I’m interested in getting an antique or possibly classic car but have not been able to find a guide with pictures (preferably also information on typical prices for project cars and availability of parts). Does anyone know of a good resource for me? I saw an Opel GT and like it but don’t want to buy it and find something I like a lot better a year from now…
The antique car hobby is not cheap. I bought a one owner 1948 Dodge back in 1977 with the idea that I would restore the car. I had the engine running well and the car drove fine. However, the body work would have been expensive. I was driving the car down the street one day and was offered $100 more than I paid for it and I sold it on the spot.
Keep in mind that certain body styles are more desirable as collector cars than other styles. Convertibles are at the top followed by pillarless hardtop coupes. Hemmings is a good publication to get an idea of prices. Collectible Autos is another source to get ideas.
I don’t think an Opel GT would be a good purchase because of the scarcity of parts.
What @Triedaq said. The first thing is to spend LOTS of time figuring out what kind of car appeals to you by reading books, magazines, going to car shows (lots of them this time of year), and determine a budget. Are you planning to restore it? Are you experienced mechanically? Do you have 1 (preferably 2) garage spots for the project? Or are you wanting to buy a good-condition running car?
This will be a hobby car, not a daily driver, right?
Does anyone know of a good resource for me?
Nothing beats seeing them in person. Go to your local old car shows, drive-in nights and so on and see for yourself. You get the added benefit of talking to the actual owners and other enthusiasts that will be glad to give you valuable information about the hobby and particular cars.
Some of the larger, regional shows have sections by year, era or usage that will allow you to peruse vast numbers of cars at one time to help narrow down your area of interest.
The time spent looking and comparing could be as much fun as busting your knuckles and pouring money into a rusty bucket. And unless the Opel GT has become a particularly desirable car for you it would best be scratched off the list.
Go to local cruise nights and car shows. Talk to the guys and girls there to get a good feel for what to look for. Whatever you get, get it as rust free as possible. If you can see a dime size rust spot, there is a lot more in hiding and that is expensive.
You don’t care about the mechanical aspects as much as you do the body. Get it to be as straight and clean as you can afford. Get something you can cruise around in that does not require a pile of immediate work. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a car sit in your garage you can’t drive to cruise nights.
Btw, a very good starter vintage car is a VW bug. There are plenty of parts available for it and it is relatively easy to work on.
You are using the best possible resource available, right now; the internet.
step 1: figure out if you want to buy one already done up, or fix it yourself, or pay someone else to fix it for you
step 1a: find out how readily available parts are for said vehicle. You might cross a vehicle off your list because you can’t find even some of the most basic parts for the car anymore, or they’re so expensive you run over budget buying 2 or 3 things.
Step 2: set a budget for the project
step 3: browse ebay for vehicles; both finished and current auctions. Completed auctions will give you a good idea of what the market value for the car should be.
Don’t be afraid to go out of town or out of state to get the right vehicle for you; I had a guy come from Oklahoma to Ohio, in January(they had light jacket/sweatshirts on because it was 50~60 in OK, we had ice and snow on the ground), to buy the '65 Chevelle I had.
Visit your local bookstore. There aren’t many books on this particular subject. But what you can do is browse through the dozens of magazines who’s focus is on restoring vintage vehicles to daily-driver status or even like-new status. Each car make has its own magazines, so decide what car you want to work on first, then you can narrow down which magazines to read. Before making a decision on a purchase for a fix-it-upper, make sure that make has a goods stock of parts available for it for that year. 1950-70’s air cooled VW Beetles and Busses are a good choice as there are a lot of them still on the road, and restorations are popular enough that new parts for them are still made. You can purchase a brand new engine for an air cooled Beetle no problem, and the price is – well for classic cars anyway – quite reasonable. By contrast, I doubt that will prove possible for an Opel.
About 20 years ago, my wife’s cousin was visiting from Germany. He was an electrician in a car shop. They restored cars and made good money. One of their favorites was the Opel GT. They used to buy them in North America and ship them to Germany. I would guess that if you can find one, it will be expensive. Parts are probably available in Europe, and you could order them on line. But shipping will be expensive. You might start with a 1990s sports car, like a Corvette. They are fun, affordable, and you can find parts for them as long as you stick to the basic Corvette. The ZR-1 from the late 1980s to early 1990s used a Lotus built 350. Sweet engine, but good luck finding parts.
You might want to try and narrow down what sort of collector car you wish to own, then my advice would be to seek out an owners club or online forum dedicated to that particular vehicle. There are forums and other experts about the Opel GT. Hemmings has an article from 2006 that might still have
http://www.opelgtsource.com/ (one of the vendors noted in the story)
Hemmings is the bible of the hobby for a reason, they cover many different areas and usually have tons of info.
Hemmings is a good starting point.
If your looking for a car to get your feet wet the Nash Metropolitan is a great starter according to Hemmings.
@Tigg - as you see there’s no simple guide to this huge hobby. The key is to find a car you REALLY like, even one in good shape will need frequent work.
What’s you budget?
If you really want an Opel GT, go for it. Just make sure you understand the problems before you get into it. If you still want it, do it.