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Author Topic: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?  (Read 1721 times)

Randall A. McGrew CLC # 17693

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Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« on: January 25, 2007, 09:16:38 PM »

What do the members of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club feel, and think about that?

Is there a place for the everyday man or has it become too expensive to pursue intelligently?

It has been on my mind recently since retiring (forcably) that it is beyond my means to do it properly.  Do the majority of people really care about the old things we are fascinated about?  Does it hold a very real historical meaning to be continued for future generations?

Just thought I would throw those out to you all for your views.  I have not yet made up my mind completely.

Johnny #662

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2007, 10:01:08 PM »
Quote from: Randall A. McGrew CLC # 17693

What do the members of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club feel, and think about that?

Is there a place for the everyday man or has it become too expensive to pursue intelligently?

It has been on my mind recently since retiring (forcibly) that it is beyond my means to do it properly.  Do the majority of people really care about the old things we are fascinated about?  Does it hold a very real historical meaning to be continued for future generations?

Just thought I would throw those out to you all for your views.  I have not yet made up my mind completely.
 




Excellent question Randall!!!!  I first started to question, about 10 years ago, where the hobby was going.  I started to notice that younger people didnt have the same interest in "old cars" those of us they were born in the 50s and 60s.  Without going into a long drawn out dissertation, basically they dont hold "old cars" in same esteem as we "older" guys and gals.  One of he main reasons is that they didnt have all the styling we had in the 50s and 60s.  Now with the recent rise in prices of older cars, it appears that the common man is being pushed out of the hobby.  Myself I dont think that is true.  Sure there are less and less "reasonably priced" older cars each year, but I think there are an adequate supply of old cars, to satisfy anyones needs.  Of course like anything else in live, it all depends on a persons personal budget and likes.  I think if someone wanted a mid 60s to mid 70s Cadillacs, with a little searching, I think they could find something to suit their taste.  Keep in mind we are talking about cars that are 30-40 years old!  There seems to be a nice supply of 71-76 Eldo convertibles not at outrageous prices.  

So to answer your question, yes there is a place for the everyday man to get into the hobby and be rewarded with many years of pleasure.

Craig Chally

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2007, 12:01:33 AM »
Randall,

I suppose it depends on what you want to collect, and how you want to collect it.  If youre looking for that Pebble Beach-quality full AACA classic fully restored to absolute, painfully correct detail down to the last screw and washer, then yes, youre talking about an enterprise that only the well-feathered few can realistically afford.  If, on the other hand, youre looking at something a bit more pedestrian and/or youre willing to sacrifice a little perfection for the opportunity to enjoy the car, then no, its still wide open.

There will always be some items that are out of reach for the common person, either because their rarity, desirability, or both make them prohibitively expensive.  But there will also always be many, many more items that are easily attainable and can be enjoyed for what they are.  Cadillacs of the 1970s come to mind.  Following that thought on a bit, there are a number of sites on the web where young (under 34) people chat and trade their stories of admiration for Cadillacs of the past 30 year.  I know, sounds heretical, but still, these younger people who have taken an active interest in their cars as something more than transportation.  Yes, they sometimes customize them, but so what?  At least theyre interested and given the right kind of interest from more experienced hobbyists such as yourself, could be coaxed into appreciating and developing a passion for the older (1960s and back) cars.

So yes, there still is a place for the common person in this hobby, so long as that person doesnt have filet mignon tastes and only a McDonalds budget.  Then it just gets frustrating.

Happy motoring!

Craig

Johnny #662

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2007, 09:05:14 AM »
[Cadillacs of the 1970s come to mind. Following that thought on a bit, there are a number of sites on the web where young (under 34) people chat and trade their stories of admiration for Cadillacs of the past 30 year. I know, sounds heretical, but still, these younger people who have taken an active interest in their cars as something more than transportation. Yes, they sometimes customize them, but so what? At least theyre interested and given the right kind of interest from more experienced hobbyists such as yourself, could be coaxed into appreciating and developing a passion for the older (1960s and back) cars. ]


Craig, well put.  Car collecting and what to collect is all relative.  To a person in their 30s and 40s, cars of the 70s are "old cars before their time", but to people my age (62), they arent, since I remember seeing them in the showrooms, and buying 4 of them new.

Randall A. McGrew CLC # 17693

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2007, 09:42:07 AM »
Good responses, Johnny and Craig,

This question slowly dawned on me when attending shows in my area, and seeing what is being done Nationwide.  What I am seeing is a trend toward Customization over Restoration to Period.  While I see nothing wrong with the former (I support the Modifided Cadillac and LaSalle Chapter), I have noticed that there are fewer cars being Restored to Period.  THat designation means, and its my definition, Restoring a car to its appropriate time of use but not necessarily to absolute authenticity.  Modifications made for safety but enjoying the general ambiance of the period.  So, having a 1947 Chevrolet with disc brakes but the interior and drive train is authentic as possible,

Granted, it is a matter of taste. And it may simply be a matter of the Old Guard passing to a New Vision.  For me, owning a 1956 Cadillac is just that... a 1956 car.  I am fortunate to have an older restoration original.  Wrong paint, mis-matched color inside but essentially, original.   Granted, I was an oddball in High School back in the early 70s, liking antique anything!  So this may also just be my perspective that is mis-reading the situation.

Dave Leger CLC #19256

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2007, 10:52:00 AM »
Hi Randall, hopefully well get to see each others cars one of these days.  I can tell you Im not that well feathered, as it were.  I bought my orginal 47 6207 on Ebay in 2001 for $7,500, and Id saved that up.  As I attack projects, I save up for them and do them.  I cant send it to a restoration shop and just hand them buckets of dollars.  

It just means I have to be patient, do what I can myself, and save up for the rest.  Ive been saving for a year now for repainting the car.  Its a bit distressing if I sit back and add up just how much I have spent on her over the last 5 years, but when I take the car on a club trip, or drive her in a parade, its all worth it.  It also feels good to have saved a car and kept her authentic (the only modern chages are seatbelts and an electric fuel pump added).  

I still watch Ebay and Hemmings, and I see opportunities for someone with patience to do what Im doing, and not have a huge initial outlay.  As long as someone keeps their dreams realistic, and doesnt go looking to do the same with my level income for a Cord Phaeton or a Packard Darrin, it seems to me the hobby is still within reach.  Let those who can do Pebble Beach level restorations do them - I love to see the cars, and am glad they are preserved.  I bet I can have just as much fun answering the oohs and ahhs driving in the local Veterans Day parade though.

Dave

Randall A. McGrew CLC # 17693

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2007, 11:44:14 AM »
Hi Dave!!

I will make it to a meeting this year... I PROMISE!  My car is just a driver.  I have wanted to own a 1956 Cadillac my whole life (I remember them when I was only 3... a real car kid!) so I do not mind rust or small things.  Big stuff... yeah its bad and has to be fixed.
I agree with you.  Set reasonable goals with reasonable expectations, then work for it.
Save and when you cannot, then do what you can.  Like touching up the interior.

John Washburn has been a big help.  So I see your point and it heartens me that there are people out there in the CLC who feel as we do.  Thanks for the great response!!!

Randall

Jim Eccleston CLC 16079

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Re: Is there a future place in the car hobby for the common man?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2007, 01:53:02 PM »
I agree with what has been written so far. A few additional observations:

If one watches Januarys auctions, one would get the impression that No, there is no room for the common collector. Six figures for Chevelles and Barracudas???? I dont care what drivetrain they have.

But these auctions are as close to car-hobby reality as I am to the moon. Relatively inexpensive cars are out there, and a "rolling restoration" can be performed over a number of years on a moderate budget, especially if one is willing to do a lot of the work onesself. Besides, that is half of the fun, and most of the learning curve. Drive it and enjoy it between projects. So what if the paint is oxidized, and the upholstery torn? I have been through all of this, and I can say that most people can overlook the flaws and see the potential. Dont send it to XYZ Restoration shop, and get it back 6 years and 6 figures later.

But most important, what of the "Next Generation"? Sure, the Tuner Generation likes their mini-imports with the fartcans in back. But many of their peers also appreciate the classics, too. I am a High School teacher, and I bring my 2 classics to school for occasional "field trips". As expected, teens today admire and desire my 66 Mustang. But surprisingly, they seem to appreciate my 61 Coupe de Ville even more, especially when I show them the equipment on it. They just think those power vent windows are too cool!!! One kid turned around just in time to see my car drive by, and I could hear the sucking sound as it literally took the air out of him.

And this is the reaction the car gets at shows, cruise-ins, and just parked at the gas station. It is always a one-car show. The looks, waves, honks, and faces-smooshed-in-the-side-window-for-one-last-look are priceless. But that is the key - we cant keep these rolling sculptures locked away in the garage. When we drive them, we generate public interest. How many kids care about Brass-Era cars? None. Why? They never see them, and have never gained an appreciation for them.

So, get your fins in gear, get out on the road, and let the next generation see those Detroit luxury liners. Stop and talk to them, let them sit behind the wheel and blow those horns. Youll be surprised at the reaction youll see.

You dont need to have a 1000 point, perfect-down-to-the-last-paint-daub concourse winner. You dont need to spend thousands of dollars, either.



 

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