27 July 2016

Five Cars You Missed the Boat On

The last few years saw many classic cars appreciate dramatically. In many cases, the value increases were so massive and rapid that people were able to turn cars into investments with serious returns or at least make a little money on a vehicle they had owned for a few years. It was fascinating to watch prices climb and some enthusiasts, collectors and dealers profited handsomely. Nothing lasts forever, though, and many of the hottest classics of the last couple of years have finally peaked. According to the new Hagerty Vehicle Rating, these five vehicles have seen some of the biggest drops in interest and value over the last 12 months.

All five of them had ratings in the top 3 percent of all vehicles in the Hagerty Price Guide last year, but now they are all in the bottom 15 percent. At one point, people could reasonably expect to buy one of these, keep it for a few months or a year and sell it for more than they paid. That’s no longer the case, so if you’ve been thinking about flipping one of these cars, it looks like you’ve already missed your chance.

Vehicle
1972-80 Mercedes-Benz 350/450SL 20

The classic car market can appear like “follow the leader.” If one model gets particularly popular and prices rocket upward, similar models from the same manufacturer tend to get pulled up as well. Mercedes SLs are a perfect example. The 300SL, one of the quintessential 1950s sports cars, saw big gains in 2013 and 2014. The similarly styled but less exotic 190SL quickly followed suit, and so did the subsequent 230/250/280 “Pagoda” SLs (nicknamed Pagoda for their roof design). It was only natural, then, that the 350/450SL that followed the Pagoda would appreciate as well.

Lots of examples came to auction, and in June 2015 there had been an increase of almost 50 percent in average sale price compared to the same time in 2014. The average value for a decent car went from less than $10,000 to over 15 grand in less than a year, and really good examples were commanding over $25,000. Now, though, prices for classic SLs of all kinds have settled and by June 2016 the average price at auction for a 350/450SL was down 12 percent from the year before.

1974-77 Porsche 911 24

The Porsche 911 was the classic car market’s most discussed car last year. Just about every version saw remarkable prices achieved at auction and big asking prices in the classifieds. From run-of-the-mill 911 SCs to Carrera RS 2.7s, prices seemed to increase drastically each and every month. It was the kind of growth that just didn’t seem sustainable, and it wasn’t. News of big 911 prices encouraged examples both good and bad to come to market and buyers were spoiled for choice. While prices remain high, they’re not climbing like they were.

The 1974-77 cars, historically one of the most affordable generations of the 911, have felt this slowdown the most. At this time last year, more people were getting insurance quotes for these cars, more people were insuring them and the average value for something like a ’77 Targa was up to $35,000. As of June 2016, the number of insured cars added is down and the number of cars quoted has decreased significantly. It’s a similar story across other eras and price points, so it seems that the Porsche-frenzy has finally plateaued.

1968-71 Jaguar XKE Series II 38

Just as huge prices for Gullwings (1950s Mercedes-Benz 300SLs) led to appreciation for later SLs, so too did high results for Series I Jaguar E-Types result in value growth for the less coveted Series II cars. People who were shopping for the classic British sports car but found themselves priced out of the iconic early cars had to settle for a Series II, which increased demand. This time last year, Hagerty Price Guide values for Series II XKEs had increased by 26 percent over the preceding eight months, with top-notch examples in particular seeing big growth. As of June 2016, that growth has essentially flattened out.

2005-06 Ford GT 41

Among the most talked about collectible cars of the last year or two, a like-new Ford GT seemed available at every Mecum or Barrett-Jackson auction. Additionally, they all seemed to sell for big money that significantly exceeded their purchase price when new, only 10 years ago. Many GTs showing up at auction also had fewer than 1,000 miles on the clock, as if early owners hid their GT for a few years and then cashed in on recent interest in these modern American supercars. That interest, however, does seem to be waning. Over the past 12 months, the number of quotes for Ford GTs is down 17 percent and the average Hagerty Price Guide value has risen just 3.5 percent, way down from the 23 percent of the preceding 12 months.

1968-83 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 44

Known for its rugged dependability and ability to tackle tough terrain, the old FJ is a respected workhorse. While many of us picture them climbing sand dunes or fording streams, a few years ago these started gaining favor in certain collector car circles and lately you’re almost as likely to see an FJ polished up on a manicured concours lawn. The FJ arguably kick-started the renewed interest in classic trucks, and for a while it seemed like every significant collector car auction had at least one pristinely restored FJ40 on offer.

Its Hagerty Vehicle Rating was tied for first a year ago, making it the hottest vehicle in the collector market. At their peak, during the beginning of 2015, a freshly restored FJ could command over $100,000, incredible for a vehicle that rarely exceeded $20-25,000 in the not-too-distant past. Since that peak, though, prices at auction have been more erratic, generally trending downward and 10 percent fewer examples have come to auction compared to last year.

The Hagerty Vehicle Rating is a 0-100 score that tracks a car’s value change compared to the entire classic-car market. A car with a rating higher than 50 means it is appreciating faster than the overall market. A score below 50 means the car is lagging. While our rating algorithm uses Hagerty’s extensive valuation database and detailed market data—we go deep and include the number of recent insurance quotes and auction sell-through rates—the usual disclaimers apply: Use this score as a guide and not an indication of future results.

2 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Sal NJ August 4, 2016 at 08:36
    Hipsters are driving up the price on the 70s Mercedes SLs
  • 2
    John Seattle August 12, 2016 at 17:55
    I love seeing the Toyota on the list. I have an '88 JDM BJ70, which is the follow-up model to the 40 series, using many of the same frame and transmission parts, but sporting a boxy exterior.

Join the Discussion