Occasionally there is a sale that breaks the market status quo and signals a change in the price range for a particular collector car. At Hagerty, we call these “breakout sales.” Of course, you can never be sure a sale is a breakout until the next few transactions support or refute it, but here are four lots from Arizona Auction Week that look like they busted the ceiling.
Chevy K5 Blazers were on fire in January. Several Blazer sales last week raised the bar, but this sale at Barrett-Jackson flew past #1-condition valuation to set the tone. It came on the heels of a similar Blazer selling for $88,000 a week earlier at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction to prove the point. First-generation Broncos, FJ40s, and early Land Rovers hit first, now make way for the second wave of vintage utes.
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $27,200
The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 16v is what inspired BMW’s E30 M3, although ultimately the Bimmer has proved more popular—perhaps a result of its slightly better DTM track record. Given how much the chasm separating prices for the Merc and the Bimmer has grown over the past five years, the 190 just seems way too cheap. European values have been stronger for these models than stateside sales, but this sale shows the difference is on its way to equalizing. This price is only slightly above a September sale from Bring A Trailer, but it’s a very public sign that values here are on the rise. Expect good examples of the 190E 16-valve to rise.
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $36,300
Just like the rest of Porsche’s front-engine sports cars, the 968 wasn’t initially embraced by marque purists. Time has a funny way of changing a car though, or at least how people view it, and like so many other models that endured the same fate (914, 924, 944, 928...) the 968 is getting a second look now. Owners have been preaching in the wilderness for decades about the 968’s pretty shape, rarity, and engaging driving characteristics. As younger enthusiasts enter the Porsche market, this price shows that 968 owners have finally found a congregation willing to listen. And pay up.
Buick GNXs have long been on car collectors’ radars, even at the time of their introduction – just look at the number of sub-1000 mile examples in existence. GNXs and their less exclusive Grand National siblings did well in the Barrett-Jackson tent, but even more telling was the sale of this turbo Regal T-Type. It was in good unrestored driving condition, had 55,000 miles, and was dressed in white (not the most desirable color for this model). An honest but not perfect car, it sold for more than double what we expected. Given that GNXs and Grand Nationals also did well in Scottsdale, this sale signals a broader surge in the turbo G-body market, too.