- May 20, 2020
Many of the Webb Weekly readers may already know my passion for cars, trucks, and motorcycles started at a young age with a gift from my Uncle Mitch. That small, red, 1979 Corvette promotional model was the driving force behind my love of the automobile. Growing up and into my early 20s I had some
Many of the Webb Weekly readers may already know my passion for cars, trucks, and motorcycles started at a young age with a gift from my Uncle Mitch. That small, red, 1979 Corvette promotional model was the driving force behind my love of the automobile. Growing up and into my early 20s I had some very close friends that allowed me to wash some of their classic cars, and I never missed a chance to see anyone’s collection no matter what it was. The Spring and Fall Carlisle Swap meet will always be another very fond memory. My dear friend Veris and I would travel the “rows” from dawn to dusk for three days straight looking for that rare find, not that I had any money back then, but the thrill of the hunt was very intriguing. These places, events, shows, and experiences helped mold me into the enthusiast that I am today. In all of my writings, I hope that some of you read between the lines and share some of these same experiences with your kids and grandkids. The “hobby” is not gaining new members but in fact, showing a loss. I will easily compare this to another one of my passions- hunting. Years ago, most kids spent a large amount of time around their parents and they, in turn, took part in the things their parents liked to do. We now live in a time when parents work longer hours, two jobs, travel long distances to work, work out of town, swing shift/weekends or they live in single-parent homes. All of these reasons play a part in kids today not getting the chance to enjoy a parent’s hobby. If possible, take your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, brother, sister or even a friend’s child this summer and see if a car show brings a smile to their face. Many times just getting the chance to spend time with someone that cares about them is reward enough. If that isn’t your thing, take them hunting, fishing, hiking or anything to get them outside and enjoying themselves. This just could pay off with future enthusiasts for all these hobbies as well as better citizens.
There are monthly car shows at the Burger King in Williamsport, the Lewisburg Walmart, as well yearly shows at Lycoming College, Divine Providence and the Watsontown 4th of July Show just to name a few. There are also some very nice classic car auctions held in Central PA. What better way to see some really fine examples than at a place where you have the chance to buy one. Central Pa Auto Auction in Mill Hall in July and Mecum Auto Auction in Harrisburg this August. I have attended both, and they are well worth attending. Carlisle also offers some yearly auctions as well as brand-specific shows all summer long. The leader in the classic car auction business is Barrett Jackson, started in 1971 by Russ Jackson and Tom Barrett. Barrett Jackson has grown from the original Scottsdale sale every January to 3 more auctions, totaling four states each year. I have had the pleasure of attending the Scottsdale sale several times as well as the West Palm Beach sale. By far the Scottsdale sale is the largest and has well over a thousand cars cross the block with a no reserve sale. The attraction to many at Barrett is the “no reserve” auction, once it comes on stage, it sells, some auctions allow a bid to start, but if it does not meet a reserve amount set by the seller, it will not sell. These days with the price of labor, paint, materials and specialized tools and equipment the price of a restoration can easily range from 25k- 200k depending on make, model, condition and availability of parts. Many buyers are lured to the auctions in the hope of buying their dream car for pennies on the dollar. I have personally witnessed cars that had 100k restorations sell a few years later for less than 50k. I also watched the original Batmobile made by George Barris sell for 4.6 million in Scottsdale.
The classic car market is constantly changing every few years as certain things are hot for a while ( pro street) and then not so much. Certain things always stay pretty consistent and then there are outside influences such as movies, TV shows as well as limited edition, rare options, rare production models, builders, and customs. Over the years the General Lee ’69 Dodge Charger, ’77 “Bandit” Trans Am and “Eleanor” ’67 Mustang Fastback were all the rage and now especially that some of the “kids” who grew up watching these movies can afford to buy one. Although engine, paint and other optional equipment/ packages drive the price of many cars, these “movie” cars are mostly desired for outward appearance only. To the purist, they want original or restored to the exact original, and they are willing to pay for it. But to others, nothing really matters other than a good looking, nice driving restored classic — numbers matching means nothing to them. In fact some even go the pro-touring route, basically taking a classic body and frame and ditching everything else for modern suspension, fuel injection, disc brakes and interiors as well as power everything, A/C and more. Tri-five Chevys (’55,’56,’57) have been highly desired since their inception as well as ’53-’72 Vettes, early Mustangs (especially the fastback) and the Mopars (Cudas, Chargers, Dusters and of course the Super Bird and Bee).
We all have had or have a favorite car, too many of us they still run on gasoline, through a 4 barrel carburetor into an internal combustion engine — my hope is that some of you help to keep this alive. I can’t see the joy in opening a hood to gaze at rows of batteries or the fun in sitting in the backseat while your smart car drives you to the store. The real fun and pleasure can be found at the business end of a four-speed manual transmission mated to a big block with headers! Please set aside some time this year to take a kid, any kid, to a car show — you could change a kid’s life and set them on a path to be a future enthusiast.