Hagerty Price Guide monitors dozens of market segments on a monthly basis, and we have observed many signs of strength during the past four months. Nowhere, though, has activity been as encouraging as in our Smokey Burnout Index of American muscle cars. This group of cars made much noise in 2006 and 2007 as they reached astronomical highs, and they saw a correspondingly high degree of attention as the hemi market adjusted in 2008. Ever since, the slump in muscle car prices has been an effective counterpoint for those who wanted to debunk claims of healthy collector car prices, though that group may need new evidence given the shift we are currently seeing.
While our Smokey Burnout Index still has a deep hole from which to climb (it is 32% off its January 2008 high), these cars made their first upward move since September 2008 and their largest four-month gain since January 2007. Most importantly, this increase in value is not all attributed to Russo and Steele’s impressive sale of a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda convertible in January 2011 for $1,705,000. In fact, 12 of the index’s components increased in value (versus 3 that slipped), with 4 of those gainers moving at a double-digit rate.
Transaction volumes are typically seasonal, with a lot of activity expected in the next four months. How these cars fair during that timeframe will reveal a lot about the state of the American muscle market, and perhaps the state of the collector car market overall. For now, the current trend gives us reason to be cautiously optimistic.
The graph below tracks the average price of all the cars in the index since Volume 1 of Hagerty Price Guide (originally title Cars That Matter), which was published in late 2006. To find prices for individual models over the past four years, check the table underneath the graph.
All the prices cited below are for cars in #2 condition. According to Hagerty Price Guide, #2 cars could win a local or regional show. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. For more information, visit www.hagertypriceguide.com.