5 vehicle-value trends that point to a stabilizing market

Bring a Trailer/1965_GT350R

Want a better understanding of what’s driving collector-car values? Sign up for the Hagerty Insider newsletter.

Perhaps the best word to describe what we witnessed in 2022’s collector market is “chaotic.” A year ago, we witnessed some of the most aggressive appreciation in ages. Of course, what goes up doesn’t go up forever. Toward the end of the year, we started to see a different side of the market. Previously hot segments either leveled off or receded.

That said, the market is very segmented, and different strata behave in different ways. This is where Hagerty’s collector indexes come into play. These reference notable or significant segment-movers to gauge the overall performance of the collector market.

For the past two years, we have seen incredible growth in the collector car market. The biggest question is: When will the hot streak cool? Our five collector-car indexes have all leveled out, signaling a stabilizing market and suggesting that rational buying is creeping back in.

Blue-chip collectibles

1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America By Pinin Farina
RM Sotheby's/Tom Gidden

Following a spurt of third-quarter activity at August’s Monterey auctions, Hagerty’s Blue Chip Index settled back into a trend of little appreciable movement. As 2022 drew to a close, this remained the same.

Despite an unpredictable stock market, the highest inflation in four decades, and constant chatter of an impending recession, the top of the collector car market remains steady. In times like this, tangible assets such as cars, art, watches, and other collectibles are often used to hedge against more traditional investments. For at least the foreseeable future, the top of the market is expected to hold its course.

These factors, as well as the holiday season being a traditionally slow time in the market, contributed to nearly every component car in the Blue Chip Index retaining level value from the previous publication. While the 1965 Shelby GT350 and Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America posted modest gains of two percent and four percent, respectively, these were canceled out by losses of the same rate in the Aston Martin DB5 and BMW 507.

That’s the story for now, but we’ll get a better sense of the market’s direction following the January auction extravaganzas in Arizona and Florida. Stay tuned.

British cars

1973-MG-MGB front three quarter fort lauderdale auction RM
RM Sotheby's

After reaching an all-time high in October of 2022, Hagerty’s British Car Index took a one percent step back, returning to mid-summer levels. This typically sleepy segment has once again proven to be one of the more active indexes of the Hagerty Price Guide, and a simple one percent loss tells only a portion of the story of British collector-car market.

While the index is indeed down, 70 percent of the component cars posted gains. The more affordable nature of many of these cars had much to do with it. While cars like the MGB Mk I may have seen a 10 percent gain and the Triumph TR6 a seven percent increase, the lower cost of these cars means the value bumps translate into a few thousand dollars at most. When a six-figure car like a Series I E-Type posts an 8 percent loss, it effectively wipes out the increases made by the rest of the index.

As a result, the market for British cars is in better shape than outward appearances suggest.


RM Sotheby's/Darin Schnabel

Following a three-percent increase in the third quarter, its largest in years, Hagerty’s Ferrari Index posted no movement with the latest price guide update. This is a trend that has persisted since the collector-car market began to bounce back in late 2020, and the index has only posted any measurable movement following major events such as the Amelia Island and Monterey auctions.

As with the Blue Chip Index, high-end vehicles like Ferraris have held their ground despite economic anxiety revolving around the pandemic, inflation, and volatility in other markets. Most Ferrari owners are in no rush to sell their prized cars out of necessity or to buy as a hedge against the fitful stock market. The 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe was the only model to post a change—a three percent loss—but it still wasn’t enough to move the index’s needle in a meaningful way.

It may be after the January auctions or even after those in Amelia Island, come March, before any potential change of currents in the Ferrari market begins to show itself. For now, it seems top-shelf segments will remain rock steady.

Muscle cars

LS6 Chevrolet Chevelle front three quarter mecum auction

For the past five consecutive publications, Hagerty’s Muscle Car Index has posted consistent increases. Now, for the first time since late 2020, it posted a loss. The muscle-car market posted mixed results for the latter half of 2022, though, so such a result is not a big surprise.

The biggest ticks downward were the LS6 Chevelle Coupe, Shelby GT500 KR, and Pontiac GTO, which posted losses of 16 percent, 15 percent and six percent, respectively. Those blows were softened a bit, however, by a 15 percent gain for the 1964 Impala SS Convertible. Outside of these component cars, the index tells mostly the same story as the others. Many muscle-cars took small steps back, but a few still had room to grow, like the 440-equipped Plymouth Superbirds, Dodge Coronet R/Ts, and Super Bees.

While the tide appears to be turning toward a softening muscle-car market, the looming muscle-car-heavy January auctions in Kissimmee and Scottsdale could create defining themes within the muscle market for the near future. In particular, we’ll examine the sales data of top-flight examples compared to more run-of-the-mill muscle. The first quarter of 2023 will be pivotal in setting the tone for muscle cars moving forward.

German cars

1959-BMW-Isetta front three quarter
RM Sotheby's

As with many of the other indices covered in the Hagerty Price Guide, the German Car Index posted no meaningful movement in the last quarter of 2022. The index had been on the rise for five consecutive publications, reaching all-time highs earlier in 2022. (NB: We update our price guide quarterly.) Many of this index’s component cars represent the upper echelons of the German collector market which, like other high-end vehicles, experienced little to no movement this publication.

Not reflected here is the continued movement of lower-priced German classics and “youngtimer” cars. While high-end cars like the 300SL Gullwing tracked steady, the more affordable R129 (1989–2001) Mercedes-Benz SL320s gained 17 percent. Likewise, the 2002tii may have not moved, but BMW Bavarias shot up by 27 percent, and Isettas by 13.

With such sharp rises in collector car values since late 2020, it is probably best to keep in perspective that sharp gains often turn into fast drops. The fact that it has not occurred in the German slice of the collector-car market is promising, at least for the immediate future.

1950s American classics

1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible front three quarter

1950s American Classics was the only index that posted positive movement this publication. This one percent gain was the result of just two movers out of 19 component cars—the 1954 Buick Skylark, which posted a nine percent boost, and the 1958 Chevrolet Impala, which increased five percent.

Despite the overall steady outlook, there was a lot of activity within the segment, mostly relegated to specific models or trims. For instance, Hudson Hornet Convertibles experienced no movement in value, but sedans grew by 6.5 percent. While standard “Baby Bird” Thunderbirds didn’t change, values of the more powerful E-Code and F-Code cars grew by five percent.

At this point, it is hard to walk away with any real indications of what the market for 1950s American cars has in store. As with the muscle-car segment, the fourth quarter of the year is typically a sleepy time for trading American classics, and a real read on this market may not be possible until the January auctions.

Affordable classics

1951 Buick Roadmaster Convertible front three quarter

It is easy to dismiss the lack of growth in Hagerty’s Affordable Classics Index as a repeat of everything else going on in the market. That would gloss over the real story, though. The Affordable Classics Index has posted consistent gains book over book since September 2017. In fact, it has been the best and most consistent performer of all the market segments we track.

Many component cars still posted reasonable increases this period: MGBs, Buick Roadmasters, and Studebaker Larks all posted 10 percent gains. These were mainly offset by a 12 percent loss by the Datsun 240Z, which had been a major contributor to this index’s consistent growth.

While the benchmark of what is considered affordable has moved significantly since our price guide’s inception, the result this quarter is somewhat encouraging. It hints that there is a return to sanity in collecting after a long streak of massive increases.

Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it

Via Hagerty Insider

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: The Rochester-Duesenberg ReVere, explained


    Is this based on the Big House Auctions or overall including daily BAT, Classic Cars, Hemmings, etc?
    Because I see you have published here Premium Listings of #1+ vehicles.

    With inflation in full swing, I would think that it is causing a drag on the desire versus dollar equation. Even though the wealthy who can usually skate through these economic aberrations, they are still hearing about it, which is probably, if not having an effect for them, is at least registering with them. It will also potentially blunt the resale market, at least in the near term.

    If the 2023 auctions are indicative, muscle car prices are trending higher. LS 6 Chevelles and Ram Air IV GTOs drew top dollar.

    Forget the low volume cars like MGs and Jaguars and concetrate on the high volume cars like Mustangs to get a true accurate picture of the trends…. you are in the wrong group of cars….trucks are hot and should not be forgotten as well..

    A loss is only a loss if you sell for less than what you paid. Just like a gain is only on paper until you actually sell and you better keep the restoration receipts to knock down the gains.

    Finally the dream is in place in commitment with getting the knowledge to putting my 1979 corvette to the condition back to being the car it’s been , n the ride itself has been ecstatic day to day with progress , thanks again to the hagerty team for that start n the dream keeps moving foward to fun on the road in 2023 !

    In any market, be it stocks, commodities, or cars, a run up in prices of the sort we have seen in the latter rarely end with ‘flattening out”…

    Weak markets generally push collector car prices up.

    But prices are getting a little higher for a number of cars. 1 million on a GTO is artificial.

    Well, they talked that million dollar price for so long before and during that auction that I’m not surprised someone paid it. Someone has to be THAT guy who can show everyone he can pay that much for a GTO. What is surprising, no, shocking, to me is someone paying that much for a GTO with a slush box.

    People nowadays.

    The MG, Triumphs are cheap, fun to drive, and economical. Plus parts are reasonable and fairly easy to get. Another words, you can actually drive them and enjoy them and when maintained as any car should be looks better than one that’s been restored and never been on the road in twenty years! So who really enjoyed their cars the most?

    “Gains in values”

    “Investment hedge against stock market volatility”

    This has ruined it for car hobbyists. I might as well be reading the financial section of the newspaper.

    I see very little on the Japanese cars. I love my daily driver 1985 Celica GTS convertible, factory 5 speed, RW drive. It is affordable and fun to drive. More folks should be looking for these.

    Other than I am surprised the curves do not show the massive dip in the under $10k “affordables” in 2020. Effectively the bottom dropped out of the market and could pick up a very nice and interesting, quick but not muscle cars like the Allante, Reatta, FIAT 124 Spyder, and a matched pair of SLK320 (retractable) and Chrysler Crossfire Coupe (same chassis, different bodywork, made in Germany). Best part all are easy to fit in a garage and all have very active forums. True, since not really mainstream they can be a learning experience but manuals are available.

    The right car is better than money in the bank. The right car is fun to look at, fun to drive, and goes up in value. Money in the bank goes down in value, can’t drive it, somebody else is looking at it trying to figure out how to get it from you, we call those politicians. Drive it till they outlaw it.

    Interesting! If you check out these indexes : https://www.hagerty.ca/apps/valuationtools/market-trends/collector-indexes/German_Collectibles : and use the drop-down menu to see the $ value graphs in each category yoou will see that the very top end cars like Ferrari and German collector vehicles have gained the most value than the less expensive cars between 2010 and 2020.

    The evidence is obvious here how much of a wealth / income gap there is in this country. The rich are getting richer with more disposable income while the middle class and working poor have relatively less.

    If that is what we want as a nation then I guess that’s fine.

    Not a mention of the Japanese car market? The future collectors are really into the JDM scene and while it may not be as noticeable right now, the boom we saw in the 90’s with muscle cars is coming with this group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *