Journal: Which Vintage Cars Are Currently At Peak Value?

Which Vintage Cars Are Currently At Peak Value?

By Aaron McKenzie
February 5, 2014
24 comments

Remember that time in December 2006 when you had a few extra million dollars in spare change laying around and decided to go shopping for a vintage car? Of course you do. As a car-lover in search of an investment, you went hunting for a vehicle that would not only look great in your garage but also pay for its own room and board by appreciating.

After some searching, you decided to scratch your muscle car itch with a Condition 1 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible. You know, the convertible with the 426 Hemi V8 that set you back $2.2 million. A wise investment, no?

As it turns out, no.

Since the day you bought it, according to Hagerty, the 1970 Cuda has done nothing but slip in value. As of December 2013, the car is worth about half of what you paid for it – and good luck even selling it for that much.

A smarter bet back in 2006 would have been a 1969 Toyota 2000GT, which Hagerty then valued at the bargain price of $240,000, and has since appreciated to more than $900,000 in estimated value.

As in the stock market, the danger of buying at an asset’s peak price is always a risk in the vintage car market. Which vintage cars do you think are currently at their peak and ready to slip in value?

Photography by Otis Blank for Petrolicious and other images via cartype.com, mycarquest.com

Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

Steve Goudy
Steve Goudy

I believe the collector car market as a whole is nearing its peak now or in the next 10 years. I’m the last of the “baby boomers” born in 1964, I’m now 50. My father, myself and my younger brother ( born 1970 ) are all car nuts. My nephews on the other hand are not as interested. They like cars, especially their father’s 73 Vette, and go to vintage races with us and have even helped judge car show. However the cars they really like are the ones I consider modern. I think that’s normal, the cars you want… Read more »

Steely
Steely

The interest and business surrounding classics is on the increase (in the UK at least), it’s a growing business with clubs encouraging young driver membership and meets, and arranging cheaper insurance, this years “drive it day” in April is expected to be twice as popular as last years. What constitutes a classic to the youth of today might be different to your or my idea, but that is normal and as people grow so tastes change. As to the question, I think lots of cars reached a peak in the last couple of years, mini’s for example, I think what… Read more »

Jon Warshawsky
Jon Warshawsky

If values are a guide, the interest in classic cars has risen in the US — especially cars like the ’50s Merc SLs, early Porsche 911s and 356s and the Dino 246. I suspect car enthusiasts are looking back to cars built prior to 1975 because they have a unique style and mechanical feel that was gradually lost over the years. The cars of my youth (from the ’80s) I now look back upon as mostly junk.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I’m with Future Doc, JJJ and aircooled1 on this. Myself being in the 20’s, I don’t see a massive urge to own classic cars among my peers, even though I’m studying to become a mechanical engineer. I’m not saying that only engineers are buying classic cars or anything, but I would have thought that people who enjoy mechanics and are about too earn decent wages, when out of college, possibly could be interested in owning classic sports cars. Doesn’t seem like it to me. Some are of course more or less obsessed, like myself, but I generally see a tendency… Read more »

JB21
JB21

It’s not just classic and vintage cars. If you work at the upper management of a car company, pretty much any car companies, one of the topic they talk about often is how people (especially young people) aren’t interested in cars any more. It doesn’t mean they aren’t buying cars, it’s just they aren’t interested in cars like youth used to. And it’s causing a serious headache among the upper management of the business.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I just boiled it down to classics in this particular case. But as you said, young people still buy cars as a means of transportation (though public transport and bicycles are quite popular in Sweden), but you don’t see a huge amount of car aficionados at my age. I believe one possible reason might be the cars themselves. Two decades ago (or more) cars weren’t as reliable and they weren’t controlled by computers to the same extent, so you had to know a little about your car. Nowadays they are more like an expensive consumable and… Read more »

JB21
JB21

I think you kind of nailed it. The nature of the automobile is very different now than say 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. In some ways, cars as a product and as an idea have matured, and with that maturity, they became something a bit stale, bit boring. However much the marketing folks try, it is almost impossible to smell sense of adventure, sense of going somewhere (which is the whole point of automobiles) from Camry and Malibu and Accord and stuff like that.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I’m with you on this one too. Even though (most) modern cars are very good transportation, many exhibit a distinct lack of occasion when driving them. Some are obviously better than others. In my experience, the most fun I’ve had with new cars has been in BMW:s, but those who have driven the older models usually prefer them.

My dad’s got a 170hp 400Nm AWD Station Wagon atm, and while the power is quite fun in a way (that is consider somewhat powerful on Swedish roads), it still doesn’t evoke the same feelings as our 90hp 98lb-ft ’92 Honda Civic did.

ik1
ik1

The key factor is that young people, especially those who live in cities, don´t identify owning their own car as a statement of freedom anymore, that aspiration has been replaced by tablets, smartphones and other devices, so the concept of owning a car is reduced to its primary function of transportation for most of them, and that can be solved with public transportation, cheaper, trouble-free and truly improved compared to what we had 20 years ago. As Andreas said, even the interest in getting the license has gone critically down among youngsters. That, added to the lack of personality of… Read more »

JJJ
JJJ

Good point re the demographics. I’m 40 and honestly not many of my peers care that much about cars. My brother is 30 and none of his gang give the slightest shit. In 20 years, I can see there being a lot less demand for what you might call middle-market classics. The real exotic stuff will probably be propped up by the super rich. That said, I do wonder what happens when (and it will happen, though probably not for several decades) conventional cars begin to be banned from roads in western countries. I reckon offering at least the ability… Read more »

Jack Whelan
Jack Whelan

I’m not sure that I agree about the change in tastes amongst your peers. So many of my friends, who are not car enthusiasts, really enjoy the look and feel of old cars once they are exposed to them. People are become tired of stagnant anodine designs. There is no difference between a Mazda3 and a Nissan Altima or whatever these days and people are growing tired of that. In the fashion world, people are also shying away from modern mass-produced rubbish which is impersonal and verging on intangible. Instead, there has been a huge renaissance in ‘heritage’ brands like… Read more »

aircooled1
aircooled1

I agree and can observe the renewed general interest in vintage and heritage things from clothing to furniture, etc. But I haven’t seen that same interest turn into old car ownership. And I think one of the reasons why is the upkeep. Not only do I seem to see fewer people interested in old cars amongst the younger sets, but fewer still who have the know how and desire to keep these things running.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

I do believe that the know-how, desire, and level of commitment to keep these things running is vanishing, despite all the hype that would lead one to believe the contrary. This is true for many skill sets.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

The movement for heirloom, vintage, or quality objects has been growing for some time; in all honesty, however, this will only be marketed to the mainstream so long as there are serious dollars to be made. This is common sense. The other problem I see is that the operative word here for its survival is *affordable*, which when combined with *handmade* is somewhat of an oxymoron.

Furthermore, the term *handmade* is used quite liberally in conjunction with modern manufacturing capabilities, and *quality* has most certainly become extremely subjective.

Ivan Scott
Ivan Scott

I don’t agree at all. With more websites dedicated to classics, plus ebay, craigslist, aol auto, etc etc. It’s easier than ever to own a classic, and especially some of the less unique ones, like Triumphs, older BMW’s, or even american makes. On top of that, you add the vast supply of parts, forums and enthusiast websites that offer great tips and advice at 0 cost, it can even take the fear away from the beginner. The key in terms of investment is to guess right on what the upcoming generation will like, the cars of their youth and what… Read more »

aircooled1
aircooled1

X2 on the earlier Porsches. And I’ve often wondered what will happen to the market once the actuary tables start catching up with the Boomers. While I know a lot of car guys my age there doesn’t seem to be as many generationally as the Boomers had.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman

am i the only one who like to see the car speculators get burnt ?
:p

D L
D L

I would say most mid sixties Ferrari’s. Just in the past few months one sold for 52 million, another for 27 million. Is a 250 GTO really worth about 50 Duesenbergs? I think not.

Future Doc
Future Doc

I am interested in seeing what the 60-70s era vehicles do in the next 10-20 years. I am almost expecting the bottom to fall out when baby-boomer are not longer in the market for them and then when there is a flood from estate auctions. I think prices will be more available to more people … but more folks will be chasing cars from the 80s and 90s. I think some of the ultra-rare vehicles like the Toyota above and the cult classics of the 911 and Mustangs will be resistant but other vehicles will fall a good amount.

Gianni Burrows
Gianni Burrows

356’s and early 911’s must be getting close.

Ryan Weaver
Ryan Weaver

If you had asked this 7 months ago, my instant reaction would have been Land Cruiser FJ-40s. I think that the market has passed on those. The [url=”http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1063840″]Olive Green example[/url] at RM last month notwithstanding, they’ve not really breached the $80-90K high watermark that was achieved in 2012.

JB21
JB21

I think every single one of those cars. I mean, they are not yet peaking, it’s just their price won’t come down in near future. The cars of old finally had time to mature, like paintings, so to speak, and finally came to the point where price has got absolutely nothing to do with the value. In more ways than one, none of those cars are worth the price they are asking, but it doesn’t really matter, because justification for the price is not at all tied to the value as such. The problem is though, unlike classic paintings which… Read more »

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson

I’d [i]like[/i] to think that pre-1968 VW buses have finally peaked because that market is nuts. I’m looking at classifieds daily and what some people are asking for even the less-desirable buses is wacky. Better than ten grand at times for a panel van? Really? Forget picking up a deluxe microbus. You might as well put a down payment on a house! Their value, currently, is probably one of the only things preventing me from selling my camper. If I do, I’ll never be able to afford another.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

A few obvious choices here, Ferrari 275GTB’s currently trading between $1.5- $2.5m seems crazy when a Daytona which (in my biased view) is a much nicer car are $650k for the very best. I cannot understand why Dino 246s fitted with the chairs and flairs option are nearly twice the money of those without. The Lancia Aurelia Spider America is utterly gorgeous but I don’t see why it is a $1m plus car when the ever so slightly less gorgeous and more practical convertible isn’t. The car I mainly see heading for a correction though is the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing… Read more »