Noting that a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda recently sold for $1.7 million and a 1955 Gullwing Mercedes brought $1.375 mill, classic car insurer McKeel Hagerty worries that some people may be priced out of the market.
However, "for those who have been saving up for a classic car but are discouraged by some of the heavily publicized high-dollar sales shown on TV and in magazines, there is hope," Hagerty says, offering a list of "attainable options which allow you to have the same amount of fun for a fraction of the cost."
So what are Hagerty's top-five attainable dream cars? They're listed below, along with their attainable alternatives and target pricing for what each might cost you:
Aspirational: 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 L71 convertible ($155,000)
Attainable: 1973 454/275 LS4 Vette convertible ($38,600) - Click here to see 1973 Chevrolet Corvettes for sale
"The '67 big-block C2 Corvette is (after the million-dollar L88) the Corvette to own for most fans of America's sports car," says Hagerty. "Televised auctions and demand have pushed it well out of reach for most enthusiasts. A lot more of us can write the check for the most overlooked big-block C3 Corvette.
"The horsepower difference isn't as big as it looks since the '73 is rated in net rather than gross horsepower and the C3's looks get better and better every year."
Aspirational: 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 fastback coupe ($135,000)
Attainable: 1964 Ford Falcon Futura Sprint coupe ($21,300) - Click here to see Ford Falcon Futuras for sale
"These two cars have a lot more in common than most people realize. The Mustang is based on the Falcon's chassis and both cars share brilliant small-block Ford V8 power," said Hagerty.
"And while it may lack the looks of the Mustang fastback and the Shelby connection, the Falcon Sprint is a very special car in its own right and happens to cost about what the sales tax on the Shelby would set you back."
Aspirational: 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Hemi coupe ($211,000)
Attainable: 1970 Dodge Challenger 440/390 coupe ($73,200) - Click here to see 1970 Dodge Challengers for sale
"Stylistically," says Hagerty, "these two Mopar muscle cars look similar. Both were based on the famous E-body that was the inspiration for the new Dodge Challenger. Hemi is a magic word in muscle car circles and you pay dearly for it. But Chrysler's conventional 440 Interceptor V8 was no slouch in the power department and you get a very similar car for about one third the price."
Aspirational: 1967 Jaguar E-type coupe ($61,700)
Attainable: 1967 Triumph GT6 fastback coupe ($9,750)
"The E-type is about as iconic as icons get," notes Hagerty. "No less a car guy than Enzo Ferrari wept and called it the most beautiful car he'd ever seen when the car was introduced in Geneva in 1961.
"The little Triumph GT6 looks like a 2/3 scale model of the E-type, right down to the wire wheels, forward-hinged bonnet and smooth straight six. For a fraction of the cost of an E, you can get much of the style and glamour."
One caution, Hagerty adds: "It helps if you aren't taller than 5-foot-9."
Aspirational: 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 coupe ($134,900)
Attainable: 1980 Lotus Esprit Turbo coupe ($18,800) - Click here to see Lotus Esprits for sale
"A Countach poster was standard equipment on every dorm room wall circa 1979," Hagerty says. "They were ungodly expensive new and remain that way today.
"While not gracing as many dorm room walls, no less than 007 picked an Esprit when he needed a vehicle that doubled as a getaway car and a ballistic missile submarine.
"While the Lotus turbo four might not have the cachet of the Lambo V12, the acquisition cost is a fraction of the Lambo and it won't cost the GDP of an island nation to maintain."
So that's Hagerty's latest list of affordable classics. And now, some places where you might pick one up during the June 23-26 weekend:
- Barrett-Jackson stages its second annual Orange County auction June 24-26 at the Orange County Fair & Event Center at Costa Mesa, California;
- EG (The Electric Garage) Auctions stages its Dana Point vintage automobile auction the same dates at the St. Regis Resort on Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California;
- Some 400 Corvettes will be offered at the annual Mecum auction at Bloomington Gold, the celebration of all things Corvette -- and of "survivor" vehicles of all marques -- June 24-25 at the Pheasant Run resort in St. Charles, Illinois;
- RM Auctions stages its Salon Prive auction of luxury and super cars at Syon Park in London on June 23.
1300 VWs at Funfest
The 13th annual Funfest for air-cooled Volkswagens drew 1300 cars and some 8000 VW enthusiasts to the Mid American Motorworks campus in Effingham, Illinois. Special features included a display of Woodstock-themed VWs and the presence of VIP special guest Bruce Meyers, who shared the history of the Meyers Manx dune buggy. The 14th annual event is scheduled June 1-3, 2012. In the meantime, Corvette enthusiasts are invited to the 18th annual Corvette Funfest at Mid American, September 16-18.
Crawford museum gets $12 million gift
If memory serves, it was only a couple of years ago that the Crawford Auto-Aviation Collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland had to sell a few of its classic cars to help keep the doors open. However, things shouldn't be quite so desperate now that the estate of Kathleen S. "Kay" Crawford widow of the collection's founder, is giving $12 million to The Cleveland Foundation to support the museum's collection of nearly 150 cars, 10 airplanes and other vehicles.
Collector Car Appreciation Day is July 8
Communities across the country are encouraged to stage classic car celebrations the weekend of July 8-11 in conjunction with the Congressionally supported second annual Collector Car Appreciation Day to "celebrate and raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society."
To learn more, visit the www.SEMASAN.com/collectorcarappreciationday website.
Click here for event calendar.
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.