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Why aren't hot rods selling?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 49' bomb!, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. I’ve read most of the posts in this thread. There is a lot of discussion about the reasons hot rods aren’t selling but to me it’s very simple. Folks are asking more than the market will bear. Other reasons don’t matter.
    It’s not worth:
    1. What it cost to build it
    2. What you paid for it
    3. What you think it’s worth
    4. What someone paid on a “reality” TV show
    5. What someone paid for a similar car on a televised car auction

    It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. That’s the hard reality. I see guys trying to get $15k for a car that would have sold for $6k five or six years ago. They’re either dreaming or fishing.

    Cars priced right will sell. I know it sucks if you’re losing money, but it doesn’t change reality.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  2. town sedan
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,290

    town sedan

    Stoker32 has his beautiful '32 full fendered roadster for sale here on the HAMB. Just because I can't afford it doesn't mean it's over priced. I'd love to have a '40 Ford coupe, but my pockets are only deep enough for a sedan. That's my problem not the guys selling coupes.
  3. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 931


    @Saxman pretty much put it in a nutshell. And contrary to the thread title, hot rods are in fact selling. It's just that they aren't necessarily selling for what some owners would like.

    The Hamb classifieds are not necessarily a good benchmark. When cars sell on the Hamb, those ads are deleted; so at any given time, what you're looking at is a bulk of inventory that is not turning, along with a smattering of new arrivals that may actually sell quickly. Creates a skewed impression.

    My brother and I have sold 3 cars in the last year, two more-or-less finished and one a full-on project. In all three cases we had to adjust our price expectations.
  4. I hear what you’re saying but someone who DOES have the money should be scooping it up then, right? If no one has the money or is willing to part with the money, then it’s probably overpriced is all I’m saying.

    I know it’s not what everyone wants to hear, and of course, this is just my opinion.

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    waxhead, traffic61, 49' bomb! and 3 others like this.
  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,366


    100% this.
    papadaddio, Tim, Squablow and 4 others like this.
  6. Stephen Barrett
    Joined: Sep 24, 2019
    Posts: 773

    Stephen Barrett

    It definitely wasn't too much. I'm sure they're very happy with it.
    chainsaw likes this.
  7. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,887


    I like Lou Wells reply--there are fewer buyers for the early cars than in years past. Several yrs ago (2005) we had a freshly restored 62 Vette correct 340 HP car and several 40 coupes in progress. Decided to sell a couple,wife said 1st to go would be the Vette-took it to HAN and sold it for $60+ in 2 days then sold a 40 coupe for the same in a week. I don't think that would happen now as quickly if at all. My neighbor has a mint 68 Shelby GT500 convert and it has dropped in value maybe 30-40% in the last few yrs as well. May not build any more 40's. I can sell mine possibly but in no hurry, Her 55 would be a much easier car to sell. Example-my kids are in their late 40's They like the 40 but don't really want it but there would be a MAJOR fight over the 55-they all love it. They have driven both and the 55 is their favorite as to how it drives and looks.
    A 40 I built several yrs ago is on Ebay at the moment-lots of watchers but have to see where it goes.
    Some years ago I bought a 66 Chevelle SS convert that was about 70% restored. An old guy had it-he was 73. He had worked on it for a few years and just ran out of interest. Sold it and gave away all his tools and bought a new Corvette! Sign of the times?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
    lothiandon1940, j3harleys and Hnstray like this.
  8. guy1unico
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 875


    My dad (may he rest in peace)told me there is always a buyer at the high end...he is correct.
    49' bomb! likes this.
  9. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,913


    More cars than buyers.
    Old wolf and j3harleys like this.
  10. Tom Sherry
    Joined: Apr 28, 2019
    Posts: 7

    Tom Sherry

    Lots of good discussion in previous posts. I'd agree that 1) it's not a hobby for younger people. They're not educated in it, they don't have the money for it, and there's not a lot of interest on their part to learn about SBC's, which steering box this is, which headers these are, what rear end is in this. 2) Hot rod guys and gals are dying. The demographics as I see them are that guys that were interested in Model T's and A's (and up through pre-war cars)were driving them in high school: The late 40's through the 50's. Those guys are in their 70's and 80's now. Interest (and prices) in those cars is plummeting because the interest group is moving from this mortal plane. It can be a flawless example of a Deuce, or a T Speedster or Touring. Doesn't mean that it's gonna sell. 3) We're now seeing the peak of Tri-Fives, little Birds, Vettes and pony cars. I'm 59 and see the same thing--Guys are heading into retirement, and don't want to screw with old cars--so yeah, if they want something fast, they'll buy a new or newer Vette or Porsche and call it good. (No learning curve). On the upside, there are what are seen as bargains out there. Earlier this year, I bought a 37 Packard 115C, older restoration, for less than half what my '40 110 would take to restore, and 1/2 to 2/3 what it would've sold for on Mecum or BJ. Needed very little work. The 86 y.o. owner hadn't driven it in a decade, and was also selling his '27 T Touring, again, older restoration, but a fraction of what he had in it. Someone else got a deal on that one. My '40 110 would easily be 20K to restore; for 5K I can rat rod the old girl (more looks than performance--just freshen up the flathead), put an interior and brakes in it, some retro wheels/tires, and enjoy it. That path forward is heresy to Packard faithful, but the car just isn't going to ever be worth putting that kind of money into--it's worth more in parts than as a whole.
    weps, 49' bomb! and Hnstray like this.
  11. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,759

    from Ks

    So it looks like the way I have always bought cars. Don't buy it to make money on it, buy it cause it trips your trigger. I know flippers don't want to hear this. I don't care I'm not a flipper. :D
  12. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,964

    from central NY

    Can't tune them with your cell phone.
    32blownhemi likes this.
  13. gas man
    Joined: Dec 3, 2014
    Posts: 111

    gas man
    from socal

    I'm a young guy with young friends who spend tons of money on cars. I dont buy Into the point people are making that young people dont have money. I think one big point people are missing are choices . in 1955 did you really have a lot to choose from ? its 2019 and young guys have so many choices so it just spreads things out. from early hot rods , muscle cars , dirt bikes , off road trucks , drag cars, drift cars, euro scene, Japanese cars and now all the off road utvs. there are just so many more choices out there to spend money on. I'm 36. I've been into flatheads since my 20s. I don't have a single friend to work on my old stuff with and I'm in socal . and what old guy had 50k cash to spend on there hot rod in there 20s?
  14. All the reasons have already been stated. I will ad that what I think does sell in our Hamb society are cool original barn finds that are priced fairly . The problem is that once they are found they double in price .....and are no longer in the original barn
    j3harleys and lothiandon1940 like this.
  15. RRanchero Rick
    Joined: Nov 20, 2016
    Posts: 82

    RRanchero Rick

    Losing customers to the graveyard is the main reason, Prices are nuts too.
  16. ........Sad but true.:(
    OLSKOOL57 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  17. 49coupe
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 564


    I'm 49 and can only base my opinions on what I see around me, at local auctions (not BJ or RM) and my colleagues and friends. Three things are going against prices going up or selling for anything close to cost in many but not all cases:
    1. Purchasing power - Declined dramatically over the past 15 years. Average house price (which includes townhomes and condos) is over $1M in the Toronto area or southern Ontario. While everything from utilities, education costs, food, etc. has gone up 250-400% or more in this time, wages are stagnant. I know people making less now then they were 20 years ago at the same job. I work more and make less than I did 5 years ago as a CPA with my own firm.
    2. Its a hobby - With less spare money, most luxuries are now out of reach. My parents have been trying to sell their cottage for 2 years for less than they would have gotten 5-6 years ago. If you're selling sailboats or expensive powerboats it's even worse. So when it comes to my age group, I don't know ANYONE that has a cottage or classic car that's finished or hot rod and they are way behind on retirement savings.
    3. Changing tastes - Guys want the cars they grew up with or wanted but could not afford. There are fewer guys in their 40's and 50's with big checkbooks looking for a big$$ toy and even less for a project car. While certain hot rods and Tri-5 Chevy's are popular, try selling a Pierce Arrow, Packard or stock 1930s to late 1940s car. Compare that to the prices of '60-90s Porsches and other European sports cars..

    So while the older guys I know(or knew RIP) could afford a home in Toronto, put their kids through college and build a '1932-34 Ford roadster or '49-51 Merc coupe/convertible in the 1960s and early 70's on a postman's or furnace technicians salary, that a dream for people a few paygrades higher now. So, fewer buyers means ultimately lower prices, if you can sell at all.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
  18. ...interesting thread;...some good points brought up that I never thot of;...I think a lot of it is that the guys who would be interested in your car/truck already have too many cars/projects and many of them are trying to downsize now that they are geting older.
    It's a supply and demand thing...
    49' bomb! likes this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,616

    from IDAHO

    Buying The Right Auto On The Way Down Is Sensible Gambling And There Will Be Plenty Of That...IMHO...
    hotrodfords likes this.
  20. haileyp1014
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 929

    from so cal

    80% of the cars are over priced. Kind of a sign when some of the car ads are bumped for years.
  21. The thread started today (How Old Are We really) is a significant part of the not selling. The majority on the HAMB is past 60
  22. Brian Penrod
    Joined: Apr 19, 2016
    Posts: 81

    Brian Penrod

    Pretty much all of this.
    Saxman likes this.
  23. jdcool44
    Joined: Jul 24, 2019
    Posts: 53


    Disposable income is the issue . People in there 30s dont have alot. After the mortgage , car payment and feeding growing kids there is very little pay money.
    GreenMonster48 likes this.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,048


    I was thinking about this topic yesterday. I spent the majority of my professional career in this shit, mostly restoring back to stock. I built a bracket racer 26-7 years ago for less than $20K and it went 10.32 @ 129.86MPH. That cost included the car and was adjusted for all the shit I sold off of it and included a 2nd engine build. Try that today, NOT gonna happen unless you have some castaway stuff in the corner for little to nothing and a well equipped shop to do it in. Back then a roller cam was about $200-250 depending on what you need. Crane gold rockers were $140 or $100 or less used. Good roller lifters were $250. It's now more than double for all that shit. Not long ago it was outrageous to see a Deuce 3W for $25K. In the late 70s I sold a 36 3W for a great price, a whopping $3,800 (!) and today that same car in that condition would be gone in under a month for at least 10X that figure. And yet less than 10 years ago a dear friend had 16 flathead blocks that were all checked for cracks. It was inventory in a shop he bought. Couldn't give the things away for $50 each, but now? He ended up scrapping all but 2. But things are bad. Nobody wants it. Everyone is dying. The market is collapsing before our very eyes. Another dear friend said early V8s are dead now about 2-3 years ago. All the hot rods are done, nobody wants em. A cpl hours later the quater horse Duece hiboy sells at auction for $180K plus juice, and shortly after that a Deuce 3W, unfinished with an Ardun and blower hammered for $80K. Give me a week and a cell phone and I'll sell a $2,000,000 Dusenberg without ever running an ad, and I can describe at least a 1/2 dozen other significant cars that would net the same result at prices higher than at any time in recent history. If they're all dead and gone who shagged up all the Ardun stuff from that MI auction last fall? And trust me, there was no give away bids, it went beyond my predictions. Based on the prevailing mood of this topic H&H Flatheads should be chapter 7 come tomorrow morning, right? No market for old hot rods.

    At the end of the day this shit isn't a needed commodity. Nobody in this community NEEDS their hot rod. NOBODY, yet the core value of this stuff is higher than ever, at least a couple multiples of the rate of inflation. How does that happen if there's nobody intersted? I've been in several pro shops over the last 2-3 years and every one of them has more than they can do. How's that possible? So I sort of rendered it down to the fact that what TV shows do is convince everyone watching they're in the game for profit. All that does is muddy the waters a little and has folks thinking they can offer less than 20 cents on the dollar because they're Frank or Mike. On the other side they're convinced they're just as good as Brizio so their 'glass hiboy with a body shop enamel job and crate motor rolling on the latest Rocket or ET wheels is worth $150K. Extreme? Maybe a little but just driving home a point. We're bigger and better than ever before, prices are breaking records, the population has doubled plus in my lifetime, and yet there's nobody? Just because some RR wannabe thinks he did as good as a TV show on cobbled shit doesn't mean they get to play in the upper strata. If you're trying to sell a 53 Chevy 4dr with rotten 1/4 panels and worn out suspension for big bucks just because you stuck a dual carb intake on it, well no. A 51 Dodge 4dr sedan didn't sell well new, so now? Every now and then even good stuff sits. I have 1 sitting so I took it off the market for a while. Fuck it, not giving it away, not grabbing the 1st shyster offer (and I've had a few), and I won't do my part to drive down the market because of a slow down. Good stuff will always sell, junk will always be junk, auctions are snapshots of THAT MOMENT IN THAT VENUE. Are hot rods selling? Fuckin eh, just not yours (that's anybody) perhaps.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
    Thor1, jim snow, 47ragtop and 5 others like this.
  25. I stop short of saying the millennial's are not interested in the older cars, I'm sure we have many here that love them as much as us older guys, but look at what the automakers are offering, to me it's hard to tell the difference in a new Ford & a Honda, they all seem to have the same shape and the goofy headlights.

    The attraction to us older guys was the freedom attached to cars and being able to modify and make them the way we wanted,.

    Are the older cars going to be sold for pennys on the dollar after most of us are gone? who knows but I can image any younger guy that remembers grandpa's hot rod or custom will be able to afford one.

    As seen in the recent questioner the majority of the hamb members are in the 60 plus age group, I would hope we have a lot of years ahead of us but in reality most of us have slowed down on the building, maintenance is a full time job and the disposable income ain't what it use to be.

    I have been scanning the classifieds lately and to be perfectly honest there are some smoking deals, my problem is I'm just spread thin. HRP
  26. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,913


    In 1955 there were a lot of $100 model As.
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  27. Average house price in Ontario is a million bucks ?
    What in the world is going on,,,,that is a lot of money !

    I guess I am just poor white trash,,,,LoL.

    No,,,,really,,,,when I see a rusted out piece of crap,,,dragged out of a sink hole,,,and people claim it is worth several thousand dollars,,,I guess I am out of my league.
    Don’t worry boys,,,the prices always adjust with the market.

    arkiehotrods and 49' bomb! like this.
  28. quickchangeV8
    Joined: Dec 7, 2010
    Posts: 379


    No, the average house price in Ontario is not a million bucks!! The average new built home in downtown Toronto and the GTA ( Greater Toronto Area ) probably is. The previous poster shouldn't have included the rest of southern Ontario in that price generalization. The price of a house is considerably less in Ontario when you get out of the Toronto area. Ontario is a big place and Toronto prices certainly are always much higher, when compared to the rest of Ontario.
    303racer and 49' bomb! like this.
  29. haileyp1014
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 929

    from so cal

    Similar ads I come across. Not an actual ad just something I made Custom Image 29122019160227.jpg
    Cosmo50, arkiehotrods and 49' bomb! like this.

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