5 classics heating up in the 2023 Price Guide
“Active” would be an apt description of the collector market over the first quarter of 2023. “Nuanced” would be another. In recent Price Guide publications, we could rely on more consistent value increases across the board, but that’s not the case this time around. The result has been very mixed, with some models putting up huge gains still and others contracting in value. The handful of cars that posted big gains were spread across wildly different market segments and price points. Let’s take a deeper look at the most notable value increases and what their changes mean.
1968-1973 Mercedes-Benz 220 +40%
Here in the states, Mercedes-Benz is best known for producing luxury cars with panzer-level ruggedness. The W114/W115 chassis might not have been the pinnacle of the brand’s luxury offerings, but it was pretty stout. And, with nearly two million produced, they were absolutely everywhere. Of the series, the W115-based 220 experienced some big bumps in value in our latest update. Even with the recent increases, a prime example can still be had under $20,000. This is notable for a couple reasons: there are still interesting, sub-$20,000 cars in circulation, and even high-volume cars are getting some love as their higher-priced siblings have crept out of reach for many collectors.
1967-1972 Ford F-Series Pickups +37%
Yet again, trucks are the hot ticket. This side of the market has been on a tear for well over a decade and it shows no sign of significantly backing off. As trucks from the early ’70s and prior have appreciated out of reach for many, attention has shifted to ’80s- and ’90s-era vehicles, along with a select few from the 2000s. Despite that, recent value shifts make it apparent that collectors aren’t quite ready to walk away from older models.
This past quarter, we recorded huge movement for 1967-72 Ford F-series pickups—to the tune of 37 percent. What gives? One likely contributor were the auctions in Kissimmee and Scottsdale, where trucks flourished. Modified trucks wowed with big numbers, but sales of stock examples—the vehicles we use for Price Guide valuation data—exceeded expectations as well. In addition, the F-series had some ground to make up when compared to the 1967-72 Chevrolet and GMC C/K-series trucks, which had commanded a premium over its Blue Oval competition for a while.
1969-1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV +36%
The muscle car market has been one of the most volatile and nuanced segments of the market going into the beginning of the year, with some series still increasing in value by leaps and bounds and others edging back. The biggest surprise comes to you curtesy of the 1969-70 GTO Judge, specifically the ones equipped with the high-performance Ram Air IV engine.
The 36 percent increase reflects a strong showing of GTOs in January. Of all the cars offered, nearly every one of them shattered their condition-appropriate price guide estimates. The takeaway here is that high-spec cars in exceptional condition are still garnering strong prices in many cases. What the muscle car market looks like down the road remains to be seen, though. Prices are mixed overall, and that could indicate that the segment is approaching a peak.
1946-1948 Pontiac Streamliner +35%
There’s another Pontiac in the latest Price Guide update that merits mention—one from an era that rarely snags the spotlight. American cars produced immediately after World War II fall in between segments of interest for collectors: they’re not old enough to be grouped with prewar cars even though their designs were carryovers from when production stopped for the war effort, and they precede the late ’40s and early ’50s jet-age styling we closely associate with the postwar era.
Likely for this reason, cars like the 1946-48 Pontiac Streamliner have maintained a steady value for years, only seeing a noticeable increase now. Despite the big bump, these vehicles remain relatively affordable: a Streamliner coupe in near-perfect condition is still a sub-$50,000 car, and excellent-condition cars trade for just under $30,000. After lagging behind while the rest of the market posted huge gains, these cars have finally caught up. Usually in cases like this, future increases like this aren’t in the cards, but time will only tell.
1973-1980 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 +33%
Dinos are on the rise, although this model is distinct from the 206 and 246 Dinos that have captured headlines over the last eighteen months. We’re talking here about the 308, which saw strong gains this past quarter. While V-8-powered (the Dino name is usually associated with V-6-equipped cars), the 308 GT4 was also sold under the Dino banner for the first few years of production.
Here’s the most noteworthy bit: The 308 GT4 is starting to close the value gap between it and the more striking two-seater 308 GTB of the same period, which posted slight losses over the past quarter. It is unlikely the 308 GT4 will see additional large increases like this in the near future. Still, its gains indicate that there is still plenty of movement in less expensive Ferraris despite the broader market’s mixed outlook.