Changes in the Collector Car Market:
In recent years the collector car market seems to have made a few twist and turns. Some of what used to be undesirable is now considered in. What was once a premium ride may now be considered common and what we thought would never be cool is.
In my opinion, it appears that the collector car buyer is much more open to being different. At one time a Corvette, Camaro or Chevelle was on the top of the list for most collectors. Today, you see unusual cars bring more money than the standard classics. Pickup trucks and station wagons may attract more attention than a muscle car. Survivor cars with patina can bring more money than top flight restorations. What about the Rat Rod and the Micro Cars that are so popular?
I think this might be very healthy in several ways. First it helps keep some collector car prices from going crazy on highly desirable but common cars. Second, it makes the hobby a hole lot more fun because there is more variety. Next, it brings more folks into the collector car market. Grandma’s four door sedan may never have been considered a collector car but now it is an acceptable cruiser. If it happens to be original paint, interior and low mileage with a bigger engine it is the hit of the cruise-in.
So with all this going on are there any overlooked collector cars that we should be seeking out? Ones that are undervalued? Sure! Will we all agree on what they are? No! However, we will bring you some suggestions now and then for you to consider.
1969 When NASCAR raced STOCK CARS!
In the past few years we have seen a resurgence in the MOPAR Winged Warriors, the 1969 Dodge Daytona and 1970 Plymough Superbird. However, Ford and Mercury built some equally fast and specialized cars that can be purchased for the price of a down payment on the MOPAR’s.
It was 1969. The Stones, “Honky Tonk Woman” was one of the top ten songs along with “Get Back,” by The Beatles and “Sugar, Sugar,” by the Archies. Richard Nixon was President, a house could be bought for $40,000.00. Milk was $1.26 and gas 36 cents a gallon! A postage stamp cost $0.06 and the average income was $8,547.00. (Were those the days, or what!)
NASCAR was a major sport but primarily only in the southeast. This was when “what won on Sunday sold on Monday”. It was a time of STOCK CAR racing not some template built, decal encrusted custom built race car with little resemblance to anything in a dealer’s showroom. No sir, in 1969 the race teams went to the showroom, bought a car, modified it and went racing. Oh sure, the manufactures helped and these cars were still highly modified but they all started as real cars and were modified for racing not built from scratch without any factory parts like today.
Around 1968/1969 the factory boys discovered that as the speeds reached 200 mph it was very difficult to increase horsepower to go faster. They also discovered that if they improved the car’s aerodynamics they could go faster with the same horsepower. That fathered some very unusual body work.
NASCAR required that if the factories wanted to build special high performance engines or special aerodynamic bodies they had to have at least 500 cars in dealers hands before any car or engine could be permitted to race in NASCAR.
During the 1968 season Ford was kicking butt with their new Ford Torino fastback (sportback) and Mercury Cyclone. In fact, David Pearson won the NASCAR 1968 Championship in a Ford Torino.
MOPAR boys were not use to this. In late 1968 the Dodge factory began bragging about a new Dodge Charger 500 that was coming to Daytona in 1969. It would have a flush grill and a sloping rear window to make it more aerodynamic and would kick some Blue Oval butt. Only 500 would be built per NASCAR regulations.
The guys at Ford kept quiet but knew they would have to step it up. They went to work. When Daytona rolled around Ford showed up with an extended, sloped nosed 1969 Ford Torino Talladega and a few months later the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II hit the tracks. The Dodge Charger 500 was good but not good enough. The Ford cars were winning races!
That is when the MOPAR folks told their engineers to go back to the drawing board and what ever it cost build a Dodge that would beat the Ford products. They did and late in 1969 the Dodge Daytona hit the track at Talladega and a new standard was written.
Back to the Collector Car Market:
We all know how expensive and rare the Winged MOPARs are today but what about those Ford and Mercurys? We will tell you about the Talladega at another time. This article is about the 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. This is the Mercury designation for cars with the extended sheet metal on the nose and other modifications for NASCAR. To build 500 such cars was a tall order for Mercury; each Cyclone Spoiler II had 19.5 inches of new sheet metal added to the front of the car. The factory built the car with an entirely new front end. They started with a stock front end and cut it off just in front of the front tires. Then an entirely new, sloped nose was grafted to the original fenders. These cars were all hand built. Many believe the Ford Talladega and the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are identical. In fact the Talladega had only 15.5 inches added to its nose. The Spoiler II’s nose is not only longer it is also built at a steeper 35-degrees vs the Talladega’s 30-degrees. At high speeds these differences actually made the Spoiler II from 2 to as much as 5 mph faster than the Talladega. Most also believe the Talladega and Spoiler II have identical bodies, this also is not true. They only shared components between the cars are their bumpers, grilles, doors, trunk lids and turn signals!
As stated earlier, NASCAR mandated that at least 500 of these hand built extended nose cars had to be manufactured. The Marti Report lists 503 such cars were built. Of the 503 reported actual Spoiler IIs built the total was divided between two cars; a portion were Cale Yarborough Specials (285) and the remainder were Dan Gurney Specials (218).
How Many Exist?
Our sister site the TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com recently reported that there are today only 31 Cale Yarborough and 34 Dan Gurney Spoiler II cars can be documented! Think about that; 65 cars with special aerodynamic bodies and strong important NASCAR history. There are still some cars out there that have not yet been Registered or discovered! How many? No one knows for sure.
As way of comparison, there are approximately 2,000 Dodge Daytonas and Plymouth Superbirds belied to still exist! That means there are an estimated 30 MOPAR Winged Warrior cars for every 1 Spoiler II car!
These MOPARS typically begin at around $100,000 and one recent Dodge Daytona sold at auction for approximately $1,000,000 with fees!
How Expensive are the Spoiler II’s?
All Spoiler II cars are equipped the same way. There were two known exceptions but we will not discuss that here. All Dan Gurney Specials were blue and white while all Cale Yarborough Specials were red and white. All of the Spoiler IIs have 351 Windsor engines, FMX transmission, 3.25 open differential, PS, PB, and AM radio with bench seat. They are terrific drivers.
There are many more important details to know about these cars which you can find on the www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com web site.
In addition to the Spoiler II Mercury also built a 1969 Spoiler that could be had with a 428 SCJ engine and even with Ram Air! This will be covered in detail at another time, do not confuse this car with a Spoiler II.
So, how much do you think a collector car with this kind of history, special factory body modifications and rarity will cost you? Should it be equal to the MOPARS? How about 50% of what they cost?
Would you believe, if you can find one in good driver condition they have sold at auction in recent years for the low $20,000s. Sure there are some selling for $30,000 and even show cars bringing near $100,000. However, if you can find a good driver quality car you can be the only one at your local show with an outstanding car for a very affordable price.
My personal opinion, I believe we could see a 50% gain in the value of these cars over the next few years as they become discovered!
I am not giving financial advice or investment recommendations. These are my personal thoughts and you should make your own decision based on your own research.
To see more about these cars go to our Museum.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS AN UNDERVALUED COLLECTOR CAR? SEND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org.