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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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March 2005 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Looking Both Ways
By Robert McLellan
 

The key to collecting anything is owning: a) the latest, greatest and most desirable thing that is the current rage; and b) something old enough and desirable enough that it is rarely seen, hard to obtain and brings good nostalgic feelings to those who see it. But it cannot be so old and forgotten, no matter how great it once was, that few remember it. The Z06 Corvette and Ford GT are good examples of the first; and the 1957 Chevrolet and 1966 Pontiac GTO are good examples of the latter. As for the 1912 Mercer or 1917 Locomobile, they were outstanding cars for their time, but few collectors know what you are talking about when you mention them and cannot picture in their minds what one looks like.

 
 
 
   

1960 - Let's say you were in the hobby in 1960. What might have captured your interest? In American, half of the old car enthusiasts were Ford collectors. The Model T, Model A, 1932 and 1940 models, were all very popular. The "Brass Era" cars (pre-1915) were also sought after and coachbuilt "Classic Cars" (1925-48) were gaining momentum with collectors. The new models that were hot with new car enthusiasts were sports cars like the MGA, XK-150, Corvette and high performance V-8 car like Chrysler letter models and big engine Pontiacs, Chevrolets, etc.

 
 
       

1980 - Twenty years later and tastes have changed. The "Brass Era" cars are almost forgotten, but the classics are all hot now. Auctions are knocking down big prices and no matter what classic you buy it seems it will be worth more tomorrow. This phenomena has made the less impressive makes of the 1930s popular as they are financially more obtainable than Duesenbergs, Bugattis and Pierce-Arrows. Now there is interest in most all 1950s and 1960s sports cars, with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Maseratis leading the pack. The muscles car of the late 1960s and early 1970s, with their high performance equipment, were beginning to become popular. New car interest was limited because there were few performance cars available due to pollution restraints and high gasoline costs. A new phenomena was the creation of kit cars and replica cars.

 
 
     
     

2000 - Another twenty years have passed and those 1930s classics still bring big money, but the buyers are mostly rich old guys in their 70s and 80s. When they are gone who will remember or want their cars? Will they be appreciated by their sons and grandsons? What happened to the "Brass Era" cars? They aren't at the auctions or club meets. Although there will always be a market for these cars, the buyers will probably be fewer and prices for the cars will escalate more slowly. Now the 1950s cars are the "classics", as well as are cars built before 1975. But new cars are back in vogue now. Performance is back and most makes are producing desirable models.

 
 
       

2020 - Now into the future. Based on what you have just read, can you project into the future the next generation's collectible cars? The 1950s and 1960s cars may bring blank looks when you mention them. The 1970s and 1980s cars will be antiques and bring back memories and certainly will stand out among the new cars (which may all be hybrids or hydrogen cars). Many of the 1990s and 2000s cars will certainly be desirable because those that are loved now will be nostalgia material then. They will be today's best investments for 2020.

 
 
       

Most collectors are only aware of what trends are occurring around them at a specific time. Think about long term trends and take a look over the broad range of cars built. There is money to be made in the cars and in the literature if you study the cars and the patterns. It is all there and you can outsmart everyone else if you put your mind to it. Remember, if you like it the odds are others do, too. Investing for your future can be fun and profitable.

 
 
 
LITERATURE INVESTMENTS
 
Literature Life
Golden Eras
Good Investment? - Yes!
Buying For Tomorrow
Good Investment?
Profitable Portfolio!
Unanticipated Investment
Today's Bargain Can Be Tomorrow's Treasure
What Is It Worth?
 
 
 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the "Automotive Chronicles" are those of the writers' exclusively. Information contained in the articles has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness. When considering literature as an investment keep in mind that past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Some literature will not increase in value, and other literature varies in potential and results. Condition and desirability are important factors in considering any literature for investment.

 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, March 2005
 
 
 
 
 
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