Category archives: Commentary

Commentary: I thought Buick already had a great nameplate

Buick selects Avenir as its new and highest expression of luxury sub-brand | Buick photo
Buick selects Avenir as its new and highest expression of luxury sub-brand | Buick photo

I’m told that Avenir is the French word for “future.” So, how long into the future will it be before we see an Avenir at a collector car auction?

Oh, in case you had not heard, Avenir is a new General Motors’ sub-brand, the “highest expression of Buick luxury.” Continue reading

Art insider looks in, and buys in, to collector car world

Kenny Schachter bought this 1961 Alfa Spider at RM Sotheby's London sale | RM Sotheby's photo by Cymon Taylor
Kenny Schachter bought this 1961 Alfa Spider at RM Sotheby’s London sale | RM Sotheby’s photo by Cymon Taylor

The New York Times referred to Kenny Schachter as an artist/lawyer/roving curator. For more than 20 years, he has been a curator of contemporary art exhibits for museums and galleries. He teaches art history at the graduate-degree level and his own art has been featured in several one-person exhibits. He also writes for artnet.com, which recently published his two-part ‘Dealer Diary: Of Art & Cars,’ and apparently splits his time between New York and London.

I found his art-world perspective on the classic car hobby fascinating and thought you might be interested in what he has to say: Continue reading

Commentary: Cooperating museums, sunken automotive treasure

Museum staffs cooperate to get a Stanley Steamer running smoothly | Herb Crosby photos
Museum staffs cooperate to get a Stanley Steamer running smoothly | Herb Crosby photos

We recently reported about a cooperative effort between the Frist art and Lane auto museums in Nashville. The Porsche and Mercedes-Benz museums in Germany also did a recent joint venture, swapping some cars and offering reduced admission fees for people visiting both facilities. We applaud such linkage. Here’s another example of museum’s working together: Continue reading

Commentary: Monterey auction rewind by the numbers

The beautiful 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for nearly $20 million | Larry Edsall
The beautiful 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for nearly $20 million | Larry Edsall

Lessons learned in Monterey:

1. You do not sell nearly 90 Porsche cars at the same auction.

2. If you have a very-rare, high-dollar car, you do sell it at auction.

3. If you have a sub-40,000-dollar car, you do not sell it at auction in Monterey

4. For more-common Enzo-era Ferraris, the market is flat as it is for 308s and Testarossas.

5. If you have a truly important historic racer, you sell it nowhere else than at Monterey. Continue reading

Commentary: Every picture tells a story, though it may be hidden

A black-and-white photo found in an antique store shows a proud young man with a Ford sedan | Courtesy of the author
A black-and-white photo found in an antique store shows a proud young man with a Ford sedan | Courtesy of the author

The other day I was rummaging around my favorite auto-themed antique store, Rusty Sprocket Antiques in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and came upon an item that jumped out at me.

At first glance, it was just an old 8 x 10 black-and-white photograph of a guy and his car. But there was something personal and intimate to this picture, something that alluded to a greater story behind its subject. Continue reading

Commentary: Cautionary tales as we march toward Monterey

Trucks full of collector cars are headed to Monterey for auctions and concours | Larry Edsall photos
Trucks full of collector cars are headed to Monterey for auctions and concours | Larry Edsall photos

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the dockets for the collector car auctions in mid-August on the Monterey Peninsula are beyond spectacular. Even the number-crunching, algorithm-building geeks at Hagerty announce today that they expect total Monterey auction sales to exceed $370 million.

Further, they note, nearly a dozen cars have the potential of selling for $10 million or more, in some case much, much more. Continue reading

Commentary: When did Ford LTD become a collector car?

First car up for bidding at RM Sotheby's Motor City auction will be this 1970 LTD | RM Sotheby's photo
First car up for bidding at RM Sotheby’s Motor City auction will be this 1970 LTD | RM Sotheby’s photos

You know the axiom that a photograph is worth a thousand words, right? Well, I’m glad that the axiom is wrong, as I just discovered while starting to page through the catalog for RM Sotheby’s upcoming Motor City auction. Continue reading

Analysis: Brexit, auctions and what’s happening in the market

1968 Shelby GT500KR draws bids at Barrett-Jackson's Connecticut sale | Barrett-Jackson photo
1968 Shelby GT500KR draws bids at Barrett-Jackson’s Connecticut sale | Barrett-Jackson photo

The auction market is a volatile thing. As with any such marketplace, prices can be impacted by an unfavorable classic car review, a single weak auction sell-through or the larger world economy. During the past month, we had all of these things happen at the same time. But while the market is a bit shaky, it still seems that great cars are selling for serious money. Continue reading

Commentary: Could Honda Accord, now 40, ever be collectible?

Honda Accord first arrived in America in June 1976 as a compact hatchback | Honda
Honda Accord first arrived in America in June 1976 as a compact hatchback | Honda

The Honda Accord celebrates its 40th anniversary and has reigned as the best-selling car in the United States for many of those years. The Japanese automaker has sold more than 12.7 million of them since the car first rolled out as a compact hatchback in June 1976.

Which brings up the question as to whether such a mass-produced commodity could ever become a collector car. Accords have been ubiquitous almost from their first model year, and as familiarity breeds contempt, they are rarely considered anything more than affordable, reliable transportation units to be traded in when they get old. Continue reading