5 December 2016

The 10 biggest winners in 2016’s classic car market

Ever-rising value growth and increasingly large auction results defined the classic car market between 2012 and 2015. But those increases simply haven’t continued into 2016. An overall slowdown seems to be in effect. The bright spot is that there are plenty of vehicles that are still appreciating faster than the general classic car market.

The Hagerty Vehicle Rating, which measures a vehicle’s performance relative to the rest of the market by examining insurance policies and quotes, Hagerty Price Guide value changes, and sales activity in both the private and auction markets, shows us which of these vehicles are doing particularly well. Scores over 50 indicate that a vehicle is appreciating faster than the market at large, while scores below 50 show slower growth. These aren’t necessarily the hottest cars on the market right now, but over the last 12 months these 10 cars have seen the biggest increases in their ratings.

Vehicle +/-
1978-87 Chevrolet El Camino 81 +51

The El Camino was introduced in 1959 as a response to Ford’s Ranchero, but the Chevy survived almost a decade longer. The final Malibu-based fifth generation ran from 1978 to 1987. Like most of the period’s cars it wasn’t much of a performer – the most powerful engine was a 350cid V-8 that made just 170 hp. Nevertheless, more people are getting insurance quotes for fifth-gen El Caminos and many more have been selling well on the private market over the past 12 months.

1978-87 Buick Regal 67 +51

Tied with the El Camino for the biggest Hagerty Vehicle Rating increase is the 1978-87 Buick Regal, which was largely driven by value increases for 1987 Grand Nationals and GNXs as well as more examples being added to insurance policies.

1999-2005 Ferrari 360 88 +49

The Ferrari 355 has seen a lot of interest and growth in value over the past couple of years, so it’s only natural that its replacement, the 360, follow suit. While some criticize the 360’s styling in comparison against the 355, the 360 improved upon the 355’s performance with its high-revving 400-hp V-8. Additionally, the 360 is easier to maintain since, unlike the 355, the engine doesn’t have to come out every time routine maintenance is needed. The 360 is also the last Ferrari that isn’t particularly hard to find with a proper six-speed manual. Significantly more 360s are being insured with Hagerty and Hagerty Price Guide values have been climbing since last year as well, suggesting that the 360 has moved from used exotic to collectible modern classic.

1979-1993 Ford Mustang 66 +47

Cars of the 1980s and ‘90s have gained a lot of respect in the hobby over the last couple of years, and one of the most notable is the Fox-body Mustang. Maybe it’s that the charmingly bland styling is finally old enough to be cool, or maybe it’s the robust 5.0-liter V-8, rear-drive platform underneath, but the Fox-body has found a wider audience and it’s reflected in market activity over the last 12 months. More people are getting insurance quotes and policies for them, while more are selling at auction and values for good examples have risen slightly but noticeably.

1978-83 Datsun 280ZX 88 +45

It seems that people have finally stopped comparing the 280ZX to the purer, sportier 240Z and started appreciating it for what it is. Like a late C3 Corvette (late ‘70s, early ‘80s), it’s a relatively cushy and comfortable grand tourer rather than a sports car, and for a lot of enthusiasts that’s just fine. Over the last 12 months, the number of cars insured has surged and values for good examples started rising at the beginning of last year.

1968-72 Pontiac GTO 64 +45

Despite a drop in insurance quotes, the number of insurance policies issued have risen and private sales activity for second generation GTOs has increased.

1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler 88 +43

Many folks were disappointed because the Plymouth Prowler (sold as the Chrysler Prowler in 2001-02) only offered a V-6 and automatic transmission underneath its flamboyant modern hot rod styling, especially since it followed the all-conquering Viper. And they still lament what the Prowler might have been. But there are also many for whom the aggressive styling and wild colors are plenty, and who are satisfied with a 0-60 run in 7.2 seconds. Currently one of the hottest collector cars as far as interest is concerned, the Prowler has surged in just about every measurement. Noticeable appreciation began early in 2016 as well as an increase in Prowlers selling at auction.

1949-67 Volkswagen Beetle 83 +36

The Beetle has timeless mass appeal as a collector car because it’s easy to work on, has an instantly recognizable shape, and there is an innumerable supply to choose from. Overall, insurance quotes are down for Beetles, but a sharp rise in value for the much rarer early cars and growth in the number of examples selling well at auction helped push the rating upwards considerably.

1968-72 Buick GS/GSX 77 +36

The GS and GSX aren’t the first muscle cars that come to mind, but they were absolutely competent performers. While they haven’t fared particularly well at auction over the past year, Hagerty Price Guide values and quoting activity have been rising.

1970-79 Lincoln Continental 86 +34

The almost comical scale of 1970s American land yachts has a certain appeal in today’s world of fuel efficiency and small urban commuter cars. The fifth generation Lincoln Continental with its over 19 feet of length, engines of either 6.6- or 7.5-liters, and curb weight of two and a half tons is a perfect example. Quoting volume increases and Hagerty Price Guide values have been sizable over the past year, but they’ve also sold especially well at auction.

5 Reader Comments

  • 1
    canteenboy Up north December 7, 2016 at 18:52
    Maybe the story with the Beetle is that people who appreciate the simple beauty of the 911 got priced out and are going back to the source.
  • 2
    steve winget Indiana December 7, 2016 at 18:57
    I think also that the chevy SSR is still holding and small gain in value
  • 3
    E. Morris Philadelphia, PA December 7, 2016 at 19:12
    I wonder if Hagerty will insure the Ferrari 360. I was shocked when Hagerty told me they wouldn't insure my 2002 Aston Martin DB7. I have Hagerty insurance for all of my classics and it's weird that they won't insure some of the more modern classics.
  • 4
    Scott Allred Chico CA December 8, 2016 at 14:47
    Wait. I love the Prowler, always have since they were first introduced. But the phrase here is "Classic Car." Even the oldest Prowler is just 19 years old, how can it be considered a Classic? The same can be asked about the Ferrari 360 you wrote about, 1999-2005, Classic? After all of the arguments about Classic Cars starting at 25 years old, this article just seems out of touch.
  • 5
    MYTFAST Maryland December 12, 2016 at 20:11
    Many hold that speciality cars were considered "Classics" 10 years after they ceased production as a company icon. Recent examples would 2002 - 2005 retro T-Birds & upcoming examples would be Chrysler Crossfires, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. Especially the high powered versions.

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