These cars are the biggest winners and losers of the 2018 collector market
The classic car world goes through phases. As tastes change and new people start participating in the hobby, the landscape shifts in response. (That’s why Hagerty updates prices three times per year; values are always moving.) This past year was mostly all about trucks—lots of upward movement for C10s, Broncos, Jeeps, and the like. But we looked even deeper to understand what vehicles shot up the most, and which took the hardest hits in 2018. Here are the five cars with the biggest movement up and the biggest movement down for the year.
1971–73 Buick Riviera (+21.27%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $15,900
The highly ambitious, nothing-quite-like-it boattail Riviera has a lot going for it, and we’ve already pointed to it as one of the hottest cars of its kind on the market. Not to mention it’s particularly popular among younger buyers. RM sold a very nice 1972 Riviera in Fort Lauderdale back in April for a staggering $49,500—way over our #1 condition (“Concours”) value—but that sale was no fluke, and boattail prices have been on the rise for most of 2018.
1992–2002 Mazda RX-7 (+22.86%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $18,000
This was the year of the dog on the Chinese calendar, but for values it looks more like the year of the Mazda. All the Mazdas we currently price are up, and up by quite a bit. The third and final generation RX-7 is a more complicated and difficult car to live with than its humble predecessors, but it’s also a lot quicker, not to mention one of the best-looking cars of the 1990s. (Check out our FD RX-7 buyer’s guide here.) Peers like the Toyota Supra and Acura NSX already saw their big price surge before 2018, but solid, well-maintained, and unmolested twin-turbo RX-7s found a lot of appreciation over the course of the year.
1979–85 Mazda RX-7 (+27.93%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $7100
Novel rotary powertrain aside, the first-gen RX-7 is a contrast to the later high-tech RX of the ’90s in that it’s relatively simple, easy to find, and cheap. But not quite as cheap as it used to be, it turns out. Average #2 (Excellent) values cracked five figures at the beginning of the year and went up from there.
1949–67 Volkswagen Beetle (+39.37%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $15,800
Always collectible but rarely expensive, the Beetle nevertheless got a little pricier in 2018. Specifically, upward movement came from pre-1968 Beetles, which have always been the purest and most desirable that saw the most growth. The gap between sedan and convertible also grew substantially, with convertible values growing by an average of 61 percent across the board compared to just 12–15 percent for the sedans. Standout sales were a wonderfully restored and kitted-out 1956 convertible that sold for $72,800 at Amelia Island and a similarly-well-restored 1957 sedan that sold for $61,600 at Scottsdale.
1990–98 Mazda MX-5 Miata (+48.4%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $6100
The first-generation (aka “NA”) Miata made a huge splash when Mazda brought it out in 1989. The cheap roadster had been dead for about a decade, but the Miata revived it and has owned that market ever since. On balance, it’s been just about the best sports car for your money for almost 30 years. But because “Miata is always the answer” and because they’re cheap, a lot of them have been raced, modded, or just generally beat on. This means that nice, collector-grade examples are increasingly rare, and 2018 showed that the charm of those adorable pop-up headlights and smiley grille are in high demand.
1998–99 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR (+58.33%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $3M
To be clear, the CLK GTR is a hard car to set values on because just 26 road cars (20 coupes and six roadsters) were built, and they don’t change hands often. Before 2018, the last one to sell at auction was at Goodwood way back in 2015. It brought $1.9M, but in Monterey this year there was enough pent-up demand that another 1998 model sold for $4.5M. That’s the benchmark until another one of the 26 CLK GTRs surfaces.
1953–56 Packard Caribbean (-9.15%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $58,800
The Caribbean cost quite a bit more than a Cadillac when it was new, and by 1955 it had a brand-new V-8, power everything, and electronically operated self-leveling suspension. It’s a regal, stately car from the twilight years of one of America’s all-time great car companies. But Caribbeans also cost an absolute fortune to restore, plus trim and parts are increasingly difficult to find and buyer interest in early postwar American cars was down across the board in 2018. Expect the Caribbean—and other cars like it—to keep slipping in 2019.
1972–80 Mercedes-Benz 350SL/450SL (-9.95%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $15,100
Mercedes SL values are on something of a roller coaster ride over the past few years, and for the R107 (350/450SLs) most of 2018 was that part of the ride where you’re going down, very quickly. In 2015 these cars followed the growth in interest for earlier SLs and shot way up, in some cases nearly doubling in value. The plateau was in 2016, and then prices began to slide to more realistic levels (as they did for earlier 190SLs and 230/250/280SLs).
1976–89 Porsche 911 Carrera (Turbo 930) (-10.95%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $123,900
Porsche 930s did not have a very good 2018, but they didn’t have a very good 2017 either. Caught up in the feeding frenzy for all things air-cooled and Porsche, 930s went from five-figure collector cars to selling for more than $200K, in some cases, over the course of about a year, finally peaking in 2015. It’s been a downward slope ever since, but it’s worth noting that a rough 930 today is still worth more than an absolutely perfect one was in 2013.
1994–2004 Ford Mustang (-12.68%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $9200
Third-generation (aka Fox-body) Mustangs have made a splash in the market. Maybe it’s the appeal of an affordable V-8 rear-drive platform or just that charmingly bland styling, but Fox-body prices are up. The fourth-gen Mustang, on the other hand, is a different story. It’s not quite old enough for nostalgia to start kicking in, and newer fifth- and sixth-gen Mustangs are a whole lot faster and better looking without being all that expensive. Fourth-gen Mustang prices are down across the board—even rare special models like the ’95 SVT Cobra R (-5%) and the 2003 Mach 1 (-4%).
2014–15 McLaren P1 (-15.56%)
Average value in #3 (Good) condition: $2.1M
The hybrid hypercar trio of McLaren P1/LaFerrari/Porsche 918 was a big deal. These cars were collectible right out of the box, so we added them to our valuation data as soon as they hit the second-hand market. The P1s that came to auction routinely brought $2M or more in 2017, but apparently the excitement wore off and demand just isn’t as high. The last one to sell at auction brought $1.435M, which isn’t far off of what it cost new.