Cuba – s Classic Cars May Be Available, But Are They Worth Anything? #car #window #tint


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Cuba is home to a trove of classic American cars, but the ingenuity that has kept them running may have ruined their value.

If there s a product Cuba is famous for other than cigars it s cars. After Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959, he imposed a new law that prevented anyone without government permission from importing foreign automobiles. That turned Cuba into a car museum in the making, sealing the island off from the automotive future.

For the past fifty-odd years, the streets of Havana have famously been filled with what have become classic cars. And now that President Barack Obama is encouraging Congress to remove a ban on Cuban imports, everything from Studebakers to mid-century Chevys could be available to U.S. buyers. The question for collectors is: Are they still worth anything?

The problem is that, in general, the collectors know these cars have not really been maintained, says Steve Linden. a vintage car appraiser. They ve been actually driven and used as daily cars.

That s an issue because a classic car is valued precisely for its classic components. Cubans have been unable to import new parts, so they ve had to make repairs by creatively mixing and matching what s available. A particular car might look like an original Dodge Coronet, but under the hood could be a frankenstein mix of pieces from other models. The ability to keep these things running is what diminishes the value of the car because they re not original, Linden explains.

Some collectors might consider buying a car and restoring the original components, but that might not make sense either. A restoration, according to Linden, would cost somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000, depending on the car. Meanwhile, he estimates the same cars in good condition could be bought in America for somewhere between $15,000 and $70,000, with 50s Chevys ubiquitous in Cuba on the low end, and Cadillac convertibles on the high end.

Jonathan Klinger, spokesman for Hagerty, a collector car insurance company, agrees the value of Cuba s classic cars might be overblown. I think some people have this vision of a treasure trove of lost cars, but some of the greatest cars from the days of the Cuban Grand Prix have already left through other countries, said Klinger in a phone interview. What s left are a lot of 1950s American cars that have remained through the circumstances, and it took a tremendous amount of passion and ingenuity to keep them on the road.

Donald Osborne, owner of Automotive Valuation Services. says there are rumors that exotic sports cars were abandoned as their owners fled Cuba, but nobody s ever seen proof they exist. One of those cars, like a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, could sell for over $1 million. But the average Chevy? Run-of-the-mill 1950s American cars make no sense as restoration projects, declares Osborne.

But for both Osborne and Klinger, the value in these cars isn t their classic nature, it s in the story they tell. That story could lead some car connoisseurs to pay premium prices for a piece of history. They re not overly valuable, but they re extremely significant, says Klinger. Line five cars up at a car show and one of them is tattered looking, but it came from Cuba? That s interesting.

Linden isn t so sure the historic value of Cuba s cars will be enough to make them valuable. He notes that when former Soviet territories began to open up, they boasted a similar cache of classics, but interest was tepid and few were repatriated to the United States. People might be more willing to import cars from nearby Cuba, admits Linden, but My opinion is they probably won t.


7 Sites for Buying, Selling, and Renting Almost Anything #buy #used #cars #online


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7 Sites for Buying, Selling, and Renting Almost Anything

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine the process of buying, selling, or renting without the Internet as a guide. Whether we are trying to find communities of people who buy and sell the same things we do, or are seeking “wisdom of the crowd ” opinion on potential buys, the Internet is often the first place we look. The sites below, we feel, are best at bringing buyers, sellers, and renters together, and arming them with the intel they need to do the deal.

Craigslist. Want ads work so much better on the Web than in print that newspaper want ads are all but extinct. You can buy, sell, or rent just about anything, anywhere on this no-nonsense site.

Freecycle. This grassroots, nonprofit site organizes and connects (via Yahoo Groups ) people who might like to trade items within their own communities. It works really well for finding someone to come over and get that one useless thing out of your house, but not into a landfill.

Zilok. Whereas Freecycle focuses on giving or trading, Zilok fo­­cuses on renting. The site hosts rental listings from people in your community for things you might need to use only once–a power tool, a picnic table, a warehouse space, a van–things you’d usually be far better off renting than buying outright.

CarsDirect. A great place to buy a car online–or at least to get a good starting point on a price–this is the only Web site of its kind that instantly shows you a buy-it-now price, with no haggling and no calls from snaky salespeople .

Zillow. From some of the creators of Expedia comes Zillow, which gathers in one place a bevy of information on properties and their prices in many parts of the United States. If a house is for sale, you can find contact information, read descriptions, and ask questions of the sellers. Plus it’s just fun to see how much your neighbor’s house is worth.

Greenzer. Greenzer brings it down to the local level by helping you choose products from companies that are really walking the walk, not just talking the “green” talk to help their bottom line.

HousingMaps. “Mashups,” to me, have been largely an overhyped, unrealized concept. HousingMaps, however, is a notable exception. It’s a simple mashup of Google Maps and Craigslist housing listings. Choose the part of town in which you want to live, and see what’s available in your price range.

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100 Incredibly Useful and Interesting Web Sites