Hagerty Price Guide index preview

With Labor Day behind us – and with it the annual Fall Auburn auctions – the summer sales season in the collector car hobby is officially winding to a close. A handful of events in September remain, such as Mecum’s large St. Charles auction, Bonhams’ Fairfield event and Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas sale, but we have enough distance from the bellwether auctions that we can begin to see the forest through the trees.

As we have noted for some time now, the collector car market is truly split, with the best examples of the most desirable cars soaring in value, while lesser examples of more common cars are holding steady, if not slipping slightly. This trend emerged several years ago and is as true now as it has ever been. The best measure Hagerty has for viewing market performance is the Hagerty Indices, which we will be publishing next week with updated numbers. For now, though, we can provide a broad overview of the numbers.

The two indices that best represent the upper end of the market are our Blue Chip index and our Ferrari index. During the four months between book 15 of the Hagerty Price Guide, published in May 2011, and book 16, published in September 2011, our Blue Chip cars increased in value 5 percent, leaving them 17 percent ahead of the same time a year ago. For Ferrari, the numbers are even stronger at 7 percent and 23 percent, respectively. These two indices are composed of cars that trade in an international marketplace and would not be out of place in virtually any collector’s garage.

As you might have guessed, not all of our indices performed so well. Our other high-dollar index, Hagerty’s Index of Collectible American Muscle Cars, dipped a point, though it is still 8 percent higher than a year ago and continues a relatively favorable two-year run.

The remaining four “primary” indices on which we regularly report had similarly mixed results. Our index of collectible postwar British cars dropped an astonishing 12 percent over the summer and is 19 points down during the past year. Our index of postwar German collectibles, on the other hand, rose 4 percent during the past four months and is 8 percent ahead during the past 12. Our “Affordable Classics” barometer (sub-$30K collector cars produced since 1946) is down 2 percent since May and 1950s American collectibles are essentially unchanged during the same timeframe.

Check back next week for full details on how the markets are moving and how individual cars have performed.

Brian Rabold is the Editor of Hagerty Price Guide.

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