Why muscle cars aren’t gaining in the collector car market

1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SL

As we look at yet another Hagerty Vehicle Rating list that holds some of the most legendary muscle cars and fire-breathing sports cars in the bottom 25, we have to remember that a car’s position in the list isn’t a critique of its value or collectability.

For our latest Hagerty Vehicle Rating, our Valuation team studied a variety of factors, including auction sale results and insurance quoting activity, to gauge a vehicle’s popularity compared to the overall collector car market. Weighted with all of those variables, each car is assigned a score from 1-to-100, with a 50 denoting a car that’s perfectly following the overall market trend, with those falling behind scoring lower.

The 1965-1970 Shelby GT350, 2nd-generation Pontiac GTO, mid-year Chevrolet Corvette, and 1st-gen Dodge Challenger have all remained on the Bottom 25 list from our last update in October, so again we must remind collectors that even the most desirable of cars can make it to the bottom of list. Here’s why.

1965 Shelby GT350 mustang rear 3/4
RM Sotheby's
1965 Shelby GT350

The 2nd-generation GTO, like many of the ‘60s muscle cars on the list, may have seen its day in the sun little earlier than some of its contemporaries, causing prices to surge ahead of the rest of the market. While values on other muscle-car era icons catch up, classic GTO prices are holding steady. That means a low HVR rating even if this goat is the greatest of all time to many. The only GTO in the Top 25 was the final generation from 2004-2005, which demand about half the price of its late ‘60s counterpart.

That follows the trend that Hagerty valuation specialist Andrew Newton pointed out several months ago: younger buyers are opting for newer, more affordable collector cars, leaving classic muscle and sports cars with fewer new buyers in the market. The trend of ‘40s and ‘50s cars losing popularity also continues, with the 1946-1948 Chevy Stylemaster and its contemporary Ford counterpart, the Deluxe, tied for the second-lowest score on the list.

1967 Sunbeam Tiger 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk 1A front 3/4
RM Sotheby's
1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk 1A

The majority of the cars that made the Top 25 list, which was yet again dominated by pickups and SUVS, were much newer, offering a more modern driving experience with a decidedly different flavor of retro that appeals to a younger market.

The other continuing trend we’ve already touched on is price. The cars and trucks from the Top 25 list carry an average value of around $14000, while the Bottom 25 come in at an average of $39000.There’s greater potential interest in more affordable cars, and large percentage increases in value don’t seem as steep when it’s only an extra $1000. As for trucks and 4x4s, part of the popularity could come from the extra utility that helps justify the purchase of an extra vehicle.

1968 AMC Javelin SST 3/4 front
Mecum
1968 AMC Javelin SST

If one of the cars from this list is in your garage, don’t fret. We don’t need to tell you that they’re still great cars and many are holding their values just fine. And, as always, as long as you’re enjoying your car you are doing things right.

Vehicle
1949-1954 Pontiac Chieftain 11
1972-1980 Mercedes-Benz 350SL / 450SL 11
1946-1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster 12
1946-1948 Ford Deluxe 12
1976-1989 Porsche 911 Carrera (Turbo 930) 12
1968-1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 14
1949-1954 Chrysler New Yorker 15
1961-1967 Jaguar E-type (XKE) 15
1956-1971 Morris Minor 1000 16
1946-1948 Chevrolet Fleetline 17
1946-1948 Lincoln Continental 18
1949-1954 Chrysler Windsor 18
1950-1953 MG TD 18
1968-1972 Pontiac GTO 18
1971-1976 Cadillac DeVille 18
1946-1948 Buick Super 19
1952-1957 Lincoln Capri 19
1953-1954 Chevrolet Bel Air 19
1965-1970 Shelby GT350 19
1946-1948 Ford Super Deluxe 20
1963-1971 Mercedes-Benz 230SL 20
1967-1976 Dodge Dart 20
1968-1974 American Motors Javelin 20
1970-1974 Dodge Challenger 20
1952-1956 Mecury Monterey 21
1961-1964 Buick LeSabre 21
1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette 21
1964-1967 Sunbeam Tiger 21
1971-1974 Plymouth Satellite 21
1994-1998 Porsche 911 21