Hagerty Price Guide

5 cars that took off after the market began to slow

by Andrew Newton
2 November 2023 4 min read

Coffee, cream cheese, condos, and collector cars all got pricier at the beginning of this strange decade, but they didn’t all follow the same path to get there. (At least for the cars.) Though casual observation would suggest everything from Volkswagen GTIs to Ferrari F40s have skyrocketed only to settle slightly as inflation and the classic car market have begun to slow down, several cars in Hagerty Price Guide have plotted a different trajectory.

We have reported on the frenzy of 2021-22 as well as the relative calm in more recent months. Prices for some cars, however, sat out the nearly universal appreciation only to gain steam after the peak of the pandemic boom. Some appear to be cases of the substitution effect, where appreciation for one car pulls up the values of a lesser model a few months later. Others are cases of a car being rare enough and sales seldom enough that they just didn’t pop up during the boom period. Either way, here are the late-to-the-party cars that experienced the most significant growth.

1952-56 Hudson Wasp


Generally, prices of postwar domestic cars have been sleepy relative to the rest of the market, and Hagerty’s index of 1950s American cars recorded the largest drop of any group we regularly report on this past quarter. The future for this segment of cars is uncertain, as younger enthusiasts haven’t warmed up to them and the potential exists for long-defunct brands like Packard, Studebaker, and Hudson to slowly fade from memory.

This year, however, Hudson’s 1952-56 Wasp experienced a price surge across most conditions and body styles, which include Convertible Brougham, Hollywood Hardtop, Sedan, and Club Coupe.

Does this mean that Hudsons and mid-50s oddballs are the next thing? Hardly. A few sizable sales were just a bit late to the party, and it’s important to remember that although Wasps are up 25 percent from the beginning of 2022 to today, in pure dollar terms the increases weren’t huge and these are still inexpensive cars. The median #2 value for hardtop Wasps is under $20K.

1971-72 Ferrari 365 GTC/4


In Ferrari math, 2+2=less money, and a four-seater model has long been the most affordable way to get a Prancing Horse on your keyring. Typically, the 2+2 cars are heftier, less overtly sporting, less attractive, and have less raucous engines than their closest two-seat counterparts.

Such is the case with the 365 GTC/4, which shares a similar chassis, engine and body to the 365 GTB/4, a two-seater known to most enthusiasts simply as the Daytona. Typically, Daytonas have been worth well over twice as much money as GTCs, and today their condition #2 (“Excellent”) values sit at $665,000 and $295,000, respectively. Like most Enzo-era cars, both of these front-engined Ferraris saw a surge in price during the mid-2010s, followed by a drop during the slow market at the end of the decade, and finally a significant recovery upward during the pandemic frenzy. The GTC/4, however, just lagged behind its more desirable and higher-profile cousin by a few months and had less dramatic swings.

1969 American Motors SC/Rambler


There are a few reasons why the SC/Rambler is so cool, but the main one is that it’s the concept of a muscle car distilled to its purest form. It had the biggest AMC V-8 available smushed into the smallest and lightest body. Its sparse list of equipment kept both weight and price down, to the point that it was the only car you could buy for under three grand that came with over 300 hp and a 14-second quarter-mile time. The looks are delightfully campy: a red, white and blue look-at-me-mobile with decals that say “AIR” with a massive arrow pointing into a mailbox-sized hood scoop.

And yet despite everything the SC/Rambler has going for it, the market for them remained remarkably quiet until well into 2022. Maybe it was the relative obscurity of the long-defunct AMC brand or the low production numbers relative to the well-known muscle from the Big Three, but either way SC/Rambler prices did almost nothing from 2014 until the first half of 2022.

1990-94 Mitsubishi Eclipse


The first generation Eclipse and the mechanically-identical Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser (all built at Chrysler/Mitsubishi's Diamond Star Motors factory in Illinois) are three of the more recent additions to the Hagerty Price Guide. We only track the values of classic and modern collector cars, and until the last few years, these badge-engineered hatchback coupes were neither of those things.

But with interest in Japanese performance cars of the 1980s and 1990s growing by leaps and bounds during the late 2010s and early 2020s, it makes sense that people would start looking to more affordable choices like early Eclipses. Available with all-wheel drive, a 16-valve turbocharged engine and a 5-speed manual, it was a quick car in its day. It was cheap and tunable, too, which can be a deadly combination when it comes to longevity. Clean examples are hard to come by. Although condition #2 values were mostly flat until late last year, they're up nearly 50 percent since then to a median of $19,900.

1952-55 Bentley R-Type Continental

Gooding & Co.

Aside from having the best butt in the business, the Bentley R-Type Continental was the world’s fastest four-seater in its day, offering 120 mph while not losing any of the hand-built leather-and-wood English luxury that buyers expected from a Bentley. The Autocar called it “a modern magic carpet which annihilates great distances and delivers the occupants well-nigh as fresh as when they started.” Just 207 sold, most of them in right-hand drive for the home market.

The combination of the beauty, sophistication and comfort of a Rolls-Royce/Bentley with the performance of a high-speed gran turismo has kept R-Type Continentals near the top of the postwar Rolls Royce/Bentley market for a very long time. The best examples became seven-figure cars a decade ago, but more recently prices were rather quiet from the late 2010s until 2022. In Amelia Island that year, a 1954 model with the desirable configuration of larger 4.9-liter engine, center-shift gearbox and left-hand drive sold for $2.975M at Gooding's auction, blowing past its estimate and the price guide values of the time. With cars this rare, a single sale can move the market significantly.


  • Gary Bechtold says:

    1990-1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse, good luck on that one. I’d extend that out to the second generation 1995-1999 also. When I got my Supra in 2002 these cars were starting to become impossible to find not modified, body kitted up or just trashed. It is basically a Unicorn to find clean or unmolested. I have owned a 1990 Eclipse GS (non-turbo 4G63 motor), 1997 Eclipse GSX (4G63 Turbo) and a 1992 Eagle Talon TSI AWD (4G63 Turbo). I enjoyed mildly modding the turbo cars and there was a great community when I lived in the Chicagoland area. Most of the owners have moved on like I did but I have fond memories of that car.

  • BobJ says:

    1971 Opel 1900 Rallye. Great looking and driving. Dominated Showroom Stock Sedan class in the early 70’s until they were banned for being too fast. Not many left but they were lots of fun. It was my first brand new car for $2500.

  • Rick L says:

    About time the collectors have discovered the SC/Rambler. It was an in your face car from a struggling company. It garnered a lot of attention. I know, I was in the back seat, 11 years old when Dad brought it home from the dealership. It still in the family. Great memories of Dad drag racing it. Many people hated get whupped by a Rambler.

  • Iso_Grifo says:

    I’ve only ever seen one R-Type. I walked out of a major mall and there it was, out in the wild. Saw the back end first. Mind bogglingly beautiful. I walked around that car a dozen times before I could walk away.

  • Glenn Walker says:

    In 1969 when the SC/Rambler came out, I was a 19 year old part time employee at a small dealership in Needham, MA called Cook Motors. The service manager would not let me drive it but he took it home as his demo. I am now trying to bring mine back to life in my shop, no service manager to tell me I can’t drive it.

    • Rick L says:

      If you ever went to Lebanon Valley Dragstrip on Mass/NY border you may have seen my Dad drag racing the “family” SC/Rambler during that time.

  • paul s murray says:

    The right front driving light on the Ferrari 365 is drooping and looks ready to soon fall out. Which no one seemed to notice, or care or maybe they’re tired of trying to screw it back into place yet again. In a very roundabout way, that’s what these cars have in common

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