2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 $20,950 1990 Chevrolet CK/1500 454 SS $ 18,500
1993 Toyota DLX Pickup $13,000 2015 Chevrolet Z/28 Camaro $47,500
The Collector Car industry is full of great stories of “back in the day”. No one has more of these great stories of the early days than Ethyl’s Garage’s own Tony LaPlant. Ask Tony about when you could buy a 1957 Chevy for $5,000 and drive it home, do a couple of simple restorations and then sell it at the ridiculously high price of $15,000. Take me back! Tony can tell you about the first Ebay auctions he was a part of with his first business Mid-American Classics, where there was no Ebay motors category. He’ll tell you about listing the first VW Beatle as an antique or about listing a lot of Five (that’s right 5) classic cars in one auction. You’ll hear about Yenko collections of cars and million dollar checks to attempt to get a deal done and what it was like at the first 60 car Mecum auction. So many stories to relive.
Of all the Stories that I have heard, my favorite gets us the where we are today. About two years ago, Tony was looking to sell one of his Amphicars. Through the course of his career he had become an expert on these quirky little “is it a car or is it a boat” cars that quite literally and appropriately have fins. He saw that the upcoming Mecum auction in Orlando already had two Amphicars listed. For context, there are probably only a couple hundred of these cars that are fully functioning in the entire world. There are only a handful of them that come up for sale each year and the price and value of the investment continues to climb. Having two Amphicars already at an auction almost guaranteed a good turnout of Amphicar interest so Tony arranged to list his Amphicar there as well. He came into the auction knowing that his car would be the highest quality in the show. Upon arrival, Tony was greeted by a gentleman with an abundance of Amphicar questions. Tony patiently answered every question believing that this gentleman was a casual observer not appearing to have a good understanding of even the simple workings of an Amphicar. Tony was surprised to see the gentleman buy the other two cars and then also Tony’s car. Very interesting! The plot thickens as this gentleman then propositioned Tony to completely restore the three cars and the cars were shipped back to rural Missouri to Tony’s shop. When I first heard this story, I was already satisfied that there was enough plot action and character development, but as they say in television, “but wait, there’s more”. One night while watching “Fast and Loud”, the guys from Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Tony and his wife Michelle noticed that one of the cars on TV looked an awful lot like one of Tony’s projects. Michelle commented that the car looked like Tony’s and he agreed stating if a particular part was removed, it was definitely his car. The part was removed and Tony immediately jumped on the phone. After signing a confidentiality agreement, Tony learned that he was to be recruited to restore and maintain the Amphicar fleet for the here unnamed largest Orlando them park attraction developer. He has been here running these cars for the past couple of years and the fleet has never looked better. There are many processes, tools and parts that are unique to these Amphicars that allow them to log 15,000 miles each year on the water. As stated before, this is know locally as the “Tony LaPlant standard”. What a great story.
I know Tony will tell these stories in more detail and with more factual context than I have here so you will have to come out to one of our events and meet the crew from Ethyl’s Garage to here these first hand.
The classic car industry began to catch the eye of investors in the early 2000’s at a time when almost anyone could cash out equity in their home and buy a hot rod. Investors took note and began to follow the indexes as they did with other investments and the market, predictably went up. This segment of collecting is particularly good for those wanting something tangible that also brings them pleasure.
Whether reliving those dreams from another simpler day or as a lucrative investment in your future, the collector car market is here to stay. We can help you to make wise investments where you can buy low and sell high more often than not. Just as with any investment, these transactions are not without risk. But oh what a pleasurable risk to take with these beautiful pieces of rolling artwork.
Too often we let go of some of our dreams in efforts to achieve success or to “grow up”. Often those things we do to chase our dreams are what is really standing in the way of us realizing them. Just because you had to let it go back then, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it now. With the financing options now readily available, buying a lost piece of your past is easier than ever.
Ethyl’s Garage, we’ll take you back!