The 5 Cars That Lost the Most Value at the End of 2023


With another quarter behind us, values for the 48,000 cars, trucks, and motorcycles in the Hagerty Price Guide have once again been updated. With that, we’ve observed that the market’s cooling has now crept into all collector car segments and is no longer confined to specific areas.

Although most drops were minimal, some did make us stand up and take notice. Out of that massive list of vehicles, the cars listed here posted the most significant losses in value—it’s a rare scenario that one brand (in this case, Mercedes-Benz) has such a prominent presence on a Price Guide winners or losers list—but that is how the numbers shook out in this instance.

1962–63 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster: -23%

1962 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster

It isn’t as widely known as the 1955–57 T-Birds, but the attractive third-generation Thunderbird, or “Bullet Bird,” really epitomizes the idea of a personal luxury car, whereas the earlier ‘Birds could be better compared to the Corvette. Although T-Birds grew substantially in size over the years, Ford never strayed far from giving them an underlying sportiness. One of the key features Ford offered for 1962 and ’63 only was the Sport Roadster configuration. The most obvious components of the Sport Roadster were a two-seater configuration, 48-spoke Kelsey-Hayes wheels, and a sporty cowling behind those seats.

These were offered as special-edition cars, so understandably they sold in low numbers and are quite uncommon today. The collector market has long prized these cars, however, with buyers willing to pay a decent premium over standard convertibles. That said, the Sport Roadsters have experienced a softening in value as mixed results and a few decent cars selling below expectations have lowered values 23 percent on average. Not to worry, though, it is more likely that the market has corrected on these cars rather than the bottom falling out. It seems unlikely that further large drops will happen in the near future. In fact, Sport Roadster values should prove an interesting comparison over the 12 months to those of the slightly later 1964–66 T-Bird, a car we selected as one to watch for our 2024 Bull Market List.

1996–2003 Mercedes-Benz E320 Station Wagon: -23%

Mercedes-Benz e320 estate wagon cabin

Over the past few years, Mercedes W210 wagons have been among several cars that have leapt from the used-car realm into collectible status. Though they still fall solidly into the affordable category, the E320 has drawn the attention of Mercedes enthusiasts as 1990s German cars have surged in popularity. Despite more than doubling in value over the past three years, these are still sub-$30,000 cars, even in perfect condition.

Like most cars that have gone up aggressively in the post-pandemic landscape, these Benzes have finally started to calm down in value, dropping by 23 percent over the final quarter of 2023. Dollar-wise, this isn’t substantial on an already affordable model; however, the drop reflects the reality that affordable cars in particular are starting to calm down as the market levels out. Unfortunately, the likelihood of these wagons being “dirt cheap” again are extremely low, as is generally the case with any vehicle that has begun to attract the attention of collectors. So, if you’ve been holding out for a better deal, now may be the right time to strike.

1981–85 Mercedes-Benz 300TD: -19%

Mercedes-Benz 300td Wagon

Older Mercedes have the reputation of being absolute tanks that just keep going, and going, and going. One of the cars key to establishing that reputation was the venerable W123-based Turbo Diesel wagon. Simply put, those with fewer than 200,000 miles are considered to be “just broken in.” However, it hasn’t been until recently that these cars experienced a sort of renaissance, as enthusiasts began viewing them as collector items rather than mere thrifty economy machines.

As a result, and much like we’ve seen with the Volvo 240, these 300TDs have shot up in value. Chief among them have been lower-mile cars, with buyers willing to pay in the $50,000–$60,000 range for select examples. But what goes up must come down, and these 300TDs have settled, with the very best ones dropping by 19 percent. It is uncertain if this is a one-time fall, or if the rapidly expanded market for the 300TD is coming back to reality. Time will tell.

2005–08 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe: -19%

911 carrera s coupe

In terms of water-cooled 911s, the 997-series is often looked at as a sweet spot in the 911 lineage. It is generally regarded as better looking than the 996 and is proportionally better-sized compared to the subsequent 991. A Goldilocks 911 if there ever was one. The 997 market is incredibly nuanced and impossible to unpack in this article, but the short of it is that 997s have experienced a bit of cooling. Of those slowing cars, the Carrera S has shown the most substantial drop, and more specifically, the 997.1 Carrera S.

While confirmed transactions have shown that these cars have softened an average of 19 percent, the broader view of the 911 market is that earlier water-cooled cars, like the 996 and 997, have all begun to cool a bit. It is important to remember that they are not alone, and few cars have proven themselves immune. Although there seems to be little indication of the bottom falling out anywhere, it is important to keep an eye on the 997 for further adjustments.

2010–15 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: -17%

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG gulping

Mercedes’ throwback to the venerable 300SL Gullwings has turned out to be one of the company’s best instant collector cars since its collaboration with McLaren to create the 2004 SLR. The 6.2-liter SLS sports cars came in both gullwing and convertible configurations, but most seem to prefer the distinctive coupe. From the very beginning, many of these cars were bought up and immediately tucked away into collections, especially the bonkers Black Series variants.

These SLS cars show up for sale on a regular basis and they regularly sell very well. The caveat is that most are extremely low-miles examples, which essentially skews the market for the ones that actually have been used. Fortunately for us, a number them that have some miles under their belts have come up for sale, and they’ve given everyone a better glimpse at the SLS market. These higher-mile cars have sold for lower-than-expected prices, causing a slight correction to SLS values. That said, it is unlikely that a 17 percent drop now is an indication of more big losses. It is more likely that we are witnessing the correction of a market dragged up by beyond-exceptional cars.

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    Have a friend that owns Buster Crabbe’s 1955 T-bird with documentatio. It’s a black car in original condition and it’s for sale.

    Olympic swimmer (MANY decades ago) and early Flash Gordon in black and white films. The latter are hilarious today.

    The Porsche 997.1 is the last of the cars with potential IMS failures which can destroy the engine. All of the water cooled Pcars had variations of IMS failures (except turbos’s) prior to the introduction of the 997.2 in 2009 which eliminated the IMS bearing. Almost every potential Porsche 911 buyer knows this so – these drop the most in price in a slow market. IMO. They aren’t collector cars so they depreciate. If you are feeling lucky, they are a great buy.

    As you probably know all P-Cars with IMS bearing don’t have the same failure rates. You need to get into the weeds a little bit to see the differences. The original 911 and Boxster models had dual row IMS bearings (97 – 99) . From 2000 through 2005 Porsche began using single row IMS bearings that had the highest failure rate – about 8% at the time of the class action suit against Porsche per LN Engineering who are experts on IMS bearings. From 2006 through 2008 Porsche began using an extra robust single row bearing . LN reports that the initial two row bearings and the final large single row version had a much lower 1% failure rate. In addition a large number of the 2000 through 2005 cars have had their IMS bearings replaced with a modified version that is properly lubricated and also reduces failure rates dramatically.
    I guess this is just a long way of saying that you may be correct that late 90s through late 2000 IMS Porsche pricing may be negatively impacted if the buyer is not willing to “look under the hood”. But for those that do the research a good deal might be found.

    Love my 2007 997.1. Been driving it 17 years without an issue. Whenever I see a comment like Flatman’s, I want to go buy another. Only problem: where to keep it?

    In 2016 I bought a 2005 Carrera S, six speed, cabriolet in #1-#2 condition with 27K miles for $46,000. Concerned about a possible IMS bearing issue, I took it to a major BMW/Porsche dealer (Herb Chambers) in Boston and was told, based on the serial number, it was no longer a problem with the 997. I had them check anyway, and they were correct. I don’t know whether that applies to all 997’s. I now have 33K miles with no problems whatsoever. Although treated gently, they are solid cars.

    Before in depth research on the IMS, I found used motors for my ’99 986 were available at $3k. I did the math $9k for the car, $3k for an engine (if needed). Very assumable risk for me. I later found my car had the early dual row. Even less worries.

    Flatman is on point here. Almost all of the 997.1 have an “improved” IMS situation and small chance of failure. But if you’re getting a 2005 or 2006 you have to check the engine serial numbers. And even so the chance of catastrophic failure is still there although unlikely. Who needs that? 997.2 also have improved sourcing of interior materials that is notably different and wears far better. It sort of misses the point to get the 997 to avoid the fried egg headlights and Boxster dash of the 996, and end up with melted looking HVAC switches, and still have IMS in the background Hold out for the 2009 or later 997.2 unless you can live with all that. I had a 2000 996 that the previous owner had replaced the IMS bearing so “good” but NOW you have to read that the aftermarket bearings come with a concern about lifespan duration. The 996 was fantastic and a wonderful introduction to the 911. My 991 comes from a different planet tho……….. in every way.

    I’ve had several cars that have these known flaws that cast big negatives to long term ownership. It’s always there in the back of my mind. BMW seemingly leads the pack in over engineered defects. I have a gorgeous BMW 650i cab with 65k miles that originally sold for $93k and today can be had for $10k to $12k. At least Porsche has resale value to justify the risk. The same year Porsche which cost the about the same as the BMW at the time sells today for $50k.

    The 6 cylinders are generally fine to great engines, but BMW can’t build a V8 that doesn’t have issues over 50k miles and be worthless after 100k miles. In the meantime, Benz V8s are purring along with huge mileages on them.

    I bought a 2007 BMW xit in 2009 and sold it with 180,000 miles on it, and I used to autocross it. It was still running fine 3 years later when I happened to see the guy that bought it from me. Only problem I had was with the plastic radiator housing.

    997.2’s aren’t exactly “bulletproof” either as they’ve suffered from Bore Scoring Issues especially in cold weather climates like Canada or parts of the USA and so on.

    997’s can be “Collector Cars” if they’re Pristine Condition and Super Low Mileage. In the future people will appreciate the 997’s are the last True 911 both for its size & driving dynamics.

    Modern Day 911’s have Ballooned and there’s Wayy too many Gadgets & Technology in them that it takes away from what the True 911 Experience is about! Since VW got involved with Porsches … 911’s have lost their Souls! Go argue with the wall if you don’t agree but it’s the truth and that’s coming from a whole slew of 911 Enthusiasts, not just me 🙂

    No souls, eh? Hmm…well, if you happen to be gifted a new 911 GT3 Touring, I will be happy to be the beneficiary of regifting!

    Really? When did the 911 lose it’s soul?
    When VW got involved in 1969 with the 914, or when the two companies merged in 2011?

    Don’t worry about the intermediate shaft bearing (ims). If it fails, go with the small block Chevy conversion. That’s the end of your problems.

    OMG! Quite a price for what used to be a grocery-getter then when I lived in Studio City, California.
    For a while that was the new go-to vehicle for the newly affluent soccer- mom.

    I saw that also and I could not believe that……….They were really good cars. but……………………..

    BaT is literally an open market, where the only variable is the number of bidders. A low number of bidders could be down on certain days (for example, surrounding major holidays), but that has the potential to REDUCING closing prices. Otherwise, BaT IS the market. How can it be “overpriced”?

    BAT- and BJ- are overpriced due to the hype and easy access and guys getting into pissing matches, instead of poring through Hemmings or Craigslist.
    Before I retired from the car biz, I made a ton of money selling cars at BJ- just by buying what was popular and sprucing them up if needed. No one outside of these auctions pays $150k for a VW van etc

    Is well documented that prices on BAT/BJ are 10-20% higher than retail- so BAT is not the market.

    I don’t know about that. I just bought a Maserati at BAT for under $20K and last Wednesday, same car model, same color, same condition, two years older, with double the mileage went for just a hair under $40K at Barrett Jackson’s auction.

    I have to disagree on your MB 123 turbowagon assessment. If you check out BAT, an ‘82 wagon sold yesterday for $100K, and the Woods and Barclay diesels are selling for $45K to $65K within days of going on offer. Diesels haven’t cooled off very much from my assessment, and after yesterday’s sale I think there will be another surge. Let’s see!🙂👌

    Being a very strong porsche enthusiast it makes sense to see the 997 drop as people have overbought them in the past 3 years. 996 is the best option now, pick them up (Especially Turbo and X50 variants) before they explode to current 997 levels.

    Perhaps the “problem” is that the expected prices are sort of silly. While we categorize some cars as “collector cars”, the prices really reflect the availability, you know, as in “a dime a dozen”. There are a huge number of Porsches, Mercedes and Bullet Birds around. It’s a buyer’s market. Consider that many collectors, boomers in particular, are aging out of the hobby, and their cars are hitting the market, often sold posthumously. “Top dollar” is usually not the main objective, in that the cars are often selling at several times the original acquisition price (even if the Haggerty value shows depreciation). To them, $10~20K really doesn’t mean anything when the price is still 6 figures. The only way out of this is to wait until the supply dries up, which means becoming a collector. Often, this results in sub standard cars with a lot of deferred maintenance issues. When it comes to old Mercedes diesels and E class wagons, well… The owners are just tired of them, and want something new. Very few would be considered for collections, even with the odd high priced car (such as an AMG 63).
    The market goes up and down, depending on who is buying, and what they think is cool, as well as the need to get rid of an asset that has been around too long, and is now becoming an expense due to maintenance or storage. Right now, it appears that Porsches are popular, Alfa 4Cs are getting better than new prices, and in general, “flipping” new cars appears to be losing steam. Often, if one is buying in the real world (outside of BaT and the auctions), there are many bargains to be had. If one has a “real classic”, the value is still there. The cars listed here are not unusual, and in fact, mundane statonwagon/daily driver cars, not really collection material (I drive one daily, still). One is just not much fun to drive, and the other was expensive when new, and is still expensive, even with the perceived loss of value. So what???

    They only sold a couple thousand 4Cs, minus how many have been wrecked, and likely people are buying for future collector status

    With The Lions in the playoffs and their ownership history ( Sheila Firestone Ford Hamp currently ) only a soulless shell of a being wouldn’t want to go to Ford Stadium in a bullet bird.

    I have to question your conclusions on the Thunderbird Sports Roadsters. Since you admit there were very few of them produced and rarely only a handful available for sale at any one time, what was your basis for your comments? How many did you see sold and where? Also, as the owner of a 63 Sports Roadster for 34 years, which has been certified by the Sports Roadster Society, I have to question how many of the cars in your finding were actually certified Spots Roadsters and how many were clones. Later 62s and all of the 63s are easily identified by their vin number while the early 62s carried a convertible code number in their vin. A few years ago I did a survey of my own tracking the advertised sale of Sports Roadsters and found that 63% of the cars were clones using aftermarket tonneau covers, aftermarket wire wheels, aftermarket insignias and in most cases no grab bars on the dash boards.

    Lost Value–LOL—-Down 10% from last yr but still up 30% or more from three yrs ago—Greedy people just trying to get richer pushed prices to Crazy levels — It couldn’t stay that way–there are Limits– what surprises me is that at car shows lately we are not seeing more unusual cars–just the same old same old–

    997.2’s will hold the line for awhile but ultimately will become the go to model for the Porsche enthusiast who isn’t extremely wealthy. As the article points out, the 997.2 combines the best aspects of 997.1 and earlier water cooled models and 991 and later models.

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