Graph of the Week: Corvettes at Auction

Well over 1.5 million Corvettes have been produced since 1953, so America’s sports car is clearly a huge component of the collector car market and a ubiquitous sight at auction. Over the past 12 months, fewer Corvettes have been offered at North American collector car auctions, while their average price at auction has risen.

To anyone who took Economics 101, this looks like a textbook case of supply and demand. Fewer cars to bid on with no change in demand yields an increase in price. Why fewer Corvettes are crossing the block compared to a year ago is unclear, but the glaring exception is the C5 model, built from 1997-2004. While the number offered has decreased just like every other Corvette generation, the average price has also dropped considerably.

One factor is that there are many C5s on both the private and auction markets that are in the lower $10,000 - $20,000 value range. At auction at least, it seems that there are proportionally fewer special models or prime examples crossing the block in comparison to average used examples. Another factor is that every C5 out there is anywhere from 12 to 19 years old, so they are still nearing the bottom of their depreciation curve. In general, though, fewer Corvette owners are bringing their cars to auction, which has brought a corresponding increase in price.