Category: Classic Cars

12 Motoring Classics From the 1950s Under $25,000 – @Hemmings

12 Motoring Classics From the 1950s Under $25,000 – @Hemmings

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The period following World War II was an amazing time of optimism and prosperity in the U.S., with industry booming and technology advancing rapidly. Meanwhile, Americans were feeling good about life in the free world and many were flush with cash thanks to the strong job market. This all meshed to create a perfect storm of consumer demand that was advancing beyond the need to obtain products that hadn’t been readily available during the war—now, people were buying to satisfy desire as much as need.

The domestic automakers were perfectly poised to satisfy that demand, coming off of war contracts that had been followed by frenzied car sales after years of halted automobile production. The war had also pushed the development of technology, and style was once again a primary criterion for car shoppers. Detroit spent the decade trying to outdo itself, yielding some of the most ornately styled and trimmed cars of all time, while also recognizing that even truck buyers thought about aesthetics. Meanwhile, European automakers were pursuing their own versions of performance and style, creating some landmark designs as the decade unfolded.

This period would shine brightly, but relatively briefly, as trends continued to evolve rapidly and the 1960s would see its own characteristic features. By the 1970s, cars of the ’50s seemed like artifacts of a long-gone era, and nostalgia for that time kicked in with substantial force, driving collectors and restorers to latch onto the remaining examples to keep the memories alive. That drive hasn’t ever fully subsided, and cars and trucks of the 1950s are still very popular with car enthusiasts and collectors, including many who hadn’t even been born when those models were new.

Yet, ’50s cars still make for an excellent enthusiast ownership experience. In many cases, parts are available, and if not, strong networks of fans and specialists are ready to help locate spares to facilitate restorations or even just to keep these models on the road. Speaking of the road, cars of this period tend to be decent drivers, as the highway system was coming online and the ability to cruise smoothly at 60-plus mph became more the norm.

We wanted to illustrate that there are models from the 1950s that are also still attainable by gathering a selection of examples that are enjoyable to own, fun to drive, and still affordable. In this case, we’re considering anything costing $25,000 or less in good, presentable, and driveable condition to be affordable—that seems to be what the market thinks, too. Ponder these examples from a fantastic period in automotive design and let us know what else you think ought to have been included

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Pick of the Day: 1940 Lincoln Zephyr convertible in all its V12 glory – Bob Golfen @ClassicCars.com

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The gleaming classic looks to be in exceptionally fine condition

The glossy Lincoln stands on an impressive set of wide whites

With evocative aerodynamic styling and powered by an L-head V12 engine, the Lincoln Zephyr was conceived by Edsel Ford as a midsize luxury craft for the very well-to-do, with hand-crafted production beginning in 1936. 

The Pick of the Day is a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr convertible, widely considered to be among the most elegant model years, and which represented something of an end and a beginning for the Ford division before the war years intervened. 

The Zephyr was the final pre-war design for Lincoln, with the Zephyr name dropped once production resumed after the war.   But 1940 saw the beginning of the Continental nameplate, another Edsel Ford concept, which became Lincoln’s longest-running brand.  Along with that came the rear-mounted spare tire on the Zephyr that became an enduring feature of Lincoln design.

“Edsel Ford rebelled against his father’s mass-market sensibilities by building a car for people in his substantial wealth class,” notes the Lutz, Florida, dealer advertising the Lincoln on ClassicCars.com. “He emphasized design, which means these first-generations show their boldness with sleek lines rather than adding chrome. This was the car he could have proudly driven in Europe with its waterfall grille, lowered stance, and deleted running boards.

“These were both beautiful and expensive, and so only about 700 examples were hand-built in 1940.”

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Pick of the Day: 1941 Ford 2-door coupe with classic car finance lesson – Tyson Hughie @ClassicCars.com

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Restoration expenses once again far outstrip the value of the finished product

If there’s anything that owning a “project vehicle” has taught anyone, it’s that restoration work almost always ends up being much-more expensive than originally anticipated.  And while it’s rewarding to be part of an extreme makeover, sometimes it means taking a loss when it comes time to part ways and offer that vehicle up to the collector marketplace.

Many classified listings these days include some variation of the phrase, “You can’t build it for what I’m asking.”  And that statement rings painfully true in many cases

A private seller on ClassicCars.com in Longview, Texas, is offering an 80-year-old custom Ford at a fraction of the investment that it took to restore.  The Pick of the Day is a red 1941 Ford Super Deluxe two-door coupe complete with receipts totaling $100,000 and a selling price that is significantly lower.

“The price to build was right at $100k,” the listing states.  “Invoices are available which will list all of the individual components plus the shop labor hours.” 

The rebuilt Jasper flathead engine alone, now having accrued only a few hundred miles since installation, reflected an expenditure in excess of $10,000, according to the ad.

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Sisters, ages 20 and 18, youngest winners of The Great Race – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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Sisters Olivia Gentry, 20, and Genna Gentry, 18, of Newnan, Georgia, became the youngest winners of The Great Race, winning the 9-day, 2,300-mile cross-country competition for vintage vehicles. The 2021 time-distance rally, which began in San Antonio, Texas, ended June 27 in Greenville, South Carolina. 

The sisters, competing for the fourth time, earned $50,000 for their performance in a 1932 Ford 5-window coupe. Olivia drove and Genna navigated. They had finished seventh overall in 2019. 

The competition drew 120 entries in the time-distance rally that precludes the use of modern navigation or electronic devices while competing in various stages at precise time and speed averages. Teams can use only a map, stopwatches and “old-fashioned reckoning,” event organizers note.

“We are thrilled that the Gentry sisters won the race after several impressive showings over the past few years,” Wade Kawasaki, president and chief executive of event owner Legendary Companies, was quoted in the post-event news release.

“These young ladies and their beautiful ‘32 Ford have shown that the spirit of competition, a drive to compete and excellent math and navigational skills live on in the youngest generation.

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Henry Ford II’s Ford Monte Carlo Coupe – Clasiq @YouTube

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This dark navy car sitting behind Buck is rare… Some may even think that this beautiful flathead car is European, but its not. Its actually a Ford and this particular Ford was not just owned by anyone but was the personal car for Henry Ford II. This Ford is a one-of-one hand built custom on a Facel Vega body built specifically for Henry Ford II. Buck was lucky enough to acquire this car during his first month of work for the Ford Motor Company. bought for just $800.

So here’s how the story goes: Henry the Deuce’s grandfather established Ford of France in 1929. In 1949, Henry II commissioned Italian coach builder Stabilimenti Farina (not Pinin Farina but Pinin’s brother’s company) to design and build a luxurious sports coupe on a Mercury chassis. That Farina Mercury became the prototype for the French Comete (Comet) built by Ford of France with bodywork supplied by Facel Metallon (yes, as in the Facel Vega).

Further information here at Classic Cars.com Journal

AutoHunter Spotlight: 1949 Ford Custom – Racheal Colbert @ClassicCars.com

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Parked on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com, is this restored 1949 Ford Custom two-door sedan up for auction.

During the Ford’s frame-off restoration, it was repainted in a maroon color, the wiring was replaced and the car was fitted with a new interior

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Pick of the Day: Toronado was another Olds innovation – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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Ah, Oldsmobile, how we miss you… Pity that when General Motors decided to pull the plug on one of its brands, you had the fewest dealers to pay off, so it didn’t matter that you also had a better fleet of vehicles across the board than any of your fellow GM divisions.

You introduced the Hydra-Matic transmission way back in 1940, and the Rocket V8 soon after World War II. In 1995, you gave us the Aurora, perhaps the last great American car design. And in 1966, you introduced the Toronado, the first full-size American car driven by its front wheels since the 1936 Cord.

The Pick of the Day is a 1969 Oldsmobile Toronado. The car got some styling updates that year and a power upgrade with an optional 455cid V8 rated at 400 horsepower

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My Classic Car: Restoring Mom and Dad’s original ’65 Chevelle – @ClassicCars.com

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On July 8, 1965, my Dad purchased a brand new 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS. This was his first new car purchased off the lot and, oddly, has been the only new car he has ever purchased. He paid $3,262.45 for the car.

He then married my Mom in November of that same year. This car was very special to my Dad and Mom and we have great pictures of their adventures.

Shortly after their honeymoon, my Mom became pregnant and my oldest brother was on the horizon. He was born in ’67 and soon after, Mom and Dad learned of twins coming. The discussion turned back to the two-door coupe, and my Mom and Dad decided to sell the Chevelle to accommodate the future family.

My Mom shared with us kids growing up that she saw Dad’s emotions only a few times. One of those times was the day he had to sell his Chevelle.

As it often happens, life throws a few curves at families. My Dad’s youngest brother Paul was killed in a car accident in 1970. This event, and a few others, changed my Mom and Dad’s lives and began to shape our family’s future in ways we had yet to understand.

By 1971, our family now had three boys and one girl. My Dad was working a solid career with a Minnesota-based company and had the typical Minnesota family.

My parents attended a Lowell Lundstrom religious crusade, and through the message they heard, they committed their lives to serving God daily and through ministry. In 1974, my Dad left his job and moved the family to Dallas, Texas to attend Bible college and become a full-time pastor. He arrived back in our hometown of Sunburg, Minnesota, in 1976, and pioneered Sunburg Community Bible Church.

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Have the Classics Really Lost Their Value? David Schultz @Hemmings

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Most of my best friends in the hobby feel the same way. And, I don’t believe where the car marketplace is headed motivates most true car enthusiasts to buy or sell a car. They are not influenced by “buy-sell-hold” advice. It’s a vicarious interest that prompts many of us to read these reports, just as it is to see someone spend seven figures on a unique automobile.

During the current pandemic, I’ve noticed that some automobile magazines have published articles in which individuals voice opinions on “the state of the collector-car market.” For me, this has always been misleading, since I’ve never thought of the vintage-car hobby as a marketplace. But I suppose to some of you it is, since cars are bought and sold, and many publications try to keep track of sale prices so we know “where the marketplace is headed.”I haven’t bought my cars with speculation in mind.

Having said that, it’s not unreasonable to want to receive fair value for our cars when we sell them. There’s nothing wrong with that. (When many of us total the dollars spent to keep our collector cars on the road, we’re usually fortunate to break even when we sell!)The recent comment to which I took particular exception dealt with the current state of Classic cars, that is, as defined by the Classic Car Club of America. These are mostly prewar models plus a few postwars.

The comment referred to these cars as being dead in the water, or something to that effect, chiefly because the people who identified with these Classics have died off, hence, there’s no interest.Let’s think about that. The Classic Era, as defined by the CCCA, extended from about 1915 to 1948.

A 20-year-old in 1925 would be 115 years old today; a 20-year-old in 1935 would be 105 years old. I know of few people that age in the old-car hobby today. In fact, here’s a perfect example: The man from whom I bought my 1931 Lincoln Town Sedan in 1996 was in his late 80s at the time. He had grown up with these cars. He would have been 23 years old when that Lincoln was sold new. He died in 2003, at the age of 95. The reality is that most of the people who grew up with the cars of the late Teens through the early Forties are no longer with us; they left us many years ago.

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1984 AMC Eagle ready to tackle off-road adventure – Tyson Hughie @ClassicCars.com

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Innovation in automotive engineering has brought us some interesting creations over the years.  One car company broke ground in the 1980s with a unique family sedan (and wagon) equipped with a 4×4 drivetrain to deliver passenger-car comfort, better fuel economy than trucks or sport utility vehicles, and all-weather capability.

It’s been more than 30 years since AMC – which stood for American Motors Corporation – went defunct in 1988.  What started as a merger of Nash-Kelvinator and the Hudson Motor Company in 1954 evolved through a series of organizational changes and had a diverse product lineup with some unusual entries over the course of its lifetime.

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