President's Message - March 2017
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Barn Find, Really
It seems we get all giddy when we find an old car in a barn, in a garage or under a leaning shed. We now refer to that discovery as a “barn find.” It’s not the “Holy Grail”; it’s a forgotten old car, period. They drag it out to the sunlight of day and rejoice.
For some unknown reason, the worse the appearance, the more valuable it’s thought to be. The key word here is “patina,” the original color dappled in hues of orange, red and brown. Sure, you know the look, people are actually painting their cars and trucks with that mottled “patina” look. Very cool?
The logic that prevails here is how that discovery translates relative to current auction prices. Anyone who owns, let’s say, a 1959 Cadillac, no matter what the condition, exclusive of any professional appraisal, is thought to be of auction value pricing, “patina” and all.
I get calls from car people who want my highly qualified opinion as to the value of that special car in the back yard. My response is, “Hold it up to the phone so I can see it” (see the auction note above).
I do concede to any significant historical perspective of the general automotive world, because what it is, is what it is. Some car guys are just trying to build hype and make a load of dollars with little or no investment, meaning any restoration costs. Maybe they just hose it off, being sure not to smudge any surface, and get it to the market.
So, if I have a 1967 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, let’s call it a “barn find,” or, more like my neighbor’s back yard find, I could be sitting on a small fortune. This find has a great “patina,” a few trim and mechanical parts missing, cracked glass, the interior has been gently worn down to the factory springs and a snow tire on the front, a whitewall snow tire…it’s all good. This discovery hasn’t run since it was parked there in 1983, but the potential is overwhelming. Lucky me.
This could be the reason “RestoMods,” with a patina, came into being. A “barn find” that is in dire need to be made safe. This is more the muscle car era, it’s what we couldn’t afford then, but now it’s spend the money! I do like that concept, safe at any speed.
The other shoe is the “Rat Rods,” those vehicles that are driven on the roads legally. Those “patina”-encrusted parts and pieces of automotive history that you just didn’t have enough money to build.
I have heard that they want it to look that way, it’s personal expression and creativity of a dream come true. Wow, the ’50s are so over! There it is again, a little investment and a price that is more dollars than sense!
It’s your car and your money, really.
No, it’s not Halloween, but in this month’s issue, look for the bright orange and black postcard insert. Help your Club reduce waste by indicating to us if you still want to receive the annual International Membership Directory in printed form or not.
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