When you think of the typical classic car owner, it’s usually a Tri-Five Chevy or a ’65 Mustang in the garage. And when looking at buyer interest measured by Hagerty’s online insurance quote activity, that is mostly still the case. Hagerty sees more than 60 quotes per day for first-gen Mustangs and over 45 for C3 Corvettes. But there are some increasingly popular cars entering the collector and enthusiast market that are seeing as much or more buyer interest as mainstream classic cars. Newer vehicles in general are getting more popular among Hagerty clients, but in terms of how high buyer interest has become relative to the rest of the market, here are five of the most surprisingly popular cars.
The 996 generation of the Porsche 911, which was marked the brand’s switch from an air- to a water-cooled engine, was all but shunned by Porsche purists when it came launched. It has been the black sheep of the 911 family ever since, even though it was an objectively better-performing car than the 993 generation that it replaced. That has kept prices down, but more recently people are coming to the realization that a 996 is the affordable way to get into 911 ownership. At the higher end, interest has surged for the mechanically distinct Turbo models even more so. Nobody thought of these as collector cars only a few years ago, but more recently Porsche 996s have been seeing more and more buyer interest, with 10 percent growth in quote activity every year for the past five years. Currently, they see more daily quote activity on average than 1955-57 Ford Thunderbirds, which is one of the archetypal classic American cars.
1989-94 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R – 3.40 quotes per day
We’ve noted how hot the R32 Skyline is and how demand just doesn’t seem to be slowing down for these cars, so it may not be all that surprising that quoting activity is very high. What is surprising is to see just how high. In the past year alone, the number of quotes per day for R32 GT-Rs has increased tenfold. If you look back a couple of years, one of the hottest cars on the market was the Porsche 993, the last air-cooled 911. At the moment, R32 GT-Rs (not including lower-tier Skyline models) are seeing more daily quote activity than all 1994-98 Porsche 911s, which are more common.
The retro-styled Thunderbirds of the early 2000s don’t have any real performance guts and mainly appeal to older buyers, so the outlook for values isn’t particularly good in the long term. At the same time, though, Ford built nearly 70,000 of them over three years and because they are mostly used as top-down cruisers driven only on the weekends, lots of them are still around and still being used as that extra weekend car that Hagerty tends to insure. These retro T-Birds see as much daily quote activity as Toyota FJ40 Land Cruisers.
2003-13 Lamborghini Gallardo – 2.13 quotes per day
The Gallardo established Lamborghini as a volume manufacturer. The Italian supercar maker built over 14,000 of them, and it was the first Lambo that you could actually expect to see on a regular basis, provided you live in that sort of neighborhood. In fact, at the time the Gallardo went out of production, nearly half of the Lamborghinis ever built in the company’s 40-plus years were Gallardos. Hagerty clients have since been drawn to the Gallardo’s all-wheel-drive tractability, screaming V-10 engine, loud paint colors, and reasonable price on the second-hand market. The model has seen an 8-percent increase in the number of quotes over the past year, and the Gallardo actually sees more daily quote activity than 1965-69 Chevrolet Corvairs, which were, of course, built in far greater numbers.
The first-gen “AP1” Honda S2000 is much like the Miata in that it’s a wonderfully balanced fun-to-drive little convertible. Like the Miata, it’s also been a regular sight at track days and autocrosses pretty much since day one. The difference is that the Honda is considerably rarer, features a more entertaining high-revving engine, looks better, and is little bit more refine. Prices for good collector-quality examples have started to rise, and the number of quotes has seen a huge 40-percent jump over the past 12 months. The S2000 gets as much quote activity on average every day as more traditional classics like the 1966-70 Chevrolet Caprice.