These seven classic vehicles have made the biggest gains so far in 2019
Classic car prices are always changing. Maybe not across the board, but at any given time in the hobby some vehicles are getting more expensive while some are getting cheaper. That’s why we update the Hagerty Price Guide three times per year; in May we released our latest round of changes.
Trucks and post-1980 German cars continued to make gains, as they did last year, but let’s look a little more closely. These seven vehicles have had the strongest start to 2019.
1986–92 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC and 560SEL (+38–47 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $26,400
Most W126 Benzes (that’s Mercedes-speak for the 1979–92 S-Class), and indeed, most 1980s Benzes, have made sizable gains over the past year, but the 560SEC (coupe) and 560SEL (sedan) have the biggest engines in the family, and they command the most attention, and money, from enthusiasts. If we turn back the clock a full year, SELs are up 138 percent and SECs are up a whopping 174 percent. These cars used to be cheap tickets to full-sized Euro luxury, with even really good ones selling for barely into the low teens. With ’80s car nostalgia fully en vogue and with all the attention on more modern German cars, however, that’s no longer the case.
1968–71 BMW 2800CS (+55.4 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $54,800
The BMW E9 (1968–75) helped establish the long-hood, straight-six, luxury performance formula that still defines Bimmers today, and it is one of the prettiest cars the company ever built, period. Money-no-object, we would probably all have one of the racy 3.0 CSL Batmobiles (the ultimate E9 BMWs), but not everybody has $300,000 to spend. So most turn to the next best thing—the 1971–75 3.0CS and 3.0CSi. The first E9, the 2800CS, has lagged behind the 3.0-liter cars, but it caught up in 2019 and made much bigger gains, even though a 2800CS is still worth about 25 grand less than a 3.0CS in #2 condition.
1990–96 Nissan 300ZX Turbo (+42 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $25,900
The twin-turbocharged and intercooled 300-horsepower Z32 version of the 300ZX is part of the same class of Japanese high-performance royalty that includes the Mk IV Toyota Supra, Acura NSX, third-gen Mazda RX-7, and Mitsubishi 3000GT. All of these have been getting more expensive as unmodified low-mile examples command higher and higher prices.
Once somewhat underappreciated, Z32s have seen values creeping up over the past three years or so, but several huge sales in 2019, including three in March, brought about big changes with this latest update. An Ultra Red 2800-mile car sold for $53,200, a Yellow Pearlglow 8000-mile car sold for $44,000, and a Diamond Black Pearl 3000-mile car sold for an eye-popping $66,000
1978–81 BMW 633CSi (+35 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $17,400
In only about five years, the sportier first-generation (1987–89) BMW M6 went from being barely a $24,000 car in #2 condition to over $58,000 today. That has forced some to look at other big Bimmers, and that includes cars like the 633CSi. This is the 633’s biggest growth to date and, like the M6, it’s worth more than twice as much as it was five years ago.
1969–72 Chevrolet K5 Blazer (+25–35 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $44,700
When early Ford Bronco prices started going wild in 2016 and ’17, we knew that it was only a matter of time before the similar Chevy Blazer started picking up as well; that’s why we put the Blazer on our 2018 Bull Market List. Blazers started getting pricier not long after the Bronco, but 2019 is when things really started to explode. Several huge auction results early in the year and increased buyer interest have showed us that Blazers are, well, blazing.
1961–66 Ford F-100 (+24–41 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $19,400
Ford’s fourth-gen F-Series debuted in 1961 with a stacked grille, lower stance, and brighter cab. Since interest in vintage pickups is up across the board, it’s no surprise that these are getting more expensive regardless of powertrain or body style. It’s still far from the most valuable classic truck out there, but fourth-gen F-100s outpaced all other pickups so far in 2019 in terms of growth.
1963–83 Jeep Wagoneer (+35 percent)
Average value in #2 (Excellent) condition: $22,900
Not to be confused with the later 1984–91 Grand Wagoneer, the original Wagoneer dates back to the 1960s and was arguably the first luxury SUV long before the Range Rover came along in the ’70s. Based on the Gladiator pickup, the Wagoneer offered buyers more comfort and convenience than the equivalent Ford, GM, or International, but it could still work the farm and tackle rough terrain.
What made the Wagoneer appealing 50 years ago is still appealing to enthusiasts today. It has the classic look and feel, but it’s comfier than most trucks of the period for taking along friends and family. And since the later, woodgrain-clad Grand Wagoneers are worth comfortably over 30 grand in #2 condition, the older Wagoneer seems like a bargain—a bargain that more people are turning to, it seems, as prices are up more than anything else with a Jeep badge.