6 cars coming on strong halfway into 2019

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1994 Porsche 968 Gooding & Company

The collector car market certainly isn’t as volatile as the energy sector or cryptocurrency, but prices do change—sometimes by quite a bit—and that’s why we keep a constant eye on them. One way we do this is with the Hagerty Vehicle Rating. If you don’t know what the heck that means, take a second to read our brief explanation below:

[The Hagerty Value Rating considers the number of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results. A 50-point rating indicates that a vehicle is keeping pace with the overall market. Ratings higher than 50 show above-average interest; vehicles with a sub-50 rating are lagging.]

We update the rating every month, and looking back at 2019 so far we’ve noticed that most vehicles are hovering at the top, hovering at the bottom, or hovering in the middle of the market. Other ratings, meanwhile, are making definitive moves. 

There are a few cars moving from warm (above 50) to hotter, cool (below 50) to colder, hot to cold, or cold to hot. So far in 2019, these are the six vehicles that have recorded the most consecutive increases in their Hagerty Vehicle Rating. Think of it as a kind of “hot streak.”

Vehicle
2005–06 Ford GT 66

2005 Ford GT
RM Sotheby's

Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $360,000

A lot of the retro two-seaters of the late 1990s and early 2000s were, to put it bluntly, a disappointment. We’re looking at you, Plymouth Prowler and 2002–05 Thunderbird. The Ford GT, though—that one is just right. Ford released a concept as an early 100th birthday present to itself in 2002, and then a production version followed for 2005–06. It looks just like the GT40 racer of the ‘60s without trying too hard, and the 550-horsepower supercharged V-8 behind the seats, along with an advanced chassis, give the GT the necessary performance chops.

With an MSRP of around $150,000, the GT offered exotic car looks and speed for a lower price than the Italians. As a result, everybody and their aunt wanted a GT, so although Ford built more than 4000 GTs over two model years, demand was never met. GTs never really depreciated and definitely never got cheap. Most owners treated their cars as collectible from new. It’s unusual to see one with more than 2000 or 3000 miles, or even so much as a wrinkle on the seat.

From about 2013–16, Ford GT prices went on a tear as more and more low-mile cars sold for higher and higher prices. Things then settled down, but so far this year, more GTs have been offered, sold, and quoted than in 2018. Since only February, the Hagerty Vehicle Rating for Ford GTs has gone from a near-the-bottom rating of 20 to a slightly-above-average 66. 

It’s a serious rebound, but don’t think that means we’re in for a repeat of 2013–16.

1987–91 Ford Bronco 89

1988 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer profile
1988 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Mecum

Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $16,000

In a classic example of what we like to call the “substitution effect,” sky-high prices for first-gen (1966–77) Ford Broncos are pulling the later versions up with them. The trend is even crossing brand boundaries with growth for classic Chevy Blazers and even International Scouts, so it was only a matter of time before the fourth-gen (1987–91) Broncos got their due. And so far, 2019 seems to be the fourth-gen’s year. It started off the year with a strong Hagerty Vehicle Rating of 80, and since February, has recorded four straight increases for a June score of 89, which puts it in the top 25 of all the vehicles we track.

Values are up about 8 percent over the past three years, but even excellent examples only command entry-level money. Compare that to a 78 percent spike for 1966–77 Broncos over the same period, and an average #2 value of nearly 48 grand. The 1987–91 versions are also disproportionately popular among younger buyers. Those are all signs to suggest that they still have some growing to do.

1982–86 Toyota Supra 86

1985 Toyota Supra Hatchback
Barrett-Jackson

Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $15,600

Still based on the Celica, the Mk II Supra certainly isn’t the best Supra. It isn’t even the second-best. But it’s still a cool, straight-six, rear-drive Japanese sports coupe with factory fender flares, limited-slip differential, suspension tuned by none other than Lotus and, most important—pop-up headlights.

Those ingredients, combined with the cachet of a Supra badge and the growing prices for the later, better cars means that more people are looking at the Mk II. That includes younger people. Even though Millenials don’t even remember these cars when they were new, they make up 46 percent of buyer interest for the Mk II Supra. The MK II’s Hagerty Vehicle Rating has increased every month of 2019 so far. Condition #2 (Excellent) values are also up 27 percent over the past year, but good luck finding one in #2 condition. Of the 115,000 or so that Toyota sold, most have been beaten on, raced, modified, or crashed.

1968–70 Plymouth GTX 49

1970 Plymouth GTX
Barrett-Jackson

Median value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $66,200

Introduced as a trim level based on the Belvedere in 1967, the Plymouth GTX became its own model in 1968 based on the new Road Runner. While it doesn’t have the same kind of icon status as the Cuda or Charger, the GTX offers classic Mopar muscle and looks with a little more luxury. 

These days, it’s also one of the cheaper ways to get yourself a 426 Hemi. Some buyers seem to be giving the GTX more love, however, as its Hagerty Vehicle Rating has increased every month since February. The main drivers are a steady increase in buyer interest and big results at auction, such as this 1970 Hemi GTX that sold for a very strong $110,000 a few months ago. That said, its rating is still just 49, which puts it about average compared to the rest of the market. It may be on a hot streak, but overall, the GTX is still just lukewarm.

1992–95 Porsche 968 81

1992 Porsche 968 front 3/4
1992 Porsche 968 Mecum

Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $36,600

The last, best, most developed, and quickest of Porsche’s front-engined water-cooled fours, the 968 was originally supposed to be just a revised 944. But when Porsche added things up, about 80 percent of the car was new, so it made more sense to roll it out as a new model. Like the 944 it replaced, the 968 is remarkably well balanced with handling that more than makes up for any lack of oomph under the hood.

Unlike the 944 that boasts well over 100,000 sold (massive quantities by Porsche standards), the 968 is a rare car; less than 5000 coupes and cabriolets came to our shores before quietly disappearing after 1995. Not only is it rarer, better-looking, and more powerful than a 944, it’s also sharper and more fun to drive than an eight-cylinder 928, so the 968 has a lot going for it.

For years, it was one of the more affordable ways to get into Porsche ownership. That’s still the case… sort of. All Porsches are simply less affordable than they used to be. The 968 was a little late to the party and didn’t start really appreciating until 2015, when Porsche-mania was already in full swing. So while much of the rest of the classic Porsche market has settled down, the 968 is still growing and its Hagerty Vehicle Rating has charged ahead for three months straight. Values are up nearly 73 percent over the past three years and 15 percent over the past 12 months.

1991–99 Mitsubishi 3000 GT 70

1991 Mitsubishi 3000 GT
RM Sotheby's

Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $14,300

The 3000 GT is part of the 1990s royal family of Japanese performance cars, but if the Supra or the NSX is the first-born son and heir, the Mitsubishi is the king’s illegitimate child, underappreciated and never given as much credit as the other kids. Its weird fraternal twin brother, the mechanically identical Dodge Stealth, is in a similar boat. Values for the 3000 GT are nearly flat over the past three years, while even the Z32 Nissan 300ZX is up 6 percent. The Supra is up 32 percent.

None of this seems fair, especially since the Mitsubishi was certainly no dud in terms of performance. The hot version—the VR4—was one of the most advanced and quickest cars on the road when it was new thanks to full-time four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, active aero, electronically controlled suspension, and a twin-turbo V-6. It’s a good-looking car, too, especially the later facelifted version.

A 1996 Toyota Supra Mk IV Turbo is currently worth about three times a 3000 GT VR4 from the same year. Sure, the Supra is a Supra, but is it really three times the car? That’s a big gap, and it looks like the 3000 GT is a bit overdue for a bump. Its Hagerty Vehicle Rating has grown three months in a row, and buyer interest is way up, particularly among the youngest enthusiasts.

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