A 1955 Bel Air and a 2003 prediction


The 2003 Monterey auctions saw over 200 cars sell, for a total of $24 million. With that weekend as a backdrop, it’s a good time to take a look back over the year and see just how the collector car market has been doing. In general, sales of cars over $100,000 have slowed down, and there is almost no market for project cars. The real action is in nicely restored sports and muscle cars from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that are selling in the $25,000 to $75,000 range. —  Keith Martin (www.sportscarmarket.com)

Here is one sale that tells something about a certain segment of the market. Make sure to read about the other three in our four-part series.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible
S/N VC555152380
Two-tone Gypsy Red and Shoreline Beige with orange and white vinyl interior. 265-c.i. V-8, automatic. Excellent chrome, interior and paint. Trunk doesn’t fit quite right. SOLD FOR $42,500 at the RM Auction in Monterey, CA, on August 15, 2003.

1955-57 full-size Chevrolet convertibles are no longer in the “flavor-of-the-month” club. Until last January, you could expect prize-winning, fully-optioned restored cars to come close to $100,000. But suddenly everyone started restoring them, and the supply exceeded the demand. Given the condition of this car, the price was fair.

12-month prediction: Great Bel Airs will still climb past $75,000, but not very often. If you’re a buyer for a very nice car, offer $65,000 and wait.

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