Were our 2018 Bull Market predictions sage wisdom or hogwash?

Hagerty Bull Market Cars

Last year, we rounded up the nine hottest collectibles of the year that balance driving and ownership pleasure with the best chance to line your pockets a little. We called it the 2018 Bull Market list, and though we don’t have any magic crystal ball, our valuation experts relied on a trove of data to assemble that cadre of stupendous four-wheeled delights.

So how did we do? We graded ourselves, measuring the success of our predictions based on an assumed 5-percent increase in value from year to year. Read on to see how each car on our first-annual Hagerty Bull Market list performed in the 2018 collector market.

1969–72 Chevrolet Blazer

Chevrolet Blazer
DW Burnett
Chevrolet Blazer

WHAT WE SAID:

A good substitute for an early Bronco at a 20-percent discount. Has a lot of interest from a younger demographic, which is good for long-term values. The Bronco hasn’t slowed down, and it’s pulling up the value of the Blazer.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $24,421
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $25,945
  • Change in value +6.24%

We called out the Blazer as a great substitute for the early Bronco, attainable at a significant discount. That holds true. Early Ford Broncos jumped 27 percent in value over the last year and the gap between the two trucks has further increased by almost 30 percent, making the now $26,000 blazer look like steal.

Of the 12 stock Chevy Blazers we saw offered at auction this year, 10 went home with new owners with an average sale price of $50,325—almost double our current #2 values.  Believe it or not the Blazer was actually the more valuable than the Bronco 10 years ago ($10,900 for the Bronco and $11,400 for the Blazer), and we feel that values for the Blazer will continue to grow and ultimately close the gap, especially once the Bronco cools off.

OUR LETTER GRADE: C

1976–86 Jeep CJ-7

Jeep CJ-7
Jeremy Cliff
Jeep CJ-7

WHAT WE SAID:

Two-thirds of quotes that are requested from Hagerty come from Gen X and Millennials. The interest from those younger generations means it stands to do well, as those are the collectors who are actively growing their collections.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $14,443
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $16,209
  • Change in value +12.23 percent

The main driver for CJ-7 values was the interest from younger collectors, and sure enough, 2018 saw the volume of CJ-7 quotes from Gen X and Millennials increase 5 percent. And the share of quotes from Gen X and Millennials increased slightly from 67 percent to 68 percent of CJ-7s quoted. Of all the CJ Jeeps that we track (CJ-3, CJ-5, CJ-7, and CJ-8), CJ-7s have the highest percent of quotes/interest from younger collectors (Gen X and Millennials).

Of the 19 close-to-stock CJ-7s offered for sale at public auction, we inspected eight of them and found six of the eight sold above market value relative to their condition. While quotes are up 5 percent year over year, CJ-7s are still trailing the market for collector trucks and SUVs in general by a significant factor so while our prediction last year was solid, don’t expect values for these to continue to grow much over the next year.

OUR LETTER GRADE: B

1990–98 Lamborghini Diablo

Lamborghini Diablo
DW Burnett
Lamborghini Diablo

WHAT WE SAID:

The last “real” Lambo before Audi bought the company, and the last analog supercar before shift paddles and computer nannies. They have poor sell-through at auctions because owners have high expectations, they don’t need to sell, and they’re often willing to wait for someone to overpay.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $170,522
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $189,696
  • Change in value +11.24 percent

The Diablo has a lot of features that old-school car collectors value, like the manual transmission and totally analog driving experience. Preference for characteristics like that don’t change over a short period of time, but auction metrics do.  We saw a 60-percent increase in the number of Diablos offered at auction this year (from 10 to 16), but sell-through rate also jumped from 20 percent last year to 44 percent this year. That means not only are there more cars crossing the block, but a higher percentage are actually changing hands.

Of the 16 cars offered, Hagerty personally inspected seven of them and determined that four of the seven sold above market value relative to their condition. The number of cars we quoted fell slightly from 53 last year to 48 this year, and the percent of quotes from younger collectors fell from 57 percent to 48 percent. In general, interest from younger buyers is a good sign of value appreciation going forward.

Despite the growing presence at auctions , the waning insurance quote metrics reel in our otherwise expectations. We’re expecting a slight increase in values over the next year but nothing like the 11 percent we saw in 2018.  

OUR LETTER GRADE: B

1990–2002 Mercedes Benz SL500/500SL (R129)

Mercedes-Benz SL
Jeremy Cliff
Mercedes-Benz SL

WHAT WE SAID:

The SL is the best example of substitution in the collector-car space, meaning that those who are priced out of one generation automatically look at a newer generation that is more affordable. The R129’s depreciation finally bottomed out and it’s the next SL on the list to climb the ladder. Right now it’s the most affordable of the top-of-the-line Benzes.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $15,760
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $17,030
  • Change in value +8.06 percent

Last year we highlighted the substitution effect as the main driver of values for the R129 SL, and that assessment proved true. The 300SL, 190SL, 280SL, 350SL/450SL, and 560SL all fell in value in 2018, leaving only 380SL and 500SL/SL500 as cars not actively losing value.

Sell-through rate at public auctions fell slightly from 81 percent to 79 percent in 2018, but average sale price jumped 11 percent. Quotes for the R129 SL were only up 4 percent which is slightly behind other ’90s German cars and of the 28 cars that Hagerty inspected at auction this year we found that 48 percent received high bids under market values.  That said, RM Sotheby’s recently announced “Youngtimer” collection could reignite the fire for ’80s, ’90s, and 2000 German collectibles over the next year. It’s unclear where there R129 SL is this time next year we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still worth $17K or $25K.

OUR LETTER GRADE: C

1993–98 Toyota Supra Turbo

Toyota Supra Turbo
Jeremy Cliff
Toyota Supra Turbo

WHAT WE SAID:

Our quote requests are up 250 percent over the past 12 months, and the value is up 26 percent in the same period. This is the poster car for the Fast and Furious and Gran Turismo generation. It may even pass the Acura NSX, because unmodified examples are so rare.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $65,200
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $69,214
  • Change in value +6.16 percent

As of December 2018, Supra Mk IV Turbo values haven’t surpassed 3.0-liter NSX values, but the Supra closed the gap down to just 37-percent shy of an NSX, from a previous 54 percent. The interesting thing with the Mk IV was that as soon as the 2018 list was published we stopped seeing quality cars come up for sale. Quote counts for these cars, which had jumped over 200 percent in 2017, saw just a 5 percent increase in 2018, but average quoted value was up over 11 percent in 2018.  

These still aren’t auction cars—only five publicly crossed the block in 2018. Privately owned low-mile, quality examples are trading hands north of $100,000, but we don’t expect that to become the norm in the near future. Interest in these cars is driven by millennials who make up over 50 percent of all quotes, but given the limited budget of younger collectors we suspect most are getting priced out of the Turbos and are shifting their eyes to the naturally aspirated cars. Over the next year we expect minimal gains if any on the Mk IV Turbo.

OUR LETTER GRADE: C

1993–2002 Pontiac Firebird SLP Firehawk

Pontiac Firebird Firehawk
DW Burnett
Pontiac Firebird Firehawk

WHAT WE SAID:

We saw a huge spike in interest in these, with the quotes doubling over the past 12 months, and 72 percent of that coming from Gen X or Millennials. Values have gone up 13 percent over the past 12 months. It kind of came out of nowhere.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $25,988
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $29,129
  • Change in value +12.09 percent

Quotes for the SLP Firehawk doubled in 2017, but that trend didn’t continue in 2018.  Quote counts were basically flat, but quoted values were up 10 percent year over year. We didn’t see many SLP cars offered at auction in 2018, but standard fourth-gen Firebirds did well. Fifty percent of the cars that Hagerty inspected in 2018 sold above market value relative to their condition.

Value growth for the SLP Firehawk slowed as the year went on and combine that with the fact that quote counts were flat year over year we wouldn’t expect these to increase much over the near future.

OUR LETTER GRADE: B

2001–05 Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche 996-generation 911 Turbo
DW Burnett
Porsche 996-generation 911 Turbo

WHAT WE SAID:

Another substitution car, meaning as other 911s rise, the overlooked 996s now seem incredibly undervalued. Not everybody loves the puddle headlights, but if you want a six-speed manual in a 400-hp German car, there aren’t a lot of options. In 2015, these cars bottomed out just as the air-cooled market hit its peak, but we’ve seen examples go for more than $100,000.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $54,813
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $56,093
  • Change in value +2.34 percent

When grading ourselves we measured the success of our predictions based on a 5-percent increase in value over a 12-month period. This was the one car where we missed the mark.

There were tons of signs that the 996-generation Porsche 911 was about to take off: Quotes were up 13 percent, the number of cars offered for sale at auction jumped from just six in 2016 to 23 in 2017, 67 percent of cars offered for auction in 2017 earned bids at or above market values per their condition, and there was a lot of buzz about how great and underrated a car the 996 Turbo is kept popping up. But none of that translated into significant value growth in 2018.

In reality these cars suffer from the same problems that a Mk IV Supra does; there just aren’t a lot of quality examples left on the market. The difference with the Porsche is that we haven’t seen many quality cars selling well above market values either.

OUR LETTER GRADE: D

2000–06 BMW M3

BMW M3
Jeremy Cliff
BMW M3

WHAT WE SAID:

The last M3 before it got a lot bigger and heavier. A real driver’s car, with just enough power that you can drive it and enjoy it without getting a ticket in third gear.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $28,979
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $35,286
  • Change in value +21.76 percent

The E46-generation BMW M3 was the big winner from our list last year,  jumping over 20 percent in value. Part of the pricing update process involves talking for dealers to get their input on recent sales, and they mentioned a huge increase in the last year. We saw quotes jump 17 percent in 2018 with 75 percent of quotes coming from younger collectors.

These cars aren’t yet showing up at the major in-person North American auctions, but there were almost 100 offered online through Bring a Trailer in 2018, and a couple sales topped $50,000. We see no signs of these slowing down and we probably could have safely included them again in the upcoming 2019’s Bull Market list.     

OUR LETTER GRADE: A

2010–14 Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford Raptor
DW Burnett
Ford Raptor

WHAT WE SAID:

People just love the idea of a fast truck. New, these were out of reach for many people, so you have a lot of folks closely watching the second-hand market, and without enough supply, they don’t really depreciate.

WHAT HAPPENED:

  • September 2017 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $40,000
  • September 2018 avg #2-condition (Excellent) value: $42,000
  • Change in value +5.00 percent

Valuation analyst Colin Comer notes that when nice Raptors come to market they sell very quickly, but in general not a ton are out there for sale. This indicates they don't need to be advertised. Contrast this to a couple years back, when the current Raptor first came out, and the 2011–14s were slow movers while everybody wanted the latest and greatest. (That’s true especially out West, where these trucks are a status symbol.) Nowadays, a few years into the current twin-turbo V-6 truck’s lifecycle, it seems people are seeing the appeal of the first-gen V-8.

These are the Baja pre-runner trucks most of us dreamed of as kids, brought to life as a production vehicle. They are also perhaps the first and the last of the big, burly, V-8-powered, box-fendered trucks we'll ever see. So unless they have big miles or have endured too many big jumps they’re going to remain highly desirable.

OUR LETTER GRADE: C