ACS BITS & BYTES
The Financial Issue - Vol. 1, No. 1
 

 

 Alfas are too cheap.

There are among us individuals who feel they need to rationalize large expenditures.

Let's imagine your Alfa needs an engine job. Say it's a '75 Spider. On a good day and if you'd put on a new top, had the seats recovered, and perhaps a paint job, might be worth $5,000.

The engine estimates are around $3,000.

Perhaps there's someone in your life who, while they like the Spider, don't actually love it. At least certainly not as much as you do.

And you're going to spend How Much to get that damn thing running??

...

Now let's sprinkle a little magic dust. (Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle).

That somewhat faded little red car with the small tear in the top when you put it down too fast one day and the growing oil spill beneath the front and rear engine seals is now worth $12,000 as it sits.

Hoo, boy! Wanna engine job? Need to justify it? You, my friend, have an investment sitting out there which needs love and attention and, yes, a few dollars to put it right.

But, but, but, I can't afford to pay $12,000 for a toy.

What do you call that gas guzzling SUV in the driveway? A necessity? What did you pay for it? And how many years will it be before it's sitting on stands at Pick-A-Part? And who's going to miss it?

Now a lot of people bemoaned the fact that the price of collector cars went off the scale in the late eighties and very early nineties. True, the prices did get ridiculous. On the other hand, a lot of really neat cars that had been gathering dust for decades not only saw the light of day, they often did looking oh so fine.

 continued on next column

Fame & Fortune on the Internet.

I have a question.

Why is it assumed if something is advertised on the Internet, it should sell for less money than, let's say, ordering from a catalog?

Is not someone entitled to make a small profit on an item just because it's listed on a web site?

If you see a quality product on a site, not just ACS, it's something you want, why not buy it?

The irony is the companies who can afford to absorb the costs, won't.

It costs a bank approximately $1.15 per walk-in transaction, $.55 per ATM transaction, and about half a cent per Internet transaction.

Once everyone begins banking via the Internet do you think they'll lower their fees accordingly? I'm sure the same as they did after installing ATMs - zippo.

Ahh, you ask, if that's all it costs, then I should get it cheaper on the Internet.

Amazon.com is held up as a prime example for Internet entrepreneurs to follow in the footsteps of.

If modeling oneself after a company whose motto is "We lose money on every sale, but make it up in volume" is the road to riches, then I'm sure missing something.

True, Amazon's founder is worth four billion on paper, and that is verging on serious money. An independent oil and gas exploration company client I once had needed an infusion of funds. Going on the theory that if you were deep into bank's pockets, they would see to it you stayed in business, they borrowed 25 million. It worked, for awhile. Eventually it all fell down and I suspect the same will happen with Amazon.com if they don't go from red to black.

To do so will mean raising prices.

Selling items on the Internet for a profit.

What a concept.

I'm not suggesting one should go overboard restoring, or if you prefer, fixing up, the old girl. In fact there's a great temptation to go overboard and put on heavy duty springs, hot up the engine, killer sound system, you know, the whole nine yards and then some. Now that is truly a situation where you will never see your money again should you need to sell.

Invariably the original car outsells the modified one.

I've known individuals who wanted a fun, playAlfa. Rather than taking a good original one, they picked up a thoroughly worn example only a mother could love and turned it into their special project. If it's about to be crushed, there's not too much to lose.

...

Think about it. Would you rather be driving a used Miata? If so, then sell your Spider to an enthusiast and buy one. If you really enjoy driving the '75 Spider and you like the fact you don't see another every time you back out your driveway, then hang onto it. Should money be tight, do as much as you can yourself. I'll bet you could pull the engine yourself, clean it up, and turn it over to someone you trust for considerably less than the $3,000.

When it comes time to paint "her", remove everything yourself (make notes), don't get the cheapest job, but don't go the other direction. Patch the top for now, although new ones aren't really too terribly expensive.

Sort of like letting your heart control your mind with a lot of elbow grease to keep things sliding along.


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