2019 Collector Car Madness Bracket: Round 2 heats up
Chevy versus Plymouth, BMW versus Nissan, Bentley versus Ford—we’ve been settling some scores (as well as answering some questions nobody was asking) in Hagerty’s 2019 Collector Car Madness bracket. We’re matching up popular cars among Boomer, Pre-Boomer, Gen Xer, and Millennial car enthusiasts against each other and asking you to vote for your favorites on the Hagerty Facebook page. The series of 1-on-1 polls determine which vehicles advance from each round.
To pick which cars made our list, we selected a few cars that Hagerty insurance data indicated are especially popular within each age group. We also inserted a handful of wild card vehicles to keep things interesting, and made sure to seed each vehicle appropriately in their respective demographic “regions.”
Round 1 saw some epic clashes and some serious massacres. The 1955-57 Chevy Bel Air surprised absolutely no one by crushing the Cadillac Allante, while the 1978-87 Buick G-Body squeaked out a surprising win against the first-gen Ford Bronco. A battle of the imports, meanwhile, saw the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R show the BMW E30 3 Series who’s boss. Round 2 should be just as exciting. Click here to vote for the first-gen Camaro vs the Buick G-body, and here to vote for the C2 Corvette vs the original Shelby GT350 Mustang.
Click on the image above for a full image of the bracket, print it out, and fill in your predictions. Post them in the comments, and we’ll see whose powers of prediction are most attuned. Without further delay, here are your 2019 Hagerty Collector Car Madness matchups for Round 2:
The C2 Corvette had an easy matchup in Round 1. Being one of the most beloved sports cars of all time, it ate the Plymouth Prowler’s lunch with 89 percent of the 1033 votes cast. The C2 is what most consider to be the best-looking Corvette generation of them all, and depending on powertrain and options it’s often the most valuable. It was the first Corvette with independent rear suspension as well as disc brakes and the big-block V-8 (both from 1965). It bowed out after just five short model years, before regulations stifled performance and looks, so its legacy is untarnished.
Compared to the Corvette, the GT350 had a much tougher matchup in Round 1 against the 1968-70 Dodge Charger, but at the end of it all Shelby vanquished Mopar with 59 percent of the 1594 votes cast. The first Mustang to wear the Shelby badge and arguably the purest, the 1965-66 GT350 uses a Hi-Po 289 as well as upgraded brakes and suspension. Shelby also put the standard Mustang fastback on a diet, all with racing in mind. Later cars got a little fatter and less racy, but any GT350 is a performance icon and a crucial part of Shelby history, which is why it is such a popular and desirable car.
(1) 1928-31 Ford Model A vs. (2) 1955–57 Chevy Bel Air
The Model A needs no introduction. It helped put a nation on wheels, picking up where the Model T that preceded it left off. And with nearly 5 million sold it’s still one of the best-selling cars ever. For Round 1, it was power to the people duking it out with Old World aristocracy, with the Model A pitted against the 1985-97 Bentley Turbo R. While both are popular with Pre-Boomer enthusiasts and collectors, some good-old-fashioned democracy meant factory worker triumphed over corporate financial planner or venture capitalist; the Model A slammed the Bentley with 67 percent of the 1110 votes cast.
Ask anybody to draw you a picture of an American car from the ‘50s, and chances are it will come out looking something like a 1955-57 Bel Air. Its seminal styling and revolutionary small-block V-8 from the Corvette helped make it not just an icon among car people but in the eyes of all Americans. Round 1 pitted the “Tri-Five” Chevy against one of the key entries in Cadillac’s early ‘90s catalogue—the Allante. While the Pininfarina-bodied Allante was an ambitious project that still has a loyal following, it wasn’t enough to carry the day. Not by a long shot. It was a massacre, with the Bel Air taking 91 percent of the over 1500 votes cast. Of course, Round 2 against the famous Model A is a whole new matchup.
We’ve gone on and on about how hot and popular Ford Broncos are, with soaring values and ever-increasing auction results. Everybody wants a Bronco, it seems, which is why we were surprised to see the 1978-87 Buick G-Body just barely pull it out against the Bronco. The Ford was in the lead most of the day, but in the end it was the Buick with 54 percent of the 1300 votes cast, making it our closest matchup yet. Buick’s hotted-up Regals, which culminated in the 1987 Grand National and GNX, were one of the few bright spots in automotive performance in the 1980s, and that makes them favorites among the Gen Xers who came of age when these cars were new. The sinister black-only Grand Nationals and GNXs pack a turbocharged V-6 that eats up quarter-miles, and many consider these otherwise fairly humble-looking Regals to be the ultimate sleepers.
It was horsepower versus flower power in Round 1, with the famous first gen Chevy Camaro taking on the Volkswagen Transporter. The pony car pulled an easy win, with 64 percent of the 801 votes cast. For 1967, GM introduced the Camaro as an answer to the wildly successful Ford Mustang, sparking one of the most bitter and longest-running rivalries in the car world. Of course, high-performance models abound even in just those three short model years of the first generation. There’s the track-oriented Z/28 built to win the Trans Am series, plus the Camaro SS, exotic ZL1 and various special-order big-block COPO cars, all of which cemented the Camaro’s reputation as a top name in performance.
1967-72 Chevrolet C10 vs. Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R
The C10 just came off of a surprising smack-down against the 2004-06 Pontiac GTO, with 75 percent of the 1451 votes choosing classic pickup over modern muscle. A dependable workhorse for decades, the second-gen Chevy C10 has gotten a lot more collectible recently as people rediscover their usability and ease of ownership. There are loads of, options, engines, and color combinations to choose from, and at any given moment there are tons of them on the market. The C10 also lends itself well to engine swaps for modern powertrains, so it has a very broad appeal, not just for younger buyers like Millennials, but for anybody.
Another close matchup in Round 1 saw two import performance icons of the H.W. Bush years duking it out, with the E30-generation BMW 3 Series pitted against the original “Godzilla”—the R32-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R. It was a nail-biter most of the day, but in the end it was sushi over sauerkraut with the Nissan taking 59 percent of the 1600 votes cast. What earned the R32 its monstrous nickname was the combination of turbocharged twin-cam straight-six (seriously underrated at 276 hp) with electronically-controlled all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and multi-link suspension that thrashed the competition in touring car racing. Sadly, we never got these cars when they were new here in the States, but thanks to Playstation and YouTube there has been plenty of pent-up demand. People are going bonkers over them now that the cars are 25 years old can be legally imported.