7 December 2016

The classic car market’s biggest losers of 2016

While many cars continue appreciating, various have also stumbled in 2016. Unsurprisingly, they include several that had previously seen huge appreciation in previous years.

The Hagerty Vehicle Rating (HVR), 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 or are not doing particularly well. Scores above 50 indicate that a vehicle is growing faster than the rest of the market, while a score below 50 indicates that a vehicle is performing worse than the rest of the market. The following 10 cars do not necessarily have the worst HVR ratings at the end of 2016, but they have seen the largest drops over the last 12 months.

Vehicle +/-
2005-06 Ford GT 4 -79

This might come as a bit of a surprise since low-mileage GTs had been selling very well at auction, particularly with Mecum, for the past couple of years. There seemed to be no end to the supply of like-new examples selling for more than their original purchase price. Apparently though, the party has ended and the time to sell your 1,000-mile, time capsule Ford GT for big bucks has passed (if you happen to own one). What had been one of the biggest value increases in the market has now become the biggest drop over the last 12 months.

1985-95 Ferrari Testarossa 19 -75

The Testarossa was one of the hottest cars in the market one year ago. This is due in part to its favorable combination of being both a modern classic and a 12-cylinder Enzo-era Ferrari. Things have changed, however, as values have flattened, quoting activity is down for Testarossas, and the model hasn’t been performing as well at auction.

1969-73 Porsche 911 15 -65

Another car that had been appreciating phenomenally is the 2.2- and 2.4-liter Porsche 911s built from 1969-73. There hasn’t been a drop in quote activity, but the rise in values has halted and the cars haven’t done nearly as well at auction as they had during 2015.

2002-05 Ford Thunderbird 12 -65

While the Plymouth Prowler was one of the biggest winners in the market this year, this retro-styled cruiser flopped. Maybe it’s because these cars mainly appealed to older buyers who are no longer very active in the market, but there has been a big drop in quotes as well as a sizable decrease in the number coming to auction.

1967-70 Mercury Cougar 13 -62

Despite essentially being a Mustang in different clothes, first generation Cougars are lagging behind the rest of the market. Values remain flat and have been for some time, but big drops in quotes and activity in both the auction and private market indicate a decline in interest.

1972-80 Mercedes-Benz 350SL/450SL 12 -62

In the chain reaction of value growth that started with the 300SL and then engulfed the 190SL and then the W113 cars of 1963-71, the early R107 of 1972-80 was naturally the next in line. Early 2015 saw big growth for these cars, but like the Mercedes-Benzes before them, values eventually flattened out. Every measure that goes into the Hagerty Vehicle Rating is particularly low for these cars, especially in terms of private sales.

1948-65 Porsche 356 24 -60

The slowdown in the wider air-cooled Porsche market applies to the 356 as well, with all measures down except for auction activity, where the 356 is keeping pace with the market as a whole.

1984-89 Porsche 911 30 -56

This is a very similar case to the market for 1969-73 cars, but the decline in interest here was not quite as severe.

1980-85 Mercedes-Benz 380SL 20 -52

What is true for the 350/450SL market is also true for the 380SL. While it never enjoyed as steep of a rise in value, it has nevertheless experienced a similar decline in interest.

1955-63 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 14 -52

The 190SL rode the appreciation wave started by the 300SL and the model practically doubled in value over a very short time. Someone actually paid over $340,000 for one in 2014, but since then values have been retreating. The drop in quotes over the past 12 months has been huge, and whereas the 190SL was a frequent sight both at auction and in the inventory of classic car dealers, that’s no longer the case.

17 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Gerard (Bart) Bartasavich Pepper Pike, Ohio December 14, 2016 at 17:15
    Many International Thunderbird Club members would not agree with this report on the 2002-05 Thunderbird. Many club members own these Retro-Birds along with their classic T-Bird. They are not going to auction since many members are keeping their Retro-Birds and letting go of their Classic T-Bird. Haggerty Insurance now insures these Retro-Birds under their classic insurance group. We would love to see more T-Bird articles. Gerard (Bart) Bartasavich, President, International Thunderbird Club
  • 2
    David Betz Hamilton Ontario December 14, 2016 at 17:17
    Wondering where my 1980 MGB fits in? Are people realizing how much fun a well tuned one is to drive? Accepting that they are inexpensive to buy, but can be $ pits
  • 3
    Jimmy Bean usa December 14, 2016 at 17:22
    Although the high dollar imports are interesting I would like to hear and see more about American cars. I'm curious what percentage of Hagerty customers actually own $300,00 cars and what percentage own cars under $50,000
  • 4
    Chester ferris 85206 December 14, 2016 at 18:46
    A 1994 600 v 12, 91,000 km, 54,567 miles, one owner, keep or scrap for 2017,
  • 5
    Chester ferris 85206 December 14, 2016 at 18:47
    A 1994 600 v 12, 91,000 km, 54,567 miles, one owner, keep or scrap for 2017,
  • 6
    Edward Greenberg NY December 15, 2016 at 13:20
    I can't argue the stats but I own a '68 Cougar XR7 in excellent condition. I drive it all of the time so long as the weather is good. I have had 5 offers to buy the car within the last year which is not for sale. It is pure stock and draws bigger crowds than the more valuable '68 Mustangs. I intend to own the car at the time of my death so current market conditions don't matter that much to me. Anecdotally only, I question the stats.
  • 7
    Debbie Ontario December 15, 2016 at 14:33
    what do Porsche and Mercedes have to do with the everyday collector and classic car market. That is a very small niche, while the Chev, Ford, Dodge, etc. make up the large part of this market. Go to any car show and see what is there...
  • 8
    James Coats VA December 15, 2016 at 17:10
    What are the C2 Corvettes doing value wise. I am getting ready to buy a non numbers 1964 coupe in nice condition.
  • 9
    James Coats VA December 15, 2016 at 17:10
    What are the C2 Corvettes doing value wise. I am getting ready to buy a non numbers 1964 coupe in nice condition.
  • 10
    Joe Florida December 15, 2016 at 08:27
    Porsche seems to. Be hanging in there with their values as some variants of the air cooled category have dropped some in value. Many front engine water cooled Porsches have been left to rot, abandoned and neglected. Only one can hope that the very few fine examples of the not so common well cared for 928's, 944 Turbos, the 924S and 968 coupes would get better appreciation in 2017. Most of these cars out performed the air cooled cars of the 50's,60's and 70's and saved Porsche from bankruptcy maybe even, dare we say from extinction? Time will tell Seems like front engined water cooled cars have and are Porsches bread and butter to this day.
  • 11
    Mike E V San Diego December 15, 2016 at 12:13
    The market appears to be looking for the next hot car. Some win and some fail. Many of the vehicles listed above were manufactured collector's items and will not stand the test of time. The true collector cars are all already out there. Anything which suddenly becomes hot and rapidly deflates are the professional marketers looking for a buck. Hey I've got a few of these. Let's drive up the value and sell them at the peak then on to the next one
  • 12
    Mike E V San Diego December 15, 2016 at 12:14
    The market appears to be looking for the next hot car. Some win and some fail. Many of the vehicles listed above were manufactured collector's items and will not stand the test of time. The true collector cars are all already out there. Anything which suddenly becomes hot and rapidly deflates are the professional marketers looking for a buck. Hey I've got a few of these. Let's drive up the value and sell them at the peak then on to the next one
  • 13
    Alan Coomber New Brunswick December 16, 2016 at 13:00
    The next great collector car is the one you have in your garage and that brings a smile to your face everytime you work on it or drive it. We are all here for a short time.
  • 14
    Mike K East Moline, Illinois December 16, 2016 at 12:36
    I am a PROUD owner of an exceptionally nice 1966 Chevy II SS and regardless of the Market, I will not ever sell my DREAM car. I bought this vehicle in March 2016 and loved every minute behind the wheel. Knowing I have Hagerty protecting me and my 66 SS I will anxiously be waiting for the Spring to get my car back on the road. One question or comment, just curious but what does the Market say about my 1966 Chevy II SS?
  • 15
    BRIAN MCNAMARA Michigan December 17, 2016 at 01:52
    i know that the Saturn Sky is a little too current to be on your radar. However, i think the Red Line will be a classic someday. The Solstice..........not so much.
  • 16
    Steven Winters Las Vegas February 13, 2017 at 16:16
    i have been contemplation purchasing a retro T'Bird. I love the look of the Hard Top Has there been a difference in collectability of rag vs hard top and is there a year that is better to own?
  • 17
    rick California March 8, 2017 at 13:08
    Look at it from another viewpoint. The average car enthusiast cannot afford high end cars like those mentioned above. Perhaps with the decline in interest (and price) there is now an opportunity to acquire something which a year or two ago was out of reach?? Clearly, 6 figure cars are and always will be for those who buy and sell as a business or have way too much money.

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