Hagerty Price Guide 28: “Slowdown” Not Necessarily a Negative Development

With the summer auction season mostly gone and enough distance between Monterey Car Week and now to see through the settling dust, Hagerty Price Guide has published new values. The watchword coming out of Monterey was been “slowdown,” and the new price guide values are consistent with that theme.

The word “slowdown” carries with it an unearned air of negativity in the current context, but in truth the past three years prompted plenty of longtime observers to nervously reference 1989. After all, that was just about the last time the industry saw a sustained doubling, then doubling, then doubling again of values for some sectors. That year, of course, culminated in a massive bubble bust. In contrast, the current market has largely been decelerating over the past nine months, and is now recording sustainable growth rates.

Of Hagerty’s seven primary indices, six moved 3% or less for the first time since January 2013. This shift first emerged at the beginning of the year and has steadily taken hold since. Looking at book-wide movement, cars priced above $1M continue to coast, with only 21% of these models moving more than 5% over four months. This is the smallest change at this price level since January 2012. This plateau was also evident in the Blue Chip and Ferrari indices, which had inter-book gains over the past five years of 7-9%, only to record 3% gains for Book 28. A notable downturn among cars priced above $1M was the Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, which dipped 3%.

On the other end of the spectrum, cars priced below $25,000 were quiet, with the Affordable Classics index recording a nominal 1% increase. Cars priced in that broad swath between $100,000 and $1,000,000 were similarly sluggish, with only 19% increasing by more than 5% — well below the 30% that had eclipsed this threshold over the past two years.

Not all cars are putting on the brakes, though. Models from the 1980s and 1990s are a true bright spot in the market, with many of the biggest movers over the past four months reading like a wish list from teenaged Gen X’ers: BMW E30 M3, Audi Ur-Quattro, Aston Martin Vantage Volante, Lamborghini LM002Porsche 911 SC and 930 Turbo. Most of these cars are likely to continue their upswing, and will likely pull up values of similar cars of the era. Savvy buyers could do well to revisit this era and source low-mile, well-optioned and pristinely maintained examples of performance models.

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