Hagerty Price Guide

How the Hagerty Price Guide is made

by Greg Ingold
27 July 2023 4 min read

Here at Hagerty, we are commonly asked how we produce the Hagerty Price Guide values that we publish online at Hagerty Valuation Tools. Some people assume it is an algorithm derived from insurance values. Others believe it is an average of auction sales. In an effort to bring better clarity to the answer, this article describes our methodology. But first, some context.

The Hagerty Price Guide was founded in 2006 as Cars That Matter, when it was a small, pocket-sized booklet covering the high points of the postwar collector car market. Today, the guide has grown to include more than 40,000 entries covering all manner of collector cars, trucks, and motorcycles from both the pre- and post-World War II eras. Our first book contained 240 pages of pricing; our last contained 612.

The values we publish are, well, a guide to collector car values in the North American market. (We also publish a price guide specifically for the British market, and another for the German market, but that is a post for another day.) Due to varying circumstances, cars can and do sell for prices higher or lower than what we publish. A unique combination of options, a compelling history, an excellent presentation, or the right people in the room on a given day can result in exceptional prices. A poor presentation, an incomplete history, a motivated seller, or a general lack of visibility can cause a car to sell well below expectations. Regardless, the Hagerty Price Guide is designed to give you a fundamental idea of how much you can expect to pay for a vehicle when buying, or how much you can expect to earn for a vehicle if you’re selling. Your individual results may vary.

The underlying foundation of the Hagerty Price Guide is the data we collect and analyze. But this analysis and interpretation is still a high-touch, human-centered process. We routinely compare aggregated sales results to our current price guide values to gauge market movement, but we also work hard to understand the context of sales individually to put the overall picture in better perspective. Following are some of the data we use to put it all together.

Auction results

Auctions are without a doubt the most visible way to sell a car. As car enthusiasts, we’ve all watched a Barrett-Jackson or a Mecum auction on prime time TV, or sat in on the comments as a Bring a Trailer sale ended. The great thing about auctions is that there are often an abundance of pictures, a detailed description of the car, and posted results. This is great because you usually have a very good idea of the spec and quality of car you’re looking at (although it is important to keep in mind that descriptions are usually overly positive). Hagerty’s price guide team goes a step further by reviewing thousands of cars in person, taking note of overall condition and often recording detailed assessments of the condition, options, and provenance. This allows us to break down the results of the sale as it relates to the broader market and the activity in the room. It also allows us to account for an over-abundance of highly optioned cars in a given period, for example, or when a lot of cars in lesser condition come to market all at once.

The catch with auctions? While they are most definitely a part of the market (and one that is growing), they represent a small percentage of the collector vehicles bought and sold in a given year.

Peer-to-peer sales

Peer-to-peer sales are the biggest sales channel in the collector car market by a huge margin. When we say peer-to-peer sales, we’re talking about an owner listing their C1 Corvette on Facebook Marketplace, or someone parking their Fox-body Mustang at a car show with a “for sale” sign in the windshield, or someone selling their 560SL to a fellow Mercedes-Benz Club of America member. But aren’t these sales private, you may ask? Yes, they absolutely are! This is where being a large insurance provider comes in handy, because when a customer calls in to remove a sold car from their policy, we ask them about the car’s condition and sale price. If they choose to share that information, we track the reported price. We find that this information is accurate, too. On occasions when a client reports sales data to us for a car that has sold at auction, the prices match.

Asking prices

Hagerty also monitors asking prices for collector cars. And while asking prices are just that—an ask—they are an additional input that can signal changes in the market. Over the years we have also developed an understanding of how close sale prices track to asking prices to better interpret these data.

Dealer and broker sales

We have established a network of trusted dealers to whom we speak whenever we update our guide. Dealers are especially helpful in that they know the ins and outs of their inventory incredibly well, and know the value drivers and market shifts for the vehicles they specialize in. Their livelihood depends on it. These dealers are willing to share their view of the market, as well as information on what they’re selling and for how much. Many of the rarest, best, and most expensive automobiles trade hands through dealers and brokers, so this network helps us monitor the market for cars that rarely sell publicly.

How we tie it together

We have a team of more than a dozen full-time contributors, with experience ranging from lifelong car enthusiasts and professional analysts to accredited appraisers and concours judges. All of these contributors look at multiple data sources. To look at one piece, like auction results or asking prices, risks taking too narrow a view of the market and missing something. That is why we want to see a trend in auction sales supported by our customers’ own selling experience, and to hear our market contacts affirm that they are having a similar experience. The more data and research, the more confidently a trend can be identified or refuted.

An abundance of data helps us see past outlier sales and hone in on what is actually going on in the market. In some cases, rare or seldom-seen cars don’t have a depth of transactions to draw from, in which case we review how similar cars within the same market segment are moving.

Once a contributor has made a decision to move or not move a vehicle’s value, that contributor’s recommendations and reasoning are peer-reviewed and either reconsidered or approved. It is labor intensive, taking several hundred hours each time we update the Hagerty Price Guide. The time we invest, though, provides us with a high degree of confidence in the values we publish, and it gives you a reference to help you navigate the buying and selling process.


  • Pete Engel says:

    It’s always a good idea to keep up with trends in the marketplace with value guides such as this. There are still many missing models in the very popular and growing Young Classic, Radwood (80s-90s) category, where so much action is these days. For example, several Japanese import models are missing, such as Honda Accords & Civics. And for years I have pointed out the first post-merger AMG V8 model, the 1998 C43 AMG, is missing. Meanwhile, there are tedious lists of ancient 1930-40s cars with obscure options still listed, for a dwindling fan base. Hagerty insures the Radwood era cars – why are many missing from the guide?

  • Jay Allan Bernstein says:

    When you use auction prices do you factor in commissions as a component of the real price paid by the winning bidder?

    • Greg Ingold says:

      Buyers commission is included in the final price when we assess a result since the buyer knows they need to pay the high bid plus the commission to take the car home.

  • fred doehring says:

    I have a 1996 Land Rover Discovery that is a daily driver with 86,000 miles on it (perhaps condition 2? or more). Don’t think Hagerty follows these. I’ve been offered on occasion $1,000 to $6,000 by private parties, but who knows the real value.

  • Dave Tobin says:

    There is no more Darwinian way of figuring out what your car is “worth” than a no reserve auction on Bring a Trailer, THAT is the market.

  • Jim says:

    STILL WAITING for Hagerty to come up for a valuation for this vehicle I special order & purchased in 1977. Ford Motor Company was the ONLY MFG to make a Custom Van on their assembly line for 1976 & 1977. It was a DSC option, only ONE to each Dealer in the Nation, each year IF they wanted ONE. I still have this Van with 46,000 ORIGINAL miles (E150 Chateau Cruising Van) Have a MARTI Doc on it & Hagerty only values it at $15,000 ????? Purchased in 1977 & like NEW (All other custom vans during that period where modified by aftermarket mfg,s (most quality suffered)

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    I would be nice to see more 80’s and 90’s Japanese cars on the mix. Definitely being collected.

  • Lee M. Friedman says:

    Seems as though Hagerty does a small amount of coverage on Japanese cars. Much more likely to cover European and American cars.

    • Greg Ingold says:

      Editor of the Price Guide here. I’ll start off by saying that I’m a huge Japanese car fan. I would also agree that there is a lot more we can cover in that area. We will keep adding to that as time and resources allow. Trust me, the subject is very near and dear to me.

  • Jim Rosenthal says:

    I recently took a prewar car off my Hagerty policy, as I donated it. I don’t recall anyone from Hagerty asking me about where it was going etc, although perhaps they did and I don’t recall it.

  • Billy says:

    I very much appreciate the concise explanation of what you all base the numbers used in your guide. But, I can’t ever forget a few words my father said to me about values. (Most likely values in which Haggerty may or may not have access to.) A good deal is made when two individuals agree upon a monetary or otherwise trade VALUE agreed upon in which both parties are pleased with the total outcome.
    I believe that “sometimes” the collectors car market, IS, in a sense unfortunately, unfairly controlled by a few individuals with some of the deepest pockets. I believe it has become more of an ego trip rather than a trip in a beautiful specimen of the car you have always wanted heading to where ever you want to go. Let us please never forget. It’s a GUIDE.
    I truly enjoy your site. Thank you.

  • Rick Ball says:

    When will I receive a new updated edition of your “Price Guide”? The last one received was for Jan-June 2023.

    • Greg Ingold says:

      Hi Rick, Editor of the Price Guide here. Unfortunately the last copy you received was the very last print edition we will ever do of the Price Guide. Because we want to be able to update our guide more frequently, continuing print no longer made sense given the lead time required to print and ship books. If you were a paid subscriber to the guide, you should have received a notice and a refund for any outstanding issues you paid for. If you did pay to receive the guide and did not get any of that, please contact me right away and I will dig into that, my direct line is gingold@hagerty.com

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