Thought these 5 classics would go up forever? Think again

Jason Hadfield

The latest update to the Hagerty Price Guide looked pretty normal … which struck us as kind of weird. Over the past two years, as collectors paid unprecedented prices for everything from 1960s muscle to 2000s Japanese-market imports, we’ve become accustomed to wild and wide-reaching gains. Yet as Hagerty Insider crunched the data for the valuation January 2023 update, it became clear that inflation, as well as general economic uncertainty, was finally tamping buyers’ enthusiasm.

As a result, we saw more cars lose value than gain from our last price guide update in October (15.7 percent of the cars in the book were down, compared to 11.2 percent that went up). Many of the losers are rides that have been gaining for a long time—if you missed out on one of the cars below because it became too expensive, maybe there’s hope.

That said, the effects of 2022’s market peak are still with us: some 63 percent of the cars in our guide are worth more this January than they were this time last year. So don’t expect outright bargain basement prices.

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS: Down 22 percent since October 2022

Chevrolet Chevelle SS front three quarter

The 1968–72 Chevrolet Chevelle is something of a bellwether car—we watch them for swings in the market. That’s partially because there are a lot of them and they sell often. Chevelles are also the sort of vehicle coveted by folks who represent the heart of the collector car market, at least in the United States—well-off enough for discretionary purchases like a collector car but not necessarily wealthy enough to be immune to economic pressures.

For much of 2022, Chevelles from this era gained value at a pace we hadn’t seen since the early 2000s. However, for our latest update, we noted sale prices of big-block 1971 Chevelles are down. Some of this could be particular to the year: The ’71 model year doesn’t get the attention of the ’70 model year, when the Chevelle could be had with the mighty, 450-hp LS6 big-block. Yet there’s also little doubt that these venerable muscle cars are also signaling prevailing trends in the market.

1967–70 Shelby GT500: Down 12 percent since October 2022

Shelby GT500 side view
Don Rutt

As with other big-ticket muscle cars, GT500s stepped back a bit toward the end of the year. We’ll admit we were surprised, though, to see the 1967 GT500s on our drop list, considering that it’s the last year that Carroll Shelby had direct involvement in the GT350/GT500.

Mecum Kissimmee, kicking off as we speak with a raft of high-end muscle, will provide important clues as to whether the declines in this segment are temporary or indicative of something larger.

1975–1978 Datsun 280Z: Down 16 percent since October 2022

Datsun 280Z front three quarter

The buried lede here is that the 240Z—a car that has been gaining in value for seemingly forever—has been softening of late. However, the effect of that drop is more profoundly felt in one of the cars that followed it, the 280Z. As the 240Z climbed into the stratosphere, 280Z prices followed, as we’d expect given the principle of substitution. However, with the “real thing” now coming back into the realm of affordability for many collectors, there’s less reason to settle for the rubber-bumper 280Z (even though, to be clear, many of us would be just fine with a 280Z, and appreciate the drivability improvements thanks to its fuel-injected engine).

2004–2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10: Down 13 percent since October 2022

Dodge Ram SRT-10 front three quarter

Transactions for Ram SRT-10s, a.k.a Viper Pickups, softened noticeably toward the end of the year, and not just with a few isolated sales. Everywhere you look, these V-10 trucks were going for less. These trucks, much like Datsun Zs, have been on a tear the past couple of years, so this could be the market settling in from its peak.

Note, the drop pertains to the standard cab trucks, which came with manual transmissions. Quad Cabs did not drop because there was already a steep discount for their automatics.

1909–27 Ford Model T: Down 10 percent since October 2022

Ford Model T front three quarter
Matt Drilling

In many corners of the market right now, it’s easy to be convinced prices are still going up based on what sellers are asking. Yet as early as last June, we started noticing that sellers were in many cases trying to cash in on perceived rather than actual appreciation.

This is precisely the scenario playing out with Ford Model Ts at the moment. If you look at what sellers are trying to get for their cars, it looks like the market is up. Completed transactions, however, tell a completely different story. We also saw fewer Ts selling overall in the last quarter of 2022—a sign that buyers are not ready to pay what sellers think their cars are worth.

All this said, it is important to note that fluctuations in the price of the Model T are very small. A double-digit drop, percentage wise, is in many cases a matter of only a few hundred dollars. In this way, too, the venerable Tin Lizzy is indicative of broader market trends: most established classics likely won’t change much in price, no matter prevailing conditions, because the people buying them know precisely what they want and how much it should cost.

Via Hagerty Insider


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    I have felt for a long time that the televised B-Js, Mecums, etc. are largely responsible for wildly inflated prices that keep the average guy (like me) out of the market.

    I agree with those comments that say buy and keep a vehicle for use or fun, as long as you can use it or have fun with it. Vehicles will invariably be holes in the ground in which to pour money into. If a vehicle appreciates in value, does anyone consider the cost of maintaining the vehicle including storage, the lost opportunity cost of money, etc? Just have fun while you can. Time will run out on all of us sooner or later and we can’t take it with us.

    Everything goes in cycles. Anymore a dollar bill is just a piece of paper. Compared to the last century the bottom dropped out of the market with the pandemic, then the recovery swung too far, and now is settling back. Dealer inventories are rising and demand is dropping off.
    Also since the doldrums of the 80s and early 90s, newer cars are interesting again and VVT has mad for much higher horsepower number. All cars are computer cars now and having a laptop for tuning is de rigueur. A stock 3.6 liter DOHC VVT 6 is well over 300 hp. (odd thing my first car was a DOHC-6 roadster with 4 speed/OD and 4 wheel disk brakes for $1500)
    So cannot really compare cars from the 1900s to those of the 2000s, a revolution has taken place and are many many more “interesting” cars and a large number under $10k for the hobbyist. Am more likely to take the SLK320 out than the GTO. Modern times.

    No speaking of gas prices… in Sweden we pay about 10 USD per gallon. We are seeing the same impact on classics here also (if you didn’t know Sweden has a massive classic US car market). Not so much on prices as people still don’t want to lower those, but not many on the market are selling. Partially seasonal because of winter but it was clear at the end of summer the market was cooling off very fast!

    As a young man, my automotive instructor at the local community college once told me- the price of cars is dictated by the ones who owned them. That was in the 1970s, inflation also plays a big part. I owned a 1968 Corvette, 427 with 3 deuces, aluminum heads, electronic ignition which I paid $2650 for in 1975. That is where both play a part- what is $2650 now verses then. If I had the money to buy one now, it would bring back plenty of good memories of being a young man. So a few years ago, my youth came back- I purchased a 1970 AMX.

    I’m 78 and have ’71 Chevelle SS 454 Clone [not embarrassed to say it] and they’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands….or, if I get a stupid dumb offer….

    Interesting? Hum, I guess no one told the EBAY auction car flipper that some prices were coming down.
    A point worth noting, just because some thing is old doesn,t mean it is worth alot.

    I have a 1955 Ford F100. AA rust free truck , very nice condition that needs some detailing. Has GM engine and trans I would take $25000, They dont m=make emm any more

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