Earlier this year we announced that the Hagerty Price Guide would be updated on a quarterly, rather than triannual basis so we could report on the state of the market in a more timely manner. Turns out that decision couldn’t have been more, well, timely. The gains in the market, which we’d been observing throughout 2021, only accelerated in early 2022. In particular, the auctions in Kissimmee, Florida, and Scottsdale, Arizona, gave us a number of market-adjusting sales to consider, and The Amelia sales in March added to the pile.
To be clear, while discussions tend to gravitate to the subject of auctions, they still make up a small portion of all vehicles bought and sold in the collector market. Yet because auctions report sale prices, they do offer an insight into where the market is heading. For each price guide update we also observe listings from private sellers and dealers, sift through insurance data, and seek input from marque experts. Altogether, they give us a complete picture. What we see this quarter is a market that is changing very fast, and likely will continue to do so. In particular, we saw movement in the following segments:
Muscle cars have never been this hot
Muscle cars being "back" really isn't news by now (and to be honest, they never really left, even if values were on a plateau). This January was something altogether different—the market for muscle went completely anabolic. Previous books saw large movements in the upper echelons of the muscle car market, but this volume saw a huge activity for higher volume models.
Notable movers include LS5-equipped 1970 Chevelles, which rose by 42 percent, 1969 Camaro Z/28s, which rose by 38 percent as well as 390 and 428 powered Mercury Cougars, which rose in value anywhere from 20–40 percent, to name a few. While these cars still remain above the norm with their gains, a large portion of the muscle car segment still rose on average 5–10 percent, which is no small thing given the wide range and variety of cars that make up this market.
More German cars gain ground
As in the muscle car segment, gains that had been concentrated on certain top-tier German machines have become more widespread. In particular, while Porsche still appears to be the clear winner, you can't ignore big gainers from BMW and Audi as well.
The 997-series GT2 RS and GT3 RS which posted gains in the range of 30-40 percent. BMW E31 (1990-97) 8-series. While the 850 posted modest gains, the 8-cylinder powered 840Ci posted an average gain of 44 percent to catch up with their 12-cylinder siblings. Finally, V-10 equipped Audi R8s surged ahead an average of 20 percent, while the more affordable 1994-97 Audi S6 and 1997-02 S4 gained approximately 11 percent.
Older Japanese cars on the move again
A great deal of attention is paid to Japanese sports cars from the late-80s on. Indeed, that is where a large portion of the market activity lies; however, examples from the '60s and '70s are on the move again after a long period of little change.
Here is where our focus returns to the venerable 240Z. It is a car that we have discussed at length on multiple occasions, but here we are again. While gains have slackened a bit over the months, it still posted some of the largest increases in this update at an average of 12 percent. Hot on its heels was the 260Z, posting similar gains. Surprisingly, the rather affordable Datsun 510 posted a gain of 5 percent on average. While this does not equate to much dollar wise, this often-ignored model could be seeing some renewed interest.
Another update for the record books
Normally, we'd talk about a few losers. Yet in this update—as with the last one—there were hardly any. Even if not specifically mentioned, there was a good chance your vehicle gained in value, even if just by a bit. With the exception of the Hummer H1 which lost approximately 16 percent, most downward adjustments were relegated to small groups of cars rather than a broad reductions. In a market such as this, we expect few cars to lose value in the short term and many to post gains until the market peaks. How soon that might happen is anyone's guess.
The latest Hagerty Price Guide is live at Hagerty.com/valuation-tools
Where do I look for an Alpha Romeo 156, 1977 and newer?
Auctions, especially the televised ones, are driven as much by emotion as the quality or value of the vehicle.
Timbo is correct
You wrote: “Auctions, especially the televised ones, are driven as much by emotion”
They are also fueled by alcohol.
Why, when everyone agrees that auctions like Barrett-Jackson, Mecum, and __________ (insert any auction company) are a form of outright hysteria , driven by emotions, alcohol, competetive nature and the auction companies themselves. Do we allow their fat, bloated, and unrealistic sales prices drive the market?
Hagerty can say they are only a small % of all sales and they factor blah, blah, blah into as well, but when they are citing results from 2 auctions in January specifically as setting the bar for not only a handful of particular cars, but the entire muscle car market as a whole and immediately adjusting their price guide…. then they might as well be in bed with said auction companies . They are playing into their hands and ALLOWING them the kind of power over the entire collector market which just means even higher prices at the next Snottsdale or Kissamyassee auction.
I’m surprised — I watch Bring a Trailer daily, and recently more and more high end automobiles are not selling at the reserve ? Maybe sellers are expecting too much ? Don’t know ? However, I would like to seek my car, a Mercedes 2003 SL500 with 45000 miles and the prices that similar cars are selling for have been dropping recently ?
I would agree on the quality of the auctions. I have seen a buddy of mine buy a car that was correct for him, he just paid too much for it. The schills were good at eliciting bids in the heat of the auction. It bit him in the end.
However, I would say there are plenty of seasoned buyers that feel good about what they are doing and how they are doing it at these auctions. The car flipping taking place is testament.
Let’s not forget the original pony cars , early Mustangs especially fastbacks .
Original, Restored, Resto .. will always have a strong following.
Free drinks for BIG bidders aren’t bad either. How many people regret what they bought when they are in the solitude of their garage with a pretty red shiny car only to discover the beautiful paint over a badly patched rusty beast underneath. No cheering from the crowd or the TV camera in your face when you realize maybe I should have had a “pro” look at it.
when I saw a car/boat go for over $100K, it confirmed my understanding of “more money than brains,” and alcohol in the room. Mecum has been laughing at the uninformed for a long time.
Ironic that it’s actually safer, by and large, to bid on a car on BaT, where you might have a chance at looking at it, plus the help of a PPI and peanut gallery, than it is to bid on a car at an auction. A year or so ago I was interested in a Mercedes at (I think) the Mecum auction in Houston, TX. They declined to let anyone look at the cars until the day of the auction, no PPI was possible, etc. The auction company made it as difficult as possible. Car went for a song to a Missouri dealer who paid about 30% of it’s worth, and didn’t hesitate to put in on his lot for 100% of its worth or more. If live auction venues were more forthcoming about the cars, and allowed better access, they might do better on prices bid. Then again, in a red-hot market, why should they bother?
To Jim Rosenthal, I often read your insightful posts on BaT and have given countless “thumbs up”. I’ve been saying that for a few years now. In person auctions, though real and tangible, give a false sense of security to folks that are actually going to bid on something. AT BEST, you can look at the car you’re interested in and POSSIBLY crawl under it to see if it’s leaking something before it gets driven on to the block. If you’re lucky, it will be parked on a hard surface so you can see if it’s leaking something. If it’s on grass, you’re out of luck. You may also be lucky enough to watch it sit in line for the afore mentioned block trip to see how well it takes idling and multiple restarts. BaT, as you know, allows, if not demands now, hundreds of pictures and multiple driving videos which offer way more insight in to the car than a live auction. As a buyer, and more so, as an honest seller wanting to divulge everything about a car, I’ll take BaT EVERY TIME hands down. Cheers.
Forgot to mention the BaT “contact seller” feature which allows you to open a dialogue with the seller and ask all the questions you want. I have done this with every car that I’ve bid on and won. Usually, I’ll spend up to 2 hours (or more) on the phone discussing the car and their ownership before I commit to bidding. I’ve done the same as a seller when folks have reached out to me during an auction. If a car is honestly and properly represented, this is a truly warm and pleasant process as both parties benefit. If a car is NOT honestly and properly represented, it doesn’t take long to figure that out either. You will RARELY if ever get that opportunity / benefit at a live auction.
I think Auctions are primarily herd lust and have little to do with the actual value of the presented car. It’s a great way to make money for direct participants (Auctioneers). The next auction you go to watch the Auctioneer and the Bidders. Forget looking at the car. See if you see the direct relationship attempted between buyer and seller, which has nothing to do with the car offered.
Then there is Hemmings In Your Face Auctions and Make an Offer, as the Magazine, long known for knowledgable editorial content as well as Market Knowledge and has let itself become cheap and difficult to use.
I think we’re going to have a correction based on world events and social/economic wide separation in this Country, as well as a dearth of stupid and incompetent Politicians. And we’re talking ourselves into a recession.
So do this: Convert half your equities into cash, and never mind financial advice. If you want to sell a car this is the time, especially if it’s a late model nice car. Dealers will be all over you. And everybody else. You are at the top of the market. Don’t buy anything, keep the cash from the sale until the hysteria in the car market recedes.
Absolutely read John Wiley, Sajeev, Jack Baruth, and several others whose names I forget. My memory is showing my age. Hagerty has replaced Hemmings as the authority in the Hobby, so pay attention.
“Convert half your equities into cash, and never mind financial advice.” Worst advice I’ve ever read. Cash is trash.
I think it may be time to let my beautiful 1978 Trans Am 4 speed go…