LOOKING FOR a budget-friendly way to take your first steps into antique-car ownership? Consider the huge, limousine-like sedans that your grandfather or great uncle might have driven 45 years ago. While “land yachts” from the 1970s are building a loyal following— in part because they offer a ton of car (or more like 2˝ tons) for not much money—these luxury monsters have yet to hit their stride in the collector’s market.
When they first rolled off assembly lines, Me-Decade Cadillacs and Lincolns were marvels of technology and design, but they soon fell victim to obsolescence.
“As gasoline prices climbed in the early ’70s, these cars became dinosaurs,” said Craig Jackson, president of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company in Scottsdale, Ariz. “You really couldn’t give them away because they were getting around 8 miles to the gallon.”
Despite their woeful fuel economy, interest in big 1970s sedans is growing, said Mr. Jackson, and the bar to entry is low. You can find near mint examples for $10,000 to $15,000—a fraction of the price commanded by a collectible ’60s car.
Cadillac Sedan de Ville
Like its rival, the Lincoln Continental, this Caddy was enormous, even by the day’s standards, weighing more than 5,000 pounds. (Plus, its body is longer than a modern-day Cadillac Escalade.) Mr. Jackson of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co., which plans to put a 1972 de Ville up for auction later this month, said buyers are often surprised by the roominess of old sedans, many of which have front and rear bench seats that can each accommodate three or four people. These beasts are ideal for “restomods”—a term denoting cars restored with boosts from modern technology and, in some cases, cosmetic upgrades. “They give you a big palette,” Mr. Jackson said. You can find models for around $11,000.