We’re no strangers to the question of fame and car values. You might recall our scoop on the Bullitt Mustang and our subsequent attempts to arrive at a “McQueen Premium.” Last year, with the arrival of the James Bond movie No Time to Die, we investigated how much more valuable cars that had starred in Bond films were compared with their standard, road-going equivalents. The story proved popular.
Yet, those are just two cases. Surely the influence of other famous movies, celebrities, or sports stars will also have an impact on the prices of the associated cars ? So, we decided to crunch the numbers and see what the data told us. It was no easy undertaking, but the answer proved fascinating, as did the process; it’s not often we fuse pop culture with motorsport and the collector car market.
To answer our question, we had to amass as many celebrity cars we could find prevously offered for sale. We scoured our own databases and turned to third-party sources for cars with a famous (or infamous) pedigree, compiling a list of over 260 vehicles owned by everyone from Adolf Hitler to Kris Jenner, or played starring roles in movies from Herbie to Le Mans. We took the price they had achieved (or been estimated at) and cross-referenced this to the value of a ‘standard’ equivalent at the time of the sale.
This was relatively straight forward for the set of cars sold in the last 14 years, as we matched the car in question to our previous values in the Hagerty Price Guide for that year. Older sales proved trickier; for these, we conducted research using period auction results, advertisements, insurance data, and other information to construct a value as we would a new entry in the Hagerty Price Guide.
Subsequently, some cars were extremely difficult to value. When working out the standard equivalent of a Popemobile or a Batmobile, things get a little muddled. If at all possible, we either valued a non-movie equivalent or the vehicle it was based on, like the 2008 Mercedes ML500 Popemobile sold in Dublin in 2016. One-offs like the Pagani Zonda LH—a car built to spec for Lewis Hamilton and sold in Riyadh in 2017—also challenged us, so we sourced the original price and increased it at the same rate as a standard Zonda.
Race cars were also a challenge. We decided quite early on that we couldn’t include ‘pure’ racing cars with no corresponding road-going equivalent, as each would be valued according to the races it won (or didn’t). Also, racing cars tended to have more than one driver over a season or two.
Finally, we created a huge list of famous people and films against the difference or ‘delta’ between their cars and a standard example. Now, we had to work out a way of comparing them; this was especially treacherous, as a number of entries were linked to many different cars. It wasn’t just the case of making an average of the deltas, as one-percent of
$1 $2 million is a lot more than 90 percent of $20,000. Fortunately, the crack team of analysts behind the scenes of the Hagerty Price Guide scribbled the formulas and calculate the results.
Hagerty Power List 2022 – Top 10
So, who came out on top? Who are the most influential celebrities when it comes to car values? In straight percentage terms, rapper Notorious B.I.G. has the biggest difference with a whopping 18,650 percent increase, followed by the Bullitt Mustang with 15,982 percent, and Tupac landing in third place with 8,233 percent.
But are these really the ones with the Power? Hagerty doesn’t think so. All of these ‘winners’ – and eight of the top 10 in pure percentage terms – were from one-off sales of individual cars. Some of them, like the Tupac car, are simply reported sales rather than definite values. So, we added an additional layer of analysis and stuck with just those people or movies associated with at least eight sales of cars.
This, therefore, is the definitive Top 10 from The Hagerty Power List 2022. These are the movies and celebrities who have a real, lasting influence over the values of collectable vehicles.
Once again, it’s our old buddy James Bond who triumphs over his rivals. Zooming out a bit, we find a list that lines up pretty closely with the market as a whole. It’s dominated by folks who were at the height of their fame when Baby Boomers—still the largest demographic among car collectors—came of age. Still, the high placement of Paul Walker aligns with the rising influence of Gen–Xers. Of course, then there’s Queen Elizabeth II, whose star power will likely outlast them all.
Next year, the Hagerty Power List will return even bigger and better—and we’d love to know what categories you’d like to see included in future.
This story originally appeared on Hagerty UK.