Anniversary Bumps: How your car’s anniversary can affect its value

The classic auto press and lately even the manufacturers have taken to playing up significant collector car anniversaries. The 2011 Jaguar E-Type anniversary was the most recent biggie. Jaguar and the motoring press pulled out all the stops and the net effect was boosting the beautiful E-Type to top-of-mind for a lot of collectors. Numerous informative articles were written, some even dispelling the E-Type’s vastly overstated reputation and notorious unreliability (the producers of AMC’s hit show “Mad Men” clearly didn’t get that memo — an E-type was involved in a darkly hilarious suicide attempt that was foiled when the car wouldn’t start).

The net result of all the attention was a 10-20 percent bump in E-Type values. What goes up often comes down, and when the anniversary ended, E-Type prices did settle a bit, but not to the pre-2011 level.

Here are a few things to consider about automotive anniversaries:

  1. In general, significant anniversaries are 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, etc. Half decade anniversaries with the exception of 25th are usually not a big deal.  25th anniversary recognition is an exception because it is often the cut-off date for antique and classic registrations. Major 25th anniversaries will still be rare because cars don’t often acquire major milestone status in that short of a time period. In general, historic anniversaries with ties to living people in their ideal collecting range (35-65) resonate better than 75th or 100th anniversaries.
  2. Anniversaries can be broken down into three categories: 1. “Major Milestone”; 2. “Significant Anniversary”; 3. “Historical Footnote.” The categories are a bit subjective, but most of us recognize them when we see them. The Major Milestone cars will be the ones most likely to experience an anniversary bump in value.
  3. Foreign automakers tend to date anniversaries from the actual year of motor show introduction, Americans from the model year. For example, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray was introduced to the public in mid-1962 and went on sale in early autumn 1962 as a 1963 model, so the 50th anniversary is dated from 1963. Conversely, the Porsche 911 was introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show and went on sale in late 1963 as a 1964 model. Porsche dates the anniversary to the introduction date in 1963 rather than the model year of 1964.

2013 will see two Major Milestone anniversaries in the C2 Corvette and the Porsche 911. But not all models and sub-models of the above are created equally, and some will likely appreciate more than others. C2 Corvettes to watch next year will be the iconic split window coupe with desirable options like fuel injection and a big tank. Porsche 911s like early 1964 cars, short wheelbase 911S and soft window Targa models will be extremely desirable, but any long hood (1964-73) 911 will be worth hanging on to for the duration of the year.

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