16 December 2011

And the latest trend in the collector car market is ...

We finished updating work on Hagerty Price Guide Book 17 today, It will soon head to the printers for early January delivery. It's hard work — we know that, and we sincerely appreciate all the help we get from our dealer friends, individuals, buyers, sellers, auction houses and just plain folks.

But that's not what today's posting is about.

Let's talk trends.

We have seen a few Baby Boomers getting what they couldn't have when they were younger, cars that were eligible for particular events, the flight to investment grade cars, the push for the best as well as "barn finds."

We were proud to say we called a few of these, and today we are calling one more trend.

We are seeing an uptick in old cars that are usable — cars that can justify their space in the garage, especially in tough times.

This is not to say all of these cars are practical — that's a different matter. Those investment cars and barn finds? They are motoring along smoothly, but that's yesterdays news.

Usable cars — and especially older pickup trucks — have to earn their keep as a fun-time car for the kids, a local show-goer, an ice cream shop runner. Something to take to Cars N' Coffee? You bet. A temperamental toad of a car? Failed restoration? Rusty relic? Pretty much sold on to the next guy. The car with long-term needs that has been sitting for years? Folks are turning those into cash. Our #4 cars are getting cheaper for many models as more of them come on the market and are being sold on by sellers who are ready to take a loss — sometimes a substantial one.

Now, obviously, usable is different for different folks — while some might think a Lamborghini Countach might not even make the first cut in the test for usefulness, others, including those whose idea of relaxing is a rapid trip on an open road, will disagree.

Remember, useful, not practical is the key.

Those seller of cars ready to take a loss and move on? That is obviously presenting an opportunity for others to purchase and restore — or just fix up — a car they might not have been able to afford in 2006, 2007 or 2008.

So there we have it. When someone asks you about the latest trend in classic cars, tell them you have some useful information.

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