Hagerty Price Guide

Thought you couldn't afford these cars? Think again.

by Greg Ingold
6 January 2023 3 min read
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Photo by Jason Hadfield

The latest update to the Hagerty Price Guide looked pretty normal…which is kind of weird. Over the past two years, as collectors paid unprecedented prices for everything from 1960s muscle to 2000s Japanese-market imports, we’ve become accustomed to wild and wide-reaching gains. Yet as we crunched the data for our January 2023 update, it became clear inflation, as well as general economic uncertainty, were finally tamping buyers’ enthusiasm.

As a result, we saw more cars lose value than gain from our last price guide update in October (15.7 percent of the cars in the book were down, compared to 11.2 percent that went up). Many of the losers are rides that have been gaining for a long time—if you missed out on one of the cars below because it became too expensive, maybe there’s hope.

That said, the effects of 2022’s market peak are still with us: some 63 percent of the cars in our guide are worth more this January than they were this time last year. So, don’t expect bargain basement prices.

1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS: Down 22 percent since October

Mecum

The 1968–72 Chevrolet Chevelle is something of a bellwether car—we watch them for swings in the market. That’s partially because there are a lot of them and they sell often. They are also the sort of vehicle coveted by folks who represent the heart of the collector car market, at least in the United States—well-off enough for discretionary purchases like a collector car but not necessarily wealthy enough to be immune to economic pressures.

For much of 2022, Chevelles from this era gained value at a pace we hadn’t seen since the early 2000s. However, for our latest update, we noted sale prices of big-block 1971 Chevelles are down. Some of this could be particular to the year: The ’71 model year doesn’t get the attention of the ’70 model year, when the Chevelle could be had with the mighty, 450-hp LS6 big-block. Yet there’s also little doubt that these venerable muscle cars are also signaling prevailing trends on the market.

1967–70 Shelby GT500: Down 12 percent since October

Photo by Don Rutt

As with other big-ticket muscle cars, GT500s stepped back a bit toward the end of the year. We’ll admit we were surprised, though, to see the 1967 GT500s on our drop list, considering that it’s the last year that Carroll Shelby had direct involvement in the GT350/GT500. 

Mecum Kissimmee, kicking off as we speak with a raft of high-end muscle, will provide important clues as to whether the declines in this segment are temporary or indicative of something larger.

1975-1978 Datsun 280Z: Down 16 percent since October

Mecum

The buried lede here is that the 240Z—a car that has been gaining in value for seemingly forever—has been softening of late. However, the effect of that drop is more profoundly felt in one of the cars that followed it, the 280Z. As the 240Z climbed into the stratosphere, 280Z prices followed, as we’d expect given the principle of substitution. However, with the “real thing” now coming back into the realm of affordability for many collectors, there’s less reason to settle for the rubber-bumper 280Z (even though, to be clear, many of us would be just fine with a 280Z, and appreciate the drivability improvements thanks to its fuel-injected engine).

2004-2006 Dodge Ram SRT-10: Down 13 percent since October

Transactions for Ram SRT-10s, a.k.a Viper Pickups, softened noticeably toward the end of the year, and not just with a few isolated sales. Everywhere you look, they were going for less. These trucks, much like Datsun Zs, have been on a tear the past couple of years, so this could be the market settling in from its peak.

Note, the drop pertains to the standard cab trucks, which came with manual transmissions. Quad Cabs did not drop because there was already a steep discount for their automatics.

1909–27 Ford Model T: Down 10 percent since October

Photo by Matt Drilling

In many corners of the market right now, it’s easy to be convinced prices are still going up based on what sellers are asking. Yet as early as last June, we started noticing that sellers were in many cases trying to cash in on perceived rather than actual appreciation.

This is precisely the scenario playing out with Ford Model Ts at the moment. If you look at what sellers are trying to get for their cars, it looks like the market is up. Completed transactions, however, tell a completely different story. We also saw fewer Ts selling overall in the last quarter of 2022—a sign that buyers are not ready to pay what sellers think their cars are worth.

All this said, it is important to note that fluctuations in the price of the Model T are very small. A double-digit drop, percentage wise, is in many cases a matter of only a few hundred dollars. In this way, too, the venerable Tin Lizzy is indicative of broader market trends: most established classics likely won’t change much in price, no matter prevailing conditions, because the people buying them know precisely what they want and how much it should cost.

Comments

  • Iso_Grifo says:

    Muscle cars that are high volume and pretty common have been really overpriced for quite some time. Likely it has been the influence of B-J auctions where you saw inexplicable six figure sale after sale. Now they’ve moved onto resto-mods, which are a lot better driving cars, and are really subjective in personal taste — and those are selling for more than a perectly restored stock car. It used to be not long ago at all when modifying one of these cars was a black hole money losing proposition. Now it’s weirdly the opposite and restomods seem to be putting pressure on the stock car prices and they’re dropping. At least it seems that way to me.

    • Tom_G says:

      I agree, I don’t understand the interest and value B-J gets for highly modified muscle cars. As a realtor once told me, people with means don’t want to buy someone else’s dream home. That should apply to custom cars, too. I don’t get it!

      • Jim O says:

        B-J is driven by peer pressure. Its good to see muscle cars that we’re not especially limited when new move back to reality. Sure, a 70 ls6 will always get big dollars, but a 71 Chevelle should be realistic. The GT500 surprised me, I don’t know enough about the others to comment, just good to see some deflation

  • Ryan says:

    Thanks for posting this article. This was interesting to me. Normal guy cars and what is happening with them.

  • Maurice Moore says:

    I’m a fan of the publication “Old Car Report” (OCR) which I subscribe to. I’m concerned regarding how your projections for the decrease in vehicle value can and will be used by those who use that OCR publication to arrive at the most accurate selling/buying price.

  • Rick McCarty says:

    The only one that would interest me is a Z car.

  • SJM1 says:

    There are a lot of cars coming on the market, as boomers age out of their Muscle cars, and the odd Model T. With a lot of variety, fluctuations of around 10~15% would be expected. That said, it may not make the cars any more affordable for many would be collectors.
    I am in the aging group, giving myself another 15 years to play before I can’t do my own work, making the hobby way too expensive to continue.
    Another factor is that there are a lot of fake GM muscle cars out there. If one wants a an early GM or Mopar, one can be built on an existing more common body for much better than a 10% discount, as engines and gearboxes are available over the counter, new.
    Prices will remain high, and this will still be a hobby for the knowledgable and the skilled, or for the dilettantes, with the space or the $$ to store and service them.

  • JT says:

    Why no press history or valuations on the last of the Z31 generation of Nissan 300ZX (1987-89)? Is this truly an ignored stepchild? So many were ragged out and sent to junkyards. They were last refined body design and afterwards several years of a production gap?

  • Joseph Thaler says:

    Muscle Cars bored the pee out of me in the ’60’s, and now, as a reluctant senior citizen, they still bore the piss out of me.

    They are grossly overpriced. It seems that most of the bidders are fat, overweight, neo-affluent clowns with trophy bimbos and, full bottles of Viagra.
    I’ll take a clapped out TR-3 with rust issues over a muscle (sic) car that spends almost all the time in a climate- controlled garage, because the clutch spring is too strong.

    • Patrick H Plankenhorn says:

      Hey Joe,
      What’s with that kind of talk? The forum that Hagerty presents here is for “car people” to have some fun and gain some knowledge about our passion for our hobby/business. Do you really think that it’s necessary to degrade people and call them vile names because they like a certain type of car and they don’t like what you like? Maybe it’s because you’re a “reluctant senior” with a “get off my lawn” attitude. Whatever your problem is, I find your comments “boring” and completely out of line.

      • Peter Bronson says:

        Re: Thaler. I’ve done both — a restomod MGB, supercharged; and 68 convertible Camaro SS classic. Both are fun. One is a death trap. Besides being endlessly frustrating and poorly built with diabolically bad engineering (Lucas, Prince of Darkness), Little British Cars are highway Hobbits.

  • David Smith says:

    I am most interested in following the cars in the <$60K space. I don’t consider myself a “collector” because I only have 1 car. As was mentioned by one of the others’ comments, I am not interested in someone else’s dream so my 1956 Ford Sunliner is stock. I am growing less fond of following super car auctions/markets and articles that are out of my range.

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    Most of these seem the Plan B cars to the Plan A versions so it’s not surprising the demand is dropping as most of these cars there is a different model/year they really want and they may have hit the wall in willingness to pay for Plan B.

  • Michael Heroy says:

    I’ve maintained a rotating collection of about 20 cars for the last 32 years, mostly Fords, Lincolns, and Brits, and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the collector car market will fluctuate, even though the general trend has been upwards for many years. There should and will be steps back, although reasons and opinions will differ, but one thing’s for sure- if you are in this for the short term, you’ll care about these fluctuations. In the long term, I’d say at least ten years, you won’t. Let the flippers and casual investors play the short term ups and downs, buy (and DRIVE) what you have passion for, and you will be ahead, both in satisfaction and $$, in the end.

    • Joseph Thaler says:

      Pat,
      No offense intended. I am sure you get driving satisfaction from your classics. Ýou wouldn’t have been angry, otherwise.
      Most of the collectors I am acquainted with take great pride in how low the mileage is on their Muscle, exotics, tri_5’s, well, you get the picture.
      I was a friend of the late Irv Gordon, aka Million mile Irv. Actually, it had 3.7 million on the clock, all documented. He would say that cars are for driving. I agree.
      When his P1800 only had 2.8 million on it, I asked him how much he would sell it for. Without hesitation he replied,”A dollar a mile. So much for low mileage beauties.
      Again, I am sorry I offended you and any other enthusiasts. And that’s the key word, enthusiast. In our hobby, there are all varieties. I stand corrected.
      Yours truly,

      Joe

      PS: I don’t have a lawn. I’ll just yell at the miserable brats to stop using a clapped out TR 3 for third base, maybe.

      • Patrick H Plankenhorn says:

        Re: Joe
        Well Joe, I think that you and I are under the same tent. “Reluctantly”, my rather heavy foot is pushing me closer 80 years on God’s magnificent creation and the speed limit doesn’t seem make the years pass slower. I couldn’t possibly be offended by your characterizations of those that may enjoy certain types of rides. This skin is way too thick and, anyway, I’ve been called everything. It never mattered to me. I was a little concerned about how your comments might have offended others in our circle of car collector enthusiasts. My father once me “there’s no excuse for not being a gentleman”. I must admit that I may have disappointed him a few times. I appreciate your kind words and I’m guessing that you’re a gentleman so let’s do this. Let’s go for cruise. You in your Brit beauty and me in my supercharged Mustang Saleen, just car guys enjoying the best of what life has to offer. We’ll see some pretty country and enjoy our rides and then we’ll find a place to stop afterwards and crack a bottle of quality bourbon. Again, thanks for your comments. We’re cool Joe……

  • Alan Guttridge says:

    For some time I have been wondering…what is going to become of the “Collector Car Market” for American automobiles from the 1930’s through 1970, when the last of the great muscle cars were produced. As SJM1 pointed out if you can’t work on your cars it becomes costly to maintain them and if you have to pay storage fees it it is becoming prohibitive to store in rented space…when the generation I am in become “less capable” who will be the custodians of our Iron? My children love the Volvos, Audis, etc…Not my ’69, ’70, & ’71 Buick GS’s, ’30 & ’32 Ford Roadsters, or my Very Cherry ’36 Ford Phaeton with only 13,856 original miles…who will be future custodians of the roadworthy “Analog”automobiles?

  • Jerry says:

    More and more cars are being restored. Couple that with aging and passing Boomers, decline in interest from younger generations, investors dumping their cars to cash in on profits, the demise of gas powered vehicles, and a worsening economy, the values will come down. This is the just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Paul D says:

    I’ve been buying muscle cars, ratty but with good bones for almost 40 years and restoring them to original condition. I’m working on the last three I have. I don’t do paint or skilled body work so the last two cars I bought, I paid up a little more and got cars that needed little to no body work because quality body work is now so expensive you can’t make ends meet, even if you do everything else yourself. Now, at 70, any cars I buy will be older restos or driver quality originals. There are bargains out there but the days of good, inexpensive home shop restorations are over.

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