Collector Cars Are Fun To Own, Drive, And Invest In

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Source: Flickr

Collector cars are passenger vehicles that are twenty-five years old or older. They are good cruising cars and are particularly well-suited for a summer jaunts. Collector cars are simply those cars deemed by their owners as classic, as having sentimental value, or are worth a lot more money than the average late-model car. Collector cars are stolen from time to time, but they tend to be harder to resell and the parts are often more difficult to market; because of this, theft insurance is lower than for regular cars. Because collector cars are driven less often and their owners take great care when driving and storing them, the classic car insurance rates are less than a standard auto policy. These cars are typically maintained for use in car club activities, exhibitions, parades, or private collections, and are driven with less frequency than everyday vehicles. Most collector cars are one-of-a-kind – they have their own personalities, their own degrees of restoration. Most buyers of collector cars are investors in other fields, and collector cars offer many benefits not found in other investments. Many people feel collector cars are great investments even though they are consistently fluctuating in value; they are always being bought and sold just like stocks by investors, so they are easy to make liquid. They are not a safe investment but, like most collectibles, can be lucrative at times.

Collector Cars to Get

Cars of the fifties, particularly sports racing cars that can be used for transportation, may well represent the best period to collect. The ’50s and ’60s were a time when we all went to sock hops and cruised in fabulous hot rods and classic cars. Cars that have spent their lives in dry climates such as the American Southwest are often found as original examples with little rust. These cars are relatively liquid in that there is a strong international sales market, and if the market is better in another country or on another continent, the car can be moved, unlike real estate for example. Classic cars that have been restored in most details or are well maintained and preserved appeal to any observer, not just the enthusiast. These older cars pollute much more than newer cars, but most owners do not worry about that. People have a reason to buy cars, whether it is for the enjoyment of participating in the many events, such as rallies, races, shows or club get-togethers, or just for the pride of owning a beautiful piece of automotive history.

Value of Collector Cars

Collector cars have value, but how is that value determined in a changing market? There are some accepted standard methods of arriving at the value of any car, collectible or otherwise. There are many resource guides and pricing books available that can provide value guidelines based upon the overall condition of the vehicle. Some people just get value owning the car and enjoying it. To these people, if the car goes up in value, fine; if not, fine. Many collector car owners get a special kind of theft insurance called Agreed Value insurance. With an Agreed Value collector car policy, you are assured of receiving the full face value of the policy if you suffer a total loss. This pays the full-insured amount in the event of a total loss and reflects the insured value of the car.

Fast Cars, Super Cars – Paying For Horse Power

For the rich and famous it seems to be a statement of success when they own the very expensive fast and super cars. These fast, super cars will usually be found in areas such as Hollywood, Las Vegas, or New York since these are the places where the rich and famous usually work and live. In other countries you might find royalty and upper members of government sporting these cars but few members of the working class will ever have the money to buy one.

Fast Cars, Super Cars – Looking At The Models

The exotic Ferrari Modena is a popular Ferrari model which offers a six speed transmission, a V8 engine, and will get about 11 to 16 mpg. With a price tag of $152,000, this car is capable of doing 189 mph and reaching 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.

One of the top of the line super cars, which is also a fast car, is the Lamborghini. The current Sypder is considered to be one of the most popular super cars available. Voted as the most beautiful car in the world, the Spyder sports a V10 which reaches a speed of 195 mph with the roof up and 191 mph with the roof down. It comes with a price tag of $195,000. Its lightweight aluminum frame allows the car to reach faster speeds and it can do a quarter mile in 12.2 seconds, reaching a speed of 122 mph.

If you want to come down a little closer to earth you might want to take a look at the Dodge Viper. It also offers a V10 which can reach speeds of 190 mph, will do 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, and a quarter mile in 11.9 seconds. The Viper is rated for 10 to 20 mpg and comes with a price tag of $80,000. This makes the Viper a super car which is a fast car with a more affordable price tag.

A never-ending classic super car is the Corvette which is put out by none other than Chevrolet. This American icon has been around for several years and continues to improve with age. Available in a coupe or convertible, you can choose from several color combinations. You also have the choice of a 6 or 7 liter engine, and the starting price is about $66,000. These cars have withstood the test of time and continue to be one of the most popular sport cars on the market today.

Mcdonald’s To Offer Lasik In Drive Through

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$299.00, Financing available, Limited time offer etc etc.
LASIK eye surgery is rapidly becoming just another commodity like shoes or cars. Every where we look there are LASIK ads with discounts, specials and financing offered by “doctors” that are vying for a percentage of the 3 million Americans rushing to have LASIK every year. Don’t be surprised if one day you can visit your local Wal-Mart and leave an hour later having had LASIK by a “professional who has done millions” We may even start seeing signs akin to McDonald’s 3,456,000 served!! There doesn’t seem much difference between the ads and techniques used to sell LASIK and those used to sell used cars.

What has happened to the great American medical standards and ethics touted for years? It is amazing to read that eye surgeons in the United States are still offering regular LASIK and for only $1,000 more “you too can have wavefront Technology.” For those who aren’t LASIK savvy, wavefront is a better diagnostic tool that maps your cornea. In South America, where eye surgery technology has always been at the forefront, surgeons will only use wavefront. There is no option because it is just better for the patient period!! American eye surgeons are also still performing PRK on those patients who don’t qualify for LASIK rather than using multifocal Intraocular Lens which was only approved 1 year ago in the States but has been used for over ten years by South American surgeons.

So if you are considering having LASIK remember this is a surgery on the cornea of your eye so be sure to educate yourself about all the possible risks and complications. Find the best possible doctor you can, not just the least expensive and make sure you are really a good candidate for the surgery and not just another number on the billboard and finally if cost is an issue you may need to resolve yourself to wearing glasses or do what thousands of people do and go to South America and have it done by some of the best eye surgeons in the world, spend half and have a vacation.

The Chevrolet Corvette : A True American Classic Sportscar

The Chevrolet Corvette, a Sportscar legend and a Auto Classic for ever, has somehow survived inflated insurance rates; all types of inane and meaningless safety legislation and engine pollution add ons. The Chevrolet Corvette has been universally accepted as the measure of a high performance sports car. Cars come and go, new model of cars emerge and disappear and yet the Corvette lives on. No car has been able to cover as many aspects of the high performance sport as the Corvette. The versatility of this fantastic automobile has appealed to all age groups and has kept the ownership of a Corvette, a most prestigious thing.

The Corvette has gone through many changes in its lifetime, including every custom and hot rod trend going. It has a miracle that the Corvette has remained a true high performance sports car and did not mature into a two plus two sedan as did Ford’s Thunderbird. The Corvette was in the on the beginnings of the fast car era. In the mid 50’s people wanted fast cars, and by 1957 the Corvette was leading the pack. Hot rodding owes a big debt to the Corvette; it was responsible for almost all of the higher performance parts ever to come from Chevrolet. Four speed transmissions, dual quad intake manifolds and hot solid lifter camshafts.

One of the big contributions to the Corvette’s success story was the variety of options that were offered. Ever since 1956, there had been the choice of a standard of high performance automatic transmission. Each car could be tailored into a semi competitive race car of a good day to day commuter by just selecting the right options. The Corvette could play either role very well.

Performance was the trend in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. One of the biggest controversies of the day was which was faster – a Corvette with dual four barrel carbs or one with fuel injection.

Corvette owners were buying the high performance versions and putting them to good use at weekend drags and the novice road events. There were metallic brake and sway bar options for the sporty set. And although the suspensions system was a conglomeration of early passenger car parts, the low center of gravity and near equal weight distribution made these cars handle well. The 50/50 weight distribution did not hurt the drag racers one bit either, and they won more than their share.

When 1963 happened, it brought with it a real change in the Corvette. The new body style called the “Sting Ray” was unavailable in a fastback version commonly referred to as a “coupe” and in the traditional roadster version with a removable hardtop. The Sting Ray had much cleaner lines than its predecessors and even featured retractable headlights. With the change in body style, the suspension was vastly improved with a new independent rear suspension assembly and updated steering gear. It still had the performance of the older cars, including the Rochester fuel injected 327 cubic inch engine, rated at 360 horsepower.

The Chevrolet Corvette is certainly an American Sportscar Classic.

Fast Cars – The American Muscle

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In the 1960s there was a class of cars introduced to the world known as muscle cars. These cars were sleek and sporty and contained a powerful engine. Most of these cars boasted a V8 engine which was geared for speed. As these cars were produced the manufacturers were in stiff competition with each other. As each manufacturer tried to out do the other, we were led into an era of some of the fastest cars of our time. With no thought to gas and fuel efficiency, Americans seemed to be having the time of their lives. Their cars were fast and eye-catching, both on the road and on the race track. Racing stripes and flashy decals made a statement about both the car and the driver. It seemed the flashier the car the more desirable.

At a time when the luxury automobile was the king of the road for the married set, the younger crowd wanted something smaller, faster, and sportier. The Shelby Mustang and the 440 Roadrunner are two of the fast cars which were built to satisfy the desire for high performance and speed. There were many more fast cars to come. Camaros, Chargers, GTOs, and Firebirds all tried to pack as much punch under the hood as was possible. Corvettes offered speed and sleek style, but they also had a high price tag. Most of the other high performance cars offered a price that was affordable to the average working class people.

The Fuel Effect

During the 1960s and 70s auto manufacturers were riding high on a wave of speed and performance. Then we entered an era where we were told gas was in short supply and we were destroying the ozone with our extravagant auto emissions. We reluctantly let go of our fast and sporty cars and took to the streets with a V6 and even a V4. Gas mileage and cheaper insurance costs forced the fast cars onto the race track and off the roadways.

The desire for speed will be with us always. We will probably never again see a time when speed and high performance engines are sold for the every day street car but we can get a glimpse of these cars at the raceway or at vintage car shows. The baby boomers were around to see these cars at their inception and they still carry a torch for them today. Many will spend a small fortune to restore one of these original fast cars back to their former splendor.

The Car Market Is Evolving

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Source: Flickr


Which country makes up the largest segment of car buyers in the world?

You probably guessed it. The United States. With 299,398,484 citizens (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), coupled with a better-than-decent economy, it’s not surprising. But analysts predict that while demand for cars and trucks in the U.S. is unlikely to decrease, by 2025, the United States will no longer be the largest car market in the world.

Demand for automobiles has increased dramatically in countries like China as well as many other developing countries and by 2009, the Asia Pacific region is likely to become the largest car market in the world. Currently, Europe is the world’s largest continental market.

Indicators predict, however, that before the end of the decade, the Asia Pacific region’s demand for light vehicles will hit the 23 million mark – higher than ever before. With steadily rising incomes in Asia as well as India, a whole new group of first-time vehicle owners is emerging. Americans and Canadians have already topped out in this regard, leaving these developing countries to be the forces that drive the future global market, according to spokespeople at JD Powers.

How will this affect top sellers in the U.S. market? Chances are, it won’t. Americans will still drive their Isuzu Ascenders and their Ford Focuses. A thriving U.S. economy, as well as affordable lease options and payment structures, will keep Americans buying and buying often. With a median household income of over $46,000, Americans can afford to purchase or lease a new vehicle on average, approximately every four years (some of this is obviously driven by the popular 36-month lease option available with most new cars).

BusinessWeek Magazine reported that by 2010, the demand for cars will continue to dominate in the U.S., but the country’s car market growth will plateau at under 17 million. In essence, it already has. In 2000, the number of light vehicles registered in the country was 17.48 million. It dropped to 17.39 in 2001 and hasn’t been able to hit the 17 million mark since.

On many levels, U.S. regulations and the expectations of American consumers dictate the products offered by car manufacturers. For example, Isuzu’s upgrades and superior safety features in their popular i-370 pickup truck reflect the desires of Americans to drive high-quality, safe vehicles. While some of these enhanced safety features aren’t required by law, manufacturers add them to make their products more competitive in the U.S. Will consumers in Asia demand the same? It’s unlikely it will matter whether they will or not. The global car market will never be able to ignore the demands of the American consumer who will continue to wield the greatest spending power.

Foreign car manufacturers rely on a segment of the U.S. car market.

While that need may decrease over time, no company with a foothold in the U.S. is will be eager to give that up. Nearly every automotive trend to date has roots tightly gripped in American soil. From the surge in popularity of the SUV, to the desire for “green” cars and hybrids, to the pickup truck iconic of Middle America, the U.S. will be a major player in foreign and domestic car sales for a long time to come.

All The Tired Horsepowers

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Source: Flickr

Hearing of the massive layoffs in the local car factories erodes a bit the certainties of future and furthers the perception that things aren’t quite the same anymore. So much for the lessons of my youth that once spoke of a surety of workable lifetimes plus a pension fades as the corporate cut away for the leanness of times. Gone are those workplaces that guarantee a place for generations. One is forced to consider what may fall into place for awhile since no longer can one plan for fifty years. Now it’s a time for improvising since changes can occur quite often in one’s life instead of that once good place to settle. One could think one might get too old for adjustments but now survival demands newness no matter where one is at for the easy chair is no longer assured.

One could point a finger since it is an ignorant habit nowadays and say it’s all the union’s fault. Too much greed and too much benefit make the American worker obsolete in the global village of huts with no mortgages and paths walked not driven. Like an expensive habit that one would be better off not partaking of, the workers are the first to be cut. Nothing considered than just a matter of survival. Hopes are for the older ones having houses that are paid and cars that will last a few more years, because it’s time to work at Wal-Mart for six bucks an hour. Medical care can maybe be put on the state and that’s a hole for another year. The younger will adapt and try to survive, law of the species; nothing unusual. It’s too late to take ten bucks an hour instead of twenty; the cars are no longer sold.

Then again one could flip a single finger in the air and say it’s all mismanagement. Too much greed and too much bonuses made the estates that lined the lakes. Way too lopsided allotments for the upper class took away the cushion for hard times. There are those that will have to be cut but only the juniors, the rest are tenure, entwined within the company until bankruptcy. Most likely are taken care of, medical provided, well paid; just a company function. Now it’s time to cut the excesses and indulgencies and get real, scramble together and figure out what went wrong since the cars are no longer being sold.

Not that the cars aren’t sharp or classy, all shine and high tech, the ultimate in current know how of gadgetry and devices, the appeal is in the showroom. Vehicles built for power and grace, style and substance. All for the fleeting glance of prestige and recognition, nothing more than a symbol to attain and maintain. The profits were good and the benefits were great, the American way of life. So one could be fair and say that that it was the greed of many getting what they could from the company to live the best that they could. Yet the real culprit is the American way of life. It is the philosophy of America: better, bigger, and wait until next year. Cars were not built to last but to show. Look at my car and my house. Like the demands and expectations of a youth, or the tantrum of a child wanting attention, America is still young. The reality of a long life requires readjustments. Settle down and dig in. The future is always there for the practicalities of balance for longevity. Changes have to be made to become mature, a matter of common sense over charm. After all it’s only survival with a little grace to get by. America can no longer act like ugly Americans; as if we’re the only ones that matter.

American Muscle: Ford, Dodge, and Chevy

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Back during the 1950s through the mid 1970s, Detroit automakers produced several cars that were out and out “muscle” cars. These types of vehicles shared the same characteristics: they were two door coupes with souped up engines, responsive transmissions, an aggressive exterior design, and a sporty interior. High fuel prices and changing tastes eventually limited sales to the point where only a few models were produced beyond that period of time. Today, muscle car mania is back, despite even higher gas prices. Thanks to the Ford Mustang and to a lesser extent to sedan and wagon models from Dodge, there is new interest in a category long given up. The future is bright for the muscle car segment as one more manufacturer, Chevrolet, considers bringing back one of its darlings of yesteryear, the Camaro.

Besides the Ford Mustang there were a whole host of vehicles produced that at one time or another might have been considered a muscle car. In addition to the Mustang, the Ford Fairlane 500 and Ford Torino did duty; the Mercury Montego was another model; Chevrolet produced the Camaro and Corvette; Pontiac the GTO, Firebird, and Tempest; Olds the 442; American Motors’ had its Javelin; Plymouth had the ‘Cuda, and Dodge produced the Challenger and the Charger. Today, only the Mustang and Corvette survives although the Dodge Charger has returned as a four door muscle car along with its sibling, the hot Dodge Magnum wagon.

Interestedly, it took Ford’s redoing of the Mustang for the 2005 model year to stir the current muscle car era craze. Styled after Mustangs built in the 1960s, the current Mustang embraces a retro look while incorporating contemporary technology. The result has been that the Mustang currently sells its entire 150,000 model capacity without incentives.

The Mustang has been inspiring DaimlerChrysler to go ahead with a retro cruiser of its own. The Dodge Challenger concept car, appearing at auto shows across the USA, has been a huge hit and Chrysler plans on bringing the V8 hemi powered model back in 2009. In addition, General Motors is considering giving its blessing on the Camaro, another car also making the rounds of the USA auto show circuit.

So, isn’t it silly to bring back such gas hogs? Back during the early 1970s, the then current crop of muscle cars averaged only 10-12 miles to the gallon around town and 15 or 16 miles per gallon on the highway. Thanks to computer technology and efficiency, even the Corvette returns a highly respectable 28 miles to the gallon the highway. So, although fuel mileage will certainly be lower than many other models, the new group of muscle cars will still better the previous generation cars with fuel mileage 80% or more above the cars from the 1970s.

Fortunately, we still live in a fairly free country and what the consumer wants, the consumer gets. So, V8 powered muscle cars mated to 6 speed manu-matic transmissions, with sport handling, bucket seats, and better fuel economy will likely appeal to many. No, they won’t be exact duplicates of yesterday’s muscle cars, but they will provide the nostalgia and power that motorists seek. I can’t wait!

The Three Amazing Sports Car Collections

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While thousands of sports car fans have put together notable collections there are three such collections that will inspire awe and demands the attention of any sports car enthusiast. These three are Toad Hall, LeMay’s collection and Ralph Lauren’s Collection.

Bill Putman’s collection, known as Toad Hall, will have sports car fans seeing red. All of the cars in this private collection are painted red. Putman’s collection features imported cars from Bentley to Datsun, with an emphasis on the British makes. There is a Lotus represented as well. Toad Hall’s name comes from the children’s book the Wind in the Willow.

The LeMay collection, over 3,000 strong, in Tacoma Washington is certified by the Guinness Book of World’s Records as the world’s largest collection of cars. The entire collections of sports cars cannot even be viewed in one visit. The LeMay collection was started in the 1940’s by a waste hauling tycoon who started searching the area for interesting vehicles. The exhibit also includes other American history items as well as ambulances and fire trucks.

American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren is also an avid car collector and has opened his stunning collection to the public. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts showed the Ralph Lauren’s exhibit and states that he started collecting in the 1960’s.

It can be said that Lauren’s is a connoisseur of fine cars and chose the automobiles in his collection, from Bugattis and a 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Alloy Roadster based on their fashion appeal as well as speed. His newest addition is a speed demon’s dream, a 1996 McLaren F1, which can easily pass speeds of 225 mph.

Ralph Lauren has also collected car with celebrity ties. Included in his collection is the car James Dean was driving when he was killed, a Porche 500 Spider. On a happier note, the 1950 Jag mentioned earlier was driven by the Hollywood’s leading man Humphrey Bogart and his love, Lauren Becall.

While there are countless car collections from small time lots to museums, these three collections all offer something unique to the sports car fan. Toad Hall which emphasizes imports and red. The LeMay collection which is certifiably the largest and Ralph Lauren’s private collection which emphasizes speed and celebrity connections.

Hybrid Cars: The Future Vehicle Of Today’s Roads

Hybrid Cars: The Future Vehicle Of Today’s Roads

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Buying hybrid cars can be a little bit more complicated than what you might think.
The complication though, is not on the “buying hybrid car” part, but how to go about the myriad of hybrid cars to choose from. But just like in any other activities, there are some basics needed to be understood.

It is understood though that on this note, we have a basic understanding regarding the nature of hybrid cars, or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). HEV has two energy sources for its engines: electric and combustion. On ordinary situation, like careening down the highway, this car generally runs on one or the other of the source, until the driver needs more power such as faster acceleration.

When this happened, the two engines will operate in unison. HEV cars are low emission, fuel efficient, some of the characteristics worth considering when people are considering buying hybrid cars.

In addition, hybrid cars recharge their batteries while being drive. This removes the necessity of plugging the car for electricity. This is unlike pure electric cars, which needed to be plugged in wall sockets, like an ordinary appliance unit.

There are also other considerations before the actual buying is considered.

1. Prospective buyers should have some level of understanding with terms or lingo related in buying hybrid cars. According to the California Air Resources Board, Ultra Low-Emission Vehicle is a car with 50 percent cleaner emission, compared with a new 2001 model car.

A Super Ultra Low-Emission Vehicle emits 90 % cleaner than average new 2002 model car. There are zero-emission cars however, are purely electric vehicles, not hybrid cars. But pure electric cars are, at this moment, impractical to produce.

2. Before buying hybrid cars, consumers should also consider their work areas, and home location. Hybrid cars are for urban or suburban area. Short distance trips are superb for fuel savings, when hybrid cars are using electric engines at low RPMs. According to experts, driving on a highway or interstate travel won’t see much of the expected fuel reduction.

3. The other consideration for consumer before finally buying hybrid cars is the cost. Hybrid cars, are admittedly, priced higher than gas-powered counterparts. This is due because of the low production numbers, and the considerably complex mechanical process. But these concerns are readily compensated in the long run, by fuel saving.

Buying hybrid cars at present is encouraged by the Federal State, due to the long term benefits of limiting fuel usage. There several tax deduction for new buyers of hybrid cars. Several cities are offering free parking as an additional incentive for low-emissions vehicles.

The historical road traveled by hybrid cars

There are also other beliefs behind these types of vehicles, which make buying hybrid cars for some a serious consideration.

One is the idea that hybrid car is a new phenomenon. In the earl 1900’s, American car manufacturers are producing electric, steam, and gasoline cars in equal numbers. By then, buying hybrid vehicle is as normal as buying ordinary car.

Eventually, some engineers figured out that a vehicle with multiple sources of power is possible. In 1905, a certain American engineer named H. Piper filed for the first patent for a vehicle, with engines for gas and electric.

A decade after electric self-starter made gasoline-run cars more feasible. Hybrids and other alternative were almost wiped from the market. The following years from this period was characterized cheap oil, made possible by the almost inexhaustible oil fields of the Arab world. This discouraged auto engineers to continue developing alternative cars.

The oil price hikes of 1970s, coupled with growing awareness of environmental concerns, driven engineers back to their drawing boards for new designs. Extensive and experimentation 1980s produced the hybrids in the U.S. in 2000. The earlier experience of the market on mass-produced hybrid vehicles has given engineers the encouragement to come up with complex systems, making multiple sources of power in a car possible.

In an interview by the Associated Press, Mr. Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said: “I think everything will be a hybrid, eventually. It will either be a gas hybrid, a diesel hybrid, or a fuel-cell hybrid.”

From here, it is safe to declare that people buying hybrid cars, are people buying the future vehicles.