Have you noticed that our model T's are worth less and less each year, even the brass models? BUT, the parts we need to keep our beloved cars on the road are higher and higher in cost every year? Are we forcing our own prices down every time we buy or sell, and critisise and degrade anyone who is trying to get a descent price when advertising to sell? What are we doing? Am I the only one that made this observation or has someone done the same. Maybe it is just me and old age is creeping up on my insanity! Frank
Two things come to mind from my father.
1. If you want to build a $3000.00 car you will need $10000.00 worth of parts.
2.Cars are worth what people will pay for them not 1 penny more.
That being said I have put more into my cars in plain labor than I could ever hope to get out of them. If I am unable to fabricate the part myself I will have to find someone willing to fabricate it for me and I will have to pay him or her a fair wage to do it for me or they will just refuse to go broke making it for me. The price of parts have very little influence on the selling price of the car, Just the way it is IMHO.
This topic always entertains me.
There is no NADA for Model T Fords- as GR said they are worth whatever someone is willing to pay.
Nowdays the cars that most interest lies is in 50-70 era. Ever see any car shows on TV that deal with restoring Model T's?
The folks who grew up with Model T's and A's and lived in those days are old or already dead.
People who are retiring or getting close to where they can usually want to get the type of cars they grew up with and that's in the 50's thru 70's. The cars in the 80's are getting there also.
There still is interest in T's but the most interest lies in the classic era cars and that's whats driving prices up for those cars.
a few years ago you could buy a decent 55 Chevrolet 2 dr hardtop for 5 to 10 thousand. Not anymore. See what they go for at a Barrett Jackson auction these days!
I gave up trying to make my financial sense out of my cars. There are many more hours and dollars in them than they are worth. Several friends could not justify the costs and got out of the hobby. I no longer worry about what will become of them. The satisfaction we get out of them far outweighs the value or expense.
I suppose old fishing equipment, bowling shoes and used golf clubs come in the same category.
Prices on truly rare early brass models are still high and may even raise, while more common black era cars has lower but fairly stabile prices that varies some in different areas and countries. In recent years classic car enthusiasts in countries that never had many T's in europe has used the relatively lower prices in USA to import a few over the pond.
A few people will always appreciate the fun of technical simplicity, so they'll never be worthless as long as tires are available and they're allowed on the road
I like looking at the 40,000 dollar ones on ebay. My T uses same parts. Makes me smile
Some of us seem to forget, this is a hobby, not your investment portfolio. It doesn't matter what your car is worth if you're a true hobbyist. I bought my model T because I love it. What ever it needs, I try to ignore the cost and just do it. It's my hobby. I could have floated a loan and bought a real Shelby Cobra or Ferrari many years ago which would have set me back 50 to 100,000.00 dollars at the time and now that same car is worth over a million, but I never really liked them. I love my model T and have had immeasurable fun for over 50 years. It's a great HOBBY.
Ed aka #4
Ed, well spoken and that is the essence of what our hobby SHOULD be.....a HOBBY!!
Ed is exactly right. An old saying has it that A fool and his money are soon parted. I would add especially if he sees a Model T as an investment. It seems I inherited my dad's tight-with-a-dollar gene. But while I tend to keep spending to a minimum, I don't delude myself that I'm going to come out ahead in the end. If you're not in it just for fun, you're in for a rude awakening.
Hobby ?!? I think it's actually a way of life, or a "calling" . . . Something like the priesthood . . . ; -)
No wise man has the power
To reason away
Is always better than nothing
What a fool believes
I like the Doobie Brothers - what can I say ?
Exactly right mr Archer
I personly spent small fortune on cars and trucks over the years but what a ride its been and the adventure to come
I like the idea of the prices of cars being low. Ever since I was a kid I've wanted a Model T and a Packard. I've got 2 Model T's and half a speedster, Packard is out of my price range and can't just build one from parts. I guess you could, but.. Model T parts don't seem expensive compared with other hobby car parts. Guys around here all build big 4 wheel drive mud bog trucks. A giant mud tire probably costs as much or more than a white clincher tire. High performance Holley 4 barrel probably about as much as a Stromberg OF. It's all fun.
I paid $1500 for my Packard.
But that was in 1978...
...and you see what kind of shape it was in.
If I could find all the receipts for what I've done to it, I'd be afraid to add them up.
That's the exact kind I want Steve, 36-39 model 4 door sedan. I saw a good one for about $6k the other day that a tree had fallen on. Fixable for me but I don't have that much extra money laying around. I'd have to find a basket case that a tree fell on.
Supply & demand will change all that.
You have the supply, all you have to do is make model T look interesting to create the demand.
No one has answered Frank's question. The current decline is seen across the board, with respect to collectible automobiles, as well as most other "collectibles". There are scores of SS-Camaro's for sale at 30-40K, and they just sit there. They don't sell. While it does have something to do with the supply and demand of available parts/cars, it is more directly related to the beating the middle class took when the economy tanked in 2008. That decline is still going on. Millions of good paying jobs vaporized and were replaced by low paying jobs. In essence, a large segment of the middle class got whacked and re-inserted into a lower bracket. Right now, more than half the country has less than $1,000 in the bank for an emergency.
So, the reality of it all is that the car collecting community has a much smaller pot of money to operate with. This is what happens when a country is built on a fiat currency system. The confiscation of wealth through excess money printing and inflation.
In this situation, the only way you can avoid losing money (or should I say, reduce the risk) in the automobile hobby (if you do want to preserve your investment) is to be VERY SELECTIVE with what you buy. If you buy a rusted out, common cars, you'll never get your money back. At the same time, if you over-pay for rare or valuable cars, the same can happen. Education is key. You have to know what you're doing before you pull the trigger on a purchase.
In any event, Franks observation is real. The value of cars have been dropping for some time, and will continue to do so until a price base is met which properly reflects the economic status of the evolving car collecting community.
auction cars don't set a standard on pricing. Those cars are either custom or fresh out of the shop for quick profit correct restoration maybe or not. You don't see lots of people fighting over those cars.Only buyers with lots of liquidable cash,you me and the average joe buys those cars a 1/3 the price. Another one I have been seen on cars for sale in most of the papers or on line they say Haggerty says this car is worth $$$$$$ but if you look at the comparable cars they are worth half. It all depends what the buyer /market is willing to spend
Location, location, etc. As they say. Depends on where you are. Better deals in Conn. for instance than N.Y. or N.J. Take A's for instance; I have a friend in Conn. whose an A nut. He's bought some really nice ones in the $7 to $9 G area. I'm talkin' NICE cars. 2 sedans and a coupe that would make your head spin it's so done. Here a car like that would be $15 to $18 G's. Small town area. Perhaps that's a factor. T's don't move so well. Too antiquated. Perhaps also a factor.
I have noticed that when the stock market is good the demand for collector cars is soft. When the markets are down and not performing well people tend to put their money things they can see like antique cars. However, Don't take that as gospel because every time I buy or sell I am on the wrong side of the bubble. If you want the value of your antique car to go up just wait until right after I sell one. It never fails.
This is a completely different time and generation. We buy and drive Model T's because we like them.
When I was a boy, I saw on occasion a horse and wagon go by our house. I even saw them in downtown Los Angeles. There were many Model T's on the road and parked by the side of the roads every day as well as other cars of the Model T era.
The "New" cars were those of the 1930's. Today, very few people except us old timers even know what a Model T is or what year it was made.
It is not even the big exciting thing for teens today to get their first car! This is a different time.
Having said all that, we don't buy these cars to make money on them, we buy them to spend money on them and get satisfaction by restoring them, or building a speedster or showing them or driving them.
If you want to "invest" buy something else, but if you want to have fun, buy a Model T.
The reason parts are higher, is that it costs more to make them and there might be less parts sold, which would also cause a larger mark up for the business person to make a living.
Enjoy things. I know Ed does, because I see him quite often and he drives long distances in his T.
I think still the myth that : 15 MILLION WERE MADE !!!! THERES TOO MANY OUT THERE THEYRE CHEAP !!! NOBODY WANTS!!! , combined with the 3 pedals , wooden wheels , and a safe top speed of what ... 35 ? and really they are maybe the most available antique car you can find .
All that combined i think puts a big chunk of interested buyers away .
And thats great for T lovers but not if you want to make money selling .
We know many many were hot hotted and
just let go , even in the 40,50,60 so theres
many out there but just enough .
Jay Leno did a garage segment on just this topic. Among other things he said that the automotive hobby is a place where you can buy a car for $3000, put $40,000 into it, and it will be worth $13,000. The only people who make money in the car hobby are parts suppliers and professional restorers. As to the T - Jay also commented that younger folks want a car that is really driveable. He used a Stanley steamer as an example, but basically he said that the people entering the car hobby are not looking for the kind of car that a T is. I rarely see a young person driving a stock pre-WW2 car. I do not expect to sell my T at a profit, and I don't care.
I bought a 54 corvette for 400. in 63 sold it a few months later for 600. It would be a great brides car now------but the Ts I have are so simple and fun!
More thought----if I had taken that 600. and bought a home in Portland above the hospital on Barns road with 150. a month payments the increase in value would be much greater then the 200. I made selling the Corvette.
I have been collecting/restoring cars since I was a teenager. I'm in my 60s now and still having loads of fun with my cars. I have a passion for Model Ts but I have also had the opportunity to own other great older Fords as well. Every car I've owned I have fixed, restored or cleaned up and when I sold one it was ready for the new owner to enjoy. i.e. I have never made money on my collector cars, maybe broke even a couple times, and the money went into my next car. My wife asks me why I do this. I tell her its my job to preserve these cars and it makes me happy. So I will keep doing it.
Rick----I call it the T bug its worse then cancer if you catch it. Born in Minot my dad had a dealership in Benedict during WW II
Let's say, this summer Jimmy Goodfellow invested, oh, $18,000 in the purchase of a 1914 or 15 Ford Touring in excellent mechanical condition. -Yeah, maybe it's got a little chipped paint here and there, but he keeps after it with a can of black Rustoleum and a pointed brush. -And let's say the front seat bottom gets a little tattered, so he invests, say, $600 in a new spring cushion with upholstery.
And let's say he owns the car long enough to go through three sets of tires in a dozen years and we'll call that an even $2,000. -Then, along the way, let's say he needs a new timer, buys a replacement coil for just-in-case, a couple of inner-tubes, one or two rear-view mirrors, a handful of spark-plugs and a few other little chotskies, and we'll call that an even grand just to make the arithmetic simple. -So, over the course of a dozen years, he spends a great, big $3,600 on top of the original $18,000 purchase price of the car (See, he already had the jack-stands and hand-tools and assorted necessary junk that every normal, red-blooded, sports-watching, Bud-guzzling man would have, anyway).
And then, in the year 2030, for whatever ill advised reason, he decides to unload the car. -But he's in no hurry, so he puts it on ebay a couple of times and waits. -Okay, so add a dozen years of inflation, a little appreciation and that eager buyer for whom he patiently waited—and he gets $19,500 for the car. -That means he got to have a dozen years of fun for $2,100 (at $175 per year). -If that's not a good investment, I sure as heck don't know what is.
I do think its best to keep Model T's in the realm of being a hobby.
I have 3 that are black era cars and the one that I could make a 'real profit' on is the one that given to me by my Grandfather almost 60 years ago.
The other 2 I spent time, money and many miles going to swap meets restoring them.
I consider that part of the hobby just as those that spend time and money going to gambling casinos in Las Vegas.
Getting back the money I spent on them is a no brainer for me. In the world of reality I wont even break even as far as the money is concerned.
My Grandfather grew up and fell in love with the Model T
He collected and hid way his rusty gold for years in the barn
No swap meets just as he came across abandon and unwanted cars and parts
About 10 years ago I took over the collection joined the southern Nevada Model T club and went to all the swap meets I could adding to the collection to complete cars
You are correct that there are less collectors and sellers and that the average parts are cheaper
But there are a lot of rare parts coming back around that were hid away for years
The fun is in the hunt for the parts and friends that you make along the way
Ed, I haven't noticed that my Model T's are worth less and less each year. I would be curious as to why you think this is so. I have bought and sold 2 Model T's and two Model A's in the past few years and didn't take a loss on any of them. - Two 26-7 roadsters, a 1930 coupe and a 1931 tudor.
I meant "Frank", not "Ed".... Sorry 'bout that.
The collector cars that are in highest demand are usually those cars that “the newly retired” remember from their youth.
Someone that bought a 1927 T brand new at age 16 would now be 106 years old so it’s safe to assume all the original T owners have passed and people that remember T’s on the streets when they were growing up are no longer collecting and/or trying to sell.
The next group (smaller than the first) looking to enter the hobby would be “newly retired” people with fond memories of a relative or friends car from their youth. This is a smaller group than the first and so goes the market. Slightly higher supply and slightly lower demand makes lower prices.
Prices were also higher before most everybody learned to use the internet. Pre-internet, people bought whatever they thought was a good deal and stockpiled it. Today, the majority of buyers only fulfill their immediate need. This has changed drastically in the last 15 years. Higher supply, lower demand = lower prices...
Also, a fact that can be confirmed by many professional collector automotive specialists: “There are no investment grade collector cars under $50K”!
I'm no expert but here is my theory. What makes an old car valuable.
1. How rare is it.
2. How popular is it (do people want it)
3. What kind of options does it have that will attract a buyer.
For the car to be valuable you have to have a combination of at least two.
Good example is my 67 Dodge Charger. It's has a 440 motor. They only made 528 with a 440 but it's not a popular body style. Most like the 68-70 models. So the value reflects.
My 64 Imperial, I paid $2,500 for it. I never want to add receipts but I think I have over 15,000 in it and it looks great. I bet I could only get about $6,000 for it today.
My 26 Touring? paid $4,000 and I have about $800 that I've added (still not running yet I've got a trans bushing to change). From what I've seen Maybe $6,000? Don't worry more than 800 will go into it. Ha!
So my take is unless you're an expert and you can flip a valuable car stay in the hobby for fun. Would I ever sell any of my cars. Nope not a one. I have become too attached. I have a 69 Super Bee as well. What Car gets the most use? My Imperial!
My other takeaway is to get others involved in the hobby. Whenever someone looks in my garage they always go over to the T. Then they tell me that it must be expensive to have an old car. I try to show them that depending on what you want it still maybe inexpensive if you are willing to look. I think the T is a great car to get involved with for the money.
remember it's smiles per mile not how much you get when you sell.
John Kuehn's comment is on the mark for me. I consider money spent on Model T's the same as money spent going to a movie, a concert, or a cruise. My old cars are entertainment.
I've only made money on one Model T, I bought it dirt cheap (needed a full restoration), did some work to make it run and drive and sold it. I figured I'd let the next owner lose his behind instead of me. Other than that, I've lost money on dang near every other antique / classic car I've owned. Thank God I have a day job...
Investing in antique / old cars is not easy, If you are lucky enough to have the right car at the right time, you may make some money. Knowing what is going to be the next "Big thing" is not always easy to predict. Even harder if you have your "Model T goggles" on. (Or beer goggles, but that's another story...)
From a younger perspective its supply and demand. There are a large number of black T's out there, many sitting in garages either running or not. So there is a large supply of available complete cars out there. The demand whether it be from collectors (typically the rare cars) or from the younger crowd (typically the go fast crowd) are not looking for a basic black T touring. This drives up the price of all the speciality parts, perfect example is the original warford that just sold on ebay for over 2,000 (including shipping). Most of us on this forum know what we want as far as a T and work to have what we want whether it be a family low cost touring, an early brass car, or even a speedster. The garage tends to "fill" when we come across that deal that is too good to pass up. Just Remember when you get 2 together they start to breed! If we look at the prices often paid for these "deals" it is easy to see how the value is not remaining steady but going downhill.
When I watched a lady with a coupon pay 110 bucks for 2 cartons of Marboro's the other day at the gas station,it was like a light bulb came on in my head. "wow,I am not wealthy but when I spend 100 bucks on T parts, at least I have something I can hold in my hand 6 months or 6 years later.Not something that goes up in smoke and stinks like h---."
Similar with my dad,when mom left back years ago he turned to George Dickle for a friend. I carried 3 garbage bags of 5th bottles to the dump every month or so. He was fussing 1 day about all the money I spent on garden tractors,engines and T parts. I reminded him that his money was going in the septic tank literally. He quit that mess in 1999 and understands now what I meant.I still have my "money" it is just in Iron instead of in the ground to stay.
People spend a small fortune on fishing. You need a rod and reel,then you need a boat,then you need a truck to tow the boat then you need license,then you need,etc. 1000's of dollars "POOF" so you can catch a fish in style.Today.Tomorrow your reel will have the outdated gear ratio,your truck will not have the hp of the newer truck,the worms you were using have a fungus and the fish won't like them,and etc. You could ride that hamster wheel until doomsday.
Swap out fishing for hunting,mountain climbing,kayaking,whatever.
Heck,even stamp collecting can get out of hand.
But,if you are having fun,and the stress is leaving your body like sweat,then it is worth it.
To Paul Vitko - I think that the only car that I have ever owned and made money on that wasn't given to me, or that I bought with the intention of "flipping" was a '79 Corvette. I was polishing it in my driveway when a guy stopped in driving the new Ford that he had bought that day. He made me an offer that no sane man could refuse.
Interesting post Mack, We take our life in hand just going to the mail box with trucks puling boats or motor homes going way to fast around the curve at the end of our drive way.
It cost 100.00 for a round of golf where my bride works. Golf does nothing for me but sure must for the amount who do it---stress relief?
I spend time repairing every thing from my T to a fifty horse tractor or my home or modern car.
For me a T is fun and worth the effort it sometimes takes. I have most of the T parts needed and learned where to get more if necessary.
Just like everything else I've done, got into the T hobby, about 10 years too late. Thankful that I'm not doing a refurbish to make money, just to have a couple of rolling history vehicles to enjoy. Such is life.
Thank You everyone for the wonderful comments and opinions. I have read and reread and enjoyed immensely all of the contributions everyone made to this thread. Did not expect such interest, and at the same time have answered many unanswered questions that I have had and I presume reinforced many thoughts and speculations many of you had, including me. Frank
Another factor not mentioned is that Millennials, at least so far, have not shown an interest in collecting (anything!). This desire to keep mementos of an earlier time itself seems to be passing on.
1962, ElToro, CA, I would go off the base and buy steak and eggs with endless coffee for $1.25 for breakfast. Coffee was .10 cents. I enjoy our model T today and glad I can still get parts. Nuf said
T's remind me of a time when things were simpler and more well defined. The future of the old car hobby is still hazy to me as to the way its going to go.
You can still buy a pretty decent T for a lot less than a decent 55 Chev 2 dr Hardtop!
Wonder what it wiil be 10 years from now.
Someone mentioned millennials don't collect things.
They collect fakebook likes. That's it.
Growing up in a world where everything is disposable, they dump everything when they're through with it, including friends & family.
I have a 70 March 1 that is dz1 grabber green, shaker hood,4 speed and I rebuilt the whole car that was rust free in the eighties and now it needs new paint. The car has to to be pulled all back apart and my quote to make it look right is $10k. I am going to do it one last time and enjoy it and not keep up with the dollars or it will make me sick. I enjoy the model T s and A s just as much but they don't have the following of the muscle cars but I am glad at this point in my life they dont. You cant buy old muscle cars like when I was a kid. Wish I had my big block 68 gt mustang back and my 70 429 cobra Torino back. That's never gonna happen at today's prices so Ts and A s fill my car junkie needs. Lol
When we go for a drive (in the modern machine) and the road wanders around and up and down, we say to each other, "What a great road for a Model T Drive!"
Collecting cars is like collecting stamps. Some people like them and others use them for postage and when they have been cancelled they throw them away. Others keep cancelled stamps.
Cars are like that in that some people keep them forever, others trade them, and others use them and junk them.
I think there will always be car collectors, but in our modern way of living, many will live in "little houses", others in apartments and condos and have no room for cars.