Warbird Information Exchange

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When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 1:58 pm 
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I would like to know what my fellow Wixer's think about this subject in January 2022. I come from the collector car world so this resonates withy me. Spitfire MH415 is being talked about on the internet as an aircraft that has and will probably continue to go up in price. It belonged to the late Connie Edwards. A year ago according to the article this aircraft was valued at about 3.5 million. Now it is being said that the value is around 4.5 million. This is due to this Spitfire being very original and has combat history as well. A million dollar increase in 1 year.
This probably lifts up all other Spitfires up somewhat in value as well. I would think that the same criteria might apply to other warbirds as well.
Perhaps A couple of Mustangs like Sierra SuSu, and the current Mustang coming together in New Zealand that came out of the John Smith collection which will be quite original as well.
What do you folks think about this subject as time marches on will Warbird Prices continue marching upward? In the collector car world Matching Numbers and rarity and history come into play for the really big bucks. Seems like the same criteria might apply to Warbirds. Thanks in advance for any feedback as always.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:22 pm 
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I write for a classic car magazine, the same questions are being asked in the collector car world.
Short answer...prices for the "best" aircraft (in type, condition and those with great history) will continue to increase until a major financial system correction occurs.
Even then, the top aircraft won't be as badly affected as lesser offerings.

There is a lot of money in the world, from all over the world.
And while the warbird market is smaller than that for vintage Enzo-era Ferraris, their rarity and desirability will mean there will always be buyers for them.

And while SOME cars are generational in appeal (1950s cars are losing the buyers who grew up with them and always wanted one, meanwhile 1980s-2000s cars are hot as the kids who wanted them when young are now earning the money to buy them), WWII warbirds are somewhat less so.

Fifty years from now kids will be learning about WWII and thinking Mustangs and Spitfires are neat.

Likewise, the car market has found that quality will always have a place in the market. Years ago some thought the "aging out" of generations would destroy the market for older cars that buyers had only read about in books.
That hasn't been the case, top quality cars from the brass era (the 'teens) continue to bring big money today.
Likewise, open luxury cars of the 30s...Duesenbergs, Packards, Pierce Arrows, Bentleys and the like, have a strong market.
Now a boring 1935 mass market (Chevy, Pontiac, Nash, Studebaker) four door sedan...not so much.
I don't know if any warbird is "boring" but there will be a difference between the market for a historic Mustang and a T-6, BT-13 or a C-45.

So, barring the banning of necessary fossil fuels, there will always be a market for them.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:14 pm 
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The prices will continue to increase. The economy has very little to do with it.

The truth is that Spitfires are not very expensive for the high-flying crowd. OK, so a good Spit costs $4.5m. That won't get you much of a business jet. How many people can afford a nice business jet? Not many as a percentage of the population, but in gross numbers, a lot more than there are Spitfires, or any other high-end warbird, available. There will always be plenty of people who won't even notice the cost of a Spitfire. It is just a question of whether they are interested in Spitfires.

People with enough money that buying Spitfires are no big deal are really, really good at insulating themselves from any bad economy, indeed, in the last bad economy they grew their wealth while everyone else suffered. Our entire society is built (by these same people, and the politicians they own) to make this so.

The only thing that will drive down the price of Spitfires and other warbirds is if they simply become less attractive across the board. Like, for example, if their operations are more heavily restricted by regulation, or if people just lose interest in these planes and their history.

August


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:47 am 
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I'm a huge BMW guy, and 1st generation (E30) M3's are going for up to a quarter million for nice examples. All the newer M3/M4's are only somewhat holding their value right now because of the shortages, but I see them depreciating pretty rapidly as things settle down.

The appeal for the earlier generations is the raw driver/car feeling you get driving one. I'm curious if this will have a similar appeal in the future where warbirds will become even more desirable for the raw feeling of flying one amongst a sea of "basic" piston, turboprop, and even electric aircraft.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 12:33 pm 
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Coincidentally I watched the Mecum auto auctions from Kissimmee last week/weekend.
In years past I was amazed at how many cars would sell at $100K without much effort, but this year that price crossed over the $200K mark. Repeatedly. For regular examples of cars, not just one-off, special coachwork's, ect.
The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction will be very interesting.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 12:43 pm 
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August is spot on. Not to mention the vast majority of the high flying crowd have zero interest in warbirds.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 12:55 pm 
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As I said, there is a lot of money in the world.
So we have a large pool of buyers and a fixed amount of product, whether it be older BMWs or Mustangs (both air and ground)....prices will rise.

They built 70,000 E-Tyoe Jaguars...that's a lot...not all that long ago.
But the demand outstrips the supply so average ones being $70-80k, top restorations being $200,000 plus. Remember, this was a mass market car sold in most of our lifetimes, not a limited production car from grandpa's era.

I recently wrote about a 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo. A nice used car you might say, far too new to be a classic.
It brought $95,000...five years ago it was a 15 year old $50,000 used car.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 1:00 pm 
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Mark Allen M wrote:
August is spot on. Not to mention the vast majority of the high flying crowd have zero interest in warbirds.


That doesn't matter.
With a worldwide flying population of what, 150 Mustangs and 60+ Spitfires, it wouldn't take a lot of "high fliers" to profoundly affect the warbird market and affect prices.

Fifty new warbird buyers would be a fraction of a percent of the wealthy crowd.

(Think about it...with the small number of interested folks necessary to increase the market, all it would take is a few aviation buffs, those interested in history, people who grew up with MS Flight Simulator, a few model builders and those inspired by films...).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:46 pm 
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I have thought a little bit more about my original post. I will start with the XP-82 initial asking price was 12 million. It is one of one, and one of six airframes in the world. 10 years to put together. Last flew in 2019. So far no takers. If the XP-82 sells my bet will be below 10 million how far below who knows. I really don't know what the highest price anyone has paid so far for any warbird. My guess would be either a P-38, or Mosquito. 6 or 7 million is a guess on my part.
Major players for the most part are either older or passed on who is in the wings to replace people like Paul Allen, Kermit Weeks, Rod Lewis. You have one of the Waltons who owns some warbirds among which are the Super Corsair #57. Also Scott Glovier has a Major Collection.
Now how about say something like a B-17, or B-24 both very rare. For them to have I think real value they have to fly. So that is where the ride program comes in. To operate them you need paying riders, or sponsorships. Im a member of Collings which I feel is an absolute fantastic organization. There currently in limbo, but Im hoping that Collings and the FAA can work things out. But when the ride program was going on for 30 years that was a win win for everyone. Collings was offering the public the chance to fly in there B-17 and B-24. The planes were paying there way, and Collings was making out OK also. That adds or makes value for a warbird. Static in a museum yes it is worth something, but I feel not like a flyer.
One of the things that I would think determines value might be what shops charge to restore an aircraft. I would be interested in what shops charge. Air Corp for instance, or Fighter Rebuilders what is the hourly rate? Any feedback always welcome.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 3:39 pm 
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Being from Massachusetts I love the Collings Foundation, and even flew on Witchcraft. If they were making out OK, why was their maintenance so spotty ?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:43 pm 
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There is apparently a service or business that sells shares in fine art, the type of high priced art only the very wealthy can afford. It's pure investment since you obviously can't take possession on the art itself. Perhaps the same thing will happen with warbirds.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:56 pm 
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It’s been explained to me that vintage aircraft prices follow the car collector market. I do feel the supply of interested buyers is a tiny fraction of the size as the auto collectors. Many warbird types have a fairly flat rate of increase in value. The current buyers are the children and grandchildren of the people that built and flew these during the war. Will the great- grandchildren really care ?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:29 am 
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k5083 wrote:
T
The only thing that will drive down the price of Spitfires and other warbirds is if they simply become less attractive across the board. Like, for example, if their operations are more heavily restricted by regulation, or if people just lose interest in these planes and their history.

August


I have a suspicion that with this current generation you're going to see warbird prices peak and then eventually start to slide off. I think once we're gone (I'm in my fifties) that the interest in them is going to die off, perhaps even rapidly, and eventually, in the end, many of today's prized airplanes will wind up in the smelter.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:36 am 
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phil65 wrote:
Being from Massachusetts I love the Collings Foundation, and even flew on Witchcraft. If they were making out OK, why was their maintenance so spotty ?

Phil


I have no inner working knowledge of the foundation or its financials. Just what I read that was put out publically and connection of dots. Yes Collings maintenence was "spotty", and also at this same time a number of desirable warbirds came on the market. Collings picked up a p-38 and another B-17, among others. Did they skimp on the mx of the existing fleet while securing more types? I also believe that I read the plan was for the newly aquired silver B-17 to replace the 909 on the national tour while 909 recieved long term heavy maintenence. Were the just trying to limp the 909 through the rest of the tour to get to the end and a total overhaul was on the horizon? A lot of possibilities with Collings and not all blame on the Pilot/Director of Maintenence.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:43 am 
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Dan Jones wrote:
k5083 wrote:
T
The only thing that will drive down the price of Spitfires and other warbirds is if they simply become less attractive across the board. Like, for example, if their operations are more heavily restricted by regulation, or if people just lose interest in these planes and their history.

August


I have a suspicion that with this current generation you're going to see warbird prices peak and then eventually start to slide off. I think once we're gone (I'm in my fifties) that the interest in them is going to die off, perhaps even rapidly, and eventually, in the end, many of today's prized airplanes will wind up in the smelter.


We are starting to see some operators ground airworthy planes now due to operation costs. I believe this trend will continue. As society becomes more "green" and gasoline power bans are expanded (we are already seeing town ordinances banning gas lawnmowers, state laws banning sale of new gas powered cars) general aviation will become a new public enemy #1. 100LL fuels will become non existant, youll see more grounded planes. Static examples will survive in well funded museums, some private collectors may try to tuck a mustang away in their garage... but future generations will only see scrap metal value.


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