17 December 2012

It's a good time to dip a toe into car market

Make sure to do your research


The annual January Collector car auctions are just around the corner. Meaning Speed TV armchair auctioneers will be prepping their La-Z-Boys and making some room in the PVR for the six days of live auction coverage.
The Scottsdale auctions are looked upon by many as the predictor or barometer of what the classic car market might look like for 2013.
Considering the uncertainty of the economic climate, the 2012 auction total sales figures were quite amazing. Today's buyers are a lot more educated and far less impulsive than the buyers of 2008. Today, a lot of research goes into making a calculated purchase. The Mopar madness days have been entered into the annals of automotive history and some of those cars are worth less than half of what they were purchased for five years ago.
My colleague Dave Kinney, a well-known classic car value market analyst and the publisher of the Hager-ty Price Guide, is of the opinion that if you believe what goes up in value often comes down, after a bit of time it goes up again. So if you are looking to purchase a muscle car, then perhaps now is the time to do your homework and look at the current values closely. This is the way I would describe the market for 2013. The top-end cars, the $5 million to $10 million European sports cars, will always be highly sought after; this is where the wealthy collectors are investing.
I don't anticipate seeing too many world records broken in Scottsdale, as this usually occurs later in the year when the serious players attend the auctions in Monterey, Calif.
I do expect to see a lot of movement in the $40,000-to-$100,000 range of cars from the muscle-car era cars, pickup trucks and late '50s and '60s European sports cars because there is an abundance of never-been-seen-before vehicles coming to auction. These are the cars that will be the staple at the Barrett-Jackson auction, which will offer in excess of 1,000 vehicles for sale at no reserve prices.
The $100,000 to $500,000 Jaguar XK120-XK150, Ferrari 330 and up and coming cars like the Mase-rati 3500GT and some American Grand Classics will represent emotional purchases by retirees who have either inherited money, made wise investments or perhaps have just sold their business and will be looking for the cars of their dreams at Bonham's, Gooding & Co and the RM auctions. The days of flipping cars has slowed down and are probably behind us; you no longer see the same cars offered for sale at different auctions month after month.
I recall one such flip that involved a Toyota; the purchaser did absolutely nothing to the car and added about five additional miles to the original 8,768 on the odometer. The purchaser earned a tidy profit in excess of $21,000. You might think I'm talking about one of the 337 Toyota 2000 GTs built but this was a 1966 Toyota Corona! If you're in the market for a pre-1972 muscle car and can't find or afford what you really want, lower your sights a little and look at some of the great cars from the 1980s, cars like the turbocharged Buick Grand National, one of the last fourth-generation Camaros with the LS-1 engine or a 2001-02 Pontiac Firebird/Trans-Am.

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