Archive for June, 2010

Help On Picking A Car – Part 2

June 30, 2010

Okay so we left off with me telling you I would help with trying to figure what models are going to become the “hot” Muscle Cars of tomorrow.  One of the underappreciated cars from the 1960’s would be the Impala SS.  This is a 1966 convertible.  It happens to have a 396 big block, but many from the early era had 327 small block motors as well.  The Impala does not fit into the Muscle Car genre in that it was a full size vehicle, however as the years go by they are becoming a staple in more and more collections just because the full size cars had the larger and more powerful engines first and these engines were then used in the intermediate and smaller cars to bump up their horsepower numbers.  Quite often the larger and heavier cars were the better performing vehicle because the lighter vehicles could not keep the tires planted when you launched.  The big problem was that tire technology did not exist as it does today with the stickier compounds and tread patterns.

Unfortunately some of the vehicles that are going to show the highest gains in value may not be anything even close to being called Muscle Cars.

With the surge in new car models that are now being called “micro-cars” there will be a corresponding demand for the vehicles in the past that were the micro or mini cars of their time.  That means cars like the 1967 Citroen 2 CV shown here will start to find more buyers.  This particular year has extra value in that it was the final year of “legal” importation into the United States.  It also will do the 55 mile per hour speed limit and is reported to get 55 miles per gallon.  Even todays Smart Car cannot claim that.  I guess we haven’t advanced as far as we thought.

Another small car that will start gaining more followers will be the Volkswagen Beetle.  This is a 1962 model shown here.  Currently there are still millions of the “Bugs” running around or more aptly sitting around.  Parts are plentiful and fairly cheap by German car standards even today.  The BMW Isetta and Nash Metropolitan are also mini cars that will be getting snapped up by collectors.  All of these small cars I have mentioned are under $20,000 currently, even in restored condition.  I think that will change in the next 5 years.

Check past blogs for photos of Isetta and Metropolitan vehicles. 

Another of the rarely seen vehicles in this group would be the Messerschmitt KR200.  This little beauty had a 200cc engine hence the model name.  It seated a driver in front and seating for 2 passengers in the back seat.  Just hope they were small passengers.  Among it’s more notable attributes was it’s canopy “bubble” roof that hinged from the side to enter and exit the vehicle.

The airplane style steering wheel should be your final clue that this was the German company that built all those fighter planes during and after the World Wars.  The canopy should have given it all away even though it opened from the side.

Anyway, the mini cars will be climbing in value as we go forward and if you want something that is very unique and not so common at the local car show, take your pick.

Another car that has the potential to really pick up some value would be the Buick Riviera.

This creature is the 1965 model and has the hidden headlights whose “lids” are what is called clam-shells, meaning they open half up and half down to expose the lights hidden behind them.  From the side it was pure Pontiac styling for its time but the front and rear views made a lot of people guess who the Manufacturer was in it’s day.

Well, looks like Part 2 is done and Part 3 will deal with some more vehicles soon.  Keep the faith all you gear-heads and car fans.  I will be back soon.

Davey Boy

New Investor’s -Here Is My Help On Picking A Car

June 25, 2010

  When I get asked the question of what someone should purchase for a first Muscle Car or investment grade collector car, I apologize to whomever asks the question.  The answer is one that is different for almost everyone and to give a proper answer I would need to ask you about a dozen questions just to get any clue for what would be your ideal car.

How mechanically inclined are you?  If you are a gifted mechanic with a garage full of tools and equipment then a project vehicle to build and put together yourself would be something to consider.  If you cannot change your own oil then you need something totally reliable and simple to operate.  If you are a normal person and fall somewhere in between these extremes then you would be suited for a vehicle that is already in road worthy condition and maybe needs a few finishing touches such as new carpet or seat covers, or maybe some exterior chrome replaced.

Next question would be what have you got to spend?  $20,000 or less and you can get a nice early pony car such as a Mustang.  Pick a straight 6 and you can get a convertible top.  Pick a nice 289 and you may find a fastback but odds are it would be the coupe.  The same money will get you a Cutlass with a 350 but not a 442.  Or a LeMans but not a GTO,  or a Skylark, but not a GS….although I have run across a few GS350’s with bench seats in the $20,000 range.

This 1969 Fury III shown here should also be a car in that price range.  With either a 383 or in this case a 440 for power it moves well for a large car and being a “fringe” Muscle car it is one of the least expensive Mopar models out there.

This 1966 Mustang with a 289 V8 and automatic trans is what the $20,000 can bring to you.

A 1969 Impala convertible with the standard 350 will also get you into a nice classic car but do not expect a SS Impala for $20,000.

So what if your price point is $30,000 ?  You now move into the territory for real choices in Muscle Cars.  A GTO or GS400, Chevelle SS396, Camaro, Mustang Mach I, and an occasional Mustang Shelby 350 with the 289.

Something like this 1965, maybe.  If you find the right-minded seller, that is.  There are also a few Mopars at the $30,000 range.  Cars like the Road Runner or the Charger or the Barracuda (not a ‘Cuda) or a Challenger.  Granted they won’t be Hemi cars and they won’t even be 440 vehicles.  But a 318 or the 340/360 are nice reliable powerplants and the body work is almost the same as their big block brethren, at least to anyone except the die-hard gear heads out there.  And a lot of the “clones” fall into this price point as well as some of the non numbers matching vehicles.

This nice numbers matching Camaro convertible with its 327 is probably in that range as well.  The sister vehicle to it a Firebird 400 would also be in that range.  Don’t expect to find too many SS396 Camaro’s or any early Trans Ams in this price point.

This 1970 Road Runner will probably be $35,000.  For the $40,000 price point you enter the realm of cars like a 442 and can even find convertibles for the money.

This 1971 Oldsmobile 442 convertible is an example of the type of car in the $40,000 range.  The GS 455 is also a great vehicle that can be bought for $40,000.  Certain options and engine combinations may be off your list but for the most part even my beloved Chevelle SS454 can be had.

Since I always have Chevelle in my blog posts I decided to show an interior photo for this one.  It is what the interior of a 1970 SS454 Chevelle would look like.  Buckets are a premium over bench seat and the floor mounted “stapler” shifter is also, but still available in the $40,000 price point.  Working air conditioning or even an air condition equiped model may be harder to find.

Remember that unless you are mechanically inclined you do NOT want to deal with multiple carburetor engines or engines that have been heavily modified for added horsepower.  Sticking with stock power plants also helps keep the cars value.

Speaking of value, the big question people ask is what will be the big value cars to hold onto for the next 5 years ?  The answer is if I knew, I’d have 10 of them sitting in storage right now.  There are several cars that are under valued right now and we can get into those…….in my next blog.

And in case you were wondering, every one of these cars shown in this blog are for sale at the next Mecum Auction in July over in Des Moines, Iowa.

Davey Boy

Another Auction Over With

June 22, 2010

Well, the little Nash Ambassador sold for $14,000 which is a little low for usual pricing, but not too bad.  Nice addition for somebody.  These are usually under the $20,000 range so they are comparable with the BMW Isetta from the same era and are similar in that they are ultra small and quirky cars.  Check past blogs of mine for a photo of an Isetta.

There was also a 1960 model that sold for an even lower $9100.  This was that car.  Must be something in the water in Minnesota, or maybe there is something in the water everywhere else.  Either way people in Minnesota seem to have kept these little jewels in pretty good shape and then spent money to restore them.

Then we get to an actual Muscle Car.  This is a 1966 Pontiac GTO with it’s original numbers matching 389 big block engine.  The owner had upgraded the engine with a tri-power setup.  To top it off it is a red convertible and it sold for a measly $30,000.  Nice addition for someone since it should sell at a dealer for somewhere in the $45,000 neighborhood. 

Then we come to what may have been the best purchase of the entire Auction.  This white beast is an actual 1971 Mustang Boss 351.  While only possessing a small block V8 engine, most people would assume that the Mach I from 1971 with the 429 big block would be preferred over the lowly 351 Cleveland.  Most people would be wrong.  This is no ordinary 351.  The Boss engines were hand assembled with very special parts and were actually factory built race engines.  Part of the reason for their low production was that since Ford lost money on every one they built, the factory did not promote the cars in their advertising very much.  The Boss 351 Mustang actually beat the 429 Mach I in a quarter mile drag strip comparison run by a car magazine at the time.  Maybe similar to the comparison of the 440 from Dodge beating a Hemi 426 at the strip.  The 440 holds it’s own and can win a quarter mile run but when you get past the slower start the 440 will NEVER catch a Hemi 426 once she catches her breath and starts into it’s horsepower curve.

I have seen Boss 351 Mustangs selling for 40 to 50 thousand dollars.  This one went SOLD for the sum of $22,500.  NICE DEAL.

davey boy

Another Mecum Auction – This One In Minnesota

June 16, 2010

We will start out with something that will get the older guys laughing out there.  This would be a 1957 Nash Metropolitan.  Very nice tiny car.  These were the anti Muscle Car even before the Muscle Car was thought of.  Why these were ever made I have no idea and fuel was about 20 cents a gallon in 1957 so gas mileage was not an issue, so it must have been a price thing for people who bought these.  Either that or someone wanted the smallest car they could find because they could park it in their garage and still have room for the lawn equipment.

The Auction is in St. Paul, Minnesota and while there are several cars that should go for very reasonable prices, remember the season has begun and true bargains are harder to find in the middle of summer.  And also, by my own admission, the St. Paul Auction is one of the smaller Auctions.  A lot of the time that can work in your favor because there will also be smaller crowds of buyers as well.

The thing I find interesting about this auction is in regards to “what” is sold here year after year.  Because it is a “rural” state, there are a lot of 55-56-57 Chevys and early Mustangs usually here.  This year is no exception for either of those car groups. And yes, I said Chevy not Chevrolet….My apologies to the General Motors “bigwig” who wants the formal name used versus the commoner name of Chevy.  What can I say, I am a rebel.

As I said there are several Mustangs here for sale.  This is a 1964 1/2 variety.  The Mustang was introduced in late 1964 and came with either a 170 cubic inch 6 cylinder or a 260 cubic inch V8.  The Mustang was actually a 1965 model but people who follow the car business called the early Mustangs 64 and a half models because as production continued Ford made some rather major changes to the vehicle.  The designation of 64 1/2 usually refers to the first 121,538 models that Ford made.  Ford was planning on selling a robust 100,000 of the Mustang when they created it but instead sold 121,538 in it’s first 5 months.  That was when they changed the engine choices to a 200 cubic inch 6 cylinder and the 289 V8, and also went from a Generator to the Alternator setup for battery charging.  In all Ford sold 1 MILLION Mustangs in it’s first year and a half of production.  It was the most successful launch ever for a car with the exception of Fords own Model A, as I am to understand.  The sheer number sold is why to this day the Mustang remains one of the cheapest Muscle (or more correctly Pony) cars you can buy.  And also one of the cheapest to keep in working condition since parts are made by several company’s for their restoration.

The entire Pony class of cars was because of the Mustang and that is why they are called Pony Cars.  The Muscle Car designation is credited with the GTO’s creation and is disputed by the Mopar Nation since they had Muscle Cars back in 1960 with the advent of the Sonoramic engine series.  And then the 426 Max Wedge and Hemi also all came before the GTO was even a gleam in John Delorean’s eye.  Yes, that John Delorean. 

There are a few Camaro’s also to be bidding on in Minnesota.  This is a nice 1967 Camaro RS.

The early Camaro is a relatively cheap car depending on if it is a plain Camaro or if it is the Camaro RS, but when you get into the Camaro RS/SS and then the Camaro Z28 be prepared to take out a second mortgage on the house.  My favorite year for a Camaro SS would be the 1969 and of course only a convertible with the 396 option will do.  Then again the 1969 seems to be a lot of peoples favorite and is among the most valued to collectors.  Although there will not be any Sonoramic vehicles sold at St. Paul that I am aware of I will include a photo so you see what I am talking about.  This setup was available on the 440, 383, and the 361 in 1960 from Plymouth and I am told Dodge for various models.

This picture shows a 383 version.  Notice the twin 4 barrel carburetors, one for each bank of cylinders.  Kind of makes a 389 GTO with the tri-power setup look tame, don’t it?

Well, anyway…the Auction starts Friday and goes through Saturday so check it out on the Internet at  www.mecum.com and talk to you all later.

Davey Boy

Nothing New But Staying In Touch

June 6, 2010

Well, needless to say I did not buy the Allante.  Very nice car and all, but trying to stay focused on my mission.  Now that the weather is nice it’s not that easy to do.  Spent most of Memorial Day weekend around the house and taking advantage of the pool and the hot weather.  Got the water crystal clear and although I did have to use the heater to get from 78 to 83 degrees for temperature, it was worth it.  By the end of the month of June the heater will be idled until probably late September or October.  I usually run till Indian Summer kicks in around the middle of October but last year has made me rethink that strategy since I wasted heating the thing for basically nothing the last couple weeks of the season.

Anyway, enough about that.

The “Car Season” is in full swing and at Volo on Sunday last weekend there was a decent crowd I thought.  I took my brother-in-law Joe with me and we went through the “Car Corral” then went through the cars Volo has on display in their labyrinth of buildings.  Several decent cars to choose from depending on your budget, and I recommend anyone in the market to check their website for what is available.  They have recently started really promoting their consignment cars and have quite a few on the website that are not actually at their facility.  This brings in an added wrinkle for me because now I have to figure out if a vehicle on “consignment” is local or not.  Not really an issue but then again, you want to actually see the car in person.

The next Mecum Auction is in St. Paul, Minnesota and is coming up fast.  This is one of their smaller field of cars but there are some vehicles of interest.

Several vehicles came up in my search of the listings which I hope to get to in the next few days.  Seems to be a few 1955-56-57 Chevy’s for the guys who appreciate those also.

Volo’s site is  www.volocars.com  in case anyone wants to look through their inventory.

Mecum’s site is  www.mecum.com  for anyone who wants to check their auction listing.  I do recommend you becoming an “Infonet” member so that you can see what these cars sold for in the past auctions.

Well, that’s it for now.  Stay in the sunshine and talk at you all later.

Davey boy