’50s classics and ’70s cruisers are among the most overlooked collector cars

If you’re a regular follower of our Hagerty Vehicle Rating Bottom 25, this latest update won’t hold too many surprises. Cars favored by older collectors are slowly losing steam as younger collectors bring their tastes to bear on the market. For example, not only is the Tri-Five Chevrolet Bel Air currently at the bottom but its mid-market twin, the Chevrolet 210, isn’t far behind (ahead?). Those two have a #3 (good) condition value of $29,550 and $18,900, respectively.

The Hagerty Vehicle Rating considers auction and private sales results, insurance quoting activity, and the number of new policies purchased to sort out hundreds of car models and compare them to the collector car market as a whole. Our valuation team then assigns a score from 1–100, with 50 denoting a car that’s perfectly following the overall market trend. Popular cars that are gaining interest and value will score higher; those with flagging interest or sales prices score lower. A vehicle’s position on the list isn’t a sign of future collectability, it’s more of a pulse of the current market.

As usual, vehicles in the Bottom 25 have a much higher average value than those in the Top 25.  Using #3-condition values, cars in the Bottom 25 have an average value of $32,200, while those in the Top 25 are about half that, $16,500. This comes as no surprise, since the lower end of the market has more room to give and is the most active part of the market, as it’s filled with collectors seeking the most value while adding a new vehicle to their collection.

A few noteworthy additions and subtractions to the list include:

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz front 3/4
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz RM Sotheby’s

The 1967–70 Eldorado was on our previous Bottom 25 list, but it has been replaced by the longer, flashier, 1955–58 Cadillac Eldorado. These low-production Eldorados represent peak ’50s style and Cadillac opulence and still demand a premium whenever one goes on sale, although #3 values are down more than 25 percent since last year.

The 1953–62 Corvette barely escaped another appearance in the Bottom 25, improving slightly from its previous HVR of 21 (and a tie for the 16th worst score) to an HVR of 23, which was “good enough” for 30th. The 1963–67 Corvette, arguably among the most beautiful ’Vettes, as well as the most desirable, slumped a bit and also barely avoided the Bottom 25 with a 23. Both Corvette generations represent some of the more expensive vehicles at the bottom, with median #3 values of $59,300 and $60,500, respectively.

1979 Porsche 911 Turbo
1979 Porsche 911 Turbo RM Sotheby’s

The most expensive vehicle on the Bottom 25 list is the 1976–89 Porsche 911 Carrera (Turbo 930). Its position on this list isn’t a knock on the car’s collectability or spirited handling, but its high price keeps many buyers at bay, and the heart of the market continues to be located in a more modest neighborhood.

Again, don’t be deterred by the appearance of one of your prized cars on this list. If you own one (or more) of the many excellent vehicles populating the Bottom 25, you can attest to its worthy qualities. You also know that a brief turning of the fickle collector car tide doesn’t mean you’ll appreciate your car any less.

1988-1991 Buick Reatta 11
1967-1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 11
1955-1957 Chevrolet 210 11
1963-1971 Mercedes-Benz 230SL 12
1955-1958 Cadillac Eldorado 12
2008-Present Dodge Challenger 13
1976-1989 Porsche 911 Carrera (Turbo 930) 13
1960-1964 Ford Galaxie 13
1997-2005 Acura NSX 16
1962-1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo 16
1987-1993 Cadillac Allante 17
1986-1992 BMW M3 17
1946-1950 Chrysler Town & Country 17
1980-1992 Jaguar XJ Series III 18
1966-1967 Ford Fairlane 18
1965-1968 Plymouth Fury / VIP 18
1963-1966 Dodge Dart 18
1958-1959 Ford Fairlane 18
1955-1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 19
1955-1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 19
1956-1961 Studebaker Hawk 20
1977-1979 Ford Ranchero 21
1970-1979 Lincoln Continental 21
1955-1960 DeSoto Fireflite 21
1955-1957 Ford Fairlane 21
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