I was adding to my post above. I think you’ve got the guys that flip them with intent to make a living doing it (6-12 month turnover or less). Then you have the guys that “collect” them for 8-10 years until the next thing comes along and they sell the ones they are tired of looking at. Those guys can often get lucky and make a little bit or break even if they choose wisely. I’m seeing a lot of 93 Cobras changing hands every few years as the second group of guys are intersted in them for a while and then move on. And any time a super hot/exclusive ford comes out (like the newest gt500) you see an influx of older cars hitting market to make room for the newest one. An interesting business for sure."someone that buys like that" - define?
Three factors determine value -- desirability, condition and rarity. Most of the contemporary collectibles (for argument's sake, let's throw the Terminators into that category) were produced in such relatively large numbers that "rarity" won't occur for many, many years to come. Doesn't mean someone couldn't turn a profit on one. But to truly earn a decent return (I can earn 5% in the markets all day long) -- it has to be bought extremely well and sold for a lot more....relatively quickly. The passage of time is the enemy of a good/quick return on the investment.
And of course, all that's relative. If the experts think a $500,000 car can easily be worth $1-1.5 mil over the course of the next year or two -- that's a "decent" return. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way. And the folks making a living at it can't hold them forever - they want their capital working for them. They're more likely to move them along and get their money working on the next good deal.
Increasingly, people making money on the sale of collectibles aren't taking much risk at all. They're simply providing a marketing service and taking a cut of the sale price whatever it may be. Look at the rise of all the auction houses and places like RK Motors, Streetside Classics, etc. all over the country. The individual owners take all the buy/sell risk -- the auction/consignment shop gets a cut no matter what.
If you take an internal-rate-of-return calculator and start actually looking at accurate numbers --- it's a very tough business to be in. Even for the handful of folks that know what they're doing.