The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-02-2013, 12:29 PM
DMark DMark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
When Does An Old Car Become A "Classic" Car?

I still have my 1994 Saturn SC2 that I bought new - with only 85,000 miles on it, in great shape and runs great.

Somewhere I read that any car over 20 years old could be called a "Classic", and thus the value might start to go up instead of down.

Does that mean that starting next year, this car might start to hold its value and then start to be worth more?

I am in no hurry to sell it - still a nice second car for us, though we don't drive it much.

But would keeping this car a few more years increase the resale value - and if not now, how much longer until it becomes a "Classic Car"?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-02-2013, 12:54 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Usually 20 years or so is where a car has fully depreciated, at which point the value equalizes to some sort of baseline "cheap junker" price, but at least isn't depreciating anymore as long as it stays in running condition. Economists might say there's no exchange value left and so the price equalizes to the use value. It's actually the opposite of a classic, which is valued entirely for exchange value.

It's probably going to be closer to 30 years or so when certain cars begin to accrue collector's value. But it won't happen to every car (there's still cars from the 60's that are essentially worth their scrap value) and I'm not sure I'd bet on yours being one of them.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-02-2013, 12:58 PM
DMark DMark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
)...and I'm not sure I'd bet on yours being one of them.
Ha! That was subtle.

OK then...no big $100,000 offers coming soon. Sigh.
Well, I still think it looks great and good to know the value probably won't sink to zero...and as mentioned, it really doesn't have a scratch and runs great, so in my mind it already IS a classic.

Thanks for the info!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-02-2013, 01:15 PM
jasg jasg is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 2,954
In WA, after 25 years you can skip smog checks. After 30, you can get a 'Collector Plate' that does not have to be renewed. Check for similar in your state.

As far as big buck$ for an old car, it is always subject to the rule of The Greater Fool...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-02-2013, 01:43 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
IMHOtep the Justifed
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Upper Podunk
Posts: 9,485
I had to decline a classic plate when I registered my car in CT - it was just so damned ugly I didn't want it. I am not sure what the criterion for eligibility is, but I see it on some rather - pardon the contradiction in terms - pedestrian vehicles.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-02-2013, 01:50 PM
jasg jasg is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 2,954
Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
I had to decline a classic plate when I registered my car in CT - it was just so damned ugly I didn't want it. I am not sure what the criterion for eligibility is, but I see it on some rather - pardon the contradiction in terms - pedestrian vehicles.
In WA, you can use 'Year of Mfg' plates - in CA, you can order new vintage black/yellow, yellow/black or yellow/blue plates.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-02-2013, 02:09 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
IMHOtep the Justifed
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Upper Podunk
Posts: 9,485
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasg View Post
...in CA, you can order new vintage black/yellow, yellow/black or yellow/blue plates.
Are you sure of that? That was the case until about 2000, but when I lost a black/yellow on an older car a bit after that I was able to get only the new blue/white plates. CA does change its DMV rules about every 15 minutes, though.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-02-2013, 02:15 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
IIRC, in Ohio, there are requirements beyond age for a collector plate--such as driving a limited number of miles per year. This is all anecdotal, though--while I guess I probably qualified for a collector plate w/ my 1969 Cutlass, I never bothered.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-02-2013, 02:19 PM
Absolute Absolute is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 3,782
Quote:
But would keeping this car a few more years increase the resale value - and if not now, how much longer until it becomes a "Classic Car"?
It's not as if there is some guarantee that any car will automatically become a "Classic Car" and begin to appreciate in value once it is sufficiently old. The 20-year threshold is just a legal definition in many states for registration, tax, etc. purposes. In order for the car to appreciate in value, there has to be something about it that makes it desirable to collectors, enthusiasts, etc. Many aspects about cars made in the 1960s and 1970's push those buttons for people (e.g. tailfins, chrome, etc.), but I don't think there will be nearly as many "classics" among cars made in the 80's and 90's, even 30 years from now.

An old car in nice shape will always be worth something, but 95% of all such cars will never actually appreciate in value regardless of how old they get. I do not think a 1994 Saturn econobox is going to be in that 5% that do. If it were a limited-edition Corvette, that would be a different story.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-02-2013, 03:22 PM
JerrySTL JerrySTL is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
An old car in nice shape will always be worth something, but 95% of all such cars will never actually appreciate in value regardless of how old they get. I do not think a 1994 Saturn econobox is going to be in that 5% that do. If it were a limited-edition Corvette, that would be a different story.
Maybe if it's used in a remake of Wayne's World. That movie helped the AMC Pacer gain a little cult status.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-02-2013, 03:25 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,211
Everyone will have an opinion on this. IMHO, and unless it has a very low production run, nothing from1973/newer will ever qualify.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-02-2013, 03:36 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Near Washington, DC
Posts: 7,702
You know, it's a funny thing. Back in the 1970's, I would have said that a car 10 year old was a classic. In the 1980's, that had stretched to 20 years. And now, I would have to say that any car less than 30 years old is just "old".

Now get off my lawn. Heh.

Here in Virginia any car more than 20 years old can be registered as an "antique". I think I posted on here a few months back about the surreality of seeing a DeLorean with black "Antique" plates on it.

Last edited by TruCelt; 03-02-2013 at 03:38 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-02-2013, 03:43 PM
robby robby is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 4,485
Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
I had to decline a classic plate when I registered my car in CT - it was just so damned ugly I didn't want it. I am not sure what the criterion for eligibility is, but I see it on some rather - pardon the contradiction in terms - pedestrian vehicles.
Worse, Connecticut's antique license plate prominently displays the logo "Early American" for some reason, which looks particularly stupid on foreign-made automobiles, such as my friend's 1985 Mercedes-Benz. Apparently, you can get it for any car that is 20 years or older.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-02-2013, 04:04 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 35,365
In New York, after 25 years you can apply for historical plates (with HX as part of the plate number); you can't use an HX plate car for daily transportation, but just to drive to exhibitions. Most owners also have an old plate for the year the car was made; they have licence brackets for the HX plates that can be easily removed if the car is used in a film.
__________________
Author of Staroamer's Fate and Syron's Fate, now back in print.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-02-2013, 04:11 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
IMHOtep the Justifed
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Upper Podunk
Posts: 9,485
Quote:
Originally Posted by robby View Post
Worse, Connecticut's antique license plate prominently displays the logo "Early American" for some reason, which looks particularly stupid on foreign-made automobiles, such as my friend's 1985 Mercedes-Benz. Apparently, you can get it for any car that is 20 years or older.
That's the one I meant. The DMV lady handling my registrations couldn't figure out why I wouldn't take it since I qualified for it. (Of course, it would have been temporary on that vehicle anyway, since I was turning around and trading it in for a vanity plate... but still. Yuck. I see them every day and can't figure out how they could have been made less attractive.)
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-02-2013, 06:30 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasg View Post
In WA, after 25 years you can skip smog checks. After 30, you can get a 'Collector Plate' that does not have to be renewed. Check for similar in your state.
Also, thanks to administrative inertia, you can get a "horseless carriage" plate for anything over 40 years old, which is now 1973 and older.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-02-2013, 09:32 PM
jasg jasg is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 2,954
Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Are you sure of that? That was the case until about 2000, but when I lost a black/yellow on an older car a bit after that I was able to get only the new blue/white plates. CA does change its DMV rules about every 15 minutes, though.
Pretty sure, since I don't live there I have not tried.

ETA: looks like there is a Jan 2015 deadline for 7500 orders.

Last edited by jasg; 03-02-2013 at 09:33 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 03-03-2013, 01:05 AM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMark View Post
But would keeping this car a few more years increase the resale value - and if not now, how much longer until it becomes a "Classic Car"?
A car doesn't appreciate because it's a classic, it appreciates because it's collectable. Anything over 20 years is a classic, few cars are collectable.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 03-03-2013, 01:56 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
The comments are correct..any old car can be called a "classic". But that has nothing to do with the value of such a car. Value is related to scarcity, uniqueness, and desirability. There is a saying "unloved when new, unloved when old"-that sums it up. AMC made lots of interesting cars-but most of them are almost worthless. Is there a big market for Kaiser Frasier cars today? Not really-because nobody wanted them when they were new. There is a 1958 Edsel, rotting away in the yard of a house down the street fro me-is it worth anything? Probably not.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 03-03-2013, 02:50 AM
chappachula chappachula is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
There is a 1958 Edsel, rotting away in the yard of a house down the street from me-is it worth anything? Probably not.
ummm....this page shows 10 edsels for sale at a mere 20-40 thousand dollars
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 03-03-2013, 04:30 AM
Stink Fish Pot Stink Fish Pot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Depends a

As many folks have pointed out, it depends... Not only on your personal definition of "classic", but the state government that creates rules for tagging certain cars, and the buying public, which drives the market for classic cars.

Your car, for instance, has value to you, and to maybe other Saturn owners, but putting it for sale might give you a real idea of what the car might be worth to the public at large.

In Pennsylvania, it used to be that if your car was 10 years old or more, you could get "CLASSIC" plates for the car, which were great for a number of reasons. This was bsck in the 70's and early 80's, when cars lasting 10 years was somewhat of a novelty. Now, 10 yer cars are all over the road. I own one, and don't consider it a classic by any definition.

In PA, the ANTIQUE plate can be put on your vehicle provided it is 25 years old, and in good shape (you used to have to send photos in of your car, but I'm not sure that's still the rule). Pa used to hae a great purple plate with white numbers for the antique plate, but someone in Harrisburg decided to change it for who knows why to something similar to Connecticuts. It is an awful plate, with an REO Speedwagon or something on it. It looks so bad, many folks opt to leave regular plates on their car instead of getting the antique plate, which brings significant money savings advantages (no annual inspections, lower insurance rates, etc.). But you can't put that stupid plate. A 1965 corvette and think it makes the car.

"Classic" also has to meet a certain leel of style and panache. A Chrysler K car, for example, saved the company, but they aren't being sought out by too many people, and no one is restoring them.

So, I would say this... For classic cars, anything over 25 years old that is being collected actively by the car community, whereas an antique just needs to be 25 years old. But these are my definitions. I think a corvette of 25 years ago is a classic automobile, but a Buick skylark? Not so much? What about a Chrysler LeBaron? No.

So the car has to be sporty, have a market of interested buyers and restoration hobbiests, and be on the rare/expensive side.

If thst Edsel someone mentioned upthread is salvagable, take a look at it and get a price. It could be worth buying it for parts alone, but there are many Edsel clubs across the country, and people will pay good money for a nice looking Edsel.

If you look at card produced over the last 10 years, I think only three will become real collectors items... The mustangs, camaros, and the challengers. All cars retro'ed from the 60's muscle car era.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 03-03-2013, 06:19 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Yes, and those cars are in showroom condition. Care to guess what a rusting old heap, with an engine that hasn't run in 30 years? With mice-eaten upholstery? The restoration of this car would run $20,000 easily-care to try it?
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 03-03-2013, 06:57 AM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Yes, and those cars are in showroom condition. Care to guess what a rusting old heap, with an engine that hasn't run in 30 years? With mice-eaten upholstery? The restoration of this car would run $20,000 easily-care to try it?
Yep, the bane of classic car buyers is the guy with a rusted heap good only for parts insisting it's valuable because he saw the exact same car sell for $XX,XXX or more on the tv. There are cars that are worth a lot in such shape - the rusted shell of a Porsche 356 Speedster comes to mind - but not many.

And I think we're past the days when a common car (something sold in the 10s of thousands like a Saturn) becomes a collectible, the way the Ford Mustang did.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 03-03-2013, 09:23 AM
PatriotGrrrl PatriotGrrrl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
If there aren't already websites and forums about a given car, chances are it isn't going to become a collectable classic. OTOH, there are some cars that seem ordinary, but have so many enthusiastic fans that they will probably always be desirable to someone.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 03-03-2013, 10:43 AM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotGrrrl View Post
If there aren't already websites and forums about a given car, chances are it isn't going to become a collectable classic. OTOH, there are some cars that seem ordinary, but have so many enthusiastic fans that they will probably always be desirable to someone.
I'd say there in NO car out there that doesn't have a web forum and/or fan club, no matter how common and mundane. Base model Kias and Hyundais, the Toyota Yaris, the Ford Focus - the internet means everything has a following. While that means there will always be a demand for nice examples, a small following means demand will never be enough for the car to appreciate.

I'd say the collectible bar is restoration. There are people that will pay good money for an 80s Honda CR-X, and there are long-term owners that will restore their own out of sentiment, but I've never seen anyone buy a crappy one and pay to fix it up, even though decent ones are hard to come by.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 03-03-2013, 11:48 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
Yep, the bane of classic car buyers is the guy with a rusted heap good only for parts insisting it's valuable because he saw the exact same car sell for $XX,XXX or more on the tv. There are cars that are worth a lot in such shape - the rusted shell of a Porsche 356 Speedster comes to mind - but not many.

And I think we're past the days when a common car (something sold in the 10s of thousands like a Saturn) becomes a collectible, the way the Ford Mustang did.
If you are a collector like Jay Leno, spending $100,000 to restore an old car is nothing. But if you are an average guy, restoring an old Edsel is insane. You buy this car, then spend over $20,000..and now you have a car that is worth (maybe) $10,000. Can you drive it? Yes..if you don't mind 9 MPG, crappy brakes, no airbags, no modern conveniences, and extremely unsafe to boot. And the pool of potential Edsel lovers is small..and getting smaller. In 1958, they couldn't give em away.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 03-03-2013, 11:51 AM
Stink Fish Pot Stink Fish Pot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
And I think we're past the days when a common car (something sold in the 10s of thousands like a Saturn) becomes a collectible, the way the Ford Mustang did.
I disagree. As I mentioned before, I believe three potential cars came out of the decade. The mustang, camero, and challenger all have great potential to be collectors items in ten to twenty years.

Time will tell, though.

The other thing that I think may hurt any car made now is that your basic weekend mechanic can no longer work on an engine. I don't know if it matters or not, but it seems to me that one of the things about a classic or antique car that is important is the ability for a person to maintain it. I know not everyone can maintain a car, but a weekend mechanic can do a lot to a 66 mustang that they could never do to an '06 mustang.

Interesting exercise.. Think back to 1987-88. Is there any car you would consider a classic? Maybe a Delorean, depending on when it was built, but that's it for me. I can't think of anything else made 25 years ago that is now a classic in my mind.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 03-03-2013, 11:52 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
I'd say there in NO car out there that doesn't have a web forum and/or fan club, no matter how common and mundane. Base model Kias and Hyundais, the Toyota Yaris, the Ford Focus - the internet means everything has a following. While that means there will always be a demand for nice examples, a small following means demand will never be enough for the car to appreciate.

I'd say the collectible bar is restoration. There are people that will pay good money for an 80s Honda CR-X, and there are long-term owners that will restore their own out of sentiment, but I've never seen anyone buy a crappy one and pay to fix it up, even though decent ones are hard to come by.
Yes, Japanese cars are next to worthless (as collectibles). The reasons are many, but the fact is , they were built with very lightweight components, and the body metal was thin. Throw in 30 years of rust, and you really have something next to impossible to restore. There are a few valuable Japanese cars (Jay Leno has a Mada Cosmo-a very rare car that is worth serious money). These are exceptions.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 03-03-2013, 02:01 PM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stink Fish Pot View Post
I disagree. As I mentioned before, I believe three potential cars came out of the decade. The mustang, camero, and challenger all have great potential to be collectors items in ten to twenty years.
Umm, you missed my point. We're PAST the days of those cars, meaning I don't see cars from the 80s or 90s that sold in those volumes becoming collectible. The most popular cars in that period would be Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys, which ain't happening.

Quote:
Interesting exercise.. Think back to 1987-88. Is there any car you would consider a classic? Maybe a Delorean, depending on when it was built, but that's it for me. I can't think of anything else made 25 years ago that is now a classic in my mind.
There are some cars from that 80s that are appreciating classics, mostly yuppie icons. The Porsche 911SC (1978-1983) and Carrera 3.2 (1984-1989) are steadily climbing, dragged up by the rising prices of the pre-1973 911s and the poor reputation of the post-1998 cars; the 930 (911 turbo) can run $50k, and the rare Speedsters are almost $100k. The BMW M3 made from 1988-1991 is on the cusp of what I was talking about, restoration-wise. A top quality E30 M3 is $30k and up and will soon be expensive enough to warrant paying in the teens for a bad one and fixing it up. A guy in NJ is already infamous for half-assed restos already. The more common E30s are also climbing a bit. Ron Tonkin GT sold a E30 cab for $11k on eBay last week - even the nicest ones were $7k or so only a couple of years ago. The Mercedes-Benz 190E with 16-valve engines are rising as well, though as then they aren't as popular; nice ones are going up, but I don't see anyone paying to restore one.

On the domestic front, some 80s coupes are finding favor - Cutlass Supremes, Buick Rivieras, Thunderbirds - as well as the Caprice Classic. A cousin of mine recently finished a fairly pricey resto of a Cutlass. (I was there in the 80s - he had NO interest in them at the time). The Buick Grand National is seeing a rise in interest, too.

Deloreans are sort of stuck - most people that bought them thought they'd be collectible, and so the bulk are in decent shape. They've hovered in the low 20s for years, and will continue to, imo.

Me, I'm old school - I'm hoping to land an E-type in the next month or so, series 1.5 or 2, coupe, in a color other than bright red, Old English white, or Primrose yellow (black over red would be perfect!). I've owned a 60s Rolls-Royce previously so I've already got British tools and I've worked with SU carbs and Lucas electrics before.

Last edited by epbrown01; 03-03-2013 at 02:03 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 03-03-2013, 07:44 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
Everyone will have an opinion on this. IMHO, and unless it has a very low production run, nothing from1973/newer will ever qualify.
That depends on how you qualify "low production run". It's true that very few mass-market vehicles will ever become classics, but there are lots of relatively common newer vehicles that are already classics. The first-generation BMW M3, for example. There were more than 15,000 built. Same with the Buick Grand National (25,000+), though I can't figure out for the life of me why anyone would want one.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 03-03-2013, 07:54 PM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Same with the Buick Grand National (25,000+), though I can't figure out for the life of me why anyone would want one.
That's a redneck dream car from the 1980s. The way a lot of people lust for a 911 or Ferrari some day, a lot of guys were drooling over the GNX back in KY, almost to Corvette-lust levels (back home, no one gave a damn about fancy furrin cars). I'm not surprised those guys are scooping them up now that they've got the bucks, though it was never my cup of tea either.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 03-03-2013, 08:41 PM
OldOlds OldOlds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Rarely is there a thread that I am actually qualified to comment on, but hopefully my usrname indicates that I have at least some knowledge.

First, the definitions get really murky. States recognize antiquity at some arbitrary age, but that really has no relation to the collectibility or value of the vehicle. Rarely, a car can appreciate shortly after sale. More commonly the model has to wander the desert, going through a period of either disdain or being forgotten. People forget the high-buck 60s muscle cars were practically given away as jalopies by the early 80s.

Next, rarity has little to do with value, at least when talking about how rare the vehicle was when new. In fact, there is often an inverse relationship here. Many people get to a point in life where they are a little older, have a little money, and most commonly they want either that car they had as a kid and remember fondly, or that car they couldn't afford back in the day. Witness here the value of the old Mustangs and mid-50s chevies. Now, especially in the case of the Mustang, the sheer volume produced keeps the prices reasonable today. Nonetheless, they are valued and generally appreciating.

To those who think nothing of type X will ever appreciate (be it Japanese, smog era, etc)- I assure you some will. If you can guess which ones, hoard them cheap and wait. Sadly, there is no way to know, but I suspect some of the hot Hondas from the 80s and 90s will see their day when the right generation (30s and 40s today?) empties their nests. ' I predict that the SUVs of the last 20 years will also appreciate some day (especially the early Explorer, being an archetype). This will happen, I think, a generation after they have passed from commonality. The reason is that the kids of today will remember them as some of us do the station wagons of our youth, and by the time they are late middle age I suspect there won't be anything like them on the road (you know, when we all drive 250lb personal motility bubbles that run on unicorn farts)

Cars which are considered archetypical (see Mustang, Corvette, Thunderbird) often go on to be quite valuable.

Finally, the terms Classic, Antique, etc. get really murky. CCCA maintains a specific list of vehicles which were "“Fine” or “Distinctive” automobile, American or foreign built, produced between 1925* and 1948. Generally, a Classic was high-priced when new and was built in limited quantities. Other factors, including engine displacement, custom coachwork and luxury accessories, such as power brakes, power clutch, and “one-shot” or automatic lubrication systems, help determine whether a car is considered to be a Classic."

Now, many of the CCCA members are a bit pompous, and consider anything not a classic to be "just an old used car." Most of the rest of us think they can stuff that... well you get it. But they can't "own" the definition of Classic, even if they think they do. But, I thought this worth mentioning since you can use that term with the wrong person and next thing you know you're listening to a rather long explanation which basically boils down to "you're a heathen who doesn't know a proper automobile, and probably eat your soup with the salad fork"

Last edited by OldOlds; 03-03-2013 at 08:44 PM.. Reason: forgot to add something
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 03-03-2013, 09:01 PM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Yeah, only the CCCA thinks their definition has any weight, but it comes up quite often on car forums discussing classics. I'm for classic and antique being used interchangeably and remaining nebulous, but I think collectible should be used when a car sells for higher than MSRP with no adjusting for inflation. That adds a lot of old cars to the mix (most everything up until the 1980s, probably) and accounts for newer cars like the Ferrari Enzo or the Ford GT. That seems the most democratic way, as it sets aside provenance, significance, and just goes by "a few people still seem to like them quite a bit."
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 03-03-2013, 09:17 PM
carnut carnut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: State of Hockey
Posts: 3,216
The rules for collector car plates vary from state to state and the identity of a car being a classic also varies. For instance, a BMW 2002 is a classic, but a Chrysler K car is not. Neither is an AMC Gremlin. All these meet the age criteria; however, only the 2002 had style, grace, and dependability.

Check with your local Saturn club members to see if your car is weathering the test of time.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 03-03-2013, 09:45 PM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by carnut View Post
The rules for collector car plates vary from state to state and the identity of a car being a classic also varies. For instance, a BMW 2002 is a classic, but a Chrysler K car is not. Neither is an AMC Gremlin. All these meet the age criteria; however, only the 2002 had style, grace, and dependability.
Yeah, no. The Reliant is as valid a classic as a 2002, regardless of your opinion. As Oldolds said, the CCCA wouldn't define a BMW 2002 as a classic and the '02' cars are seminal to the company's history. Everyone trying to promote their own definitions is why it's such a morass state-to-state.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 03-04-2013, 12:59 AM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
The comments are correct..any old car can be called a "classic". But that has nothing to do with the value of such a car. Value is related to scarcity, uniqueness, and desirability. There is a saying "unloved when new, unloved when old"-that sums it up. AMC made lots of interesting cars-but most of them are almost worthless. Is there a big market for Kaiser Frasier cars today? Not really-because nobody wanted them when they were new. There is a 1958 Edsel, rotting away in the yard of a house down the street fro me-is it worth anything? Probably not.
The trouble with this is that if a car is popular when new, the car makers tend to make huge numbers of them, which diminishes both their rarity and their appeal. I think a big part of why the first generation of muscle cars are so collectable now is that they actually weren't all that popular (in terms of sales numbers) when they were new and smog regulations essentially killed them before the car makers were really able to capitalize on the trend.

Incidentally, the Edsel is pretty good illustration of this. They obviously sold poorly, limiting the supply of them today, but the notoriety of the flop has kept interest in them alive to a much greater degree than their much more competent competitors. An Edsel in decent shape will actually fetch quite a bit more these days than most family sedans from that era.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Yes, Japanese cars are next to worthless (as collectibles). The reasons are many, but the fact is , they were built with very lightweight components, and the body metal was thin. Throw in 30 years of rust, and you really have something next to impossible to restore. There are a few valuable Japanese cars (Jay Leno has a Mada Cosmo-a very rare car that is worth serious money). These are exceptions.
This is just so laughably wrong. Japanese cars are practically the ONLY things that are beginning to be collectable from the 80's and 90's. While the muscle cars of the classic Detroit era devolved into underpowered plasticy land yachts, the Japanese started making great performance oriented cars. Try pricing an 80's Supra or Nissan Z car versus a similar vintage Mustang or Camaro-- the latter are basically in "cheap transportation" price ranges whereas a decent example of the Japanese cars are close to what they sold for new. Even just sportier subvariants of regular bread-n-butter cars like the Civic or Corolla from the 80's and early 90's have active enthusiast bases and are starting to appreciate in price.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:13 AM
Nunzio Tavulari Nunzio Tavulari is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
The prime rule is that whatever car you wanted at 15, that's a good candidate to be worth some money when you're 55.

But the way to make money in classic cars is by making the restoration parts. Don't try to decide whether the Corvette, Camaro or Caprice (and which year) is the hot ticket, specialize in the parts that make them common. GM shared a lot of components across their car lines, as did all of the other manufacturers. It may be something as simple as the proper color spray paint for the alternator or the right coolant overflow tank.

I don't have the capital, but if I did, I'd start now on perfecting interior components for Hondas. Carpets, dash pads door panels, headliners. Plastics is the ticket for future car restorations; the right color and the right "grain". Almost everything inside a modern car is plastic.

I think 1985 to 1995 Japanese cars will be the next collectible genre, and that the real classics of that group will be 1968-73 Datsun 510s, Toyota Celicas and Early Subarus. Corollas and Camrys won't be especially valuable, but they'll be as ubiquitous at car shows as the Ford Model A. Remember, the average Eighties car will be as different in 2030 as a Model T was in the Sixties. We'll all have solar powered flying cars by then.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 03-04-2013, 08:21 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
The trouble with this is that if a car is popular when new, the car makers tend to make huge numbers of them, which diminishes both their rarity and their appeal. I think a big part of why the first generation of muscle cars are so collectable now is that they actually weren't all that popular (in terms of sales numbers) when they were new and smog regulations essentially killed them before the car makers were really able to capitalize on the trend.

Incidentally, the Edsel is pretty good illustration of this. They obviously sold poorly, limiting the supply of them today, but the notoriety of the flop has kept interest in them alive to a much greater degree than their much more competent competitors. An Edsel in decent shape will actually fetch quite a bit more these days than most family sedans from that era.



This is just so laughably wrong. Japanese cars are practically the ONLY things that are beginning to be collectable from the 80's and 90's. While the muscle cars of the classic Detroit era devolved into underpowered plasticy land yachts, the Japanese started making great performance oriented cars. Try pricing an 80's Supra or Nissan Z car versus a similar vintage Mustang or Camaro-- the latter are basically in "cheap transportation" price ranges whereas a decent example of the Japanese cars are close to what they sold for new. Even just sportier subvariants of regular bread-n-butter cars like the Civic or Corolla from the 80's and early 90's have active enthusiast bases and are starting to appreciate in price.
I would like to see a Nissan Z car from the 1980's-that isn't swiss chesse. These cars rusted quickly, and the rust ate away the strut towers as well..such a car is dangerously unsafe. Yes, you might find a few of these cars in good shape-but not many. My wife had a 12 year old Nissan Stanza-somebody broke the RHS headlamp assembly. WE could NOT get a new assembly from a dealer anywhere-we would up going to 5 or 6 junkyards to find one. Parts for older Japanese cars are next to impossible to find.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 03-04-2013, 08:29 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
You don't have to find lots that are in good shape. I'm seriously thinking about picking up a first-generation Honda CRX and stuffing it in my garage for 10 years. People are ridiculously nostalgic about those.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 03-04-2013, 09:21 AM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
You don't have to find lots that are in good shape. I'm seriously thinking about picking up a first-generation Honda CRX and stuffing it in my garage for 10 years. People are ridiculously nostalgic about those.
They are, but I seriously doubt people will ever restore them. The 80s and 90s Japanese car scene is just a mess - most of the cars rusted horribly, parts are hard to find, and a lot of the survivors have ridiculous mods. My first new car purchase after college was a 1985 Honda Prelude (graphite grey with 5-speed), stolen months after I moved to Chicago. I've looked for another off and on over the years, and they're just trashed and parts are hard to come by - everyone just suggest swapping in newer engines and such.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:01 AM
OldOlds OldOlds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
They are, but I seriously doubt people will ever restore them. The 80s and 90s Japanese car scene is just a mess - most of the cars rusted horribly, parts are hard to find, and a lot of the survivors have ridiculous mods. My first new car purchase after college was a 1985 Honda Prelude (graphite grey with 5-speed), stolen months after I moved to Chicago. I've looked for another off and on over the years, and they're just trashed and parts are hard to come by - everyone just suggest swapping in newer engines and such.
Trust me- people have said that about every generation of car since people developed an interest in old cars. For the post-war cars, when they implemented a lot of new stamping processes involving three story presses, the claim was that nobody would ever be able to reproduce those fenders. Ask a 90 year old gear head and he will confirm this, I assure you.

Virtually all the collectibles go through the stage of being nothing more than an old car, and where there is interest there is money. Where there is money, there is a way. The potential audience for the CRX is currently too young to have the money or time- most of them are building their families.

It is often claimed (and probably only barely hyperbole) that today you can buy reproductions of everything you need to recreate some of the 60s cars from scratch. Technology like 3D scanners and printers will probably make the restoration aftermarket more capable and efficient. Consider the convertible top for my Olds. It's a one year only top for a model that only had 3500 produced, but the aftermarket has the prints and when I needed a new one there were at least three companies that could custom produce one for me.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:15 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
The Delorean DMC

I always liked the look of these cars, but they will never reach "classic" status. To begin with, they came with a jointly developed Volvo-Peugeot-Renault V-6 engine that was a technological disaster-most of these engines suffered massive failure by 50,000 miles. The next thing was the body-the stainless steel body panels discolored and stained-they look terrible (you have to sandpaper them periodically). Plus, the suspension rattled and heaved, so much so that driving them is rather unpleasant. Yes, they look unique..but they were (and remain) a design and production disaster-there is a reason why thousands were scrapped (within years of production).
I remember a nice little story about their demise..after the factory (in Northern Ireland) closed, they interviewed a local farmer about why they failed-he said it was because they cut down a white thorn tree, which belonged to the local leprechauns-that cursed them from day one.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:22 AM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Something that might be illustrative for this thread is Bring a Trailer, which is basically an aggegator of interesting ads for old cars. Note the very active "Japanese" section, which as coincidence would have it features a couple of super nice Z cars at the moment. Also look at the "under $20k" section to get a good idea of some of the the cars that are just starting to pick up some interest (or some serious basketcase projects!)

Last edited by GreasyJack; 03-04-2013 at 10:22 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:22 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Nasty Nati
Posts: 14,806
Quote:
Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
That's a redneck dream car from the 1980s. The way a lot of people lust for a 911 or Ferrari some day, a lot of guys were drooling over the GNX back in KY, almost to Corvette-lust levels (back home, no one gave a damn about fancy furrin cars). I'm not surprised those guys are scooping them up now that they've got the bucks, though it was never my cup of tea either.
It was lusted after to past-Corvette levels because during it's production run, the GNX was faster than the Corvette.

I think those cars are cool.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:23 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 16,769
Back in the old days, cars were worn to pieces after 10 years on the road. If you could nurse your car past 100,000 miles, it was an achievement. And when a car wore out, it was scrapped. This meant that you hardly ever saw decades-old cars on the street.

But cars from the modern era don't wear out the same way cars from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s did. Cars with 100,000 miles are just getting started. Cars that are 10 or 20 years old are perfectly fine. And they don't stand out as "old", they just seem like regular cars. So how are cars from the 90s going to become "classic cars" when they won't go away?
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:44 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
They'll still go away. The might not just die at 20, but so many small things will wear out that it's not worth fixing them.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:52 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
They'll still go away. The might not just die at 20, but so many small things will wear out that it's not worth fixing them.
Actually, modern cars do have some fundamental problems-electronic modules. You Engine Control Module, ABS module, spark control module, electronic stability control module, etc. These are sealed/potted modules-almost impossible to repair. When they fail, you replace them with a new one-only new ones get harde to find. This is a problem for imports as well-Bosch ECMs for BMW cars from the 1980's are getting difficult to find-the situation is so bad, that several entrepreneurs are going into the business of repair old modules. Take an Alfa Romeo from 1990-these cars used Z-80 microprocessors-difficult to source today.
So many of these cars will be scrapped-when the cost of fixing them exceeds their value.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:26 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
A 1990 Alfa will have rusted away by now so that shouldn't be an issue.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:37 AM
bup bup is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
A somewhat relevant wikipedia page.

I realize 'classic' and 'antique' are not synonyms, but there's a lot of info on that page.

My 96 Corolla will never be a classic, because although I think I'll still have mine in 30 years, so does everyone else driving a mid-nineties Corolla.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:44 PM
epbrown01 epbrown01 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Actually, modern cars do have some fundamental problems-electronic modules. You Engine Control Module, ABS module, spark control module, electronic stability control module, etc. These are sealed/potted modules-almost impossible to repair. When they fail, you replace them with a new one-only new ones get harde to find. This is a problem for imports as well-Bosch ECMs for BMW cars from the 1980's are getting difficult to find-the situation is so bad, that several entrepreneurs are going into the business of repair old modules.
I had a Porsche 928 and they've got a similar issue. There's ONE guy in England repairing the modules - the supply/demand level seems to be such that it's only worth bothering for one supplier, and he's quick enough to suit the few people needing the service. Because most German cars use similar Bosch bits, he could probably branch out if need be.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.