|Duesenberg SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton: $750,000 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2015.|
In 1960 I tried to persuade my father to buy a Duesenberg out of the classified ads in Road & Track. The asking price was $12,000, about the same as a new Ferrari 250 GT, and six times what he paid for the Plymouth he was then driving. I justified the proposal as an investment. He chuckled and declined. If the proposal had come--seriously--from someone other than his adolescent son, he would have laughed and laughed.
But if he had had the interest, facilities, and knowledge to maintain a Duesenberg, Dad might have made out OK on his $12,000 investment. In the 1980's and later, Duesies were going for north of $1 million. Some had less than perfect provenances and were not previously owned by Clark Gable or another famous person. Nor were they the most desirable SJ (supercharged) dual-cowl phaeton model like the one above. Duesies just aren't bringing the money they used to. Quite a few other classics from the '30's failed to meet their reserves at the same auction.
On the other hand, I never thought I'd see muscle cars from my youth go for $500,000 or more. Or an Amphicar go for $100,000. Or Fiat Jollies go for $60,000. Some of us Baby Boomers are rolling in money, and voting with our Letters of Credit. What 60-something of today remembers Duesies fondly? Classics from the '30's have not just peaked--they're seeking a new floor.
The TV guys who cover car auctions like to speculate about the next "coming cars." Gen 3 Camaros? Gen 3 Mazda RX-7's? Of course the point of this speculation is to get in on the ground floor and ride the market up. Buy that immaculate Gen 3 Camaro or RX-7 for $20,000 now.
Whatever the "comers" turn out to be, I doubt that 60's muscle cars will be going for the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $500,000 in 2035. We Boomers will have shuffled off this mortal coil. What 60-something, then, will remember COPO Camaros and Hemi 'Cudas fondly? A Super Mario Brothers game still in its shrink-wrap might be a different matter. Apparently many people now in their 20's aren't even getting drivers' licenses unless they must. My guess is that Gen 1 iPhones will go for big bucks in 2045. Maybe pristine Teslas too. Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis, not so much...