When Chrome was King!…Chrome loaded cars in the 50s – 60s
A few of weeks ago, someone called me and asked if I would checkout his Oldsmobile he was restoring. I said great and made an appointment to look at the car. It was a 1957 Oldsmobile 88 two door Coupe. He was in the middle of a frame off restoration. The chassis, the engine compartment is all cleaned and painted. There is all new wiring. He was doing a good job with the resto. He showed me all the parts he had sent out to be chromed, it looked like all of them. There must be 200 items to be sent out to be chromed.
The cars in the Fifties and Sixties are loaded with chrome, both inside and out. I have a soft spot for the 1957 Oldsmobile, I owned three of them in the Seventies. A 98 Four Door, an 88 Convertible, and an 88 Station Wagon. I spent hours cleaning the chrome just on the inside of the car; half the dash is chrome. They had massive bumpers and grills, they are all chromed. Most of the manufacturers in the Fifties and Sixties used a lot of chrome. That is all gone now.
I see some of the newer cars do not have an ounce of chrome on them. Everything is plastic. The bumpers are plastic, the grills, even the interiors are mostly plastic and vinyl.
So, the days When Chrome was King!…The chrome loaded cars in the 50s – 60s are all behind us. Now we can find a car from the Fifties and Sixties eras to be restored with all the beautiful chrome.
The client who has the Oldsmobile said he would finish the resto around August. He would like to list it around November. I cannot wait to see and take photos of all that chrome!
A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with a friend of mine when I overheard a conversation from the next table about cars. Most of the talk was about building cars. One of them, talked about “changing out components on the engine, one being a computer chip, he said it was “Old School”. Well, “Old School” to me was not back in the “90’s”, it was more like the 50’s and 60’s; when we built cars with a torch and hammer and not with a computer.
My 1952 Studebaker Coupe was my first racecar that I built for stock car racing. I cut out the fender wells and built front and back crash bars, also fabricated headers and roll bar.
There were no computers back then or places you could order parts “online” like there are now. I (we) cut out templates out of card board and cut metal out with a torch and drilled holes on a drill press – if we were lucky enough to own one. The brackets were welded into place with an arc welder and you hoped they held.
Today it’s all computer stuff – fabricated aftermarket bolt on components, computer ignition systems, fuel injection. If you can use a computer you can build a car.
Last month, I was driving down Golf Links Rd and stopped at a light. In front of me was a fairly new Mustang and Dodge Charger. When the light turned green off they went. Tires squealing, rubber burning, fish tailing all over the road. This went on for about 100 feet until they got control and were accelerating down the road. I estimated their speed to be about 80 mph. Finally, after about 500 feet they stopped drag racing and had to come a stop due to traffic. They deliberately slowed down to catch the light at the next intersection and proceeded to repeat the previous drag race. I see this too many times around town and on the highway where two idiots think they are on a Nascar track weaving in and out of traffic or passing on the inside lane. Most of the time it’s a high performance car driver doing these crazy things. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I was a street racer. It was a lot different back then and it was still dangerous. I see a recurring trend with horse power increasing on these cars and drivers throwing caution to the wind with dangerous and aggressive driving style. In the early 70’s the insurance companies got the car manufacturer to submit to the Government. Down grading the hose power on almost all high performance cars. If this trend continues with dangerous and aggressive drivers, I see it happening again, and once the Government gets involved, that is the end of high performance cars. Like in the 70’s. So if you own a high performance car and you find yourself in a position to race someone on the street, please remember that your aggressions may help cause the demise of high performance cars in the next few years. Take it to the track and do it right! “Be Safe and Be Smart”! Keep them Rolling!… Bill
Several weeks ago, someone called me to find out what a vehicle was worth. So I looked in several pricing books I have and did an online comparative search. I called him and told him what the book value was and what the online search had revealed. I also told him without seeing the vehicle or photos, this was only an estimate and it could vary greatly either way. He called back and told me that my books were all wrong – his vehicle was worth a lot more. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article called “Hey dude, what’s my car worth”. See below:
“Hey, Dude, What’s my car worth?”
I get that a lot. People come up to me and ask me what is their car worth. I usually ask them, “What do you think it is worth?” Some already know, and some don’t.
Some people watch Auction TV Shows and think their car is worth what a similar car is worth. They might think their car is even worth more. Some people listen to a ‘car friend’ who will give them their opinion of what a car’s worth and most of the time they are way off on the value – too low or too high.
I had a long discussion with several people who are in the business for an extensive time. They say “Book Value” is one way to assess the value. Another is to go on line and do research and find something comparable. Some people I’ve spoken to will say, “As much as the market will bear”.
I am finding out with all the books and opinions of people who have been in this business for a long time, I have come to the realization a car is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If someone wants a particular year, make, model, engine, transmission combo, RIGHT color and interior; they’ll pay whatever the cost is. It’s either a long time desire or a memory tribute to a family member or their own past which drives them to buy.
We started Old Iron a little over 4 years ago and have listed a lot of cars and trucks. I found out one important thing about listing a vehicle – it’s all in the DETAIL. I tell sellers to clean their vehicle before we list it. We take over 30 photos per listing; this is what the buyer sees first. First impressionsare important!
One of the first cars we listed was a 1968 Mercedes Benz 250 SL. It was under a carport and needed to be washed and cleaned. I told the elderly lady who owned it , I would return the following day and detail the car for her and get it listed. I washed it, cleaned the interior, put air in the tires and cleaned the engine compartment. I took all the necessary photos and later that evening listed it around 7:30 pm. The photos came out great. The car really looked good! Well, 9:45 am the next day, we had a buyer for it.
Well, we listed a lot of cars and trucks since then; some of them were not very well detailed and had a hard time finding a buyer. Some cars were detailed to the max and were very well presented in the photos and sold in a reasonable time frame. So if you are going to sell a vehicle whether on a professional website or on your own, please spend a day and wash the car, clean the chrome, windows, tires, interior, rugs and engine compartment.
The first impression is always the most important and also shows the buyer you care for the car you are trying to sell.
If you don’t have the time or are physically unable to do it, there are local detailers that will come to you and do a thorough job in detailing the vehicle.
We found an un-detailed vehicle sells for about 7% less than a detailed one.
It seems like every couple of months a new car show pops up on TV. Some character start building a Junker they picked up in someone’s back yard or at auction. He or they spend hundreds of dollars on it ! Work on it for only 5 days and make a fortune on the sale. NOT!! This is FAKE TV. These TV shows are hurting the industry, people think they can do this and then find out they have taken on a monumental task and they cannot recoup their investment. They are not equipped to rebuild a car in their garage, so they have to put out some of the work, such as body and paint, wiring and some engine work. So their ten thousand budget is now twenty-five thousand and car is only worth twenty thousand after all the work is done.
I come across this a lot, where the car is not worth what the seller would like to get out of his car. I tell them what their car is really worth and I get some response like “I spent $40K on my car and you’re telling me it is only worth $30K” or they will say “I saw one go through auction at $40K so mine is worth at least $45K. There is a word that needs to be interjected here it is called ‘”REALITY”.
If you are going to keep the vehicle for a long time you can spend whatever you like on it to achieve your desired look or performance. But if you build it for resale, you need to be very careful on spending on the build.
So when you are watching all these fake TV car shows, before you get involved in a build do a lot of research.