Graph of the Week: The Most Common Cars at Auction That Cost Under $15,000


Under $15,000 is a good price point for identifying running and driving classics that can be considered “affordable” partly because they fit the budget for most enthusiasts and partly because it’s under the MSRP of just about any new automobile. Thankfully, there’s a wide range of choices in the world of affordable classics that spans many makes, body styles and model years. Even so, at collector car auctions in North America during 2015 there are certain types of classics that cross the block significantly more often than others.

Out of the 10 most commonly seen sub-$15,000 cars by year, make and model, seven are either Mustangs or Corvettes, all but one are built by either Ford or GM, and eight were built after 1970. If you’ve been to a Mecum or a Barrett-Jackson event lately, the list shouldn’t be much of a surprise. In addition to having modest values, most of these are famous cars with mass appeal, and all were built in huge quantities and have a solid survival rate. For example, almost 54,000 Corvettes were built in 1979 alone. For the 1966 Mustang, the number is over 600,000.

The typical demographic of both buyers and sellers at collector car auctions is also old enough to have nostalgic attachment to these cars rather than more modern classics with similar production numbers and purchase prices. While those modern classics have gotten a lot of recent attention from buyers, sellers and market commentators alike, it’s still the prototypical classics like the Mustang, Corvette and Beetle that are dominating the collector car auction dockets.

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