Data Driven

Hagerty Market Rating: the collector car market continues to soften

by Adam Wilcox
20 September 2023 2 min read

The Hagerty Market Rating is a monthly assessment of the collector car market’s activity and strength. For a detailed explanation of what goes into this rating, please click here.

The Hagerty Market Rating (HMR) dropped 1.2 points this month to 68.33—its lowest value in two years. Although this is not the first time that the Market Rating has decreased for 13 months out of a 15 month timeframe, the current downturn includes the steepest decline in Market Rating history. In the past year, the Market Rating has dropped 9.6 points. Before 2023, the largest single-year drop was only 6.9 points.

While still in the “expanding market” range of the spectrum, it’s very likely that the Market Rating will continue to decline as prices soften across the market. The pandemic boom has clearly come to an end.

This month was the first time since August 2017 where every single metric used in calculating the Hagerty Market Rating dropped.

Despite more than $403 million in sales at the Monterey auctions this month, the Median Sale Price metric decreased two points to its lowest score in over a decade. This is due to last year's record-breaking Monterey numbers moving out of the 12-month HMR calculation window, and being replaced by this year's slightly weaker Monterey numbers. The median sale price at Monterey this year was 13 percent lower than a year ago.

Optimism among our industry experts is at its lowest point since the start of the pandemic, when all live auctions were canceled. After watching the Monterey auctions in person, they cited soft prices in the lower end of the market (read cars below $500,000 - it is Monterey, after all) as the main cause.

Any increase in raw numbers this month was not able to outrun inflation, which just reached its highest point in over a year. One example of this is the Average Sale Price in private transactions: despite increasing for the first time since spring, it showed as a loss in our final Market Rating numbers once inflation was accounted for. In contrast, the private market seems to be fairing well, with more than 45 percent of cars selling above insured value—this would have been a record less than two years ago.

Owners who held on to their cars through the market frenzy are also increasing insured values at a much slower rate. Currently, the ratio of increases to decreases of insured values is 3.6-to-1 and 8.9-to-1 for "high-end" vehicles and those valued under $250,000, respectively. While these ratios are still very much in the black, they are nearly half of what they were at their peak last year.

Next month, the Hagerty Market rating will gain the influence of a new Hagerty Price Guide release. While it's doubtful that this will cause the rating to reverse course, we'll be watching closely to see how much the softening of the market has infiltrated the real values of cars in our Price Guide.


  • Henry F. says:

    I’ve heard that the collector car market is “dead” in the U.K. My casual observation is than the market here is very slow and prices dropping is inevitable.

  • Ken says:

    With states like California, Oregon and Washington, pushing to require electric vehicles the classic car market looks to be killed by the push two electric vehicles

    • pdmracing says:

      haven’t seen it in the price range I buy . And to EV conspiracy theorists, Take off the tin foil hats , if anything it will make collector cars more valuable.

  • Jack Nelson says:

    As we all know…”Pandemic Pricing” our Black Swan event . A bit unfair if not disingenuous using the highest High Water Mark of All Time as backdrop to price analysis….where else could prices go but down? Yes, it is “data” & all true, yet a tad sensationalistic at the same time. More reasonable metric (high water mark) might be the 2013-2016 appreciation cycle which was based on more tangible trends; desire to buy what had been a distant dream… “I can now finally afford that car” , not “the world is ending & I might die tomorrow so better buy TODAY “. Internet & internet auctions, an abundance tv car shows (ccc & the like)…airwaves saturation. Akin plethora real estate shows 2006-09 before That crash. Sure speculation crept in, as always, yet within parameters “the hobby” accustomed to, not the Rocket Fuel accelerant Covid19 proved to be.
    Whereas I do not disagree to a “cooling”…my thesis simply a more pragmatic comparison might more accurately The Market cycles.

    • pdmracing says:

      I just came from an event at Lanier raceway in GA across from road atlanta . There was a drift event & an Alliance of car club car show with over 200 cars on a Friday evening , with another few thousand spectators all under 30. I was the oldest person there and they were thrilled & confused that a greybeard like me was so into what they were doing. We run a monthly Track attack & AutoX at AMP & 90 % are 30 & under and we are selling out every event. The younger generation is alive & well, they just like different stuff but who cares, the community is healthy & the younger generation love cars , maybe if people encouraged & included instead of complaining or sitting behind the car & have no interaction with event attendees we would have even more enthusiasts.

    • billyt. says:

      Jack Nelson: I completely agree with your well stated comment. Normal market fluctuations, and with some brands/models; market saturation: Camaros, Corvettes, retro-Broncos, Porsche everything. Buy because you like something, not for the potential profit and you’ll be just fine. I’m pretty certain the sky is still above us all and doesn’t seem to be falling just yet.

  • John R Marchiando says:

    I am not a collector but wish I was. I think the market will continue to trend downward as many of the real collectors with “MONEY” are getting “OLD” or dying off. Their kids have no iterest in these cars and as soon as they can they will sell the collections off and put the “MONEY” in their bankaccounts.

    • john w berry says:

      Agree. The same will go for high end stereos of audiophiles. No one is taking their place

    • Mike says:

      Unfortunately, money is dropping in value rapidly and all the car values are dropping. But with an interesting and enjoyable car,you can drive around and go to the car show and enjoy your vehicle rather than watching your bank account drop every day.

    • Thomas Mason says:

      I agree I am 57 and have just one classic but the younger generation seems to have no interest in theses true works of art

  • Bill Morgan says:

    I agree that prices and/or values are declining making it much more difficult for some to sink money into collectable or classic cars, especially in this high inflation economy. I have decided that the value of my car will be, simply put, the value of me giving it to one of my children. What they do with it will be their problem. However, I plan to have fun with my ride until they tell me I can’t drive any longer so my bottom line is I will enjoy my car and EVERY DAMN dime I put in it until I can’t. There you go my definition of value. I will remain a kid and love these old cars until someone puts me in a grave. Have fun guys!

    • Brian K. says:

      I have 2 C2’s, a C8 & an SS Chevelle. I didn’t buy any one of them for an investment. If they drop in value so be it. My estate’s problem and they will have to take the bad with the good.

  • Bob Hauser says:

    Old car prices are going the same way as my golden age (1929-1939) electric trains. The values are 25% to 40% of what they were 10 years ago. All the old timers that had them as kids and collected them as adults are gone. Nothing lasts forever.

  • JJ says:

    I have the solution! Just buy what you like and then keep it forever…. I could NOT care less what my 1978 Thunderbird delivered on 9/21/77 is “worth” …. ditto my ‘85 Mustang LX 5.0, 2000 BMW Z3, ‘86 Ranger XLT, the 1974 Continental Mark IV that I bought my mother in 1979, my ‘78 Mark V purchased for $1,800 in 1988, etc., Etc., ETC.!

  • Peter Pentz says:

    The one thing that always astounds me is that Hagerty totally ignores a very important relationship that any collector market, classic cars included, have peculiar relationship to the stock market.
    It is not difficult to understand why. The more the stock market displays instability and tends to trend down, the greater the tendency of investors to turn to investing in collectable items – vintage furnature, art work, and automobiles.
    The rise in the market in the early 80s could clearly be related to the 80s crash in the stock market.

    The lack of interest in younger generations comment in my opinion is trash in my opinion.
    I am in my 70s and every time I take on of my classic 60s Brit cars to a show, the majority of interest comes from 20 and 30 somethings – and it is real inquiring interest, not just passing curiosity. I’ve found many of them have carefully researched the car they are admiring and often inquire as to the cost of purchase, cost of restoration etc.
    All of my kids are in their 30s and drive my cars whenever possible, often more than I drive them ….. I’m too busy working on them !

  • Jason Geater says:

    Just another illiquid asset class in the process of deflating (not disinflating).

    Reversion to the mean has a LONG way to go in a real cost-of-capital environment. Buyers in the last few years will be holding massive bags… including “Teflon” Ferrari.

  • Ken says:

    Time to track the spread between “regular” and hi-octane around the country as a barometer of demand. Pretty soon, 93+ will be a boutique item

  • Jim Liberty says:

    I see this in the Porsche 356 world also. I’ve been restoring them for 50 years. It is impossible to brake even today on a full restoration at my shop. ……….Jim.

    • Andy K. says:

      Buying cars at current values unrestored and then restoring them at today’s cost to make money has always been a problem. We had more in cars restoring them in the 80s than they were worth but in today’s world they look cheap.

  • Andy K. says:

    The car market has its ups and downs and always will. All I’m going to say is while ones going down there’s another one going up. Some people like to talk it down thinking they will be able to buy something they missed out on, well good luck its probably not going to change that much. There is always talk about when certain age groups dies off the old ones are not going to be worth anything. The car hobby is alive and well. The people that love cars are always going to love cars and motorcycles. There are 1920s cars and motorcycles still bringing record prices so that proves that other age groups like them also. I know there will be some fall off on some older cars or stagnant prices because of age groups dying off but the right cars will always bring the money. I keep up with this stuff pretty good and I haven’t had anybody calling me wanting to give me any deals, as a matter of fact some stuff has got harder to buy. The more they push electric the higher gas powered cars will get.

  • paul s murray says:

    Just a quick question. Does Hagerty track/compare new car sales along with classic cars? I know that if you were to try and factor in all the variables you’d end up with such a mess of numbers that it would be dizzying. Still most all of the people I know with a classic it’s one of the three cars they own. The other two being dailies. So buying a new car or a classic can be an either or but not both proposition and I wonder if there’s any correlation.

    • Eddy Eckart says:

      Hi Paul,
      I checked in with Adam Wilcox, who assembles our monthly market rating. As folks who like to pay attention to anything car-related, we do keep an eye on that info, but it’s not integrated into our analysis. We observe data on newer cars (and the buying habits of those purchasing them) that have some overlap with the collector car world—think C8 Z06, Porsche 911 GT3, etc—but that’s the extent of it.

  • Ed says:

    The market is definitely down as a 92 16v VW I sold did about 15% less than it would have a year prior. Problem is, I couldn’t get all the work completed until this spring. I will hold onto my others for a better day.

    Seems like there are a lot of people basing their opinions on their assumption of what a classic is. I do believe the more-common 30s-50s cars are headed further down due to those collectors dying out and baby boomers at or soon to be past peak collecting age. 80s and 90s cars like I have still have 20+ years of upside IMO. The cars we grew up with are now attainable, and we (Gen x) will inherit money and are in peak earning years. Same with Millenials – add to them 2000s cars that most of us would not even have looked at as collectible years ago. I don’t doubt for some of us including Gen Z kids who actually drive may clamor for my Chevy Volt someday with an “LS battery” swap.

    I also think these earnings/age span cycles are repeatable in general for certain eras, but when you say “30s-50s is dying out” there will always be notable individual makes and models that continue to generate interest.

  • Mark T Cronk says:

    I guess my kids are “different”. My 36 year old daughter has “dibs” on my 67 GTO. She used the car for her wedding and has “grown up” with it in the garage. Her interest in cars is more than a curiosity. Her first car she bought new out of college was a stick shift Mini Cooper S. She had never driven a manual before but embraced it to the fullest. Today, as a sucessful professional, when shopping for a new “up scale” car she decided on a twin turbo 6 speed sedan (back seat for the kids). My oldest son (33) is into old trucks, 4WD, and big classic Pontiacs of the 60s. His most recent car was a 2013 Charger SXT that he tuned and modified. My youngest son (29) is into the “van life” and took an old Ford Conversion van and built it out as a RV. He also has expressed interest in learning the mechanical maintenance of that old van. I have never pushed them into cars. As youngsters and teenages they played a lot of sports. But I guess all the car shows, drag races, etc I took them to wore off on them.

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    So people are holding back on hobby stuff right now. Not a shocker.

  • paul s murray says:

    Thanks Eddy. A lot of the people I know who bought a ‘classic’ did a few years after buying their first house ( it has a garage ) A fair example that was fun to take it out on weekends but then the work they could do was more than they bargained for. Then when their second child was on it’s way it got sold for ” I didn’t get what I wanted but” money. Now it’s a ‘one day I’d like to have ‘ but they’re starring at college costs. If people think the price of classics have gone crazy, look at the cost of a good four year. Staggering.

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