1926 Model T
Avenger Kit Car
What Kind of Car Guy or Gal Are You?
What’s in a name? There are a lot of descriptions for people who like cars. Sports car fans, drag racers, restorers, collectors, circle track racers, NASCAR - Indy and on the list will go. I wondered at one point what car guy name fit me best. I like all of the above as far as cars go. Antiques such as Model T’s or early Chevy’s and all the others that came up through the years from 1900 to 1932. And yes, I know there are a few brass era cars before 1900 and many great cars after 1932. I mentioned those years for the following: 1). For the period, serious production of cars for sale started after 1900 and then went on, 2). Until the great depression which changed about everything in the auto industry.
The 30’s and 40’s cars are a series of constant improvements on the cars that survived the depression. WWII is the next demarcation in auto production in that few (to none) were built. The “new” cars and designs after the war, essentially the ‘50’s cars (although most first came out in ’49) were more than just improvements. Radical changes in engine design –mass produced OVH V8s – and major body styling changes to make cars lower and often more roomy or just bigger, dominated in the ‘50’s. And the V8’s got bigger.
Enter the ‘60s muscle car when the biggest V8’s went into mid-sized cars which we just up-sized from not to popular small cars with small engines. Economy went out the window and performance dominated. And there are ‘70s cars, ‘80s cars and ‘90s cars that can be chosen in almost any configuration. So all cars can be fun. But what about anyone who does anything other than buy (or lease) drive and trade. In other words anything beyond just transportation. Nothing wrong with just transportation, after all that was originally the point of it all.
In all car categories there are people types who follow preferences. So here is my brief list, by no means meant to be comprehensive. I’m sure you can add to the list.The List
Number 1 owners. Wealthy enough to own it regardless guy. Weather this is the owner of the car, the person doing the work (could be the owner) this is the “renew every nut bolt and part”. When done the #1 restorers car will be a work of art. Beyond what could have been turned out on an assembly line, this car will embrace perfection and that within the boundary of what was used when it was originally built. The better than original stainless steel bolts are not an improvement here. These cars win judging points. Interestingly we now have a group who want to only car as far as the original assembly might have been, and these too in a way should be number 1 restorations in that they actually are a restoration, which implies brought back to original. I like both, but I recognize what is a one off work of art and what you might have bought in a period showroom or received when ordered from that dealer.
Number 2 owners. Investment car guy. These might be covered in the number 1 “wanna be’s” but not really as these cars often where meant to be an attempt to reach for “number 1” status, or had that status and aged down a bit. So number 2 owners are still not setting out to “drive the wheels off” the car in question. Often thinking there is going to be even more money if they just wait. Time will always add to the $ value. Well, maybe not. Things change, but not always as we see it.
Number 3 fixer uppers. Drivers! Already driving it guy. Usually a number three fixer upped guy will drive the car. After all that is the point. It is transportation. Yes it can be a work of art, LeBarron – Coddinyton – better than original number one. All crafted works of art. Can you regularly buy cars that cost six figures, just to drive? Most people think these are investments. Sometimes, they are! All great, but not all so drivable. Number 3 cars have enough rough edges to make them drivable without a panic attack or parking fifty feet from anything to avoid damage. You get dings when you do things. Dings and things, in my opinion, are the fun of it. So am I a number 3 driver guy, nope, had some - sold them.
Number 4 Daily Drivers. Just drive it guy. May need some serious fixing but mostly usable. If you drive it regular (and you should) it is nickel and diming you to death and you have to work on it during evenings and weekends. It always needs minor fixes; you like to do them and someday you’ll fix it all up right. So here are cars with usable interiors, look pretty good with serious cleaning (often) and fair paint --- again if washed up and waxed or re-polished often. Sometimes these cars run very good, and sometimes not.
Here is another description of the cars from Number 1 to 4. These are from Hagerty Insurance and usually these cars will all require insurance. http://www.hagerty.com/valuationtools/classifications-and-conditions
Number 5 someday restorable. Always plan to make it a driver guy. Sometimes this is your driver, but not too often. Just too many nickels and dimes & roadside stops at this point. It is not reliable but it is restorable and you plan to restore a little as you go. Again, maybe someday you’ll take time to do it up right. But really, you likely just want to refurbish it with needed work so it becomes a fairly reliable driver – thus it becomes your number 4 real driver at some point or it goes behind the house or garage. We often refurbish and sometimes these are the cars that a person feels ok about adding a few upgrades. After all, it is supposed to be a perfect or correct restoration. So maybe we get some different seats, or different upholstery or paint combination. In one sense this car really may become what we would have had if we bought it to be our used car driver back when it was a decent used car. My ’54 Ford had a 312 T- Bird engine and three speed on the floor shifter for some time. We had aftermarket seat covers, some primer patches on the outside, the hood and trunk cleaned up (shaved was the term) and yet never really thought of it as much of a modified car.
Number 6 parts and rust. Rescue car guy. So far gone as to be usable for parts only. Here is the car that has to be recovered and rebuilt. It is not likely ever going to be worth (in $) the effort put into it. But I like to think everything can be rebuilt if you want. So here I am ---- I am a car rescue guy. I want to save everything. I believe 18 gauge steel in flats exist to every panel or part can be reconstructed. When a car is rescued do I think it should be brought to factory original? No, back to number 5 or 4 is good enough. Keep the car alive and let the next guy decide is this now to be restored, modified (with better components to be a cruise and street driver) or hot rodded the way I might have had I bought it used 40 years ago. In place of the 312 T-Bird, I would have loved to have a big block 390 (remember this is 1963 and I didn’t know much about the new small block 221 – 260 engine) with a T-10 four speed and maybe even the 401 horsepower tri-carb set up. Wow – street racer!!! But of course price and availability prohibited such a move.
So yeah, I decided I am the “rescue guy”!!! I like to save what I can rather than see it re-cycled. I will of course never get done with projects that way so my wife will likely re-cycle the remains, but then I won’t really be worried about it. Praise the Lord, I’ll be with Him. So glory to God that I am alive and working and have some old car fun. If it ain’t fun don’t do it. It will not make you rich.
That brings us back to the earlier investment comment. As I mentioned under condition and car guy number two, your car may increase in value. Some will, and some will not go down. A Brewster bodied full classic is worth a lot of money. A Model T or Model A, not so much. I remember when Dad bought the T’s for $1,500 to $2,500 in barely recoverable (number 5 or 6) and restored were $20,000. And some thought their good originals worth that as well. One lady insisted on $25,000 for an original running 26 T roadster. If finally sold on her estate sale for $2,500. I bought a complete ’27 roadster – all good Henry steel—for $3600 just a year or so ago and likely paid a bit too much but it was with 50 miles and that matters as hauling and fuel add up fast. Now you can get a very nice number two or three Model A or Model T for around $10,000. Up through the ‘80s it will fast become the special interest cars, always convertibles, hardtops, big engines – special packages, that hold a price and the craft man’s work should always add value. But people and times change and when the next group of 40 to 60 year olds pass on --- not the 60 to 80 years olds who are now spending their extra, it will be interesting to see what the persons who are now 20 to 40 pick as cars to collect. Some maybe buying retro Mustangs and Chargers and Camaros. Some, maybe be original ‘60s Mustangs and Camaros.
Here is another list of car conditions that help define the types of car people who want their car to fit a category. Some of us just want the car for the challenge. More on rescued stuff and what to do with it. It likely will be hard to sell and not worth what you paid for it. http://automotivemileposts.com/rating.html