2019 Bull Market List: Report card
Each December, we put together our annual “Bull Market” list, an annual attempt at picking out the collector car hobby’s movers and shakers. Basically, it’s a group of 10 or so cars (with the occasional truck and motorcycle thrown in) we believe are poised to grow over the next 12 months. This isn’t investment advice per se—rather, our goal is to point out that with some due diligence and a smidge of luck, you can experience the joys of the collector car hobby and maybe get your money back or turn a little profit when it’s time to sell.
The 2024 group debuting on December 11 will be the seventh list, so we have had plenty of time (and opportunity) to check how our predictive powers panned out.
The 2019 list was our second go-round and, like the 2018 list, featured a good mix of classic and modern, car and truck, domestic and import. But, nearly five years on, where do these picks stand relative to the rest of the market, which has an annualized return of 2.7 percent? On average, the Bull Market class of 2018 performed incredibly well, securing an annualized return ten full percentage points higher than the broader market. Only one selection failed to exceed the Hagerty Price Guide’s average, while several saw dramatic increases. Let’s dig in.
1984–93 Ford Mustang Saleen (27% annualized return)
Only a handful of our Bull Market picks over the years have had a better annualized return than the original Fox-body Saleen Mustang. Although many 1980s–1990s American cars haven’t seen the same level of big growth as their contemporaries from Germany and Japan, Fox-body Mustangs have been an exception. The original Saleens of course used the Fox platform, and were the ultimate Mustang with a warranty at the time. Add in the fact that they were basically SCCA club racers for the street, and Saleens really start to look like the Shelby GT350 of the 1980s. But while a 1965 GT350 in #2 (Excellent) condition was worth $450K at the beginning of 2019, a Saleen Mustang was worth a mere fraction of that. Though they don’t fetch Shelby dollars, Saleens have gotten significantly pricier, with their median #2 value now sitting at about $87,000.
2008–09 Pontiac G8 (1% annualized return)
Oof, this was the first (but not only) Bull Market pick to underperform the rest of the collector car market, proving our crystal ball isn’t always crystal clear. The last muscle car from the brand that practically invented the genre, the G8 is essentially flat. Essentially a rebadged Holden Commodore from Australia, the G8 was Pontiac’s second dose of Down Under excitement after the 2004–06 GTO (a rebadged Holden Monaro), but it arrived for the 2008 model year and proved an unprofitable exercise through Pontiac’s demise in 2009.
The high-performance GXP model has the ingredients of a four-door Corvette, with its 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 and available 6-speed manual, and back in 2019 we proclaimed “[v]alues are up 10 percent over last year’s. There’s no downside to this car, and it will never get any cheaper.” Wrong. Just 12 months after the 2019 Bull Market list went out, G8 GXP #2 values dropped by nine percent. They’ve since recovered to a median of $39,600, which is just $1800 more than they were at the beginning of 2019, not counting for inflation.
There are no universal truths in this hobby, as both the best and the worst performers from the 2019 list were modern American cars. The beefy faux wood-clad Roadmaster is both a soft-riding throwback to the family wagons of earlier generations and a tempting sleeper with its C4 Corvette-derived LT1 V-8, so they have an appeal to enthusiasts of all ages. Although values are actually down over the past year, they have clearly made the transition from used car to collector car. The median #2 value was a downright cheap $8600 at the beginning of 2019. At the end of 2023 it’s over double that amount.
Speaking of C4 Corvettes, we picked the Grand Sport (GS) because “[j]ust 1000 examples built in one year means these cars are rare, fast, and distinctive. In a Corvette—in fact, in most cars—those factors add value. Plus, most Grand Sports were treated as collector cars from new, which means lots of low-mileage choices out there.” The GS has ingredients that translate to collectability in Corvettes—and any collector car, really—but this limited-edition ‘Vette still can’t escape the fact that it hails from the C4 generation. The 1984–’96 run of America’s sports car has remained relatively cheap despite nearly all of its contemporaries getting more expensive, and we’re still a little confused about it. The GS actually spent most of 2019 decreasing in value, but has since recovered to a median #2 value of $48,800, about nine grand more than it was at the beginning of 2019.