The 5 best and 5 worst car investments of 2017

The Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, SAG Awards, Grammys. It’s time for entertainment’s best and brightest to rub elbows, pat each other on the back, raise a glass, and celebrate the best that 2017 had to offer.

Since we aren’t half as good looking as those people are and have zero budget to organize an awards show of our own, this is as good as it gets when it comes to celebrating the classic car winners and losers from the past year.

First, a disclaimer: Technically, the Top 5 list below doesn’t include the biggest HPG increases of 2017, since sometimes really obscure cars tread water for several years, then one sells and the values adjust based on a single transaction. So we tossed those cars. Your random Siatas and such.

With that said, let’s get to it. According to the Hagerty Price Guide, five vehicles experienced value jumps of 31.9 percent or more during 2017, and five dropped 16.9 percent or more. Here are the winners and losers of 2017:

TOP 5

1992–93 GMC Typhoon

GMC Typhoon
GMC Typhoon (photo courtesy of GM Media)

Average price in HPG book #31: $16,125

Average price in HPG book #35: $22,150

Change: +37.4%

The Typhoon SUV and sibling Syclone pickup were somewhat ahead of the curve when it comes to the big growth in truck prices seen over the course of the year, but while Syclones have been a bit flat more recently, the Typhoons continued to increase over the course of 2017. Previously somewhat underappreciated, Typhoons are still worth a few grand less on average than the Syclone.

1984–89 Toyota MR2

Toyota MR2
Toyota
Toyota MR2

Average price in HPG book #31: $6,869

Average price in HPG book #35: $9,388

Change: +36.7%

This is a great instance of an affordable, modern Japanese performance car making a significant gain over the past year, and good examples of the first-gen MR2 gained a lot in value. A 1986 MR2 that hammered for $18,700 at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas had something to do with the value uptick, but we also saw a decent number of low-mileage cars come to market and bring strong money.

1968–73 Datsun 510

Datsun 510
Nissan
Datsun 510

Average price in HPG book #31: $9,586

Average price in HPG book #35: $13,041

Change: +36%

Datsun prices were not up across the board in 2017, but early Z cars and 510s saw significant increases.

1966–77 Ford Bronco

1966 Ford Bronco
Ford
1966 Ford Bronco

Average price in HPG book #31: $23,775

Average price in HPG book #35: $31,827

Change: +33.9%

First-gen Broncos were pretty much the poster children for the vintage truck market in 2017, and anyone paying attention to auctions last year won’t be surprised that they saw a lot of growth in the HPG. Later Broncos are also up, as are similar vehicles like Chevy Blazers, International Scouts, and vintage Jeeps.

1992–2002 Mazda RX-7

Mazda RX-7
Mazda
Mazda RX-7

Average price in HPG book #31: $13,325

Average price in HPG book #35: $17,570

Change: +31.9%

Our insured activity and quotes are way up for these cars. They’re from the same class of ’90s Japanese performance icons as the NSX and Supra, so it’s not surprising that RX-7s are becoming more desirable—and valuable.

BOTTOM 5

1963–72 Mazda Cosmo

Mazda Cosmo
Mazda
Mazda Cosmo

Average price in HPG book #31: $132,650

Average price in HPG book #35: $105,225

Change: -20.7%

These quirky-cool cars became a pretty common sight at auction a couple of years ago, perhaps because people were encouraged by a handful of incredibly high prices for Toyota 2000GTs and thought these ’60s Japanese classics could also do well. They did for a while, but the Toyotas dropped and so has the Cosmo. One sold for $44,000 at Mecum Monterey, well below the HPG’s #4-condition value, confirming that interest isn’t as high and prices are down to a more realistic result.

1974–90 Lamborghini Countach

Lamborghini Countach
Lamborghini
Lamborghini Countach

Average price in HPG book #31: $645,100

Average price in HPG book #35: $512,225

Change: -20.6%

Hyped up as the ’80s poster car that everyone wanted again, these were relatively affordable for a long time and then started getting really hot in 2014, before peaking around 2016. More recently, exotic car interest has moved on to other things. It’s worth noting that these cars are hard to drive and live with. Enough people may have learned the old “never meet your heroes” lesson the hard way. Whatever the case, the crazy demand just isn’t there anymore.

1955–63 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Average price in HPG book #31: $143,125

Average price in HPG book #35: $114,375

Change: -20.1%

Nothing new here. Elevated by 300 SL prices, 190 SLs went a little nuts from 2012 to 2014. But they’ve since retreated to more realistic levels, and a lot of that retreating happened in 2017.

1987–92 Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40
Ferrari
Ferrari F40

Average price in HPG book #31: $1,458,333

Average price in HPG book #35: $1,172,917

Change: -19.6%

F40s are fairly unusual in that while they’re seven-figure cars, more than 1,000 of them were produced. Like a lot of expensive cars, they’ve seen a significant correction in 2017 after big growth from 2014 to 2016.

1963–67 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL

Mercedes-Benz 230 SL
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz 230 SL

Average price in HPG book #31: $76,400

Average price in HPG book #35: $63,475

Change: -16.9%

The 230 SL was next in line for people who got priced out of 190 SLs, but as interest rose so did the prices. Once the demand was met, prices began coming back down to more rational levels. In fact, if this was a Bottom 10 list instead of a Bottom 5 list, half the cars would be Mercedes SLs.