Gunners Garage


Just got back from a trip to Janesville to pickup a Ford V8-60 flathead from Rich Bickle at the Muscle-Up Hot Rod & Performance Shop there. BTW, Rich was rebuilding the motor on a 1954 Caddy ragtop that was recently bought at an auction for $150,000. This makes me scream. If you are going to an auction to spend that much, do your homework or take a mechanic along with you. Paying him for his expertise is a lot easier and cheaper than paying for a vintage engine overhaul.

But, back to my main point. Everywhere I have gone so far this year, people involved in the hobby are saying things are good. Some say it’s the best ever. It seems like car collectors have developed an attitude that they’re going to spend money on things they want and like, before some new law or tax takes the money away.

I can’t help thinking that a good stock market is helping, too. Despite the economy, the high gas prices and unemployment, stock prices are climbing. A lot of the people in this hobby are retired and get at least some income from investments. The stock prices have given those in that boat a little extra to spend and they seem to be spending it on the hobby.

That being said, we did not see lots of people leaving the Jefferson Fairgrounds on Friday loaded down with parts. There was a noticeably big crowd there on Friday, but I think some of this was due to weather predictions for Saturday. At least three people told me they were moving their trips up to Friday. And i understand it poured doiwn there on Saturday.

It will be interesting to compare impressions from Jefferson with others from Spring Carlisle and the Charlotte “Hornet’s Nest” Swap Meet. So far, I feel that the year started off very strong for car collectors, but we may be seeing the development of a wait-and-see attitude now — at least through election day.


  1. Dave Keillor

    My view is that how well the hobby is doing depends on where you, as a buyer or seller, are in the economic hierarchy. The middle to upper end seems to be doing well and getting better, while the “affordable” end seems to be improving less slowly. One of the drivers of the middle to upper end is, as you pointed out, the run-up in the stock market. Also, the employment situation is better at the higher income levels. At the affordable end, unemployment is still an issue — both those who are currently unemployed and those who fear their current employer may “free up their future”. Overall, though, the hobby is coming back.

  2. Mike Olszewski

    It would be pretty hard to read this any way but one, politically. I personally am tired of all the car talk ending up being a veiled (or not so veiled) political critique. Guess what: a person can be both an old car fan, AND politically diverse. Please do us all a favor and talk about cars, and leave the politics out of it. With that said, I hope the hobby stays healthy, but don’t want “crazy” prices like those seen at some of the AZ auctions to become the norm- they are not.


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