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By Larry Edsall
Back to ClassicCars.com Community

Cars That Matter
By Larry Edsall
You like classic cars because, well, because you (a) enjoy a nostalgic drive down memory lane, (b) have more money than sense, (c) used to have more money until you started restoring that '67 Firewerx Phaeton, (d) hope to have more money someday when the value of your classic car increases, or (e) all of the above.

Regardless of your answer, we cannot deny that there's a financial component to this hobby (or addiction, depending on your perspective, or perhaps more accurately, your spouse's perspective).

This is where Dave Kinney and his Cars That Matter pricing guide come in. Cars That Matter is published three times a year and offers updated information on what various classic cars are worth, or have been worth based on recent sales and market trends, with columns of numbers punctuated by Kinney's enlightening and entertaining commentary.

Now Kinney comes in with another source of information for the classic car enthusiast: The Cars That Matter Indexes, of which there are seven, patterned after stock market indices but tracking classic cars rather than stocks and bonds.

Thus the Cars That Matter Blue Chip Index that looks at 25 highly desired, A-List vehicles such as the Shelby Cobra, '63 Corvette, Ferrari California Spyders, '70 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, Porsche 356A Speedster and late ‘50s Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

"It's a case of the rich getting richer," Kinney writes. "The real estate collapse, the prospect of five dollar a gallon gas and a looming recession haven't affected the pinnacle of the market..." with the Blue Chip Index nearly doubling since the fall of 2006, when Kinney started working on his formula.

Up even more is the Rosso Corsa Index of Ferraris. Also doing very well is the Silver Arrow Index of German cars. Trending upward as well are the Prince of Darkness Index of British cars and the Small Cap Average Index of "affordable classics (under $30K).

On the other hand, the Atomic Jetfire Index of 1950s American classics has started to trend downward, as they say in language more befitting Wall Street than the Mother Road.

"Outside of Scandinavia, there isn't a large international market for huge American cars," Kinney writes (and if you weren't aware of it, big, classic American cars are huge – literally and figuratively -- in places like Sweden)."

Not to fret, he adds, because the index sees these cars as "poised to come back strong when the real estate market settles down and the economy returns to sound footing."

Pity that Kinney's indices don't tell us when that day will come.

Let's see, that's six of the seven Cars That Matter indices. And the seventh is the Smokey Burnout index of muscle cars, and not just any muscle cars but the most desirable of the breed – '64 Impala SS convertible, '69 Ford Boss Mustang, '70 Olds 4-4-2, Hemi ‘Cuda, '65 GTO Tri-Power convertible, etc.

This is the only index that actually shows a loss compared to values in the fall of 2006.

But all is not lost; those bias-ply tires still have some air left in them: "Things aren't as bad as they look," Kinney writes. "While values are either down or at best steady... it isn't anywhere near the crash of 1990," when, of course, gold-chained speculation in Ferraris sacked not only their prices, but "took the rest of the collector car market down with it."

You can subscribe to Cars That Matter price guides and indices for $40 a year through the www.carsthatmatter.com website.

In the meantime, we'll close with this reminder, that it's the fun not the lure of future financial return which should be fuel your passions. You should like classic cars because, well, you just like classic cars.

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