Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The gearheads behind TheFuelist.com; Matt Hamilton, Dr.Thomas Rand-Nash, and Eric Maas, here with a Ducati 175 in their Berkeley warehouse/office
My old friend Matt Hamilton contacted me recently to reveal the 'web startup' he's been quietly working on the past 2 years, with Eric Maas and Dr.Thomas Rand-Nash (their chief data scientist).  Matt is one of the biggest gearheads I know, who collects vintage bikes and cars, and keeps the Alfa Romeo blog Giuliettas.com.  I recently visited the Berkeley headquarters of their new venture, TheFuelist.com, and if their website succeeds at what they're attempting, it's going to permanently change how people buy and sell vintage motorcycles and cars.
Home page of TheFuelist.com; the start of your data search, and possibly the loss of many minutes of your time!
The concept of The Fuelist is simple: track every public auction in the collector's vehicle market worldwide, break it down to year/make/model for every category and eventually, every option, and create informative, interactive graphs tracking prices over time.  Each graph point represents an actual sale, whether on eBay or another web-auction site, or from a live-auction house such as the various Bonhams, MidAmerica, or H+H sales worldwide, or the Las Vegas mega-sales.

Even at this early date, TheFuelist has nearly 1300 BSAs listed in their auction sales ranks over the past 10 years.
By clicking on a graph point, all the information and photos of that sale come up in a sidebar; the date and sale price, the location of the sale, the photos and details of the machine as provided in the auction. So, if you're looking for a late 1960s Triumph Bonneville, you'd click on 'motorcycles', then 'Triumph', then 'Bonneville', then set your target years in a date bracket, and voilá, you'll have every single public sale of that particular type of machine in a big graph, and you can set the search from a 6 month range to as far back as 10 years ago.  Click any point on the graph (which is a confirmed sale), and a sidebar shows a brief summary of the machine; clicking on the photo or the 'details' button sends you to a page with all the auction photos and detailed description of the machine
Here's a Fuelist comparison on 750cc Triples from the 1970s; BSA Rocket III, Triumph Trident, and Kawasaki H2 
You can actually compare prices on 5 different models in one graph, by clicking on the 'add item' button on the bottom of the screen.  On the example above, I compared 1970s 3-cylinder 750cc bikes - the BSA Rocket III, Triumph Trident, and Kawasaki H2; each model appears as a different colored dot on the graph.  Or, you can compare prices of Norton Commandos and BSA Rocket 3s, or Corvettes and Brough Superiors. This is potentially a massive amount of information, so it's best to keep your searches specific, unless you want general sales trends for thousands of old vehicles!  As of today (Mar.25 2014) they have 6000 motorcycles and 12,000 cars in their database, with about 100,000 more which are currently having their numbers crunched.  As The Fuelist fills its tank of information over the next few months, the details available will become even richer, such as breaking down bikes by color or region or options.  The boys at The Fuelist emphasize this isn't a price guide...but it sure acts like one.
TheFuelist.com office...gearheads one and all...with an Austin Healey 3000 keeping a Honda Super Hawk company
In the very near future, people like me will appear in guest blogs to interpret trends or make note of developments in the classic motorcycle and car market, and I think this feature will augment the site greatly, and become very popular.  An unlimited database is one thing, but an intelligent analysis of market trends using actual data is the real deal.  I've been an auction company consultant for years at Bonhams, and kept track of the highest-selling machines on The Vintagent's 'Top 20' Auction updates (now the 'Top 35' and growing; I don't delete previous sales), so working with The Fuelist seems like a natural extension.  It doesn't hurt that these guys already did the hard work of raising the money and writing the code!  The Fuelist is in 'beta' or testing mode right now, and they're still crunching data every hour, adding to their stock of information, but it's live, and you can check it out here.  Expect a mobile app and their full launch very soon.


Anonymous said...

Too few makes . The Fuelist has little value unless it is able to include sales and auction information on even moderately well-known makes an models. it declined Excelsior Manxman for instance. Whats an OK Supreme or OEC? Paul its great idea. They need your guidance. Reagards, Mitchell barnes

The Vintagent said...

Oh, they'll have it Mitchell...

The site just came live today, and they've got 100,000 auctions to crunch still. We're all a bit jaded and like everything at our fingertips, but if you think about it, there's nothing like this on the Web, even in The Fuelist's current, Beta-testing state.

A Google search of your favorite machine will turn up a huge amount of crap you have to wade through to get the info you want.

When they have their act really together, I reckon we'll all be using this site...

Stuart Morgan said...

Easy to use and interpret and with a sound database behind it already, and increasing, this is going to build into a hugely useful and interesting resource. As you say, the current method of trawling auction and auction result sites (some of which, even the big-player ones are klunky at best) is painfully slow, this site does the work for you. And I like the links to the catalogue illustrations - handy when filtering the outlying values.