When considering the purchase...
When considering the purchase of a GTO Judge, make sure the provenance is documented. You don’t want to pay top dollar for a tarted-up LeMans. If you’re in the market for a collectible late-model Pontiac, like this ’02 Collector Edition Trans Am (CETA) convertible for example, keep in mind that normal used-car depreciation will apply to these cars until they bottom out. If you purchase one before that happens, understand that it will be a long-term investment and it is likely that it will lose some value while you have it before it comes back up.
Longtime Tri-Five Chevy fans...
Longtime Tri-Five Chevy fans like Dickie Kennis are starting to take notice of the Pontiacs from that era. They are rarer than the Chevys, and, in stock form, have better drivelines. If you’re looking to drive them, the plusher interiors and superior chassis make them more comfortable on the open road. The prices are still climbing, while the Chevys from that era have hit a plateau.
Super-Duty Pontiacs, like...
Super-Duty Pontiacs, like this ’62 Catalina restored by Scott Tiemann, have been the darlings of the collector car world for more than 20 years. While other full-sized Pontiacs are not showing gains, the Super-Duty cars remain good investments.
“My interest has always been ’50s-era cars and street rods, and after owning several ’55-’57 Chevys, I have come to the conclusion that the ’55-and-up Pontiacs are not only better values in the collector market, but they are also better cars, especially if you like to drive them,” he says. “The engines have more torque and the automatic transmissions are much better. I’ll take a Hydra-Matic over a Powerglide any day. Not only that, but the interiors are nicer and the chassis are improved enough where you can really feel the difference in handling.”
The other factor that Kennis believes the Pontiacs have over the Chevys is the appreciation potential. While he has seen that the market for Tri-Five Chevys has leveled off to an extent, he believes the Pontiacs from that era are still coming up in value, even in this somewhat shaky market. “The Chevys sold well for so long because that was where the market demand was,” he says. “The Pontiacs will hold their value and will continue to appreciate. How much more are you going to pay for a Chevy? For the long haul, the value for the Pontiacs is definitely there.”
According to Kennis, the bottom line is this: “From the standpoint of what you get for your money, ’55-’57 Pontiacs have it all over the Tri-Five Chevys. You get one-and-a-half times the car for three-quarters of the money.”
Whatever happens in 2011 and beyond, we can see that if you have the disposable income to spend on a collector car, now is a good time to invest—as long as you’re realistic about the potential value gains, the possible risks, and are willing to hang onto it for a while, if needed. At the moment, tangible assets like collector Pontiacs are more stable than stocks, and despite the holding costs, they represent a prudent means to grow an investment portfolio. Best of all, they are way more fun than coins and stamps.