The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave – in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave – in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs.

Scroll through some of my pictures from the trip:

 


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Vintage Sports Car Club Luncheon

  I went to a great luncheon on Tuesday at D & J Bistro in Lake Zurich with a group of Vintage Sports Car Club members and friends. Food and company was great, and it's guaranteed that unique and fun cars will show up too. Here's a few and one of my...

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Arizona Auction Week 2017 Wrap-Up

Arizona Auction Week 2017 Wrap-Up

After spending some time studying my new Hammer Price app (a must-have) and going through some of my auction notes for the week, I have come to some of the same conclusions I did last year—some marques did well, and others lost a little ground in value. it also seemed like the general attendance for the whole week was up, starting with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Too bad the weather didn’t cooperate.

The Italians continue to march forward, although mostly in the “affordable” models. Really nice Ferrari 308s have moved into six -figure territory, with a slightly flawed but nonetheless lovely 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce bringing stellar money at $160,000+, and a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV hammering at $76,000+ at Bonham’s.

Overall, the whole Austin Healey market is down about 20% from highs of a few years ago. Even a fabled 100S—one of fifty—was well-bought at a bargain price of $490,000. I heard people tell of it’s flaws but I reminded them that, “It’s still a real 100S!” Only the really nice cars sold well with the so-so cars at street sales rates.

Except for the $6.7 million spent for the Lightweight, the Jaguar market has cooled a bit on the E Types. A really nice late Series 1 4.2  did sell for $160,000+ which isn’t too shabby, though. There were just a lot of E Types available, and it is a hot brand and model. I still predict the Series 2 cars will start filling up the demand for E Types overall in the next few years.

Trending up (still,) the air-cooled Porsches are the cars to have. Some lovely 356 Speedsters held their own, and a really nice 912—but still a 912—fetched $105,000 at Gooding on Saturday. Another 356 barn-find bewildered even the most faithful at $341,000. After $600,000 plus for a Speedster barn find in Hilton Head, I’m left smiling to myself.

In talking with Andy Reid and other auction watchers, the cars that came up slowly and steadily—like the Aston Martins—held their own. The rising prices on cars like the Sunbeam Tigers have steadied, and again, only the nice cars held their values. There was also a lot of talk also about money availability and people not wanting to touch other investments with a stock market and Dow that is surging towards 20,000.

I think I may have to attend the March Amelia Island event to continue my research and see if the trends continue. Poor, poor pitiful me.

Top image credit: Andy Reid – ClassicCars.com


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Vintage Sports Car Club Luncheon

  I went to a great luncheon on Tuesday at D & J Bistro in Lake Zurich with a group of Vintage Sports Car Club members and friends. Food and company was great, and it's guaranteed that unique and fun cars will show up too. Here's a few and one of my...

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My Annual Arizona Car Week – Trending 2017

My Annual Arizona Car Week – Trending 2017

Ever since I sold Mark Baker’s 100R Healey at Bonham’s Auction in Scottsdale four years ago I eagerly await coming back to Arizona for my now annual trip to the land of auctions and car shows. Once here, a common question I get from old and new friends alike is, “Are you out here buying and selling cars?”

When I typically reply “no” most figure I’m just goofing off in the sun. Which, since I do have family here, I sometimes do. But this has become a crucial week for me from a business strategy standpoint.

Arizona Car Week—as it has come to be known—is a place for me to focus my time, money, and energy to see first-hand what is going on in the vintage automobile market. What goes on at Arizona Auto week is what becomes knowledge that I can then share with friends and customers.

While the auction experience in and of itself is very exciting, the number of industry people and fellow enthusiasts I’ve met here has been invaluable. What I learn here— through a mix of social media, and being on the ground where the collectors and fans speak with their voices, minds, and checkbooks—sets my thinking for the year as a restorer and impassioned automotive devotee.

I mostly focus my attention on the Bonham’s, RM and Gooding’s auctions. I study the catalogues for sell estimates and then look at the cars critically. I do this for a variety of marques and models.

I then attend as many auctions—live—as I can, and study the results where I cannot. I talk to people as the cars move along, note which one failed to meet reserves, and which ones are beating the estimates. If I’ve seen the cars, many times I can tell you why it failed to meet the reserve, or why it took in some big cash. You can’t do that from the web, or watching Barrett Jackson on TV.

It’s a crazy busy week for me, there is so much activity all at once, but if you pay attention the trends become visible quickly. What marques and models are becoming more valuable? Which marques are losing strength or simply holding?

These hectic days help me guide customers and prospective customers into the light as to what cars are worth spending money on, and which ones to maybe wait on. If there are a lot of mediocre examples, you can bet the nice ones will shine.

When it’s over and I’m back in the Sport and Specialty shop, I’ll provide some insights as to what I have seen, heard and deduced. Come on back.

I need to get some more sunblock, so until I get home make sure to follow me on Facebook where you can see more of the beautiful cars below.


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Vintage Sports Car Club Luncheon

  I went to a great luncheon on Tuesday at D & J Bistro in Lake Zurich with a group of Vintage Sports Car Club members and friends. Food and company was great, and it's guaranteed that unique and fun cars will show up too. Here's a few and one of my...

read more
New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Touch It!!!

New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Touch It!!!

The majority of our restoration work at Sport and Specialty doesn’t drive or roll into the shop. Most of our work is pushed in on a transport dolly and unloaded unceremoniously in a variety of mismatched wood and cardboard boxes. Sometimes we even see parts loaded up in old laundry baskets.

The projects come to us in many shapes and forms

Sport and Specialty - Project Cars gone wrong

Sometimes, what starts out as a project car ends up as a parts car, sadly.

Mostly the parts are worn out, rusty and dusty. Occasionally, the pieces and portions were treated to some sort of amateur restoration, long lost its newly painted sheen, and was never tested for use afterwards in a running and driving automobile. Usually, if lucky, the original fasteners abound in discarded coffee and margarine containers. It takes more time and costs more to inspect and inventory all of these items when the car comes in this way.

Don’t get me wrong, this is our bread and butter, and I love seeing these pieces come in. What breaks my heart sometimes is that someone simply abandoned the project when they got in over their head, because this all looks kind of easy on TV.

Assessing the projects

One of my least favorites is going out and assessing cars that have been disassembled, yet have beautiful new wheels and tires. That’s restoration with a Visa card and just dumb. Many times, the new wheels are beginning to pit already and the tires show no wear – but expired two years ago. The last thing done in car restoration should be new wheels and tires.

My professional advice is simple on this topic – if you own or find a major restoration candidate, stop right now! Take a deep breath and think for a few minutes. Most projects start out with extreme enthusiasm and the best of intentions.

Getting some advice

Call someone who has done this before, amateur or professional, and discuss how to best go about this serious undertaking. A detailed budget, a plan, some working room, organizational skills, and patience are as essential as mechanical skills. Don’t explode the car and figure out the rest later, it’s a sure recipe for disaster unless you’ve done a few of these.

Before you start taking it apart…

Finally, I try to relate to the owners of new projects that once you take them apart, they’re worth even less than that great deal you negotiated. Remember, a car in a million pieces is called a project, and worth a small portion of the finished product. On the other hand, a car that’s really rough – but still assembled – is called a barn find and can somehow be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, take that deep breath, do a little homework, and leave the dust on until you’re ready!


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Vintage Sports Car Club Luncheon

  I went to a great luncheon on Tuesday at D & J Bistro in Lake Zurich with a group of Vintage Sports Car Club members and friends. Food and company was great, and it's guaranteed that unique and fun cars will show up too. Here's a few and one of my...

read more
The New Sport & Specialty Website is Here!

The New Sport & Specialty Website is Here!

Last weekend we pulled the trigger and launched the latest iteration of the Sport and Specialty website. All of the digital switches fell into place and with a sigh of relief a year’s worth of effort came to fruition. We had put together a simpler site earlier this year, but we quickly became frustrated with the limitations we had to live with.

Over the summer we got really busy with basic business things and the racing season consumed much of our “free” time. Finally in October we got serious again and put our shoulders into getting the new site up and running.

With content strategist Bill Oakes at the keyboard and me looking at the big picture, I believe we came up with a really nice site. Our goal was to not only tell the story of Sport and Specialty, but to also allow for more individual and ongoing interactions with the classic sports car community. We will be posting my blogs, free classified ads, marque club events and schedules, racing events, offer interesting products, and who knows what else.

My goal is to also post an ongoing series of articles regarding assessing values, approaching restoration work (or not), and any interesting things I find in my travels. I will give a heads-up through Facebook on both my personal and the Sport and Specialty pages when new items are posted. I’m excited about the various fun, educational and interesting ways we can put this site to use.

I bought a ton of storage so we can publish new pictures and archive past events and features. So please, bookmark www.sportandspecialty.com and keep me on my toes.

Remember, we love to host club outings and show off our work! Simply reach out, our phone number (815-629-2717) and my email address is all over our new website. Hope to see you soon!!

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look through all of the sections:


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Vintage Sports Car Club Luncheon

  I went to a great luncheon on Tuesday at D & J Bistro in Lake Zurich with a group of Vintage Sports Car Club members and friends. Food and company was great, and it's guaranteed that unique and fun cars will show up too. Here's a few and one of my...

read more