Auburn auction panelists offer buy/hold/sell tips
By Larry Edsall
Buy/hold/sell is a popular topic among car collectors, whether its three neighbors gathered in a garage to admire a restoration project in progress or a formal panel of experts, which is becoming an increasingly popular feature at classic car auctions.
Auctions America by RM staged its first Auburn Spring auction earlier this month at the Auburn Auction Park in northeastern Indiana. In addition to parading some 450 cars across the block, Auctions America put up a panel of four experts one morning to talk about the car collecting hobby.
The experts were baseball Hall of Famer and long-time car collector Reggie Jackson, Chasing Classic Cars television show host Wayne Carini, concept car "archeologist" Joe Bortz, and vintage motorcycle restoration expert Glenn Bator.
By the way, Bator noted that vintage motorcycles are becoming increasing popular among car collectors, in part because five of them can fit in the garage space needed for a single car and, though prices are beginning to escalate nicely, you still can buy five vintage motorcycles for about the price of a typical classic car.
Though known for his excellence under pressure on the baseball diamond, Jackson talked about developing an interest in and passion for cars at an early age.
Carini and Bortz talked about the patience sometimes needed in the pursuit of a specific vehicle. Carini started chasing a particular Hudson Italia when he was 16; he finally bought it when he was 52. Bortz began his pursuit of a certain Duesenberg when he was 33 and only recently, at the age of 63, did he finally become the car’s owner.
But you likely won’t have to be quite so patient as you buy, sell and hold classic vehicles, speaking of which, Jackson recommends buying straight-axle Corvettes, said he’s chasing a couple of original Camaros, and added that Ferraris only continue to escalate in price.
Carini suggested buying 300SL Mercedes (see Jackson’s comment about Ferraris) and 3.0 CSI BMWs, which he said "haven’t started to go up [in price] yet."
Bortz said 2-seat Thunderbirds are "a bargain" and called the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham convertible, "a concept car that went into production."
Bator suggested buying any Cyclone motorcycle (a U.S.-made bike from the 19-teens) you might find.
He also encouraged newcomers to vintage motorcycles to do their homework. For example, a 1969 Honda 750 may be worth $25,000 (it was the first year of production and the engine was produced by sand casting) while the 1970 version of the same bike likely is worth only $7,000 (because it has a die-cast engine).
All of the panelists mentioned the desirability of original, unrestored "survivor" vehicles, but none of the panelists had much to say about what to sell -- although Jackson was at Auburn to sell his 1965 Shelby GT350 (which went for $247,500).
As for vehicles to hold, Carini suggested keeping any vehicle that "make you happy, that makes you smile every time you open the garage, and that if you sell it, you’d regret it."
Bortz added that, for him, collecting, whether cars or anything else, comes down to four words: "I have; you don’t."
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