Power and Panache
Motor City Classic Cars feeds the appetite for collectible automobiles in America and beyond
Many of the cars at Motor City are red, a popular choice among collectors. But nearly every one is a different shade: torch, bolero, pimento, Madeira maroon, sportsman, gypsy, burgundy, rosso corsa, matador, Monte Carlo, flame ... and, sometimes, just plain old red.
Looking for a 1932 two-tone red-over-burgundy Lincoln KB sport phaeton, meticulously restored down to the last nut? That’ll run you $400,000. Maybe a 1976 pimento red TR6, priced at a more modest $16,000, would do the trick. Motor City Classic Cars has both.
Located in Vero Beach since 2016, the company maintains an ever-changing supply of approximately 50 rare and highly restored vehicles, available for sale to collectors and investors alike. Although the bulk of their inventory falls within the $50,000 to $150,000 range, one thing never varies —
“We don’t handle ordinary cars,” says Gordon Stewart, the company’s founder and president. “We concentrate on No. 1 and No. 2 cars.” Those numbers refer to a rating system used by car collectors. Known as the condition code, it ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 being the best. “A No. 1, you wouldn’t want to drive it on the street. You may take it to a parade, but you’d tow it,” he says. “A No. 5 would be something that needs a lot of rebuilding.” A weathered hulk suitable only for parts
would rate a 6.
Motor City only occasionally does the restoration itself. “People who do the restorations lose the most money,” Stewart says. “Somebody will buy a car for $5,000 and put $50,000 into a restoration. But it’s not worth that.” Instead, Stewart and his vice president, Adam Logemann, hunt out good deals on vehicles that are already in impeccable shape.