classic automobiles

If an automobile company decided to re-issue a classic car, in contemporary times, how much would it approximately cost in retail value? The cars would be made exactly of the same materials and identical in appearance as they were originally, with perhaps the exception of automated assembly. For example, let’s choose a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop.

Interesting question. I think the way to answer it is not to try to figure out how much the components cost now, but rather to take it’s original cost in 1957 and adjust for inflation. So if that car cost $1000 then (I’m guessing) and inflation since 1957 has been approx. 4% (I’m REALLY guessing) then the total cost would be…hey, look at that. I have no idea.

One problem is the manufacturing of the parts would not be easy. Cars made of all metal? Parts that were made with the helpp of machines they don’t even make anymore, and even by hand? It would be a tremendous expense if a major manufactuer wanted to do it, though I do believe that there are smaller companies which pout our replicas of the classic cars,. I think some are kits, and others have modern upgrades which defeat what you are suggesting to a degree.

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And they’d’d have to add padded dash and steering wheel, smog pump, side marker lights, catalytic converter, shoulder belts, etc., if they wanted to sell them.

I drive a '63 Corvair. Which came off the showroom floor at $2,300. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $12k.

I appreciate Satan’s comments. But I would argue the other direction. We’ve made a lot of progress towards making things cheaper. If these were to be mass-produced, I’m sure we could do a lot better than the costs in '63.

Now, if you’re only talking about making one, then it would be tremendously expensive. But that wouldn’t be apples-to-apples, since the 1963 cost was based on mass-production as well.

They still make Volkswagen Bugs in Mexico, don’t they? Anybody know how much they cost? They’re sold in miniscule numbers in Japan for about $15k, but I’m sure that doesn’t reflect the manufacturing costs too well.

Of course, as beatle said, there’s no way you can sell something like that in the US. Even with seatbelts and airbags they wouldn’t pass crash tests.

The reason we’ve made progress in making things cheaper is because we’ve come up with things like plastics and composites to replace metal. How authentic do you want your re-creation to be? Can the manufacturer substitute freely, or must it be as close to the original as possible.

Also, remember that the cost of labor has increased tremendously. Wages may only have increased with inflation, but the hidden costs of employee taxes, medical benefits, etc. have risen faster than inflation.

I understand all the words, they just don’t make sense together like that.

From what I’ve seen in the way of ‘close to original’ kit cars for things like the Shelby Cobra (which seems to be the most ripped off of any car out there), I’d have to say that in any quantity you could probably get pretty close to the original car price (adjusted for inflation.) Sure labor and benefits have raised the prices, but production efficiencies have partially offset that. The extra safety equipment might be an issue, however on many of them.

So good luck if you’re trying to revive the VW Bus with it’s unique ‘2mm thick piece of sheet metal protecting your legs from the car in front of you in a rear end accident’ feature

Might I point out that that’s $12,000 in today’s dollars for a car that doesn’t have any of the safety features or creature comforts that people demand from today’s cars. Folks from the car makers have pointed out that, through cost control, they’ve been able to add all of these innovations free of charge.
If you allowed them to redesign the cars using high carbon steel (which allows them to use a thinner gauge), thinner glass and other cost controls, and if the market wanted enough of these cars to have a line running at capacity for several years running, I’d guess that they could make a Corvair for less than a Geo Metro.

Besides, like Yarster said. $15,000 seems to be a consensus price at which someone can build a decent hot rod. Put an assembly line into production, and the price begins to drop.

Most “exact copies” of any classic car would be illegal due to lack of safety features, fuel inefficiency, and emissions problems. After a certain period of time, a particular model of automobile just becomes too expensive to consider rebuilding.

An excellent case in point isn’t a car at all, but a rocket. The specifications of the Saturn V far exceed any rocket built today in lifting power, and on a constant-dollar basis, would be cheaper than what we have today. There has been a persistent urban legend that the blueprints to the Saturn V were conveniently “lost” by NASA so that they could proceed with more advanced projects.

Not so. The problem is the hundreds of thousands of parts that are no longer manufactured. Start up costs for any manufacturer would be immense if they were to re-tool their machinery to go back and make these parts, and once again, safety, labor and environmental considerations would significantly increase the cost as well. And before you point to the aftermarket automobile industry as an option the space program doesn’t have, consider that many aftermarket parts for classic vehicles are either rebuilds or modifications of parts currently being produced.