TMCP #581: ASK RICK – Independence Day Special Edition! Growing Up Inside an All American Business – $25K American Investment Cars

Rick Schmidt – Ask Rick:

It is JULY and time for another riveting Ask Rick segment where I ask him the tough questions! Happy Independence Day and make sure you stay safe with the fireworks. The Fourth is when we celebrate our independence and our freedom from oppression of the English monarchy by blowing up some stuff! This month I askeded Rick what his most memorable family tradition around this holiday and then I traveled with him down memory lane where he recalled his younger days and the early start of NPD. Growing up inside the All American business wasn’t always what it appears to be on the outside…and there are lessons to learn here about tenacity and the true cost of success. We also reviewed about all American vehicles to buy (for lest that $25,000) and hold for the best ROI in 5 years. Here’s a hint: Lil’ Red Express!

Rick’s Take On The History of NPD – A Made In America Story :

The Schmidt family tradition of owning and running companies goes back multiple generations to his grandfather who owned Fabco, a steel fabrication business in Florida that still exists today. NPD was started in Ricks fathers basement after he got frustrated with the way things were run at Fabco. There was no bad feeling between the two, just the need to do his own thing. He took his severance pay and bought machine shop tools to make and sell fabricated parts to Fabco. An interesting side note is that many of the Disney animatronics characters in the rides and displays featured parts built by Fabco and some of those were made in that lowly basement. Kodak was also a huge customer with most of the production line tools they used being manufactured at Fabco.

Rick’s dads basement business changed from machine fabrication to selling Thunderbird parts and quickly outgrew its location. They had to move into a larger building and continued growing exponentially. When they built a new building it was in the middle of the high interest 1970’s and the variable rate loan they took out induced a huge amount of stress that took its toll on family life at home. Eventually they completely outgrew the building to the point where it was causing logistical issues as things had to be moved every time a new shipment came in or someone bought something. There were over ten semi trailers in the lot holding various car parts and the insides could reach 150 degrees in the Florida sun. In the 80’s Rick and his dad decided to buy twenty acres and drew out a floorplan for a 160,000 square foot building and every penny was accounted for before the purchase was considered. The building has now doubled in size and the business is still growing.

When debt is involved, your name in on the line personally. This creates stress and conflict in your personal life. Rick’s dad made sure that future loans were completely covered by the business and did not touch his personal finances and holdings. Let the business ride on its own merits and do not add stress to the home life was his mantra. NPD has lived and flourished by tight finances, ethical business practices and the willingness to put the customer first and it shows through the growth of the company and the financial statements over the years.

Ricks Take On American Buy and Hold Vehicles:

 In honor of Independence Day, the goal is to select the most star-spangled classic representation of Americana from the 3 cars below. This car is meant to be a collectible caliber vehicle, but purchasable under $25,000.  Choose the one with the best ROI on July 4, 2029 (5 year investment hold).

Car #1:

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car for the 62nd running of the Indianapolis 500. This is a great looking car and sought after by collectors. Rick thinks that the black and grey paint is stunning but is reduced by the billboard text on the side. It would have been better to leave the stickers unapplied but delivered with the vehicle. These cars were marketed and sold as collectors so you will not find one now that anyone would just get in and drive they are put in storage and protected as investments so there is little room for profits.

1966 Mustang

Car #2:

1966 Ford Mustang Coupe

Who doesn’t like a Mustang? Nothing screams America, Apple Pie, and hitting the highway like a classic Ford pony car. Rick said that the coupe version of the Mustang is not as popular as the fastback but this should not stop it from being a great collectible car. In 1966 the Mustang coupe was produced by the hundreds of thousands (480k) so there are a lot of them out there to be had and enjoyed. This was Rick’s pick for the Independence Day investment car.

Lil Red Express Truck

Car #3:

1979 Dodge Lil Red Express Truck

Trucks are hot and one highly collectible truck is Dodge’s ‘Lil Red Express truck. Right off the bat, Rick did not like this one as it is kitchy and not a very usable truck. He understands that it is sought after but did not hit his list of collectible vehicles.

1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Bonus Car #4 – Future Bet?

1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport In all American Red White and Blue this is a stunning car. Rick is a big fan of the body style and says he has owned C4 Corvettes in the past. He reports that the 330 horse LT4 engine is fast and very fun to drive. However in this instance, the red chevrons on the fender and tacked on widebody fender extensions on the back all turn Ricks stomach a little and makes him long for a nice stock C4 with an LT4 in it. He said there was not much to distinguish the Grand Sport from other ‘Vettes except these gaudy trinkets and slightly wider tires.

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