Experts in the car-collecting field say there is a market trend going on that has an upside and a downside for collectors. Market watchers say that many Baby Boomers are hitting to retirement age and their financial advisers are telling them to turn the prewar cars they’ve collected into cash. So, on the upside a lot of great older cars are coming on the market. On the downside, they are being offered to a diminishing pool of buyers who are still interested in prewar cars.
The hobby marketplace has made a major turn towards collecting postwar cars and especially American muscle cars. As a result, there are fewer buyers (less demand) around for cars made prior to World War II. People selling such cars face a challenge-they must either find the “right buyer” for each car or lower their prices to sell the car. For those who still like the Classics and have discretionary income at their disposal, the current trend is a “perfect storm.”
A rare 1923 Marmon 34B Speedster than just came on the market is a good example of such a car. This Marmon has a great heritage and a well-documented ownership history. Marmon was an American automaker founded by Howard Marmon and owned by Nordyke Marmon & Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana. It was established in 1902 and was merged and renamed in 1933. Racing cars like the Marmon Wasp that won the first Indy 500 were part of the company’s history. Marmon also built a limited number of V-16s.
During the 1970s the rare 1923 Marmon 34B Speedster-one of only six known to survive today-was acquired by the Goyette family from the Lars Anderson Museum in Brookline, Mass., It was used for touring and local events. At Mr. Goyette’s passing, son Mark thoroughly serviced the Marmon and campaigned it sparingly before selling it to a Connecticut car collector.
The Marmon is pale yellow with black fenders and splash aprons, red wire wheels, black leather seats and a black top. The smooth-shifting car’s finish held up well and it runs strong. It cruises comfortably at speeds up to 65 mph, has excellent brakes and seems like a wonderful old car. Yet, the car is being offered for less than the six-figure prices that many ‘60s or ‘70s muscle cars bring today.
“Things are changing,” says Joe Bortz, a well-publicized collector of Detroit concept cars who started a company name Take Your Car to Auction (www.takeyourcartoauction.com) to help Baby Boomers sell their collections for top dollar. Bortz—who is now in his 70s—says it all began when some friends asked him to help sell their cars. He used a combination of live auctions, social media and online auctions to get the cars sold and turned it into a new career.
During a recent free seminar at the Iola Old Car Show (www.iolaoldcarshow.com) Bortz told a packed audience of several hundred collectors how marketplace transitions affect older Baby Boomer collectors who want to sell cars like the Marmon Speedster that were once in high demand. He said that knowledge of the Internet and how classic car auctions work can help traditional car collectors get top dollar for their classic automobiles.