Jim’s Blog: What Can Weather Teach Us About the Market?

Values and trends. That’s what ACC is about. 

How can we see trends before they really start to take hold? Well, it can be complicated, and it isn’t always an exact science. But there’s one trick to spotting trends I’ve been thinking about lately: Weather.

Weather? Really? OK, that may seem a little strange, but stick with me here for a second and I’ll explain what I mean.

When the weather is nice, you’ll often see classics out and about, oftentimes with owners driving them back and forth to work. As soon as the weather changes — as it has in many parts of the country already — those cars get put away. When the weather gets nicer, “special” cars come back out, usually polished and looking their best.

Those cars change.

Watching for what disappears from the roads when the weather turns south is a good way to track how car people’s tastes have evolved. Today, your old Ford Taurus is still just a beater. Drive it in the snow. But that 5.0? Stick it in the garage and wait for April. Was it the same story five years ago?

How car people treat their cars — and which cars they treat — is a good way to see what they’ve decided is worth saving in real time.

Are people still driving Fox-body Mustangs on gray, rainy days in your area? IROC Camaros? C4 Corvettes? I don’t see many of those here, and we’ve already seen pricing start to rise on those models. They’ve turned into collector cars. Today, I don’t see many square-body GM trucks, GM G-body cars, or 4th-gen Camaros. Same story. Attrition plays a role here, but so does collectibility.

But seeing what’s missing can be a challenge. Looking for what reappears when the weather turns nice is easier to do. When you spot something at a light that you haven’t seen for a while — say a 1996 Chevrolet C1500 short-bed truck lowered down on nice wheels and tires — it may change your opinion of the model, or help you to form an opinion. You probably didn’t even realize that you hadn’t seen any in a while, and here’s one that looks good.

That’s the kind of thing that can key you in to the raw edge of collectibility — the place where cars stop being drivers and start being something more. From there it may take a while for prices to move up, but they usually do.

But, this really only works with mass-produced models that have spent time as cheap transportation. Vipers, Z06s, GT500s and Hellcats need not apply.

What do you think? Does weather tell you anything about what others are starting to see as collectible? What’s started to disappear from the roads in your area as the leaves fall? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

  

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  1. Jim, I think that you have a strong point here. I can tell you living in AZ, CA and FL most of my life, that you can even notice it there as well. It is just harder to spot. However, I am now in the DC area and this place is unlike any other car culture that I have seen before. There is a huge population here, but it is just harder to find. But as for me the last few weeks I have been looking for a winter beater since I feel my daily 04 SRT 10 needs to be tucked away. While at the same time, I have notice a change in the parking lot at work were our row of cool rides is starting to look like a row of beater’s. At the same time it takes me back to being a kid and when I Dad went out to buy an old VW bug so he could park his 69 427/4sp Corvette in the garage. So, a great point that many of us just overlook.