I was originally in Sales and Management of rock and country music radio stations in West Palm Beach and Carmel-Monterey, CA. When the big broadcast chains started buying up smaller market radio stations in the late 80's...the party was over. All perks were minimized to almost nothing and commissions were being cut to the bare bone. All the "fun"' left broadcasting and was filled instead with deadlines and daily "perfection". And believe me, you needed the fun outlet as it was a very stressful business!
Having always been a car collector and lover, my wife and I would fly, at every opportunity, all over the USA looking to buy rare or unique classic cars. Many times, dealers and private parties would "over-puff" the cars they were offering. I can't tell you how many times we arrived at our destination, saw the car we came to see in the driveway, and thought "Lord, I hope he has TWO of these". I remember flying to Chicago to buy a 1967 Shelby GT350 Mustang and as I was determining the car's condition, the owner came out of the house and handed me the VIN tag, torn off another car's fender. It was then I realized it was nothing more than a production Mustang Fastback in clone trim. Sadly, the dream of driving home my new acquisition quickly vanished and I was faced with the only option: buying two expensive last minute airfare tickets home. So, when I decided to fulfill my dream and open my first showroom, I decided I would only carry really cherry, correct, rare cars priced for their condition. Cars a buyer couldn't resist.
That dream became a reality in 1989 when I opened up a single car showroom in Tequesta, FL. That was followed by an additional ten car warehouse which morphed into a fancy 18 car showroom on U.S. 1. and then a 12,000 sq. ft. showroom on Tequesta Drive, Jupiter, FL. The first 5 + years open in Jupiter/Tequesta we sold exclusively to European buyers but by 1995 we shifted our focus to American buyers, as the conversion to the Euro dollar all but wiped-out sales to Europe. Today, we service both. Now, 24 years later as just a Mom & Pop operation and semi-retired, we opened a real car museum/showroom in Mount Dora FL, The Mount Dora Museum of Speed (celebrating our 12-year anniversary this month).
We have seen the classic car industry go through several changes. The biggest was what we call "The Gold Rush" in 1989-1995 when production classics reached stratospheric heights of $100,000 to $1.5 mil per car. '69-'70 Hemi Mopars were just starting to bring $100,000. Gullwing MBZ's went to the moon, along with almost anything limited built and collectible (even MGA Twin Cams, Jensen Convertibles and Kaiser Darrins). Even new $134,000 Ferrari Testarossas were changing hands at $250,000 as soon as they left the factory.
But, like the saying goes, "nothing lasts forever" and once the Euro Dollar adjusted itself throughout the European market, the bottom dropped out of overseas sales. Only to crawl back and get better than ever! As recent as 2008-2011 the U.S. classic car market burped as a result of all the unrest and auto maker turmoil from Washington. I'm still in shock Pontiac and Oldsmobile vaporized! However, through it all classic cars have proven, repeatedly, to still be the best place to put your hard-earned dollars. Building steam like a freight train, the classic car market has rebounded. It sure, as heck, is a lot more fun to drive than a 1% savings account.
Everyone has had a collectible car they wish they would have kept and I am no different than the average guy. I just always tried to reach a little higher and buy a little different or better car then the norm. I wrote a story for YourStories@Classiccars.com about My Classic Dreamcar, a Ferrari Daytona Spyder, I had before I got in this business. But, have there been others? Heck yeah! The '70 Detomaso Mangusta, the 1971 MBZ 280SL in Tobacco Brown with Cognac Leather, the 1971 MBZ 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet in Ivory with Saddle leather, a superb 1969 Camaro Double COPO 427 with 37,000 original miles, the 300SL Gullwing MBZ I found in a garage in Palm Beach in 1970 for $5,500 (couldn't afford to keep and restore due to high parts cost), the 1938 Dodge Woodie I bought and drove all the way back from Tom's River, NJ to FL, the 1948 Plymouth Woodie Wagon with 13,800 original miles I lost in a divorce in 1980, the Emerald Green Daytona 365 GTB/4 Ferrari I found in Palm Beach, the One-Off "Jones Bros./ England" Jaguar MKII Station Wagon I discovered in a PA warehouse, or maybe it was it the Black 100 pt. 1958 Chevrolet Impala with 348 3-2's that I sold and saw after it got rear-ended two months later? Too many regrets but all great memories. It’s all part of our love of this hobby.
The future generations...it's sad for me to see our kids with more interest in hand-held computers than classic cars. Even the idea of "accepting" sedans, when you and I wouldn't even consider collecting anything but a Coupe or Convertible...LOL. However, every once in a while I run into a youngster who knows every single make and model of the old classics and I think..."Wow, there IS hope for the younger generation". I suppose in years to come some will be seeking out an early Mazda Miata's or Datsun 240 Z's.
I don't think they will ever legislate the car hobby. There's too many of us! Car Fever is a part of America and most certainly a big part of this website's readership. Male or female, my hope is that all the generations will just...Keep On Truckin'.