Graph of the Week: The Average Classic is Not an Investment

Last week’s graph examined the value of the Hagerty Hundred Index (average condition #2 value of Hagerty’s 100 most popular insured vehicles by year, make and model) since 2007 and showed that the average classic hasn’t appreciated noticeably at all, and certainly hasn’t made big returns for its owner when it has come time to sell. This graph drives that point home by showing the Hagerty Hundred against five other financial instruments, including “Blue Chip” collector cars, which we define as the 25 most desirable postwar classics and are both rare and towards the very highest end of the price spectrum.

The Hagerty Hundred has seen the least amount of change among these other indices. Perhaps most glaringly, it hasn’t even kept up with inflation. People have of course sold a car for significantly more than they paid for it over the last few years, so it is possible to make money on one, but these people have typically operated at a much higher price point and in a smaller pool of rarer cars. The average classic car owner is still in it for passion and the enjoyment of tinkering and driving rather than any financial gain, while the “investment” and “speculation” in buying and selling classics have usually taken place with more expensive low-volume models. Cars are best left for fun. Investing is best left in the stock market.