Jim’s Blog: Buy an Offbeat Collectible

Everybody loves Tri-Five Chevrolets, Shoebox Fords, Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers and Challengers. But if your goal is to stand out from the classic car crowd, the best bet is to find something different. 

Owning an old car is a social thing. You can’t take a classic anywhere without striking up a conversation with people in parking lots or at stop lights. For a lot of us, that’s a big part of the appeal of an old car — and for those of us who like that attention, there’s no better return on the dollar than a classic car that people don’t often see on the road anymore.

Plus, once you step out of the mainstream, you’ll find that your money goes further. Want a great original first-gen Camaro? Budget $35k. Want the same quality in a classic Mopar wagon? $20k will get you something spectacular, and you’ll have money left for a classic truck, too. 

From the time I spent driving SCM’s wood-grained 1968 Mercury Colony Park wagon, ACC’s ’64 Nova wagon and a variety of classic trucks, I can tell you that you’ll get just as much — if not more — attention in the any of them than you will in a first-gen Camaro. The fun per dollar ratio is high with stuff like this.

The downside, if there is one, is in resale value — your $20k wagon isn’t likely going to outpace that Camaro or Mustang in appreciation. But if you maintain its originality, you’ll earn back what you put into it when sale time rolls around. Plus, what’s your fun worth in the meantime?

So, don’t turn up your nose at that great original Oldsmobile wagon just because it isn’t an SS Chevelle. You might find it’s more fun — and maybe even a better deal — in the long run.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.


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  1. Jim, I purchased a 1990 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser from the original owner. The car had 7,200 miles on it and is in brand new condition. I have put 200 miles on the car. I have all the original paperwork, sticker, letter from the dealership and everything works. The car has every option offered in 1990. The originality is truly exceptional and I am fortunate to own the car.

  2. Completely agree. Belly Button Cars (everyone has them) like those listed are so common as to be boring. I DVRed the Barrett Jackson Palm Beach auction for 19 hours and skipped through these models. I might have actually watched about 1 hour’s worth of cars.

  3. There is more to life than muscle cars, Corvettes and tri-five Chevys.

    My Avanti took home a few trophies not because it was the most expensive or powerful or expensive car there, but because it was different.

    I’d love a wagon…it would be fun to take to shows, and I could take the bassett. I’ve been looking but haven’t found one here in the Northwest. Jim, let me know if the Mercury comes on the market!