Roundtable

"High water marks everywhere." Voices from the latest Hagerty Price Guide

by Hagerty Insider
8 May 2021 3 min read
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Photo by Joe Puhy

The Hagerty Price Guide is all about the numbers, so you might imagine each update is a mathematical exercise. To be sure, there’s plenty of combing through recent sales and parsing of insurance data. But we also talk to people. Specifically, we look to trusted dealers and industry insiders to help us put the numbers in proper context. For the latest price guide update, one of the most eventful, ever, we asked a few of these sources to go on record with their perspectives on the market right now. Here’s what they had to tell us:

“High water marks everywhere”

The current car market, all cars, is to use a too-used term, insane. New car sales and used car prices are setting high water marks everywhere. It is the same thing with the Japanese car market. Now, with the “ease” of getting many of the cars of people’s formative years, that market has exploded. The popular cars will always be popular: Our bread and butter is the Nissan Skyline GT-R. Then onto things like the JDM Toyota Supra, JDM Mazda RX-7, and JDM Honda Integra Type R.

A 1992 (R32) Nissan Skyline GT-R (Photo by Aaron McKenzie)

From there you move to some cool things that were never sold here. Much more of a niche, but there is always somewhere out there for something unique. Everything from a Nissan Pulsar GTi-R, and Suzuki Cappuccino, to a Mitsubishi Delica, or a Toyota Century.  Lots of people are jumping on the R34 GT-R train before they become unobtainable [they start to become street legal in the United States in 2024]. Already prices for them have nearly doubled in the last year or so. People are also looking forward to the Toyota Chaser JZX100 [street legal in September 2021], and the Nissan Silvia S15 [January 2024].” —Sean Morris, director, Toprank Importers. [Toprank specializes in imports of Japanese domestic market cars, particularly GT-Rs]

“People are overpaying for the right models, but in the wrong condition”

“I’m surprised what some stuff is selling for. Many people are overpaying for the right models, but in the wrong condition. With everything going online, access channels for classic car ownership have opened up to many enthusiasts, and it has never been easier to click and buy a pre-enjoyed high performance machine. We’ve seen many people entering the hobby for the first time during the pandemic, they are paying too much for cars that aren’t as nice as they thought they were.

Inexperienced enthusiasts and bidders can glean a false level of security from others in the comments and not asking the right questions.

That all said, the “right” and best-of-class cars have never been stronger and are in the highest demand we’ve experienced to date. We noticed the most uptick in demand for E39 M5s, E46 M3s, and E30 M3s. Really, all the analog-era M-Cars have been highly sought after, and I expect demand will continue as we move further away from a tactile and engaging driving experience in the newer digital-era cars.” —Eric Keller, CEO and Founder of Enthusiast Auto Group in Cincinnati, Ohio

“A… ton of tire kickers”

“For me, this last year has been a s*** ton of tire kickers! The market was flooded with my bikes, so hard it was to sell what’s on my floor. I managed to move two, but they were customer bikes (that said, as a restorer, I don’t normally move all that many in a year). But I can feel the tide changing.”—Tim Stafford, founder, Tim Stafford Restorations

“Eager to get back to normal”

1979 Porsche 911SC

“Premier has been operating at record levels over the past year, driven by leasing in the contemporary market. Interest in collector cars was relatively quiet in 2020. But since the beginning of 2021, we’ve been getting a lot of calls from serious vintage car collectors asking about values, and telling us they’re ready to buy. There’s significant pent-up demand, and particular interest in late-90s Porsches with air-cooled engines. Some blue-chip collector cars have recently sold in the private market. Collectors tell us they’re eager to get back to normal, and are looking forward to attending the big auction venues like Pebble Beach and Amelia Island.” —Doug Ewing, vice president of sales, Premier Financial Service

“2021 began with a roar that grew louder and louder. The trend of record setting sales in the sub-250k category spread like wildfire into the investment-grade classes, which has seen late-model exotics like Carrera GTs and F40s skyrocket in price with seemingly no end in sight. The past few weeks seems to have revealed a slightly less feverish pace in the sub-250k class, but superlative examples are still getting all the money. As always, buy what you love, and buy the nicest one you can afford, but if you do buy the nicest one there is, be prepared to pay for it, because if you aren’t, someone else certainly is.” —Matthew Ivanhoe, founder and president, The Cultivated Collector

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