1950s American

Index of collectible American cars of the 1950s

Traditionally a stable segment of the market, 1950s American cars have experienced some shakiness since 2018 due to a variety of factors (restoration costs, demographic shifts in the market). At first glance Hagerty’s 1950s American Car Index appears to have returned to normal with no change over the past four months. Look a bit closer, though, and you’ll see there was more activity among these cars than there has been in a few years. It’s simply that notable movers in both directions essentially canceled each other out.

Although nearly half of the cars in the index gained value, particularly the index’s Cadillacs, 12 percent drops for Letter Series Chrysler 300s and the 1956 Continental Mk II offset those gains. There was mixed movement outside the index as well. Cadillac Fleetwoods, Chevrolet 150s and Bel Airs, Pontiac Chieftans, Buick Roadmasters, and 1955-57 Ford Thunderbirds all posted sizable gains. Continentals/Lincoln Continentals, Mercury Marauders, and certain Ford Fairlanes all posted sizable drops.

With immense size and ample chrome, many of these cars offer a visual flair unlike any other but on the flipside are expensive to bring to top condition. That means freshly restored examples present a good value even if the chances of monetary returns are unlikely.

-Andrew Newton, May 2021

The Hagerty Price Guide Index of 1950s American Classics is a stock market style index that averages the values of 19 of the most sought after collectible American automobiles of the 1950s. The list below shows the cars that make up the index, while the graph to the left shows this index’s average value over the years. Values are for #2 condition, or “excellent” cars.

This index includes