The hottest 25 collector cars this summer (2018 edition)

1977 Ford Bronco rear 3/4 desert

The red-hot popularity of trucks and SUVs has been going on for so long that Hagerty Auction Editor Andrew Newton has resorted to using a nautical analogy to explain it: “High tide raises all boats.”

High tide indeed. It’s more like a tsunami.

Two generations of Chevrolet C/K Series trucks (1960–66 and 1973–87) remain tied for the No. 1 spot in the newest Hagerty Vehicle Rating, which tracks vehicles’ performance relative to the rest of the collector vehicle market. And just when it seemed we’d seen everything, the top 10 placeholders are trucks and SUVs, while another is tied for 11th. Fourteen of the Top 25 are trucks and SUVs.

1974 Chevrolet C10 Pickup front 3/4 red
Mecum
1974 Chevrolet C10 Pickup

“It’s one large segment of the market that has consistently seen broad value and interest growth,” Newton says. “Since trucks were cheap for a long time, they’ve had plenty of room to grow, and even as they’ve gotten pricier they remain affordable for the most part. I think that’s why the growth has been sustained.”

The Hagerty Vehicle Rating is based on a 0–100 scale. A 50-point rating indicates that a vehicle is keeping pace with the market overall. Ratings above 50 indicate above-average appreciation, while vehicles below a 50-point rating are lagging behind the market. The rating is data driven and takes into account the number of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results. The HVR is not an indicator of future collectability.

The top four vehicles are identical to the last HVR. The 1960–66 and 1973–87 Chevrolet C/K Series trucks each have 97 points, followed by the 1966–77 Ford Bronco with 96 and 1955–59 Chevrolet trucks with 95.

2006 Pontiac GTO Silver front 3/4 in city
1996 Toyota Supra front 3/4 red canyon stock

Five vehicles are tied for fifth with 94 points apiece: 1946–55 GMC New Design Series pickups, 1947–55 Chevrolet 3100 trucks, 1955–83 Jeep CJ-5, 1967–72 Chevrolet Suburban, and 1973–87 GMC C/K Series pickups. The 1973–91 Chevrolet C/K Blazer is 10th with 93 points, and the 1973–91 Suburban is tied for 11th with 92.

The first four passenger vehicles are all Japanese sports cars. The 1986–92 and 1993– 98 editions of the Toyota Supra broke into the Top 25 the last time around and remain strong, tied for 11th with 92 points. They are followed by the 1992–2002 Mazda RX-7 (91) and 1977–81 Toyota Celica (90). The 1984–89 Toyota MR2, eighth last time, slipped slightly but still carries a solid 78-point total.

“Japanese cars have been getting more attention for several reasons,” Newton says. “They’re typically newer than most vehicles we tend to think of as ‘classics,’ but many are still old enough for nostalgia to kick in. A lot of the neat cars that were coming out when Gen Xers and Millennials were growing up were Japanese. Buyers seem to be placing a higher priority on reliability in a collector car, and the Japanese cars certainly have that going for them when well cared for.”

1988 BMW M3 red side of road desert
Joe Puhy
1988 BMW M3

The top-ranked American car is the 2004–06 Pontiac GTO, which is tied for 16th (89), primarily due to high quoting activity and a rise in Hagerty Price Guide values.

The most expensive car in the Top 25 is the 16th-place 1986–92 BMW M3, which carries an average HPG value of $63,600 in #3 (Good) condition. The average value of a vehicle in the Top 25 is $15,232. Toss out the BMW M3 and the average value falls to $13,217. Affordability plays a key role, as 16 of the Top 25 vehicles carry an average value of less than $15k.

Vehicle
1960-1966 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup 97
1973-1987 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup 97
1966-1977 Ford Bronco 96
1955-1959 Chevrolet Trucks 95
1946-1955 GMC New Design Series Pickups 94
1947-1955 Chevrolet 3100 94
1955-1983 Jeep CJ-5 94
1967-1972 Chevrolet Suburban 94
1973-1987 GMC C/K Series Pickup 94
1973-1991 Chevrolet C/K Blazer 93
1973-1991 Chevrolet Suburban 92
1986-1992 Toyota Supra 92
1993-1998 Toyota Supra 92
1992-2002 Mazda RX-7 91
1977-1981 Toyota Celica 90
1955-1959 GMC Blue Chip Series Pickups 89
1986-1992 BMW M3 89
2004-2006 Pontiac GTO 89
1961-1964 Pontiac Catalina 88
1993-2002 Pontiac Firebird 88
1965-1971 Dodge D/W Series Pickups 87
1990-1997 Lincoln Town Car 87
1963-1965 Buick Riviera 86
2000-2006 BMW M3 86
1948-1953 Dodge B-series 1/2-ton Pickup 85