All Maine Matters

August 2006



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All Maine Matters

Because All of Maine DOES Matter!
Vol. 1, No. 8      August 2006 FREE

Stock Market Cars
By Bob Sanders

I was picking up parts at the local Ford dealership a few months ago and the latest buzz whirling around the parts jockeys was the stratospheric price of some of the newer models of Mustang. On the counter there were pamphlets picturing the Mustang GT in all it’s glossy, airbrushed glory, an American steel skinned beauty. I asked the boys just how stratospheric is the ransom on one of these ponies, they replied- 40 to 60 grand, the price depending on just how many bells and whistles you want. The majority opinion held that you would have to be dead from the neck up to plunk down 60 big ones on something that devastates equity like car.

Normally I would agree one thousand percent. I have always held the belief that cars are just the worst place to dump money, the absolute worst. As a rule, cars are nothing more than a consumable commodity, you use them up, and at the end of their life they are worth little or nothing. In fact, if you keep them until they resemble Freddie Flintstone Mobiles, with gaping holes where the floorboards used to be, they actually cost you money to get rid of them. But like all rules, there are rare exceptions. There have always been vehicles that due to variables such as rarity, cultural cache or nostalgia, actually gain value over the long haul.

The latest record setters have been the muscle cars of the middle 60’s and early 70’s, and they are fetching some truly orbital prices.

There have been some recent auctions of vintage pavement pounders that have gone into the rarefied seven figure zone! And just like investment grade anything, the key is to pick winners and take care of them while you wait for price appreciation. (A lot easier said than done.) A relatively common muscle car that sold in the late 60’s for 3 to 4 thousand can now go for 150 to 350 grand, if it is a bona fide ultra low mileage, perfectly preserved, number matching, all original, absolutely Snow White pristine example. And if it happens to be a rare, special edition model of a popular model that developed a loyal following of gearheads who were lusting admirers from afar back in the Hippie Yippie days, then the price quickly gets bid up into 1 to 4 million dollar range.

Four million. You just gotta ask, “What in the world is going on here”. It’s simple. It’s the market. It’s wealth meeting demographics. Some of those long haired, greasy people who could only wistfully long for the ride of their dreams back in the days of Woodstock ain’t dreaming any more. Now they have pockets as deep as the Grand Canyon, and they’re paying prices as high as Mount Everest. The most recent record paid was 4 million, one hundred thousand for a 1971 Plymouth Cuda convertible. (Yeh, it’s got a Hemi). It is one of only eleven built, one of only two with a special factory paint and striping scheme. It had so few miles that it still had the original tires on it. As one of the bidders remarked, “Hell, it still has the original 1971 air in the tires”. Rarity and a being a cultural icon equals big bucks in the vintage auto auction market.

John Keats wrote; “A thing of beauty is a joy forever- it will never fade away into nothingness”. And these cars are, very simply, absolutely beautiful examples of a bygone era. And one fact is undebateable- there will never be anymore made. The verified survivors that are all original, in perfect condition, are all there will ever be, and more than any other factor that is what will drive their value into the future and make them “investment grade”. And just as surely there are models being sold today, maybe the Mustang GT 500 at 50 grand or perhaps the Ford GT at 150 grand, that sometime in the distant future will command prices that dwarf their original purchase price.

Bob Sanders is a Master Auto Technician who works in Brewer.

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