While new car sales continue to fall at a precipitous rate, classic cars are hotter than ever, according to people like Terry Lobzun, a spokesman for RM Auctions, the company that holds the very popular Barrett-Jackson auctions on ESPN. They’ll be at it again this weekend, with approximately 300 and trucks on sale, the majority of which they anticipate selling for near-record prices.
Apparently, the classic car business hasn't slumped with the economy and in fact, like regular used car sales, is holding steady and in some places actually picking up.
Many people see the classic car market as a solid investment, when compared to their 401k or the stock market. Mike Schembri, a classic collector from Tracy, Calif., sees a lot of opportunity in the classic car arena right now, for those who know what they’re doing.
"Absolutely, these classic vehicles can be excellent investments,” Schembri said. "From my experience, I can tell you that they’ll only go up in value. They’re like gold as far as I’m concerned.”
It’s not a business for novices, according to Schembri. “If you don’t have the necessary knowledge to make a smart purchase, you’re taking a big risk,” he said. “It’s very easy to get a car that has problems and then you’re losing money.”
Schembri actually goes to auctions to purchase classic cars for other people. It’s a lucrative business, especially now when the market is strong and there’s a lot of inventory.
“Now is the ideal time to get in, because people are being forced to sell their cars to pay the bills,” Schembri said. “I’ve seen some cars going for a lot less than before, because sellers are desperate. The real collectors’ cars are holding their own, but you can find bargains out there if you try.”
Schembri, who owns six classic cars, including a 1967 Mustang Shelby GT 500E (pictured), sees muscle cars as the best investment out there right now.
“People covet these muscle cars more than ever right now. They bring back the kind of memories these baby boomers that are now in their late 40’s and early 50’s want. The prices on these types of vehicles have come down slightly, so now it’s the right time to buy.”
Potential buyers will find some amazing cars on sale this weekend through Barrett Jackson, including a 1969 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet Notchback, a 1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Mulliner Touring Limousine, a 1980 Harley-Davidson custom-built for the late Evil Knievel, a 1973 Volkswagen Thing convertible, just to name a few.