power than the Mustang to achieve the same performance and all motors used for the Cougar could be also had in the smaller and more nimble Mustang.  Mercury instead figured their market was a more upscale buyer and while offering “Dan Guerney Specials” they instead went to the luxury models for their focus.

Ground Zero and Time To Start Back Over

October 3, 2012

Greetings and salutations to all who may stumble upon this blog.  I realize I have been absent from this for a rather extended time.  The short explanation is that my business venture has taken all my free time that I formerly used for this endeavor and left me no time for research and trying to keep this going.  That may seem like a “cop-out” to some if not most of you, but this blog actually requires major investment of time and research.  I know you thought it was easy being me, but in fact it is major work and commitment to be this disorganized and confused.  The “Detail Shop” I opened in April 2011, sad to say is no more.  The economy is simply no longer there to make a living washing and waxing cars.  This is my astute observation only after wasting $65,000 of my money trying to prove otherwise.  Back to the drawing board.  Or, rather….. Ground Zero.

Every year on my birthday, I evaluate where I am at and what goals can be set for the following year.  This year is no exception to that routine.  Having been born in 1957 means I have hit the age of 55 now.  Time is running out to get where I want to be.  Should anyone reading this be interested in contacting me involving a business endeavor involving “Muscle Cars”, please do so.

Hopefully someone has the needed funds and lacks the expertise to make a financial business out of what is undoubtably my strongest asset.  That being my knowledge of where the market is and anticipating where it is headed.  My knowledge of the vehicles is also a plus.

While almost everyone knows a 1957 Chevrolet when they see one, there are many details to know if you want to make money on one.  Things such as is it a Bel Air or a 210….. 2 door or 4 door…..original engine or not….all things that greatly vary the value of the car in question.  Is it worth $20,000 or in excess of $100,000 ?

While there are literally thousands of serious “Car Collectors” out there making money on this so-called hobby, there are hundreds of thousands of people doing it as a hobby.  While this blog lends itself towards the actual hobby, the goal I have is to be one of the minority who actually make a living doing it.

I do not mean to offend anyone but the guys like Jay Leno who buy cars just to have them and preserve them for future generations are very rare.  It does help when the individual has somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100 million dollars to play with.  The area where I live has a few guys who make their living buying, selling and restoring cars, and they all have their market niche’s to fill.  There is always new ways and new ideas to move into the market for more dealerships or collectors.  And as the economy turns around the market will grow massively in the future.

 Just as the 1957 Ford Fairlane was the competitor to the Chevy that year there will be different markets to fill and different needs for those markets.  I do not claim to be the expert on all cars, but I also do not shun any one model over another.  While the hobbyists prefer a Chevelle, Camaro, Mustang, Charger, or another model for whatever reason; I also know there is a market for a Maverick Grabber and Mercury Cyclone and even the Nova SS has a following.  Being limited by the Manufacturer such as Pontiac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Dodge, Plymouth and Mercury means you leave out the AMC Marlins and Rebels and even the “lowly” Gremlin X.  It means you also miss out on the Studebaker Avanti, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass and 4-4-2.

There were dozens of models from every manufacturer in America during the Muscle Car years and every one of them had a following because they had a story and a legacy to tell.  Some literally sold millions over time and some sold only a few hundred copies, but every one of them deserves to be mentioned for the mere fact that someone thought they were special enough to buy when they were sold new.  Now it is time for me to get back to the blog and let you know what their story was.

Davey Boy

ta2 for twitter

July 13, 2012

ta2 for twitter

1985 Pontiac Trans Am


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