HVR Bottom 25: British sports cars, Mercedes SLs and American classics are lagging

1986 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL Roadster

British sports cars, Mercedes SLs, and a few others are lagging behind the rest of the market. While the hottest 25 vehicles in the market are mostly vintage trucks and SUVs according to the latest Hagerty Vehicle Rating, things are a little more of a mixed bag at the other end of the spectrum. Within the bottom 25, five are Mercedes-Benzes, seven are British, about half are relatively expensive, and only one is a truck. Many are also vehicles that have seen big value gains in the not-so-distant past but are now starting to cool down.

Editor’s Note: The Hagerty Vehicle Rating tracks a vehicle's collector interest and value relative to the collector car market as a whole. It is based on a scale of 0-100, with those above 50 appreciating and those below 50 lagging. A 50-point rating indicates keeping pace with the overall market.

1950 MG TD
1950 MG TD
RM Sotheby's

Scraping bottom with a rating of just 4 is the MG TD. (For reference, the hottest vehicles in this update have a rating of 98.) The somewhat under-loved middle child of the T-Series family, the TD has consistently seen its values drop over the past year and a half, but especially low prices in the private market over the past few months have pushed its rating even lower. Bugeye Sprites, Triumph TR7s, pushrod MGAs and MG TCs are other staple British cars that are lagging. These also had ratings of at least 50 just a year ago, so interest in them has really fallen off. It’s a similar story with a bigger Brit that’s also new to this list – the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Silver Spur.

Vintage Mercedes SLs have been repeat guests on this list, and many are here again. The 190SL has moved up from bottom spot, where it had set for several previous updates in a row, but it still has a rating of only 10. The 280SL Pagoda was in the bottom 25 for the last update, but has dropped to second from the bottom after big falls in price. Both the 190 and 280 had been among the hottest cars in the market previously. The 560SL, 350/450SL and 450SLC aren’t doing as poorly, but there is a clear pattern that interest in these cars has diminished pretty much across the board.

Two more first-timers on the bottom 25 list are the 1970-81 Firebird Trans Am and the 1990-94 Porsche 911. We had previously noted that Bandit-era Firebirds were no longer burning as bright, and a big drop in buyer interest as well as slowed activity in both the private and auction markets have plummeted second gen Trans Ams to second from the bottom. In the case of the Porsche, it was arguably only a matter of time. The 964 rode a huge wave of demand for 911s a couple of years ago, and has steadily been cooling off since.

1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Mecum

Other vehicles filling out the bottom 25 are some more mainstream American vehicles like the 1948-53 Cadillac Series 62, 1957-59 Ford Custom, 1968-72 Chevelle Malibu and 1961-64 Pontiac Bonneville as well as the Testarossa and 308—two ‘80s Ferraris that have made the bottom list before. The GMC Syclone is notable as the one and only truck in the bottom yet again, and this is largely because the Syclone experienced a heating up and cooling down in the market that predated the general upswing in truck prices seen in 2017.

Here’s a full rundown of this month’s Bottom 25:

Vehicle
1950-53 MG TD 4
1968-71 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 7
1986-89 Mercedes-Benz 560S 7
1970-81 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 7
1976-89 Porsche 930 9
1955-63 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 10
1985-96 Ferrari Testarossa 11
1980-98 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Silver Spur 11
1948-53 Cadillac Series 62 11
1957-59 Ford Custom 12
1968-72 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu 12
1971-74 Jaguar E-Type 13
1975-85 Ferrari 308 13
1961-64 Pontiac Bonneville 15
1972-80 Mercedes-Benz 350SL/450SL 15
1958-61 Austin-Healey Sprite 15
1959 Ford Galaxie 15
1972-80 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 15
1990-94 Porsche 911 16
1975-81 Triumph TR7 16
1955-58 Cadillac Eldorado 17
1956-62 MG MGA 17
1946-50 MG TC 17
1991-92 GMC Syclone 18
1967-70 Shelby GT500 18