The New Year has arrived and Original Parts Group, Inc. (OPGI) would like to wish all of our customers a Happy New Year! It looks like 2017 will be a very good year for the classic car restoration industry and hobby. The recent proliferation of so many new classic car events, auctions, TV shows, along with rising classic car values, all show that America’s love affair with classic automobiles has not waned.
No one really knows how many unrestored old cars are still out there across the U.S. waiting to be discovered, but given the size of this country, it is probably more than anyone would guess. We firmly believe the classic car industry will continue to grow as new generations enter the game. Even though different demographic groups may enter or leave the classic car restoration hobby, a strong appreciation for the venerable American V-8 powerplant (both classic and modern) is still with us, and the ability to rebuild and restore classic cars has never been easier or more affordable than it is today.
Having stated our optimism, this might also be a good time to look a bit farther forward. It is always fun to hazard a few guesses as to what the future might have in store for the enthusiast community and we have a few predictions to share.
Although interest in vehicles from the ‘20s through the ’40s could decline slightly as the age of car fanatics continues to plunge, we think the demand for quality vintage hot rods will most likely carry on unabated. While prices for vintage hot rods built with radical paint, modern drivetrains and updated suspensions might remain high only as long as the right buyers are found, period-correct cars built with vintage speed parts are becoming much more sought-after, and we feel the values will reflect that going forward. As an aside, the demand for period-correct, prewar vintage motorcycles also appears to be rising right along with the cars.
There is no doubt that the appeal and value of the great cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s is stronger than ever today, and that is unlikely to change tomorrow. However, we do see an increase in the price and demand for ’80’s cars appearing on the horizon. The better cars from ’80’s as well as certain pick-up truck models seem to be enjoying newfound popularity that we feel will continue to grow. Not too surprisingly, a few cars from the ’90’s are also seeing more interest as collectors from younger generations enter the hobby; after all, most enthusiasts seek vehicles that remind them of their youth. Another niche that also appears to be rising in value is that of Japanese cars from the ‘60s through the ’80s. Any time the demand for specific cars begins to outstrip the available supply; the values of those cars will rise accordingly, and as we move toward 2020, it looks like there may be many different cars enjoying new potential.
Speaking of period-correct cars built with vintage speed parts, it appears a sure bet that the recent success of The Race of Gentlemen (TROG) format will likely spawn similar vintage events. Until 2016, The Race of Gentlemen events had been composed of prewar hot rods and vintage bikes engaged in friendly beach-racing competitions held in Wildwood, New Jersey. Last year saw the debut of the first West Coast TROG event (Pismo Beach, California), and despite a weekend of poor weather, the promoters still put on a good overall show, one that we feel could gather some serious steam in coming years. The TROG events have been growing steadily in size, scope, and coverage to the point that we predict there will be different, yet similar events popping up around the country in coming years (and not just on the coasts). The informal TROG “racing” formula provides enthusiasts of different ages a great way to have more fun with their cars (and bikes) instead of just sitting around looking at them on display. Any facet of the classic car experience that helps introduce younger people to the hobby is always a good idea, and TROG certainly falls into that category. However, getting the millennial generation to fully embrace the classic car experience might be a larger challenge. It is probably a bit too soon to ask if we will ever see a “Burning TROG” event attended by thousands of people in the Nevada desert.
Another facet of classic car enthusiasm we are probably going to see a lot more of is the number of classic car restoration and related industry television shows. Thankfully, most of the shows have improved in quality since the first “Pimp My Ride” episodes appeared on the small screen years ago. However, some observers have pointed out that there is very little “reality” in “reality television” and have voiced a desire to see many of the scripted automotive TV shows go away permanently. Unfortunately for those naysayers, reality TV is a very economical formula to put together, and for that reason alone, we believe the automotive TV show genre will continue to multiply. On the plus side, many of the scripted automotive TV shows are actually better than “regular” TV programming, and occasionally, you do get to see some pretty cool cars. Real car guys will obviously want to see more “reality” on the shows, and while there is definitely room for better automotive shows, we suspect there will still be plenty of marginal ones yet to come. Although the market might be close to peak “garage television saturation” right now, we’ll have to wait to see what actually comes next.
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