Gunners Garage

LEAVING THE GOOD STUFF AT HOME

 

Auction prices are a useful tool for gauging the desirability and value of any collector car (or truck or motorcycle). However, as I traveled the hobby landscape from Midwest to East Coast and back this past year, I noted that the view of the prewar car “market” that you get from reading published auction results does not jibe with what’s going on at many shows — as well as in garages and restoration shops across America. There are many beautiful prewar cars in first-class collections and there are many great prewar project vehicles that are going to get big attention when the last coat of paint is laid on their perfectly restored coachwork.  It may just be that judging the significance of prewar vehicles in our hobby today is something you can’t do at an auction. In many cases, the prewar cars that show up at auctions are not the cream of the crop. If you have actually worked on a prewar car, you know they have different kinds of nuts and bolts than are commonly available today, but the auction cars often have fasteners taken off the shelf of a local hardware store. Other prewar auction cars may come from legitimate collectors, but may not be the cream of the crop. An enthusiast who wants to raise money for his next restoration, may sell a somewhat decent car that he doesn’t want to spend money restoring to show condition. During the past year, a friend on mine started a publication called Prewar Auto Notes. It is great to read the stories he runs, as well as those in Old Cars Weekly. If you ask me, the interest in prewar cars is actually growing, though you may not see that reflected at the upcoming Scottsdale auctions. That maybe because collectors leave their best collectibles at home.

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