Even though something like a Bricklin SV-1 (made in the mid 1970s with a total production of around 3,000) may really be intriguing to you and cause traffic jams as people stare at you at stoplights, there are much better cars for a first-time collector. For your first classic car, like with really any collection, stick with the popular models. Here are the main reasons why the quintessential collector cars are great for first timers:
- Parts availability. Many of these cars can be built out of a catalog. In some cases, you can even order an entire steel body for the car. This is important because you want access to parts that are reasonably priced and readily available.
- Support. There are classic car clubs for all your major cars across the nation. Whether you are a DIY guy or simply want to join a club to talk about your passion for the car, it’s nice to know there are other people in the same position as you. Many of them are more than willing to give advice or even lend a hand.
- Exit. Even though you are in buying mode now, one day you will probably want to sell your car. It is a lot easier to sell a mainstream classic with an established marketplace.
Although there are many cars to choose from, below I’ve listed some examples by price range. This list is intended to give you some starting points based on budget as well as characteristics of in-demand collector cars. The price ranges listed are for cars in nice driver condition; they won’t be perfect, but won’t be in the shop every weekend either:
$10,000-$15,000 — 1962-1980 MGB
Over 500,000 of this English car were made. There are several companies that make parts for this car and there are clubs all over the USA. These cars are generally simple to work on, but are known to sometimes have numerous electrical issues.
$15,000-$25,000 — 1965-1970 Mustang
This car defined a generation with over two million cars made in this time period. They are available in all conditions and dealers love these cars because the market is very established.
$25,000-$50,000 — 1955-1957 Chevy Bel-Air
These iconic cars are decked out in chrome and were made well before placing emission controls on cars was even being considered. Available in two-door, four-door, and convertible options, if you are looking for something with simple mechanics, this is a great place to start.
$40,000-$75,000 — 1963-1967 Chevy Corvette
Only made for five years, this head-turner had power that left almost all cars from its decade in the dust. The ‘Vette’s flat hood and distinct rear end look like no other of its generation.
At this price point, there are many different options available. These cars are often investment grade and in superb condition. Before diving into one of these cars, understand that they require extensive due diligence and thorough market research.
One point to make for this price point: everyone thinks they need an exotic, European sports car to differentiate themselves from the masses. However, any classic car, regardless of price, will attract attention and provide you unlimited enjoyment.
For instance, in 2000 I was driving a 1977 red MGB convertible. I pulled into a gas station to fill up the tank. Immediately behind me, a brand new Ferrari parked to top off too. Within minutes, my $2,500 car had three guys hammering me with questions about it while the driver of the quarter-million-dollar Ferrari was all alone at the gas pump without anyone even glancing in his direction.
Above all, take your time and enjoy the hunt for the car. The time you put into the research will pay you back tenfold once you find the right car for you. Visit hymanltd.com