The 25 hottest collector vehicles heading into spring 2020
Like a last-minute race entry that goes out and wins, the 1981–90 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60/FJ62 suddenly finds itself the hottest collector vehicle in the land—or one of the three hottest, anyway—on its first try. The Land Cruiser, a recent addition to the Hagerty Price Guide and making its first appearance in the Hagerty Vehicle Rating, shares the #1 spot with the 1999–2005 MX-5 Miata and 1993–96 Cadillac Fleetwood.
What is the Hagerty Vehicle Rating? The HVR combines insurance quoting activity, the number of new policies purchased, sales data, auction activity, and other metrics to rank vehicles compared to the overall collector car market. Based on a 100-point scale, a vehicle with a score of 50 is keeping pace with the collector market. Ratings above 50 show above-average interest; vehicles with a sub-50-point rating are lagging. The HVR is not an indicator of future collectability, but it says a lot about what’s trending hot and what’s not.
The Land Cruiser, Miata, and Fleetwood are about as different as they could be—in style, performance, and price—but they’re equally hot with identical HVR scores of 91.
“The FJ60 is the newest Land Cruiser that we price, and it’s been rising for a few years, but it increased sharply in 2019 and early 2020,” says Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton. “Like earlier Land Cruisers, it is legendary for being rugged and dependable, but it has more modern creature comforts.”
Introduced for the 1981 model year, the larger Land Cruiser FJ60 inherited the 4.2-liter inline-six engine from the FJ40, and its more modern design and amenities helped it compete in the rising sport utility market. Early models in #3 (Good) condition carry an average value of $20,400; they’re worth nearly $30K in #2. The more powerful FJ62 arrived in the U.S. in 1988.
The second-gen MX-5 (NB), arguably the best of the “they’re-all-good” Miata family, is cheap, quick, and reliable. Although the NB’s 140-horsepower 1.8-liter engine isn’t as powerful as the third-gen NC’s powerplant, it is lighter (2350 pounds) and nimbler.
“The NB is also a relatively new addition to the HPG, as we’ve observed interest and prices rising on the collector car market—similarly to how they did with the earlier first-gen NA cars,” Newton says. “We don’t see NBs at auction often, but every other metric is way high.”
Average #2 values for the NB Miata have risen 15 percent in the past year and 23 percent in three years, but you can still score a #3 example for an average price of about $7350. Folks seem to be taking notice, too, considering there’s been a 48-percent uptick in insurance quotes in the past year.
As for the Fleetwood, in addition to high quote activity, “Their #2 (Excellent) values are up 79 percent over the past year,” Newton says, “but that’s still pretty low, which makes them attractive to a lot of people.” The luxurious four-door cruiser has plenty of punch—it’s powered by a 185-horse 5.7-liter V-8—but a Fleetwood in #2 condition is valued at about $7100.
Three vehicles are tied for fourth in the latest HVR: the 1993–2002 Mazda RX7 (previously ranked #1), 1974–83 Jeep Cherokee, and 2000–03 BMW M5 (E39), all with 90 points.
The biggest gainer among the Top 25 (actually the top 30 because of an eight-way tie for 23rd) is the 1973–87 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup, which improved 13 points to 89 and rose from 77th to seventh. The 1977–89 BMW 6 Series and 7 Series gained 10 points (to 88) and jumped from 61st to 10th.
The least-expensive car on the list is the 1990–97 Lincoln Town Car, which sits 23rd and carries a crazy-cheap #3 value of $3600. On the high end, the 1994–99 Ferrari F355, in 10th with an HVR of 88, has a #3 value of $54,000.
“F355 prices peaked in 2016–17 and then started gradually dipping, but then we saw a few massive sales at the end of last year that led to us raise prices,” Newton says. “The F355 is also one of the few vintage Ferraris right now with above-average interest—insurance and quoting activity.
“They look great, sound great, are great driver’s cars, and are relatively easy to find with a manual gearbox, but they’re expensive to keep running,” Newton says. “I don’t expect them to maintain this kind of momentum in the HVR.”
Only nine trucks/SUVs are among the top 30 vehicles, which is astonishing considering they were dominating the list less than a year ago. No worries, truck lovers. “Trucks and SUVs in general are still hot,” Newton says. “It’s just that their growth has just slowed down.”
The Ford Bronco, in particular, continues to stand tall, with three generations at 87 points or better. The 1966–77 Bronco, former #1 and a Top 25 mainstay, leads the way with 89, good enough for seventh.
The average #3 value of the vehicles in the Top 25 (30) is $13,748. Toss out the most-expensive F355 and least-expensive Lincoln Town Car and the average falls to $12,673.