2023 Bull Market List: Report card
Each December, we put together the Hagerty Bull Market List, our annual selection of 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) that the data tells us are poised to grow in value over the next 12 months. This isn’t investment advice per se—rather, an opportunity 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 a bit more 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.
2023’s Bull Market List, selected in late 2022, was the first of the Bull Market cohorts to face significant market headwinds. For the first time since 2019, the broader collector market’s annualized return dipped to under three percent (it was 2.6 percent in 2023, down from 5.2 percent in 2022). Despite that, this group of Bull Market picks performed admirably, averaging a five percent annualized return and outperforming the market as a whole by 2.4 percentage points. There were several noteworthy performers, though not all trended positive.
1992–2006 AM General Hummer H1 (20% annualized return)
If ever there was a question about the collectibility of modern trucks that specialize in off-road prowess, the AM General Hummer H1 just answered it with authority. Just as the actual H1 physically stands head and shoulders above the rest of this list, so, too, did its 20 percent annualized return. A #2 (Excellent) condition 2002 H1 now sits at an eye-watering $142,000.
That stack of cash will get you one of the most capable and distinctive off-roaders in history. Derived from the military’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), the Hummer featured 16 inches of ground clearance and took advantage of portal axles and independent suspension to traverse the roughest terrain. No one would mistake it for being fast—its roughly four-ton curb weight and 195-horse turbodiesel made sure of that—but then again, you don’t need pace when you’re romping around in the desert or crawling Rodeo Drive. The Hummer has long stood as a proud affront to all things sensible, so its stout performance in this market seems in-character.
2007–15 Audi R8 (-4% annualized return)
A manual transmission with a gated shifter. Naturally aspirated, mid-mounted V-8 or V-10 engines. These are the building blocks of the analog supercars that many in the collector market are clamoring for these days, right? The Audi R8 offers them, and the performance to match, without the cost associated with a similarly equipped Ferrari or Lamborghini. And yet, here the R8 sits, with the dubious distinction of a four percent loss in annualized return—the biggest miss of all Bull Market picks.
Though values went up 37 percent between 2019 and the end of 2022, and insurance and valuation inquiries for the R8 have been extremely strong, the model has fallen in value of late. The value for a #2 condition 2015 R8 V10 is down 4.3 percent to $156,000 over the course of the last year. In contrast, the 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo is up 1.4 percent over the same period. It might be that in the face of a slowing market, collectors on the lookout for aging supercars are sticking with more exotic brands rather than seeking the same experience at a more affordable price.
2001–04 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (12% annualized return)
The fifth-generation (C5) Chevrolet Corvette, particularly the top-dog Z06, has begun to have its day in the sun. Though the Hummer’s market performance is in a different league, the C5 Z06’s 12 percent annualized return in the face of a cooling market confirms that collectors are firmly in tune with this Bowling Green bruiser.
And for good reason. The 405-horsepower LS6 V-8 and capable suspension enable the C5 Z06 to keep pace with modern sports cars, but it is just as comfortable cruising on relaxed trips. It is arguably the first truly modern Corvette, designed for world-class performance without the inherent packaging sacrifices of prior generations. Values for #2 condition Z06s have crested $40K and held steady over the course of the last year. Regardless of the future direction of the broader market, the C5 Z06 is now recognized in the pantheon of Corvette greats.