Trucks and SUVs are still red hot, but how long will it last?
The first recorded use of the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” was in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Tale of Melibee, published in 1386. Perhaps Chaucer was writing about all the trucks and SUVs perched atop the Hagerty Vehicle Rating.
OK, maybe it only seems like they’ve dominated the list for that long. Regardless, the 1960–66 Chevrolet C/K Series pickup retained the top spot in the latest update to the HVR, sharing that position with the 1973–87 Chevrolet C/K Series, which was second last time around (and No. 1 the time before that). Holding tight to the Groundhog Day storyline, trucks and SUVs hold six of the top nine positions in the Top 25.
In a rapidly changing world, it’s been a long time since the top spot belonged to a vehicle that wasn’t a Chevrolet C/K series pickup, 1945–68 Dodge Power Wagon, 1966–77 Ford Bronco, or 1976–86 Jeep CJ-7. How long? The last passenger car to be No. 1 was the 1963–65 Buick Riviera in September 2016. Simply put: Trucks are hot, they’ve been hot for a long time, and there is no real end in sight.
“Nothing grows in value forever—even ’60s Ferraris take a step back every once and a while—but even with all the recent attention they’ve been getting, vintage trucks and SUVs are still incredibly affordable,” says Hagerty Valuation information analyst Jesse Pilarski. “The hottest vehicle on the HVR list (the 1973–87 Chevrolet C/K series pickup) has an average #3 (Good) condition value of only $9800. That’s roughly one-third the cost of a first-generation Mustang. So until the gap between the average collector car and average collector truck/SUV narrows, trucks will continue to dominate the market.”
The Hagerty Vehicle Rating tracks a vehicle’s performance relative to the rest of the collector vehicle market. Based on a 0–100 scale, a 50-point rating indicates that a vehicle is keeping pace with the market overall. Ratings above 50 indicate above-average appreciation, while ratings below 50 indicate vehicles that are lagging. The rating takes into account the number of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales.
Although trucks dominate the top of the HVR, a number of cars made significant jumps. The biggest leap among Top 25 vehicles is the 1962–68 Pontiac Grand Prix, which gained 28 points (from 58 to 86) and leaped 263 spots from 288th to 25th (tied with the 1969–74 Alfa Romeo GTV).
“The Grand Prix has been flying under the radar for most collectors, with very minor value increases for the last two years,” Pilarski says. “Recently, however, we’ve seen an increase in interest both from our members and from people getting quotes, which bumped its HVR.”
Meanwhile, the 1978–83 Porsche 911 gained 27 points and 222 spots and is now tied for 18th at 88, while the 1971–73 Buick Riviera rose from 135th to eighth with a 26-point surge to a lofty rating of 91.
“The ’78–83 911SC, as well as all other air-cooled 911s, saw a big jump in value in 2015 and then took a bit of a step back in 2016 as the market ran short on buyers at the new $30K price point,” Pilarski says. “Two years later, values have stabilized and end-users are getting back into the market. Over the last year, values have started to recover, eclipsing 2015 peaks, and interest is back on the upswing.”
Pilarski says values for the 1971–73 Riviera held steady for a decade before they began to creep up in 2016. Current values are up more than 40 percent, and insured/quoting activity has followed suit. “They’ve taken a significant jump through the first half of 2018, which indicates that the market has finally taken notice,” Pilarski says.
The top-ranked passenger vehicle, the 1993–2002 Pontiac Firebird, is tied for fourth with 96 points. It was tied for second (98) in the last HVR update.
The most expensive car in the Top 25 is the 1996–2002 Dodge Viper, which carries an average #3 value of $40,950. The Viper is one of only three vehicles on the list valued at $25k or more. Of the 15 vehicles valued at less than $15,000, five can be had for under $10k.