There’s no getting away from new car prices and used car prices are continuing to go through the roof. With the average new car price in the US sitting at $41,263 in May 2021, high demand and a shortage of chips are causing price inflation at a rate we have not seen in more than a decade. Moreover, used car prices are still at record highs causing internet trolls to tout used Honda Civics as better investments than the stock market. (All jokes though, please don’t take it seriously)
Are classic car values booming like the rest of the market? Short answer: it’s complicated. There are some major outliers outside of Hagerty’s price guide that are increasing at a blistering pace. A sale price for a 1967 Chevelle SS 396 convertible at Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas recently sold for a staggering $242,000, far above the Hagerty’s price guide of $88,300. We are seeing is specific models and vehicles becoming increasingly more valuable, but most classic car values are increasing at a regular trajectory—some prices even flatlining after an increase during the start of the pandemic in 2020. To provide a different perspective of values, below are some collector favorites, and how prices have changed over the past 10 years.
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark II Roadster BN7
This British sports car built from 1959 to 1967 was highly successful and known for winning many European rallies in its heyday. Car enthusiasts today appreciate it for its racing prowess and handsome looks. With prices of this vehicle steadily rising over the past 10 years, the past several years has seen some up-and-down fluctuations resting at $135,400 in 2021.
1957 Cadillac De Ville Coupe
The pillarless two-door hardtop was a popular and stylish coupe with an original asking price of $5,116. It’s popular with gearheads because of its revolutionary design. Its value peaked most recently at $44,800 in 2018 although showing a steady value through the past 10 years.
1960 Chevy Corvette Convertible
Lightly freshened for the 1960 model year, the Corvette had a starting price of just $3,872. Now synonymous with the American Dream, it took a while for it to resonate with people because of continued redesigns and improvements. The value has flatlined over the past three years at just under $100k, making it a good value for this piece of American history.
1970 Dodge Challenger RT 2DR HT
The first generation was built to take on the Mercury Cougar and Pontiac Firebird in the pony car segment. With a competitive original cost of $3,266, collectors appreciate the car today for being all-around awesome. Price increase swiftly last year to $84,300 and only time will tell if it stays or continues the trend.
1965 Ford Mustang Convertible
The first-generation fan-favorite Mustang has seen prices steadily increase to $62,000 in 2021. Leading this car segment in its heyday means it is still one of the most desirable classics. We don’t see much fluctuation in values with this vehicle and anticipate more straightforward value increases in the future.
What’s the verdict on classic car values?
Like much of the economy today, it is difficult to get a full macro-picture of what’s happening in the collector car market. Moreover, individual car values are moving at quite different rates. Do your own research by model type and track values. Most gearheads already do this regularly, so understanding market conditions for a specific model can help you make the right decision at the right time. Second, when you do find a specific collectible, do your part to understand the condition. The condition of collector cars varies greatly, especially as they age, so ensure there’s an expert on your side to do inspections. Finally, if you do find yourself in competition for a classic car, ensure you are in a spot to pivot quickly. For those who are looking to buy with a classic car loan, it may be wise to get pre-approved.