Graph of the Week: When does collector car season end?

Temperatures across the U.S. are dipping. This means that cars are heading into hibernation, owners are beginning to dream about their next project and enthusiasts are settling in to get their car fix through YouTube and TV. But when exactly does that transition happen? Well, when it comes to the market’s seasonality, it depends on what you measure.

Looking at insurance quoting activity, which can be a proxy for buying interest, activity peaks in May as people race to find something fun for the summer, and then goes quiet in October. This is essentially mirrored on classified listing sites, where more cars are offered for sale in the spring and fewer see a sale sign in the winter. Both of these measures align with the yearly cycle of car shows, rallies and other hobby events.

Auctions buck this trend, however, as January’s mega-sales are nearly twice as voluminous as any other month. The summer auction season really just means August now, as more and more sales centralize on the Monterey peninsula.

Meanwhile, visits to Hagerty Valuation Tools – another peak into buying and selling intent – shows very slight variation from one month to the next. Even if most cars do go dormant for the winter, it seems most car folks never stop dreaming about their next car.