Never Stop Driving #9: Hyper-inflation and British sports cars

Let’s talk about “hyper appreciation” and the MG TD, a hugely influential sports car from the 1950s. You’ve probably heard that classic-car prices are up. They are. Hagerty’s Market Rating, our holistic metric to measure the heat of the classic car market, just hit a record.

We’re in record territory for our metric that measures the heat of the classic car market.
We’re in record territory for our metric that measures the heat of the classic car market. Hagerty

Despite numerous economic headwinds—inflation, supply shortages, conflicts, etc.—classic-car prices remain strong, and Hagerty data suggest we are entering a stage of hyper price appreciation. I can already hear the cries of enthusiasts: “Oh great, now the insert car name here I always wanted is too expensive.” Sadly, there’s some truth to their laments. Lately, I’ve been seeing many cars trade for money that feels ludicrous to me, like this $40K Mitsubishi Eclipse. (Perhaps you’re wondering, “Hey, whatever happened to Mitsubishi?” Read this account of the company’s rise and fall.)

The flip side to rising prices is that people clearly value our hobby more than ever. This is a very good thing, as more cars will be saved from the crusher, which in turn creates a business case for keeping spare parts on shelves.

It still stinks if the car you’ve been saving for is now priced beyond your reach. Here’s where the MG TD, a fun, simple, British sports car, comes in. Perfect for low-speed, wind-in-the-hair, vintage motoring, the hugely charismatic TD is also a bargain. A good driver car costs under 20 grand. TD’s are also like savings bonds in that their price hasn’t changed much in 15 years. My colleague David Zenlea, of Hagerty Insider, explains it all in one of my favorite pieces of the year, There will always be an MG TD. Zenlea’s point, which I very much share, is that if your dream car’s value has risen too high, there are always alternatives. By the way, if you think that the appreciating market is due for a bursting bubble, read this.

Steady as she goes: MG TD prices are very stable.
Steady as she goes: MG TD prices are very stable. Hagerty

I do a lot of dreaming while surfing the “Under $20K” section of the new Hagerty Marketplace.

We also might need to add a section titled “High School Cars” based on the huge response we got when we asked our audience to name the cars that ruled the high school parking lot. When you’re shopping, remember to lean on Hagerty Valuation Tools and, for deep coverage of the classic-car market, please go to Hagerty Insider.

I doubt that any of the driverless cars currently experimenting on our roads will ever be for sale at the Hagerty Marketplace. A cruise autonomous vehicle without a safety driver crashed in San Francisco in early June, just after the company began commercial autonomous robotaxi operations. According to a crash report filed by Cruise with the state of California, the autonomous vehicle began an unprotected left turn when a Toyota Prius (naturally, because San Francisco) approached from the other direction in the right-turn lane at 40 mph in a 25-mph zone. The Prius then continued straight into the intersection as the Cruise AV came to a stop. “Shortly thereafter,” the Prius crashed into the Cruise vehicle, which was still stopped in the intersection.

This sounds to me like the street bullying many of us expect to occur between human and robot drivers. Actually, it’s already happening in Arizona. And what is law enforcement to do when autonomous vehicles are used for drug smuggling?

It’s not all negative for the autonomous segment. The Mayflower finished its Atlantic ocean crossing without a crew.

I’ll leave you with some asphalt inspiration, a list of some favorite roads as named by our very enthusiastic staff. Please add your favorites in the comments because it helps all of us.

This Saturday, my son and I will be at Jackson Speedway in Jackson, Michigan, for the first outing in our micro sprints. Come say hello if you’re in the area.

Have a great weekend!

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