Silver Linings Amid Darkening Clouds

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Every dark cloud has a silver lining, it’s said – and there is truth to it. Much of it, of course, depends on your perspective – and your situation.

What if you own a classic car? What if you’d like to own one?

Many of us who already own a classic car are grateful we bought ours when we could afford to. I bought my 1976 Trans-Am in the early ‘90s, for $5,400 – a sum that even then wasn’t much. Back in the early ‘90s, my Pontiac was not yet even an antique; it was just an old car. Such old cars were still abundant back then precisely because they weren’t that old. And most of them were available cheap because the only people who coveted them – for the most part – were young guys like me at the time, who bought them to drive them. To hot rod them.

Then they became investments – bought by older guys with deep pockets, who saw them as a way to make money. Who put them in storage. Or poured money into high-class restorations. Cars like my neither particularly rare nor particularly special ’76 Trans-Am were all of a sudden worth a great deal more than $5,400. Similar cars were all of a sudden (or so it seemed) worth – or rather, selling for – as much as six figures on the auction block at Barrett-Jackson. If Burt Reynolds laid hands on the thing, it might be worth twice six figures.

For a car that guys like me drove to high school back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Today, no longer a young guy, I cannot afford my car. Or – rather – I could not  afford to buy it, today.

Even a relatively run-of-the-mill mid-late ’70s not-so-muscular (as it came) car commands as much money as a brand-new car, if it’s in overall good condition. Something like my ’76 would set you back $25k or so, now – which is too rich for most young guys today. And not just because of the sum, itself.

Financing a classic car is not inexpensive, as it is – for now – with new cars. 

There are no six year loans at slim to no interest, so as to make the purchase feasible. You are generally expected to make a fat down payment and to pay the whole note off within three years which – plus interest several times higher than the charge applied to a typical new car loan – balloons the monthly payment to more than most young guys can afford.

Even though they could afford – to finance – a new car. 

But, this may be on the cusp of changing. 

It may soon be the case that a young guy – or gal – will be able to do as I did when I was a young guy and buy a car like my TA for cash.

Just a lot less of it.

In part because the older guys with deep pockets who turned old muscle cars into investments are now old guys. Younger guys – and gals – are going to inherit most of these cars within the next 10-20 years. They may actually want to drive them. Or they may decide to sell them.

But to whom? When few have the big (and superfluous) bucks to spend on a classic car?

With the wheels of the economy falling off right before our eyes, it seems likely that indulgence items such as classic cars will go down in value, for the same reason that all luxury items go down in value when there are no longer enough people to . . . indulge them.

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton by LaGrande

Consider the travails of Duesenberg as an example – as a possible prediction.

Duesenbergs were pretty much the most exotic things on wheels back in 1928; they were all essentially hand-built specials, with custom bodies made tailor-ordered for the buyer. They had exotic powerplants with exotic features, including the first computer-controlled engine management systems. Yep. Really.

Then came 1929 – and all of a sudden it was hard to give away a Duesenberg. The ones that were made in 1928 were sold in a trickle each year after that – and given a model year that corresponded to the year they were sold as opposed to built.

For some time thereafter, a young guy could buy a Duesenberg – if he had some spare cash.

The same happened again, in the mid-70s – when rampant inflation and obnoxiously high gas prices (if you could find gas to buy) caused cars like the late ’60s/early ’70s Hemi-powered Mopars and big-block/low production GM and Ford equivalents to be shunted off to the back lots of seedy used car dealerships, where they often languished unsold for months.

A few young guys bought them, for next-to-nothing. And – fast forward 20 or so – years found themselves in possession of cars almost no one could afford to buy anymore.

We may be on the cusp of another such time. A good time, frankly, for guys – and gals – of all ages who simply appreciate the cars and don’t especially care whether they will appreciate. Who only want to own one – and to leave rubber all over the road.

Just like I did, back in the day.

. . .

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I will try to get rid of my ice powered cars before they are illegal or very expensive to own/drive. maybe keep on off road vehicle to escape into the wilderness.

    They can attack these ice cars in different ways, through very expensive insurance or not insuring them or not allowing them to be registered, making the fuel hard/impossible to get or very expensive, already it is hard to find non ethanol fuel which destroys these old car’s fuel systems, restricting where you can drive them, banning all ice powered vehicles, maybe banning parts sales so they can’t be fixed/maintained, huge fees to be able to own/drive these cars (then only the rich will drive these cars, the elite nobility and billionaires will still drive these cars, the poor people will own nothing and walk).

    The muscle cars are mostly collected by baby boomers, when they die off that market could collapse, young people are more interested in their smart phone.

    There is already collector/driver’s cars that are illegal to drive on the street, in europe you can buy/drive some track oriented cars on the street that are illegal in N. America. In some areas you can’t register/insure some kit cars like super 7’s or super 7 clones, (a super 7 is the ultimate anti nanny state car, no safety features, completely analog, the prisoner drove one in the show The Prisoner because it was anti state/government, buy one), Donkervoort is one of the quickest cars on the planet, but i think can’t be imported in N. America.

    the prisoner
    https://youtu.be/z0rio3IPXXU

  2. I’ve been waiting for these bubbles to pop….. but insted, it’s the currency that’s popping. The value of many things may be drastically decreasing…but not the prices of those things, because the currency is losing value faster than the _____[houses, old cars,…].

    This is likely why TPTB are destroying the economy [in addition to establishing a one-world system/digital currency] because by destroying the economy while at the same time flooding it with increasingly worthless fiat currency, virtually nothing will retain actual value, and us peons who may’ve managed to accumulate a little cash will never get to take advantage of the bubbles popping and returning to normal, and the owners of physical commodities will not reap any benefits either, even though the bubble may never pop, because the prices of their commodities may stay high…but it won’t matter since what is represented by those figures (the currency the items are valued in) is greatly devalued.

    Tl;dr; As long as the money supply is controlled by fiat rather than being a representation of labor and value, there can be no true equity of value. In 1929 things were not yet as tightly controlled….so there were still some actual predictable economic reactions occurring. That fiasco was of course used by Uncle to justify it’s taking control of every sphere of economic activity…and here we are today on the brink of a controlled depression which they term a “reset”- only this time there will be no winners except for Uncle and the global communists whom he serves.

    • Ludwig, is that you? 🙂 I hope you have a great thanksgiving Nunz. Mise spoke of these things more than a century ago. In all that time, the Usual Suspects have pretty much destroyed the national (and later Global) economy. All for what? So they could become even more wealthy?
      This hasn’t been about money/wealth for many decades. Its about the pathological need to control other peoples lives.

    • With quantitative easing all the money went into asset inflation: real estate, stocks, collector cars and art, etc., (the billionaires always benefit the most from these policies, while the poor can’t afford food/rent), wait until the leftists get going with MMT…..$200.00 loaf of bread? Should go back to a gold standard (probably never happen), on a gold standard prices went down, deflation, everything got cheaper, but they say that is bad? now we have run away inflation, millions will/are starving.

      blame keynes…another fabian/communist destroying the world

      The Ten Planks of the
      Communist Manifesto
      1848 by Karl Heinrich Marx

      number 5). Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
      The Federal Reserve System, created by the Federal Reserve Act of Congress in 1913, is indeed such a “national bank” and it politically manipulates interest rates and holds a monopoly on legal counterfeiting in the United States. This is exactly what Marx had in mind and completely fulfills this plank, another major socialist objective. Yet, most Americans naively believe the U.S. of A. is far from a Marxist or socialist nation.

      the modern monetary system is based on keynesian beliefs, he was a fabian/communist

      Keynes is heralded as the guiding light of the New Deal (and, as such defended by modern “Green New Dealers” and Great Reset technocrats wishing to impose a top-down system of governance onto the world),

      This will be seen clearly in
      1) his devotion to the theories of Thomas Malthus, eugenics the new genocide happening right now….

      2) his promotion of eugenics as a science of racial purification and population control, and

      ATTENTION:
      3) his general devotion to World Government as a leading member of the Fabian Society.

      depopulation: The provable reality was that Indian famines were coordinated tools of population control by the Malthusian elite of the British establishment who considered “war, famine and disease” as the gifts nature gave the strong to manage the weak.
      read again: disease” as the gifts nature gave the strong to manage the weak. now the great reset wants to use poisonous injections for depopulation.

      Keynes never opposed fascism: he merely argued that a more liberal pathway to global fascism could be established under the direction of the Bank of England.

      • The one world digital government controlled currency is the key to controlling everybody on the planet, by your new one world communist government, the great reset…….. .

        The Ten Planks of the
        Communist Manifesto
        1848 by Karl Heinrich Marx

        number 5). Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
        The Federal Reserve System, created by the Federal Reserve Act of Congress in 1913, is indeed such a “national bank” and it politically manipulates interest rates and holds a monopoly on legal counterfeiting in the United States. This is exactly what Marx had in mind and completely fulfills this plank, another major socialist objective. Yet, most Americans naively believe the U.S. of A. is far from a Marxist or socialist nation.

        North korea and Venezuela are the only two countries without a Rothschild controlled central bank, they want to destroy them. One African country tried to go on a gold standard, the leader was eliminated.

        • this is what the leftists bring you, your new one world government,

          The Ten Planks of the
          Communist Manifesto
          1848 by Karl Heinrich Marx

          Although Marx advocated the use of any means, especially including violent revolution, to bring about socialist dictatorship, he suggested ten political goals for developed countries such as the United States. How far has the United States — traditionally the bastion of freedom, free markets, and private property — gone down the Marxist road to fulfill these socialist aims? You be the judge. The following are Marx’s ten planks from his Communist Manifesto.

          1. Abolition of private property in land and application of all rents of land to public purpose.
          The courts have interpreted the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868) to give the government far more “eminent domain” power than was originally intended, Under the rubric of “eminent domain” and various zoning regulations, land use regulations by the Bureau of Land Managementproperty taxes, and “environmental” excuses, private property rights have become very diluted and private property in landis, vehicles, and other forms are seized almost every day in this country under the “forfeiture” provisions of the RICO statutes and the so-called War on Drugs..

          2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
          The 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1913 (which some scholars maintain was never properly ratified), and various State income taxes, established this major Marxist coup in the United States many decades ago. These taxes continue to drain the lifeblood out of the American economy and greatly reduce the accumulation of desperately needed capital for future growth, business starts, job creation, and salary increases.

          3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
          Another Marxian attack on private property rights is in the form of Federal & State estate taxes and other inheritance taxes, which have abolished or at least greatly diluted the right of private property owners to determine the disposition and distribution of their estates upon their death. Instead, government bureaucrats get their greedy hands involved .

          4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
          We call it government seizures, tax liens, “forfeiture” Public “law” 99-570 (1986); Executive order 11490, sections 1205, 2002 which gives private land to the Department of Urban Development; the imprisonment of “terrorists” and those who speak out or write against the “government” (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process.

          5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
          The Federal Reserve System, created by the Federal Reserve Act of Congress in 1913, is indeed such a “national bank” and it politically manipulates interest rates and holds a monopoly on legal counterfeiting in the United States. This is exactly what Marx had in mind and completely fulfills this plank, another major socialist objective. Yet, most Americans naively believe the U.S. of A. is far from a Marxist or socialist nation.

          6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.
          In the U.S., communication and transportation are controlled and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established by the Communications Act of 1934 and the Department of Transportation and the Interstate Commerce Commission (established by Congress in 1887), and the Federal Aviation Administration as well as Executive orders 11490, 10999 — not to mention various state bureaucracies and regulations. There is also the federal postal monopoly, AMTRAK and CONRAIL — outright socialist (government-owned) enterprises. Instead of free-market private enteprrise in these important industries, these fields in America are semi-cartelized through the government’s regulatory-industiral complex.

          7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
          While the U.S. does not have vast “collective farms” (which failed so miserably in the Soviet Union), we nevertheless do have a significant degree of government involvement in agriculture in the form of price support subsidies and acreage alotments and land-use controls. The Desert Entry Act and The Department of Agriculture. As well as the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Evironmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS control of business through corporate regulations.

          8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
          We call it the Social Security Administration and The Department of Labor. The National debt and inflation caused by the communal bank has caused the need for a two “income” family. Woman in the workplace since the 1920’s, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, assorted Socialist Unions, affirmative action, the Federal Public Works Program and of course Executive order 11000. And I almost forgot…The Equal Rights Amendment means that women should do all work that men do including the military and since passage it would make women subject to the draft.

          9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
          We call it the Planning Reorganization Act of 1949 , zoning (Title 17 1910-1990) and Super Corporate Farms, as well as Executive orders 11647, 11731 (ten regions) and Public “law” 89-136.

          10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc.
          People are being taxed to support what we call ‘public’ schools, which train the young to work for the communal debt system. We also call it the Department of Education, the NEA and Outcome Based “Education” .

          https://www.laissez-fairerepublic.com/TenPlanks.html

          • 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
            We call it government seizures, tax liens, “forfeiture” Public “law” 99-570 (1986); Executive order 11490, sections 1205, 2002 which gives private land to the Department of Urban Development; the imprisonment of “terrorists” and those who speak out or write against the “government” (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process.

            someone said when the internet started up…..now they know what we are thinking….

            someone commented the government owns facebook……a way to find out who is saying what……… the imprisonment of “terrorists” and those who speak out or write against the “government”

            someone said your google searches will be used in your new social credit score rating…..use brave search engine….duckduckgo is a bit better then google……

  3. Well the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators is now having states deny registration to vehicles imported under the 25yr rule. They seem to be going after Kei cars from Japan right now according to Jalopnik. ( https://jalopnik.com/here-is-the-organization-behind-the-many-states-banning-1848104429 ) Their reasoning is they don’t comply with FMVSS. Well FMVSS didn’t even exist before 1967. So if this precedent holds….

    The attack on mobility is increasing. People need to wake up and realize what’s going on but they’ll probably be riding the bus by then if they do at all.

  4. There’s an indicator of the actual severity of the corona COFF. Prices for old stuff increasing. If the death count amongst the grey-beards and other fossils were actually high we’d see all those Harleys, GTOs, Mercs and BMWs… hell, even old boats and RVs, flooding the markets as the widows dump them just to get rid of “that damn toy.” Instead they’re still appreciating in value and in very short supply.

    • There will be that tipping point and yes, it hasn’t happened yet (people buying now will not make their money back). When enough of the older guys die off. Of course (I’m 48 now) I could be in my 60’s by the time that happens……..

      Remember the Gen X and following groups are smaller, so even if the wealth was still there, there will be fewer buyers period. So the prices have to come down. Even more so if driving them are more restricted (they will be). They will probably limit pre-2010 cars to very few miles (a few hundred miles at most) per year and gasoline may be hard to come by, even if you can afford it. Don’t think that would happen? Think again, a steam museum in England can’t operate its steam trains because greenies have blocked their buying coal for them. They won’t even allow museum pieces to operate if they can get away with it. Try taking a pre 2010 truck into the ports in California, they have already banned those (probably one of the reasons for the slowdown of shipping).

      Unfortunately, we may end up being a caretaker generation largely warehousing them, as we probably won’t be allowed to do much with them. Even warehousing them may be difficult, as that has gotten more expensive to do (and there are far fewer old barns anymore).

    • Not if the wealthy are bidding them up.

      We all think that the exemption for small volume companies to make replicas of old cars was a good thing. I think it’s how the wealthy intend to keep motoring. These cars are usually into the six figures all said and done. The exemption means they can go to these builders, have a 1965 Caddy made from scratch if need be with all the modern goodies and there they go, they are on the road. Sure it cost them $250,000 but it doesn’t matter.

      My question is how they will attack old cars but still make it so they can get around. My guess is simply a matter of money.

      • The military and bureaucracy always gets an exception. The US government is the biggest single source of fossil fuel CO2 on the planet. If things get bad enough the rich will flock to the government sector and get use of “company” vehicles. During World War II, David Sarnoff (CEO of RCA) got himself a Brigadier General’s star for advising Eisenhower. Thereafter he insisted everyone address him as “General Sarnoff.” I’m sure today’s moguls and Davos elites would do the same thing if the opportunity came up.

    • The death rate didn’t go up in 2020, in 2021 when the extermination injections started, the death rate started rising, more of the boomers will start dying off maybe effecting real prices of muscle cars.

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