How Much Should You Spend on a Classic Motorcycle?

How Much Should You Spend on a Classic Motorcycle

How Much Should You Spend on a Classic Motorcycle?

Back in February 2014, we looked at what factors may help you determine the market value of a classic car, either for selling or for buying purposes. Hemmings Collector Car Marketplace provides a very specific guide to use when doing so, but what if you are looking to buy a classic motorcycle instead of a car?

Determining the value of a vintage or classic motorcycle can be tricky, but it’s an important part of your buying process, especially since your classic motorcycle insurance policy will be affected by this value. Experts recommend having a professional motorcycle appraisal done, but motorsport expert John Glimmerveen offers the following basic factors that affect the value of your bike.

Pricing trends.  The market value of the bike you are looking to purchase may be decreasing. It’s important to do your research online and through other resources for your specific classic motorcycle to determine if it is in fact decreasing in value, remaining stable, or increasing.

Repair costs. Will it cost you more to make repairs than it will to buy the bike? If those repairs won’t raise the value to a profitable amount, the bike not be worth the purchase. This will vary though on whether you are looking to get the bike into riding shape or make it museum quality, which brings us to the next factor.

Purpose. If the purchase is being made as an investment, and you intend to restore it, you may be willing to pay a little more than if you were to purchase for riding pleasure only. When it comes to rare motorcycles, enthusiasts are usually quick to buy if it looks good, but if you are buying it to ride, the mechanical functionality is much more important than its looks.

Rarity. How many are on the market?

At Condon Skelly, we know how exciting it can be to buy a classic motorcycle or start a collection of antique vehicles. We’ve been helping our customers protect their classics with affordable, industry-leading classic motorcycle insurance coverage since 1967. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. For more information, please contact us today at (866) 291-5694.

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Classic Motorcycles: The History of Board Track Racing

Classic Motorcycles: The History of Board Track Racing

Classic Motorcycles: The History of Board Track Racing

If you are an avid antique motorcycle fan, you’ve likely heard of the popular motorsport, Board Track Racing. Prevalent in the U.S. during the 1910s and 1920s, this event was a competition that took place on circular or oval race courses with surfaces composed of wooden planks. The reason for the use of these board tracks were in part because they were not expensive to construct. Unfortunately, they did lack durability, and because of this they required a great deal of maintenance to remain in use. Most tracks only lasted for three years before being abandoned.

Due to the lack of safely built tracks, called motordromes, the sport of Board Track Racing was a risky one. Riders were able to reach speeds of more than 100 miles an hour, meaning that when a crash happened, it was devastating. Crashes weren’t rare either; riders who went down faced being pelted with splinters from the boards and often times spectators were injured as well. Some crashes were even fatal.

Despite all this, people flocked to the races at board tracks from Denver, to Milwaukee, to Long Island. By the mid-1920s, however, the novelty of the sport began to wear off and it was losing its appeal. Newspapers had begun to refer to motordromes as “murderdromes,” and local governments even starting closing some of the tracks. Race officials and the motorcycle manufacturers that sponsored racing teams tried to implement safety measures, but it didn’t help. By the early 1930s, Board Track Racing became obsolete.

At Condon Skelly, we appreciate the history behind antique and classic motorcycles, trucks, and cars. Since 1967, we’ve been helping our customers protect their classics with affordable, industry-leading insurance coverage. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. Please contact us today to learn more at 800.257.9496. 

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Classic Motorcycles: History of the AJS Motorcycle

Classic Motorcycles: History of the AJS Motorcycle

Classic Motorcycles: History of the AJS Motorcycle

During the early 1900s, a man named Albert John Stevens built engines for use in the frame of motorcycle manufacturers along with his brother. In 1909, the brothers finished their first complete motorcycle, a British bike virtually identical to motorcycles manufactured under the Matchless brand, but named AJS, after Albert himself.

The Stevens brothers eventually formed their own business, called A.J. Stevens & Co. (AJS) The company was known for building singles and V-twins in the years before World War II and took home several trophies in the early days of TT racing, which would help their sales for many years. The company existed from 1909 to 1931, manufacturing both cars and motorcycles, but went bankrupt at the end of their run, and as a result, joined forces with the Matchless Company to form Associated Motor Cycles (AMC). Although both lines continued under their own names, they became synonymous in construction, differing only in badging and trim.

Though created after the formation of the AJS brand to AMC, the most notable bike produced is perhaps the 1954 AJS E95 Porcupine Racing Motorcycle. The Porcupine was built for speed, and was described as the “Holy Grail of British motorcycles”. This bike is the only twin-cylinder motorcycle to have ever won the 500cc World Championship, and was one of only four E95s to be built, deeming it as a “legendary” bike by many enthusiasts. The Porcupine features an exposed clutch, an AC fuel pump that requires the bike to be stood on its rear wheel for priming, a full 54bhp, and a streamlined design.

No matter what type of antique or classic motorcycle you own, it’s important to protect it financially with the right type of Classic Motorcycle Insurance Coverage. At Condon Skelly, we know how exciting it can be to start a classic car collection. We’ve been helping our customers protect their classics with affordable, industry-leading insurance coverage since 1967. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. For more information, please contact us today at (866) 291-5694.

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Classic Trucks: The 1957-58 Ford Ranchero

Classic Trucks: The 1957-58 Ford Ranchero

Classic Trucks: The 1957-58 Ford Ranchero

Dubbed as “American’s first modern car-pickup hybrid”, the Ford Ranchero was introduced for the 1957 year. According to sources from Consumer Guide- Automotive, Ford Rancheros are among the most collectible artifacts of the 1950s, with a far reaching influence.

So what was the Ford Ranchero? Basically, it was a two-door Ranch Wagon with the rear roof section cut off and a bed liner slipped over the floor pan. The concept for this vehicle was introduced much earlier, in 1932, in Australia. Ford of Australia called this vehicle a “Ute” (Utility): a roadster with the body section behind the driver replaced by a fleetside bed. In 1957, the open-bed Ford Ranchero joined Ford’s wagon lineup and was joined by the more wagon-like Ford Courier Sedan Delivery.

The Ranchero was first offered in two trim levels and was built on the corresponding automobile assembly line, but sold as a truck through Ford’s truck division throughout the model run. The two models were the basic standard model; marketed to traditional pickup truck buyers such as farmers, and the custom model; available with extensive accessories such as stainless steel bodyside moulding and two-tone paint. The custom model picked up most of its options and accessories that were available on the Fairlane line.

While the Ford Ranchero rushed into popularity in 1957, with 21,705 being produced, a year later Ford attempted a facelift on the model. Only 9,950 were produced this year. The Ranchero still lived on for many more years though, ceasing production in 1979. For many collectors, however, nothing compares to the first 1957-1958 Ford Ranchero.

Whether you own a classic Ford Ranchero or any other type of classic or antique car, it’s important to protect it financially with the right type of Classic Car Insurance Coverage. At Condon Skelly, we know how exciting it can be to start a classic car collection. We’ve been helping our customers protect their classics with affordable, industry-leading insurance coverage since 1967. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. For more information, please contact us today at (866) 291-5694.

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Which Classic Cars Have the Most Style?

Most Stylish Classic Cars

Which Classic Cars Have the Most Style?

An article published by fashion and style GQ Magazine in 2010 highlighted what their staff felt were the most stylish cars of the past 50 years. While every classic car enthusiast will have different reasons for loving one classic car over another, some of the vehicles this article noted were the:

1964-65 Buick Riviera- GQ staff felt that these cars offered the “smoothest brand of masculinity going” with its unique side-vents and bold front grill. The 64-65 Buick Riviera was among the first generation of Buicks, and is considered a styling landmark.

1966- 1968 Ford Mustang GT- Among the first generation of Ford Mustangs, these cars are perhaps the best examples of American Classics. The 1966 Ford GT 40 is actually the only American car to be overall winner in 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1969 Jaguar XKE- Italian race car driver Enzo Ferrari called this car “the most beautiful car ever made”. Are you inclined to agree?

GQ is not the only publication recognizing the pure sense of style that some cars seem to carry. The Huffington Post also recently released an article with their take on what the 10 best looking cars of all time are. A few of their picks included the:

1973 Porsche Carrera RS- Only produced for two years in 1973 and 1974, this car is considered to be the most popular classic model among collectors.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4- Many Ferrari fans will tell you that this car, of which only 330 were made, were “the best looking and performing variant of the late-1960s V-12 berlinetta.”

1964 Aston Martin DB5- This car has an iconic place in film. Most movie buffs don’t need to be told that Sean Connery drove this vehicle while he was playing James Bond in Goldfinger. The Bond car sold in 2010 for $4.6 million, and a non-Bond car sold for $833,000 just a few months earlier.

These are just a minimal sample of the many different models of classic cars of which car enthusiasts and critics alike define as “stylish”. What do you think; did we leave any game-changers off the list?

At Condon Skelly, we understand the appeal of and desire for classic cars. We are able to insure a wide variety of collector vehicles, from original antiques to newer exotic sports cars, as long as the vehicle is a true collectible. For more information, please contact us today at (866) 291-5694.

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When Should You Avoid a Classic Car Restoration Project?

When Should You Avoid a Classic Car Restoration Project?

When Should You Avoid a Classic Car Restoration Project?

In our blog post titled, “What to Consider When Making a Classic Car Investment”, we stated that if refurbished correctly, classic cars carry the potential for a large profit. However, for many classic car enthusiasts, refurbishing or restoring is far from the reason that most invest in a classic car. In fact, some enthusiasts feel that you should never restore a classic or vintage vehicle, saying that the reasons for avoiding a classic car restoration project far outweigh the reasons you should.

For example, J.P. Vettraino, car reviewer featured on AutoWeek.com, claims that you will not make money taking on a classic car restoration project. He states that in almost every case, the car and the job to restore it will end up costing more than either one of them are worth. The car’s value after a restoration project will simply not support the cost of both the car and the rebuild, according to Vettraino.

Classic car enthusiasts also point out that you’ll typically spend more than you planned by taking on a classic car restoration project. Even if you set aside some cash, you will likely find that you’ll buy things you didn’t account for, such as tools or parts for the car you didn’t realize you needed. Not only this, but as is the case with many classic or vintage cars, some parts no longer exist. This means you will either be forced to use a part not native to your classic, thus decreasing the value of the restoration, or you may never finish the classic car restoration.

Les Jackson, who offers an Intro to Auto Restoration course in a community ed program, states that despite the reasons there might be to avoid a classic car restoration project, there could still be benefits. “There can be more of a community aspect to restoring a car,” Jackson says. “When you stop for gas, people ogle and marvel.” When it comes down to it, this may be the only reason you need to choose to restore a classic vehicle.

At Condon Skelly, we understand the appeal of and desire for classic cars. We are able to insure a wide variety of collector vehicles, from original antiques to brand new exotic sports cars, as long as the vehicle is a true collectible. For more information, please contact us today at (866) 291-5694.

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Collector Motorcycle Insurance: The Triumph Tiger Cub

Collector Motorcycle Insurance: The Triumph Tiger Cub

Back in December 2013, we explored the evolution of the Triumph Bonneville classic motorcycle. While the Bonneville is an iconic antique vehicle, it’s not the only Triumph with fame. Intended to be a bike that served as an antidote to the fog of British two-stroke engines smoking up the streets, the T20 Tiger Cub was a bike that capitalized on the appeal of Triumph’s established muscle machines, the 498cc Speed Twin, Tiger 100, and 649cc Thunderbird. Unlike these bikes though, the Tiger Cub was lightweight with a commuter appeal.

The tiger cub was known for being a small motorcycle. Introduced in 1954 and in production for a little over a decade, the 200cc T20 Tiger Cub was designed by Edward Turner and launched at the Earls Court show in November 1953. The Tiger Cub competed well against the other small-capacity motorcycles of the time, such as those using Villiers two-stroke engines.

The earlier version of the Cub, derived from the 150cc Triumph T15 Terrier (1953-1956) with the same frame and forks, used the aforementioned bike’s plunger rear suspension frame. In 1957, this was updated to a more modern pattern of a rear-swinging arm with twin suspension units.

Even with its iconic nature, the Tiger Cub had its drawbacks. For example, in the earlier bikes the plain bearing big ends were prone to failure if the engine was revved hard before the oil was warm. A better oil pump was fitted in 1961, and the Cub received a complete new bottom end in 1962, which fixed that problem. The Cub also saw ignition problems during this time, but that too was fixed by 1963.

Although the Tiger Cub made many improvements throughout its existence, it’s development was somewhat short lived. Triumph ceased production of the Tiger Cub in 1968. The last model made was the T20 Super Cub.

No matter what type of classic or vintage motorcycle you own, we can insure it at Condon Skelly. Your vehicle will fall into the antique category if it is completely original and at least 25 years old. We insure many different types of antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles so we’ll be able to craft the perfect policy for your vehicle. Please contact us at (866) 291-5694 for more information today!

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