Journal: Did the Classic Car Market Compel You to Sell Your Cherished Ride?

Did the Classic Car Market Compel You to Sell Your Cherished Ride?

By Michael Banovsky
July 30, 2015

Photography by Afshin Behnia, David Marvier, & Stephen Heraldo

Every few decades, the classic car market experiences a boom—and then, occasionally, a correction. The thing is, over the last few years, the market has been increasing in value like never before, with “blue chip” classics helping to lift similar models from their marque.

We’ve heard numerous stories from both friends and colleagues about how they’ve experienced the market’s boom as owners of a vehicle that has risen significantly in value. Some cars, like the Ferrari Dino 246 GT, has more than tripled in value over the last decade.

At that point, do you sell your car, drive it less, or at least worry about it more frequently? Not all classics have seen that much of an increase in value, either; in fact, some American classic cars have seen decreases in value over the last few years.

We’d like to know: did the market—good or bad—encourage you to sell your car?

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4 years ago

I sold mine last year after 20 years of ownership, 1- because i’d enjoyed it enough, 2- because after loosing my dad realised life is short to hold on to material stuff, so decided let someone else enjoy it and go for a dream machine, 3- because i have 2 of the next best machines with me. So not sold because of greed but about time some else sample this amazing machines…

Johann van Biljon
Johann van Biljon
4 years ago

I don’t think I will ever sell my Porsche 964. I still ring its neck whenever I get a chance. It is insured for replacement value, and while my premiums have gone up over the past years it is still reasonable. What makes me sad about the ever increasing values is that uptrading has become so much harder. It used to be that you could trade your current car for a better car by paying a few thousand euro extra. Now if you want to trade up you need to add tens of thousands of euros.

Martijn Sjoorda
Martijn Sjoorda(@martijn-sjoorda)
4 years ago

It wasn’t so much the market as the advent of my first kid. So I thought I’d do the sensible thing and sell my 1991 911 C4 after two years as a daily driver in 2008. Bought for 23,5 K euros, traded for 21,500 on an RS2. Proved to be a shit car. Got screwed when I threw it back at the Porsche specialist, wrote off 12,5 K. Saw “my” 911 go for 36,5 K two years ago. I don’t care about the money, I miss the ride. And I am not OK with where they are trading now (50-65 K). But hey, I owned one, got married in it and drove it hard all over Europe for 50,000 kilometers!

Grenville Bell
Grenville Bell(@gren)
6 years ago

I’m quite happy that my cherishes Dino 308gt4 has trebled in value over recent months. They were always the most grossly under-rated ferrari of all time, but I suppose the resulting neglect has reduced the surving numbers somewhat, just when they are emerging from the anorak snobbery that blighted then for so long. They are a superb little package, and by Ferrari standards remarkably easy to live with. But I am not selling – I love it too much!

Gavin Davis
Gavin Davis(@galdyewlodge)
6 years ago

Purchased an F430 Spider almost 2 years ago and have watched with passing interest as its value has increased whilst driving it hard with no concession to increasing mileage. It’s to be used and enjoyed. If I make a buck or two if I sell it, so what; it brings a smile to my face every time I press the loud pedal and that’s what it’s all about…

Claus Bossen
Claus Bossen(@fb_614915938)
6 years ago

I imported a 1969 911E Targa from the US to Denmark 10 years ago. At that time prices on F-models where in the lows. I enjoyed and drove the car in the following next 10 years with only som minor restaurations. Kept it in a good daily driver and solid condition – it was no concours car.

Sold it last month to a new owner in Germany and did a good deal. The demand for F-models in Germany is very high – even for those that are not top condition.

Christer Lundem
Christer Lundem(@christer)
6 years ago

I am with TJ on this one (Guitar Slinger)… Basically you should not own a car you cannot afford to crash (told to me by a friend about race cars, but I apply it to anything). I sold my Zagato because this. If something serious happened, it would be hard if not impossible to find parts for it. I am a driver not a collector. If you are a collector I respect that too. It is just not for me. The joy of driving was blemished by the “ifs” and “buts”. Today (I think) the market is overheating. Not everything air cooled from Porsche will be worth millions tomorrow – unfortunately. The market has not learnt. People who have lived a little, know that this is not going to last forever. History is a good teacher: Tulip mania was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the recently introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed. The 1637 event was popularized in 1841 by the book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, written by British journalist Charles Mackay. Maybe a good book to pick up and read sometimes… and more recent history has proven the point. But if you love your car, can afford to use it: Who cares about values anyway? We cannot bring anything with us to the place we all will be going to. Live life while you can and it is possible to drive – it you do not enjoy your car, sell it and buy something you enjoy. I feel the classic car movement is too much about investment/ value these days instead of the simple enjoyment of driving and tinkering with cars. I love my Alfas, good fun witch I can afford. And if they brake, well it is easy fixable. Think less, drive more.

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa(@genovevo)
6 years ago

Let me know when my father’s burgundy 1983 Corolla is worth anything! Then I might convince him to take it out of the cover! Eheheheheh

Can Eyilik
Can Eyilik(@clubber)
6 years ago

I was never tempted to sell my [url=””]E30 M3[/url] although the prices have sky rocketed since 2007 which is when I got it. I cherish her even more every day. In my eyes, she will always be the dream car I wished to own when I was a kid. Makes no difference to me if it is worthless or priceless. I simply took financial value out of the equation of my relationship with my E30 M3. What is left is true joy and nostalgia.

Davis Harris
Davis Harris(@davis)
6 years ago


Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
6 years ago

No, and this year I’m on schedule to do more miles than any previous in my ownership of the Daytona. I’ve had the briefest of moments when I’ve thought about it and always come to the conclusion there is no other material possession I want more.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago

The previous Ferrarimania moment of price tag insanity definitely convinced me to sell . Once the the point had arrived where the car I’d paid $7500 for became worth well north of $150,000 [ yes the numbers are correct ] I felt I had no choice as the car in my opinion had become worth too much to enjoy on a regular basis [ it was all but a daily driver ] So along with its stablemates [ who’s prices went ballistic as well ] .. off to a new owner it went with my bank account becoming a little flusher .

Full discloser ; I maintain the attitude that all my possessions including the tools of my trade be useful and usable not to mention reasonably replaceable should the worst occur . So once the value and rarity of the item in question exceeds what I [ and the insurance companies ] consider to be a reasonable risk and the profit over purchase price becomes so excessive … I sell it to the ‘ Greater Fool * ‘ so to speak [ *definition on Wikipedia ]

As a another example : When friend and luthier D’Aquisto passed away and the guitars he’d built for me’s prices reached into the stratosphere among collectors [ a very healthy five figures over the original low four figure price tags ] .. I sold precisely because thats the way I deal with my possessions regardless . Once they’re worth too much to use regularly and enjoy . I sell . No looking back . No regrets . Time to move on .

rick bradner
rick bradner(@3304hl)
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Yes, I’m pretty much at that point now with my 330.
I just finished a three year restoration, and in the interim the value has gone up so much that I just don’t feel I can enjoy on a regular basis. The restoration also impressed upon me the now excessive running cost (including parts for maintenance) of owning her. Fortunately, I have other cars (including a Splitie!) to keep me mobile, so I won’t be entirely without entertainment!

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson(@busbuddha)
6 years ago

I won’t lie. The split window-era bus market is so big right now that I’ve been tempted to sell and just get into something different, funkier, and more unique. But I also know that, if I did sell, I’d never be able to get back in without winning the lottery. And I do love my bus, don’t get me wrong. It has, however, made the transition from daily driver to maybe weekly driver.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago
Reply to  Taylor Nelson

Though I thoroughly understand the attachment .. especially because it is a Beetle Bus not to mention a fairly rare Beetle Bus : from your words I’m gathering you may of reached the ‘ Tipping Point ‘ I wrote about in my previous post . That is the ‘ tipping point ‘ where the value exceeds the usability thereby eroding your enjoyment of the car/item in question . Might I recommend perhaps selling the rare Bus and using the proceeds to create a more personalized one from a more pedestrian later model with no doubt a fair amount of pocket change left over ?

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini(@ymeabay)
6 years ago
Reply to  Taylor Nelson

I agree, cash out the split window bus and get an undervalued bay window bus, then use the rest of the money to travel and surf for a year in the new bus!

6 years ago

The steady rise in Japanese classic car values certainly has me thinking more about various possibilities surrounding the sale of my Datsun. I often think about selling it and using the money to buy something more exclusive/expensive… but every time I open the garage and peek under the car cover, I shake my head and go for a drive 😉