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Ernie's House of Whoopass! April 14, 2011
April 14, 2011

There's Nothing Quite As Classic As a True Classic Car.

So there have been a lot of Ford Mustangs making the news recently. Earlier in the year a guy listed a 2000 Ford Cobra R still coated in the original factory wrapping. Then earlier this month this guy "found" a 1966 Shelby Mustang in his garage, and only a few days later, an all original 1969 Ford Mustang 429 Boss with only 4,400 miles goes up for auction.Now the latter two are examples of a real classic car, not the recreations that have come stumbling out of Detroit over the last several years. Yes, I think the modern day renditions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger are pretty sweet, but no matter the physical similarities, they're still no substitute for the real thing. But since there were so many big numbers being thrown around with these old classic that have found their way back into the limelight, I decided to do some math. And what I found out wasn't very surprising at all; given our manufacturing abilities are now measured in the hundreds of thousands of units produced per year -- as opposed to the tend of thousands produced four decades ago -- the original renditions of these beasts are far more valuable than their modern day counterparts. Although, I'm sure they also have more mechanical pitfalls, as well.

Take for example that 2000 Cobra R. The window sticker of that car was $54,995, and based upon the current pricing scheme for Ford Mustangs we can guestimate that the Cobra-R's invoice was 95.5% of the $54,995 MSRP, or $51,048. But car dealers don't just give sports cars away for invoice pricing -- they sell them for a profit. A fair price to pay is about 3% profit, yielding the dealer $1,531 for his troubles, and giving the buyer a $52,580 purchase price. Since it's Georgia car, we tack on a 4% state sales tax and then to assume the best return, only a 1% local tax. That adds on an additional $2,269 (5%) in sales tax, thus the good old boy brought his new Cobra-R home for $55,209 and stuck it in his garage and forgot about it for the next eleven years. And now for whatever reason, maybe times are tough, he decided to sell it. Again, let's assume he got his full asking price of $70,000. His total profit? $14,790, which is a 26.9% return, averaging 2.19% per year. That's barely keeping up with inflation and hardly what I would call earth shattering, yes? But still $15k profit is $15k profit, right?

Now let's look at that 1969 Boss 429. Obviously the ending numbers won't match up -- forty-two years of appreciation vs only eleven -- but let's see how it goes percentage wise up until then. If you look through the pictures, you'll see the original window sticker price of $4,909. But the handwritten note from the original owners states that after some shrewd negotiating, he purchased it for $4,200 out the door. Insert obligatory Jew joke here. And let's assume that the current seller gets his full asking price of $550,000. Net appreciation? $545,800 -- that's a 13,109% increase over the original purchase price, averaging 12.31% over the last 42 years. And at that 12.31% rate, this car is now appreciating at more than $60,000 per year. When you're looking for something steady and low risk, that is a phenomenal investment. At the same eleven year mark, which is right when the other guy sold his Cobra-R for a 26.9% gain? The Boss 429 had appreciated 259%. And if you were to stick this Cobra-R in the garage for another 31 years, to bring it in line with the Boss's forty-two year vintage? The Cobra-R would then be worth $137,130, or a 248% total increase -- still less than the Boss achieved after only eleven years. And the best part? The guy with the Boss actually got to tear up the streets a little bit and even race his Mustang, and even draw some lustful stares when he washed it in his driveway. As opposed to trailering the Cobra-R home and doing nothing more than just staring at it for over a decade.

Obviously, I'm a Dodge guy but no matter what car shrine you pray to, and no matter how much horsepower you manage to cram into them, the muscle cars you see on the road today will never compare with the pioneers of the original muscle car era. Besides, copy their lines all you like but the only thing you'll find nowadays with more curves than the old classic cars, is Sophie Turner. And trust me, with taxes due tomorrow you can't afford the maintenance on that.

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