Drive Them, Don't Hide Them - Revcounter 409

By: Guy Allen

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Sod the spreadsheet, let's go for a run


Value Drive

What a year 2017 was for watchers of muscle and classic car values. Seriously, what the hell as going on there? We saw some massive spikes in prices for premium cars and some serious advances in the value of mid-level models, like the classics on our cover this month: the VC HDT Commodore and XY GT Falcon.

There was also lots subtle movement in sectors that we haven’t covered here, such as mid-level Euro coupes and even – strangely enough – 1940s American sedans.

Those events, and more importantly the sheer speed at which the market has been shifting, have made this year’s Muscle Car Value Guide tougher than ever to assemble. This time we’ve rolled it into a bumper end-of-year mag, rather than a stand-alone publication. Why? Because Unique Cars mag reaches a lot more people than our stand-alone guide ever did.

| 2017/18 Muscle Car Value Guide

Cliff Chambers, our in-house guru and car valuer (and Triumph racer – no-one’s perfect), has been working on this for months (well, decades, really) and has produced a fund of info based on real-world prices, actual sales, averaged out for each model. The amount of work involved is terrifying, but the data is solid.

So when you see a price and say, "But I saw one sell for twice that," keep in mind what we’re providing is much broader – not the result of one auction, but a combo of auctions and private sales that can be proven. And we’re talking road cars, not one-off racers.

Here’s the catch. We’re not predicting the future (good luck with that, and see next issue…), but giving you verifiable information on what has actually happened – away from the sales hype.

Some people will accuse us of devaluing their car, others will swear all we’re interested in is pumping up the market. Ah, no. We’re calling it as it happened.

Now the thing is, there will always be exceptions to our values. For example, all our guides carry the proviso that concours cars or special examples will demand higher values than we quote. That’s true – the premium can easily be 30 per cent or more. Which means think twice before using our cautious numbers to tease a friend over what they paid. They may well have the last laugh. There is plenty of history to back that up.

At the same time, you just might spot a bargain that defies the trend and, if so, and it checks out as being real, grab it.

As a broad observation, good Aussie muscle is hot property at the moment and the lessons for would-be collectors are several: buy the best car you can afford; premium performance models pay off in the long run; keep every book, photo and receipt you can lay your hands on as this is about history; join a marque club before you buy (if they’ll let you – clubs that don’t need to reconsider their policy); and, most importantly, do it with your heart and plan to drive it.

Maybe that last point is most important. Static displays are wonderful, and good art will do the same thing. Cars were always designed to be mobile, so there’s a serious loss to our culture and your own enjoyment if all you do is place it in a bubble.

You can still put it in the shed, and ogle it over a glass of your favourite giggle juice at your leisure – that’s fine. But nothing will ever supply the sheer joy of hearing it fire, sliding in and taking the monster for a drive. It might involve some frustrations – old cars love to spring surprises on their unwitting owners – and every run is an adventure.

For me, part of it is thinking about the men and women who built it all those years ago. Surely they would be thrilled to know their work was still running and being enjoyed, decades after its use-by date, often on the other side of the planet. If it cops the odd scratch or stone chip, well, that’s now part of its story.

The values are interesting, but it’s the drive that ends up being important…


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