Artcurial a Palais Des Congrs Paris: Le Crash Est Arrive

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
artcurial a palais des congrs paris le crash est arrive

Why wouldn’t the classic car market crash? Not only are the bonus boys getting bounced, but swanning around in multi-million dollar cars is just not done in these turbulent times. And even if it is, the temper of the times still calls for restraint re: purchasing four-wheeled frippery without which even the wealthiest amongst us can survive. The weird thing here is how long it’s taking the MSM and even the specialist press to acknowledge and declare the collapse of the collector-car market. It’s almost as if they’re in cahoots with the people promoting and selling the vehicles, along the lines of those real estate magazines whose articles are as thin as the “there’s never been a better time to buy” logic contained within. Reality checking is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it . . .

A perfect example of the black hole swallowing the biz: the results of the Paris Rétromobile 2009 auction. The over-riding, indeed inescapable trend: cars aren’t even making their reserve. In other words, they’re not selling.

Classic Driver provides the auction results, as a link from Steve Wakefield’s usual livin’ in the sunlight, lovin’ in the moonlight, havin’ a wonderful time report. Thirty-four out of fifty-four vehicles listed were “not sold.” As to whether the cars that did sell made the same money they would have pre-crash, I leave that to those members of the Best and Brightest, whose financially uncompensated efforts in the pursuit of the truth are most appreciated.

If you interpret this collector crater to mean “there’s never been a better time to buy,” I’d like to remind you of my own experience. The asking price for the remaining 2008 Lexus IS-Fs I’m eyeballing have descended by roughly $4k a month. It may not be exactly analagous, but imagine the depreciation on a Ferrari 259 GT Coupé Ellena. If you’re the owner, you might want a stiff brandy before attempting that particular intellectual exercise.

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  • Ralph Kinney Bennett Ralph Kinney Bennett on Feb 13, 2009

    Chuckgoolsbee is right on the mark. One of the benefits of this sorry economic situation is the sifting that is taking place between the genuine and the phony. The B-J auctions and their ilk have contributed to the hysteria that has taken a lot of interesting second and third tier cars out of the reach of the average motorhead or collector. I have seen too many ordinary folk who are interested in old cars find interesting iron just out of their reach. And I am tired of dealing with arms-folded instant "experts" with painfully inflated senses of the worth of their particular "special" vehicle. The collector car crash may be an ill wind to some but it could blow some good for a lot of others.

  • Dabossinne Dabossinne on Feb 13, 2009

    Totally agree, Mr. Bennett. I might add that one possible good thing to come out the collector car bubble is that many more cars probably got saved from the junk yard and restored that might not have otherwise. This should further help tip the supply/demand curve in favor of "regular Joe" gear heads who've been priced out the market for the last ten years. I'd love nothing better than to see the wonderful collector car hobby return to being just that, versus the big-money greed fest it's become.

  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?