The first-gen Bronco is #1 again, but the RX-7 isn’t cooling off.
The 25 hottest collector vehicles heading into summer
The hottest collector vehicle in that land? As the legendary Mr. Ed will tell you, “A horse is a horse, of course, of course.” And we aren’t talking about the Mustang.
The 1966–77 Ford Bronco sits atop the Hagerty Vehicle Rating for what seems like the umpteenth time in a row (we stopped counting), while its younger sibling—the 1978–79 Bronco—is tied for second. The fourth-generation 1987–91 Bronco is also in the Top 25, tied for 20th with 88 points. (For the record, the third-gen 1980–86 Bronco, which we included on our 2019 Bull Market List, is perched in 39th position with 85 points.)
Yes, it has been an impressive run for the Bronco family. In fact, the ’66–77 Bronco’s HVR actually went down, slipping from 97 to 96, and it still didn’t matter. The SUV still remains comfortably on top, even though every other vehicle in the top 10 increased its point total.
The 1978–79 Bronco and 1973–91 Chevrolet C/K Blazer are tied for second banana with 93 points.
[Editor’s Note: The Hagerty Vehicle Rating, based on a 0–100 scale, considers the quantity of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results. A vehicle that is keeping pace with the overall market has an HVR of 50. Ratings above 50 show above-average interest, while vehicles with a sub-50-point rating are lagging in the market. The HVR is not an indicator of future collectibility, but it says a lot about what’s trending hot and what’s not.]
The 1966–77 Bronco really doesn’t need an introduction, but here’s one for those who might be reading about it for the first time: Built to compete with the CJ-5 Jeep and International Scout, the two-door first-generation Bronco was originally powered by a 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine, but it received an optional V-8 midway through its first model year—becoming the first small 4×4 to have one. These insanely popular utility vehicles are simple, reliable, and fun; they possess rugged good looks; and, since replacement parts are easy to find, they’re coveted by the do-it-yourself crowd. It’s no wonder that they’ve dominated the HVR.
Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton has a difficult time explaining the Bronco’s strong standing in the market without repeating himself. He can, however, guess what’s behind the second-gen Bronco’s rise. “It seems like a case of earlier Broncos getting so expensive that more people are turning to the later, cheaper models, which drives up demand for those too.”
Six vehicles are tied for fourth (92) in the latest HVR, including the 1990–96 Nissan 300ZX and the 1999–2002 BMW M Coupe, which made identical leaps by gaining 11 points and rising from 59th place. The 1963–83 Jeep Wagoneer and 1993–2002 Mazda RX-7 each gained three points and rose from 15th. Also tied for fourth are the 1967–72 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup and 1977–81 Toyota Celica (specifically, the Supra).
“The ’77–81 Supras aren’t very expensive at this point, nor are they all that remarkable,” Newton says. “But the later Supras are getting more expensive, plus there’s a new one out. That combination seems to be fueling interest in the earliest models.”
Among the surprises, the 1990–98 Mazda Miata is tied for 10th with 91 points, the 1967–70 Mercury Cougar is tied for 16th with 89 points, and the 2002–07 Subaru Impreza WRX/STI, recently added to the HVR, is tied for 20th with 88 points. Newton says all three are proving to be collectible, but the Cougar stands out because “for a long time they’ve been undervalued/underappreciated compared to the Mustang.”
The largest gainers in the Top 25 are the 1989–94 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, which jumped 20 points and rose from 150th to 13th, and the 1959–64 Cadillac DeVille, which improved 19 points and climbed from 157th to 20th. Accounting for the rise: GT-R prices increased 7 percent in our most recent pricing update in May, and Hagerty has seen steady growth in the number of quotes for the 1959–64 DeVille during the past year.
Something else to keep an eye on: while the HVR is typically dominated by trucks and SUVs, the 28 vehicles listed (top 25 plus ties) are evenly divided—14 trucks, 14 passenger vehicles. That’s a highwater mark for cars.
Values remain typical, however—and by that we mean most of the vehicles carry an average #3 (good) condition value of less than $20,000.
Eleven vehicles are less than $10K on average, and 15 are valued between $10K–$20K. The 1999–2002 BMW M Coupe owns the highest average #3 value on the list ($35,950), while the 1993–96 Cadillac Fleetwood has the lowest ($5200), proving there’s a fun ride for every budget.