NASCAR Set to Make a Comeback...Eventually
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NASCAR model kits, over the last few years, have seen their values drop drastically. The kits are among the cheapest at the swap meets, many of them available for just a few dollars.
There are any number of reasons why, and the opinions on the situation vary from builder to builder. It's certainly not NASCAR's popularity, which is huge and still growing. Many people cite Action's die cast, which are quality detailed pieces available in almost any paint scheme for most drivers. Some cite overproduction, which seems plausible since at swap meets cheap NASCAR kits are everywhere.
I see the current market as an opportunity for patient dealers and stock car model builders.
As a dealer, or in my case, a dealer's assistant, I see a good return on investment in NASCAR kits. All it requires is storage space and patience. Go on a buying spree. I've picked up a $1 Jeff Gordon AMT, a $3 Ricky Rudd Tide Lumina, a $3 Alan Kulwicki Quincy's, a $3 Jeff Gordon kit in a tin, a $3 Cheerwine car, and others at inexpensive prices. $4 seems to be the going rate for a common early to mid 1990's NASCAR still in the original wrapping.
Once you have a trunkful of NASCAR plastic, store them. Put them away for a few years. Eventually, as often happens to other collectibles and model kits, the glut of cheap NASCAR kits will finally clear off the tables. It may take some time, but that gives a dealer time to buy, or at least be choosy in finding and buying the best kits of popular cars still wrapped in the original plastic.
Some demand will always be around, from people who missed out on them before or people new to the hobby. There will always be people who enjoy building the cars more than buying them, or else there wouldn't be a model car building hobby anymore. 1/25 scale AMT will always have a niche, as they are the only NASCAR vehicles that are the correct scale to match other model cars, which comes in handy for dioramas.
Once supply has tightened to the point where it is equal to demand or demand exceeds supply, prices will rise again. This is accelerated by the fact that model kits aren't always preserved like other collectibles, such as baseball cards. They get built, or parts get used on other projects, effectively taking them out of circulation. Once the current glut clears out, you can bring your kits back to the shows, or list them on eBay, however you wish to sell them.
It's not a sure bet, as nothing in life is. But think of all the kits from the late 60's and early 70's that were common then and are expensive rarities today. If there's something safe to bet on, it's the continued popularity of NASCAR, and hopefully that will carry over to NASCAR models.
As a model builder, I have an interest in NASCAR, and have taken advantage of current prices to build up quite a collection of inexpensive kits still in their original plastic. Many of them are of cars that Action hasn't done, or are hard to find, or hasn't done well, if they come from the earliest days of the company.
My current project is a 1994 Jimmy Spencer McDonald's Thunderbird. I'm not much of a Jimmy Spencer fan, but I enjoy McDonald's cars, and I bought two of the kits to work with for a combined $7.
©2006 Bill Crittenden
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