With Inflation, Collector Car Values Are Back to December 2019 Levels

Cameron Neveu

The Hagerty Market Rating continues to fall, extending its current losing streak to nine consecutive months. Since the Market Rating’s peak in June 2022 (19 months ago), it has increased only two times. This month, the market’s downward trend reached a significant marker: accounting for inflation, the median price of the vehicles in the Hagerty Price Guide has returned to December 2019 levels. It’s safe to say that for the majority of collector vehicles, the pandemic-era boom has completely receded.

New Hagerty Price Guide values were released at the start of the month, which reflects the real values of more than 38,500 collector cars, trucks, and SUVs. The median value of all those vehicles in the price guide has dropped for the first time in nearly a year.

Really, this can be seen more as a reset to the normal market we saw before the pandemic and not an implosion of the collector car market. Remember, the hyper-inflated collector car market of 2021-2022 was not normal. The only price guide segment that rose in value this month was the Hagerty Blue Chip Index, which tracks the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and its closest peers.

High-value cars have been the only segment that have outperformed the rest of the market, according to our industry experts. With the exception of the very top of the market, which makes up only a sliver of transactions, they have observed prices softening across the board. Despite softening prices in a majority of the market, Expert Sentiment increased for the first time in nine months, but remains below 50 on a scale of 100. Our experts are optimistic that lower interests rates and a strong stock market (the only other Hagerty Market Rating metric that rose this month) may turn things around in the upcoming Arizona auctions.

Earlier this month, more than 4000 vehicles crossed the block at Mecum’s Kissimmee auctions. Total sales surpassed $224M, beating last year’s record by less than one percent—however, it took an extra 104 cars to get there. The top of the market did well, including a 1963 Ferrari 250 California Spyder which sold for $17.85M. The overall takeaway is that this auction continued the trend we’ve been seeing since Monterey: sell-through rates are dropping (specifically, they are returning to pre-pandemic levels) and buyers are no longer in a frenzy to pay whatever it takes. Basically, this is a return to a stable market in which enthusiasts can enjoy their vehicles without speculators adding turbulence.

The Auction Median Sale Price metric decreased nearly three points this month to its lowest value since the component was added to the Hagerty Market Rating 13 years ago. The real dollar value has only retreated back to Fall 2020 levels, but when accounting for inflation it is pulled down to the lowest value ever. This metric will need very strong results from the Scottsdale auctions to reverse its decline. If Mecum’s massive Kissimmee auction provided any insight into what lies ahead for Scottsdale, it’s likely that we will see prices return to a pre-pandemic normal and the Hagerty Market Rating will follow suit, continuing to fall into the low 60s, a realm that’s considered a flat market.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: How the Happiest Little Blue Car Nearly Broke the Will of a Professional Adventurer


    Just way too many variables with auction prices. Ferrari is almost always up and other cars can go up and down.

    The big event auctions are normally inflated and can vary depending on what cars show up.

    Much changes depending on the car sold and where it is sold.

    If a car costs more than it did before the pandemic (2019) the values are not less in my book. I have less buying power than I did in 2019. Sure I make more but everything including the car costs more than 2019 so it’s still inflated in my book. Also the official inflation numbers are a lie. It’s far worse than they will admit to.

    For the layman, such as myself, delving into the complexities of any market can be like walking through a mine field. Even those who have the time and expertise get it wrong sometimes and the better of them will freely admit that. Economists too will quibble and argue among themselves about different research, data, models, methods and so on. The keep it simple rule seems to apply for the majority of us. So while here where we’re calculating in inflation going straight to U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics ( BLS ) is probably the most reliable source you’re going to find. Being an independent agency , like the Fed, staffed by almost entirely career employees they have generally a pretty good record overall. Even those in the field who might believe they might produce more accurate numbers if.. don’t simply dismiss their numbers unless they’re in business of being contrary. Yet even the BLS admits that their stats aren’t a one size fits all and that in some areas ” your mileage may vary “.

    Unfortunately, the FED, under Pres. Obama changed the calculation of what “inflation” is, by removing the cost of food and energy from its calculation…. Clearly, for anyone who has any sense of economics and frankly works for a living, knows that the cost of food and energy are pivotal in seeing true inflation. You can no longer gleem any rational info on the economy from the Feds as they are changing back end calculations constantly to meet their narrative… both parties do it…. Btw, my Brother was on the Fed for a few years….. learned a lot about how the Government manipulates the data to follow the narrative they want

    Interesting article. Can you elaborate on how The Hagerty Market Rating is developed along with The Auction Median Sale Price metric? Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *