Why are these desirable collector cars cooling down?
Great cars sometimes dip to the bottom of the market, and many familiar models continue to drag behind. But there are some new additions to the Hagerty Vehicle Rating Bottom 25 that are rather shocking, at least at first glance. Mid-year Corvettes, arguably the best-looking classic Corvette and one of the best uses of side pipes in the history of the automobile, aren’t tracking so well compared to the rest of the market. Add in some brawny muscle cars, big American cruisers, and classic German luxury. How did it end up this way?
The Hagerty Vehicle Rating tracks a vehicle’s performance relative to the rest of the 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 Shelby GT350 and GT500, first-generation Dodge Challenger, and second-generation Pontiac GTO remained in the Bottom 25, and considering that just about every muscle car collector would want one in their garage we had to wonder what was going on. We asked Hagerty valuation specialist Andrew Newton what he thought about the Bottom 25 list being filled with desirable and collectible cars.
“With the Shelbys, GTO, and Challenger, it looks like values are generally tracking pretty flat, but buyer interest (which we track via quote activity) is way down for all of them,” he notes. “The number being added to insurance policies is down, and auction results have been pretty weak.” While their value is holding strong, there just aren’t a lot of new buyers entering that market.
The same can be said for the earlier models on the list, as Newton explained, “A lot of the ’40s, ’50s and early ’60s domestics go along with something we’ve been seeing generally, that lots of ’40s and ’50s cars primarily appeal to buyers who are quite a bit older. Younger enthusiasts aren’t taking up the mantle, so demand is shrinking. This definitely seems to be the case with the bottom spot, the Stylemaster. Values dropped quite a bit recently, and buyers don’t seem to be interested in them.”
The average price to buy one of the hottest cars in the market right now in #3 (Good) condition was only $14,085, and 15 of them could be had for less than $10,000. These Bottom 25 come in at an average of $40,700. Even if you remove the Porsche 911 Turbo and the two Shelbys, the only three cars in the six-digit range, the average is still nearly $30,000.
The lesson is that younger car buyers aren’t “taking up the mantle” on the older cars as Newton put it, but instead are going after more affordable cars, and especially trucks and SUVs, which once again filled the rankings in the top spots. Also, there are simply more buyers for a $15,000 collector car than there are for a $30,000 collector car, causing prices to rise more where there’s more demand.
Like we said last time, don’t let a car’s place on this last deter you from chasing your dream car. This list is still full of great cars that could hold their value, they just might not be flying off the auction block like you may expect.