Entry Level Cars for First-Time Owners
After attending a Classic car show you often catch the “fever” to start collecting cars yourself. With many of the cars on exhibit costing thousands of dollars; it can be a little discouraging to a would-be collector. Owning a classic car is much more possible than you may think. Let Rick Drewry with American Modern Insurance Group introduce you to some cars that are perfect to jump start your entry into Classic car collecting.
Where Do You Start?
The question I get most often is - “Rick, I have $10,000 and I want to buy a Classic car that will increase in value. Where do you start?” My basic answer is “do your homework”. Start by researching the market. Plenty of Classic car categories out there are popular but haven’t quite taken off with the buying public. These are the cars that will be in demand in a few years so getting in now will bring the best return. Also, think about the next generation of collectors out there. What will they be looking to buy?
Under-appreciated “Throwaway Cars”
One under-valued group of cars from the 60’s and 70’s is what I affectionately call “throwaway cars” - Corvairs, Vegas and Pintos. Inexpensive little cars whose owners drove them until the wheels came off. Many wound up being crushed or left to rust in scrap yards. You may be able to find one that’s still in good shape, and buy it –possibly from the original owner- for between $5K and $8K.
(Photo courtesy of www.carsbynisbet.com)
Is That a Pinto?
Sure the name “Pinto” usually brings a chuckle from folks but I have a 1974 Pinto woody wagon that I bought 10 years ago for $1,500. Right now it is worth around $5,000. (You’re not laughing now, are you?) It’s all original, never been wrecked and I’m the third owner. I haven’t done anything to it and that car gets more attention at shows than my GTO’S or my ‘53 Chevy. People come by saying, “I haven’t seen one of those in forever” or “my dad had one of those”. These cars are a great place to start a collection. You just have to look around for them.
(Photo courtesy of www.bestcarsin.com)
Gen X Cars – IRoc Z and Trans Am
For members of Generation X (like me) who went to high school during the 80’s, cars like the IRoc Z or the Trans Am were the cars to own. Now enthusiasts are beginning to remember these cars from their youth and seek them out. You can still find some of these for under $10,000. Remember to look for ones that don’t need a lot of work and are not a complete rebuild.
80’s Cars Finding Popularity
The IRoc Z, the Trans Am and even the Formula 350 Firebirds are beginning to increase in value. Five or six years ago you could buy one in good condition for $3,000 to $4,000 and now they are more like $8,000 to $10,000. This is because buyers, who are looking for a Classic car but can’t afford the cost of a Muscle car, are looking into these cars. They remember how cool they were and for $10K this time machine can take them on a drive down memory lane (just without the mullet).
(Photo courtesy of www. images.classiccars.com)
Got to Have a Mustang?
Got your heart set on owning a Mustang? Well, starting your collection off with a 1967 Mustang may not be possible but a later model Mustang may still be in your future. You need to do your homework. Getting your hands on a 5.0 LX Mustang that hasn’t been modified or totally gutted may be tough, but they are out there. These models have a big following but are still affordable.
(Photo courtesy of www.chubbcollectorcar.com)
Corvettes to Keep Your Eye On
If you want a Corvette, try looking at the C3’s (1968-82) or the C4’s (1984-96). This group of Corvettes is halfway between the classics and the new high performance models. You can still find some in good shape for around $7,000 to $8,000 and with a little bit of work you can have a real gem on your hands. People love their Corvettes, so their value will only increase with time.
(Photo courtesy of www.cdn.instructables.com)
A Blast from the Past (with Four Doors)
For the person that wants a Classic car from the 50’s and 60’s, there are the four door passenger cars like the ’56 Chevy. These were family cars but they still have a lot of American Graffiti pizzazz to them. They aren’t as popular as the two doors but they are going up in value now. You can still find one in nice shape for about $10,000. Keep it for a few years, drive it around and then sell it. You’ll make your money back and then some.
(Photo courtesy of www.2.bp.blogspot.com)
Make Mine a Station Wagon
The last group of Classic cars to look out for is the wagons of the 60’s and 70’s. These are the old Vista Cruisers, the Caprice Station Wagons, and the Bonneville Station Wagons. Remember those nine-passenger models with the seat that faced backwards? These wagons are very popular at cruise-ins. Just load the family up and away you go. There’s a lot of nostalgia surrounding the demand for these cars and their value is on the rise.
(Photo courtesy of www.stationwagonfinder.com)
The Right Car is worth It
All of the cars mentioned would make great starter cars for someone wanting to get into Classic car collecting. Decide how much you want to invest (for the purchase of the car and to make any minor repairs) and stick to your plan. It may take time to find the right one but it is well worth it. Being a part of the Classic car community is a fantastic way to spend time doing what you love – being around great looking cars. Dive into Classic car collecting. What are you waiting for?
(Rick Drewry is a Senior Claims Specialist with our partner, American Modern Insurance Group.)
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Just starting to collect Classic cars? Got a lot of questions? Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.