Interview with Lance Coren, by Wallace Wyss

© Wallace Wyss - Last updated on February 10th., 2007


Mustangs in top-level condition have become a collectors dream and are probably lost forever for the average enthusiast.

Early Shelby GT 350ies catch premium money at auctions.





















Boss 429 - the King of the Road. Really nice ones prices have gone into the stratosphere lately.
Owner: McGregor/AUSTRALIA












































































De Tomaso Panteras are mostly modified, this one with big tires only

Interview with a Mustang Expert, 
and World Class Appraiser

LANCE COREN age 57, is a world class appraiser of sports cars, certified by the FIA in Paris France and certified as a Master Automotive Appraiser by the International Automotive Appraisers Association (IAAA). Coren once was professionally associated with the most premier Cobra and Shelby restoration shop on planet Earth and has owned and marketed many collector cars including a twin set of factory Trans-Am Boss 302’s that sold for more than any previous Trans-Am cars. One of the twin Trans-Am Mustangs was purchased by, and is currently owned by Vic Edelbrock. 
He has traveled the world to inspect and write up pre-purchase inspection reports and appraisals of cars from his base just outside of Fresno, in Central California. 
Wallace Wyss, author of SHELBY: The Man The Cars The Legend, caught up with Lance between some trips, and asked him a few questions for us.


WW: What is happening in the Mustang market? Are the '64 1/2 and '65's still desirable?

LC: They sure are. It appears that as time goes by, they are even more desirable and the values continue to climb. Of course, some more desirable models are appreciating faster than others.

WW Of course the Shelbys are going through the roof, but what about the 289 2 plus 2 fastbacks?

LC: These include the top of the line 5R09K & 6R09K cars (including GT designations. These cars are really at the top of the heap for Mustangs. The really nice ones are bringing premium $$$, when you can find them. To find them fully restored properly and in #1 condition is extremely rare. These type 09K cars are significantly priced.

WW There has been a lot of brouhaha about the editor of Sports Car Market Letter being booted out of the Barrett-Jackson for having an editorial in the magazine he publishes pointing out that some musclecars are being "put together' out of lesser models for auctions. Do you feel say a Mustang that came with a six cylinder is right to sell as a 289?

LC: An owner can do whatever he wants with his car. The only problem that can occur, is when an owner misrepresents the vehicle as something that it was not when originally produced by the manufacturer. This a material misrepresentation on a grand scale. I see it quite often. Of course, the owner must have knowledge of the misrepresentation. If he purchased the car from someone else, and it was represented incorrectly from the prior owner/seller, then you could say that the prospective purchaser did not do his homework and was taken for a ride down the wrong road!

WW: Do you think this trend will continue so that for every Hemi-powered 'Cude there will be a dozen cloned cars for sale? What do you call this, the wanna-be market?

LC: Yes. The wannabe clone market is huge and appears to be growing. There are so many Hemi-Cudas on the road today, it really boggles the mind. You cannot go to one of the bigger automotive auctions and not see one of these clone cars being sold. It is extremely important to be an astute buyer and researcher on these type cars, so as not to overpay or be bamboozled into buying something that you were not interested in when you first set your eyes on it.

WW: What about the notchback Mustangs? Are they going to be worth anything? After all the Shelby Racing Team ran notchbacks in Trans am?

LC: Notchbacks are also going along with the flow of prices, but not as quickly and not as high. Many people associate their earlier years with these cars and therefore have a desire to own one and enjoy it in the process. These cars will continue to be desirable because they are affordable to more of the populous.

WW: How do you rate the value of the Boss 302 against the Boss 429?

LC: The 1969 - 1970 Boss 302's and 429's are still appreciating. My personal preference is for the 1969 Boss 302. Ford manufactured less of them in 1969 than in 1970. I prefer the body stripes, opposed to the over-body stripes of the 1970 models.

The Boss 429 is in my opinion, the real King of the Road. The power and desirability with the collector market is intense. The really nice ones have gone into the stratosphere lately. The going prices are staggering.

WW Have all the original Trans-Am cars been found and restored or were many of them scrapped?

LC: Some of the original factory team cars were parted out or scrapped. One of my clients, Roger Penske, once told me that in the early years, the team went through a couple of cars in the process of creating their ultimate cheater car. I know positively, the Penske team was not alone. Parnelli Jones also mentioned something along these lines with Bud Moore in discussions at various shows he was interviewed at in Southern California.

WW: What is the world's most valuable Mustang? Is it the Bertone-bodied car done for Automobile Quarterly's publisher? The first Shelby GT350 R-model?

LC: I have inspected and appraised the acknowledged first Mustang ever built (actually a pre-production prototype put into the production line-up as a pilot unit for publicity on day #1). I have also inspected and appraised a number of Shelby R-models and unique custom bodied Mustangs.

My opinion is that between the #1 Mustang, the first Shelby GT350 and the1970 Trans-Am Boss 302 Parnelli Jones Championship car, their values would be similar at this point in time.

WW What do you think of vintage racing organizations that allow non-original cars to run? Say a regular 289 Mustang 2 plus 2 that's been converted to look like a Shelby?

LC: My personal opinion is that depending on the racing venue, it would probably be OK. For a venue that is all about original cars and their history, my answer would be no. At some events, an original car may not be available, so for a clone to take to the track, would be a treat for many spectators attending.

WW: I think of Shelbys and Mustangs as all-American cars, something us Americans dig because we grew up with them. My question is: how come there are clubs in Norway, Germany, Sweden and so forth that collect Mustangs? Where do they derive their enthusiasm?

LC: I have spoken with many Mustang enthusiasts at their events I have attended, in both Europe and Japan. Real enthusiasm for the Mustang, has no bounds. The love for the car is truly universal and it is still growing.

WW: I have been in Dearborn, in warehouses where Ford keeps their old prototypes. I know they had a sale a couple years back where they blew out about 60 of the old show cars, but do you think they are hiding still more, like the Mustang Mach I show car and Mustang Milano?

LC: I have also been inside some of the Ford warehouses that contain old prototypes and other cars that were wrecked and people have perished in. The treasure trove is truly immense. I am of the belief that the real number of cars being stored away is in the hundreds. I was told that the majority will never see the light of any auction tent. These are sacred in the eyes of Ford, and are never to be purged from the master collection.

WW I tracked the Mustang II show car to a Museum called Owl's Head. That is in essence a 1963 Mustang. What would the value of that be?

LC: Values can truly vary, depending on the condition and documented history. A value of over $250K is most likely.

WW Why do you think Mustangs and musclecars are so popular these days? Is it because the baby boomers are grown up, sitting on homes that have doubled and tripled in value and inheriting trillions from the WWII generation? Or because the guys that made it in business want the car they lusted after in high school?

LC: I believe, and I am also joined by many, who know that  your scenarios are correct. To have fun, while investing in a current appreciating asset is hard to beat.

WW: Carroll Shelby is making modern clones of his Shelbys through Unique Performance. These modern cars have a lot of new items that weren't on the originals, like maybe an alloy block. Do you think these will retain their value and even appreciate?

LC: My personal opinion is that these cars will not retain their value like the originals. Even though Carroll has given his blessing to these units, the collector car arena has always said, “There is no substitute for originality! I believe that some percentage of depreciation, will be associated with these cars because of their manufacture status.

WW: Shelby as you know makes replica Cobras, some even with aluminum coachwork. Do you think that eventually, I mean a decade from now, the Shelby-built ones will be worth more than the other replicas even though in some cases they are a bolt-for-bolt identical to the Kirkhams?

LC: Shelby produced cars will always be worth more than an identical manufactured car from a secondary supplier. I believe this fact will never change in our lifetime and that of our children.

WW: As you know Chevy is coming out with a new Camaro I think next year. Do you think that they will take up the gauntlet thrown down by Ford and come up with a hot performance model that has retro links, i.e. a new Z/28 and if so do you think the re-emergence of cars like the new Shelby Mustang, the new Boss 302 and so forth help the value of the old originals?

LC: You can count on it and also take it to the bank. Even though the insurance companies hate it, the Horsepower Wars are on again! The new production will enhance the desirability of the originals and thus, push prices accordingly. Keep you eyes open! A lot of performance cars are going to come out of many manufacturers. I have seen some of them, and to say it is exciting, is putting it mildly. Competition between manufacturers for buyers will never die. Performance lives and will never die!

WW What do you think the value of the Ford GTs will go to? As you know they sold around 4300 of them and most were the same except for one in Sonic Blue that the owner is trying to hawk for a million. Do you see them going up or down? Did they make too many?

LC: Ford did not make too many. This was Ford's  "halo" car for the time. They are currently depreciating in value. I just recently purchased a 2005 year car for one of my customers for $140K. They are one hell-of-a-car for the money and in my opinion, will always be. The depreciation trend for these GTs should be slow and short. To say you should wait for a couple of years and buy one for $75K, would be out of the question.

WW: If Ford made any mistake in marketing the Ford GT, what was it?

LC: I am of the opinion that no mistake was made in the marketing of the Ford GT. Bill Ford and the marketing/PR divisions of Ford put on an unbelievable show. I have yet to see any fallout over it. It was positively a huge success. The only regret, that I have been told, was that Ford really did not make any money doing it!

WW:I have heard that at some ALMS races (American LeMans Series) there are virtually no spectators. Yet at some vintage races the stands are packed. Why are vintage races so appealing and shouldn't there be more of them if no one wants to see modern high tech cars?

LC: Vintage races throughout the world are BIG business. The interest in them, and the revenue derived from them, is significant. Some of the current professional racing venues are not being marketed to the extent they should be, in my opinion. Remember one thing, vintage racing venues bring out real hard-core enthusiasts. Some of the other type racing, does not.

WW: A lot of replica Cobra owners take advantage of registration laws and register their cars as 1965 Cobras even though they were built in, say, 2003. Do you , as an appraiser, object to the DMVs of various States, allowing this wholesale fabrication of the original year of a car or do you think that the serial number will always tell newcomers that it is a replica?

LC: Personally, I do not agree with a 1965 branding of a title for a newly constructed car. We are actually seeing less and less of this practice in the US. As you mentioned though, the vehicle identification number (VIN) will most always tell part of the story for each vehicle.

WW: Do you feel the Trans-Am racing Mustangs will be increasingly popular because their history was ignored in the past?

LC: My belief is that all of the Trans-Am cars are appreciating in stature and popularity, due to their prominent history in America. It is nice to see and nicer to experience in person. Their presence is overpowering.

WW. What will happen to DeTomaso Panteras? I was writing about them for 13 years but at the beginning a non restored one was $25,000 and here they are still worth that unrestored.

LC: The cars are real good cars. I personally owned two of them (1972 & 1974) and drove them as everyday cars for over 100K miles. I had barrels of fun and have never looked back. Appreciation for them never reached the degree of many other high performance cars. The values are holding steady and have been for quite some time. I see an appreciation trend for these cars, abet in reality, a slow one.

WW: I went to the 2007 Barrett-Jackson before the start and saw damn few Ferraris and foreign cars. I remember when that's where all he action was. Do you think this whole thing is cyclical and the pendulum will swing once again and we will go back to foreign cars being the hot potatoes of the auction circuit or were we all burned by high parts and labor costs on Ferraris and such so much that they will never regain their former popularity?

LC: Foreign cars have never been a Barrett-Jackson specialty. Russo & Steele and RM have that market in my opinion. It has been that way for many, many years. An example is the number of Ferraris offered at B-J in 2007. Very few crossed the block. At RM and Russo & Steele, quite a few nice examples were offered and there was no lack of buyers in the audience that I could see.

WW. Will the replica Shelbys, like those made by Unique Performance, under Shelby license, hold their value?

A: My belief is that these cars will be depreciating vehicles. Even though Shelby has blessed these cars, I personally cannot see them retaining their value, due to their history (or lack thereof).

WW. Do you consider the Green Hornet Shelby notchback prototype a Shelby or because it didn't have a Shelby serial number, just a modified Mustang? 

the car does not have a Shelby VIN, it cannot be labeled a Shelby. Many cars have a Shelby history, but do not have a Shelby serial number (VIN). Take for example, the first Tran-Am Boss 302 Mustang. It has both Shelby and Ford Racing history, but does not have a Shelby identification number. It is still worth a considerable amount of money, due to it's historical significance, not a Shelby serial number.

WW. Shelby reportedly ordered several of the final Ford GT's made. Do you think if he modifies them a bit, they will go for quite a bit more than the last stock ones because they were "Shelby-owned?"

L.C: Yes. Look what happened at Barrett-Jackson in 2007, with the twin supercharged 427 S/C Cobra. At over $5M, the sale shook all the experts and public alike. Because Shelby was the original owner, contributed substantially to the sale of the car. Shelbys name means a lot and always will. It is similar with the likes of Enzo Ferrari.

WW: How do you feel about former celebrity owned cars anyway? Would you pay more for a 289 Cobra because it was once owned by Steve McQueen?

L.C: Collectors will always pay more for history. This is part of what we call enhancement value. Historical significance can account for a lot of money in valuation and desirability. The only variable, is who the owner was and how much of a car guy he accounted for with the car.

WW. Thanks, Lance...

The Author: 
Wallace Wyss is the author of SHELBY: The Man. The Cars. The
(Interview done in early 2007)

The Website:
Ponysite.de is here to provide unexpected insights, unexpected opinions, even contradictional statements to common belief, if they help solve a case. We dive into so-called well-known history records for the fun of finding weak spots and start digging for the mysterious. "Leaning over the engine bay in an comfortable way, we first analyse the problem, before we get our hands dirty to identify and toss the incorrect nut." Looking forward for a challenge to raise further questions based on interviews, opinions and "well-known facts", which make us really nervous. You can change history, if you know the facts.

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