MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR TACKLES A RAGING DEBATE: SQUARE BODIES VS. ROLEX WATCHES

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Most car guys are familiar with this expression:”It runs like a Swiss watch”.

The cliche is applied to the ultra-smooth and dependable operation of an expensive Swiss watch that will lap the field in overall quality.

Rolex watches rank among the best in terms of the Swiss watch food chain and are considered to be the Cadillacs of their timepiece field, to borrow heavily from another old car guy cliché.

The Rolex watch is not a familiar item to us here at MyStarCollectorCar, given that we know very little about a watch that rivals the GNP of a few small countries in terms of cost, so we would not be able to pick one out in a herd of Timex watches.

Consequently, we did a little research into Rolex watches because we wanted to compare their relative cost and investment potential compared to vintage vehicles. 

Numbers matter when it comes to old rides and Rolex watches because both have a value that may or may not increase over time. Both commodities are subject to availability and rarity in terms of production.

An excellent example of a Rolex watch’s rise in value is the Rolex Submariner Hulk model, an-out-of-production timepiece worth about $8000 in 2017 but subsequently commanded an average over $23,000 in 2023, averaging over 14% in annual value increase during that timeframe.

By comparison, a GM-built Square Body (built from 1973 to 1987) pickup has risen in value from $17,000 in 2019 to $28,000 in 2023, an annual increase of about 16% for the currently hot retro trucks built by the General. For the record, it can be very difficult to pick one year of Square Body from another year–not unlike the Rolex/Timex identification problem.        

There are many other examples of vintage rides that have increased in value, along with plenty of examples of decreased value in the automotive hobby. It is a reality that will undoubtedly affect the Square Body truck fad once it loses its flavor-of-the-week status and gets replaced by another vintage ride craze in car guy world.

Currently, the Square Body truck is a solid counterbalance to the Rolex watch in terms of investment value, but the old pickup runs away from the Swiss watch in terms of its overall fun factor.

You can take your vintage Rolex on every outing, but few people will be aware of the watch unless you get “Yup, it’s a Rolex”–with an arrow pointed toward your wrist while wearing a T-shirt whenever you are in the public eye.

A vintage GM Square Body is hard to miss on the street, even though plenty of them are still on the road, thanks to their massive production numbers over their 14-year run. Square Body pickups are retro cool in a big way and command attention because of their throwback style.

Also, it didn’t hurt that TV’s Joe Rockford (father of Jim) and Fall Guy’s Colt Seaver both drove ultra-stylish GMC Square Body pickups and helped make them much cooler than a mere wristwatch. 

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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