As we prepare to dive headfirst into a fresh round of auctions and a new year that’s certain to bring some surprises, we surveyed our team and some industry pros to take a final look back at 2022. A lot happened over the course of the last twelve months, but these observations—many of them basic market principles that are easy to forget in a superheated market—stuck with us.
Bob Mueller, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Streetside Classics: A tale of two markets
2022 was the tale of two markets. The first half was largely an extension of the superheated market that started in late 2020 and carried into 2021, which could have been inflation driven. Toward the second half of last year, we started to see a little softening, and after some lag time, I think we’ll see the market return to a normal, healthy environment like we saw in 2019-2020, before COVID. We think the mainstream 60’s & 70’s muscle cars will be more stable because they didn’t see the meteoric rise that other segments did and appeal to a wide buyer demographic.
Derek Tam-Scott, principal, Issimi: Balance is returning and “classics” are evolving
2022 confirmed the collector car landscape is constantly evolving: demographic shifts fostered the emergence of “new” classics and perpetuated flagging interest in “traditional” collector cars. As ever, macroeconomic circumstances drove activity at all strata of the market, particularly for more commodity-type cars. I am glad to see the market recede somewhat from its unsustainable superheated heights to become a market with better balance between buyers and sellers.
Alain Squindo, chief operating officer, Broad Arrow Group: Come what may, collector cars will thrive
What we can collectively learn from 2022 is that our industry is vibrant and resilient, and driven by passion.
We are certainly up against a challenging macroeconomic environment in the year ahead, and we began to see some weakness in parts of the collector car market in Q4 of 2022, likely driven by these macroeconomic factors—including inflation, meaningfully higher interest rates, and the capital markets.
I work with a team of veterans in the collector car industry who have weathered several collector car market cycles. We know that the industry overall has historically remained resilient against market volatility. We’re confident that both the market and the hobby will only continue to grow over time.
Mark Hyman, Founder of Hyman Ltd Classic Cars: Expect momentum to continue
Throughout 2022, there was demand across every segment of the collector vehicle market, with the best examples bringing exceptional prices. We even had a significant uptick in volume at the end of the year, pointing to continued momentum into 2023.
David Zenlea, managing editor, Hagerty Insider: Know when to hold ’em
We necessarily talk about buyers and sellers, but the big winners of 2022, as I see it, were the holders — the silent majority of us who own our cars long term with little regard for the gyrations of the market. Our cars have quietly gained value, something that can be said of very few other assets. Even for those who want to think purely in terms of enjoyment, not investment, appreciation means we can justify—to ourselves and maybe our significant others—pouring more money into our machines for their upkeep and improvement.
John Wiley, manager of valuation analytics, Hagerty: Upside was affordable
In 2022, appreciation was greatest for more affordable vehicles. While $5M Ferrari F50s get headlines, the $12K Miata was more likely to appreciate.
James Hewitt, senior valuation analyst, Hagerty: The market was stormier than it looked
The topline figures from 2022 were no doubt amazing, but scratch beneath the surface, and the story gets more complicated. Specifically, when I dug into repeat sales for Insider, I found a large range of returns for cars bought and resold within a short time frame. There are examples of the same car coming to auction twice in a month and selling for 50 percent higher or lower the second go around. The lesson? Don't try and "time" a hot market—you might get burned.
John Mayhead, editor of the UK Hagerty Price Guide: Merc's big splash is still making waves
Mercedes-Benz made a statement of intent this May when they sold the Uhlenhaut coupe. It has already had a knock-on: values of all SL Mercedes have risen this year and modern, small-production number cars like the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition have soared in value. Mercedes took the fight to Ferrari and it looks like it is working.
Andrew Newton, senior auctions editor, Hagerty Insider: The marketplace is as healthy as it's ever been
We're ending the year with terms like "cooling off" or "softening," but we spent most of 2022 talking about "world record" or "benchmark" prices. Live auctions continued to bounce back in a big way from the pandemic while people kept on buying cars online like they have been for the past two years.
Greg Ingold, editor, Hagerty Price Guide: What goes up will eventually come down
Markets are cyclical. While we observed aggressive growth since mid-2020, the past year saw the market kick into overdrive. Despite this growth, we have already seen signs of cooling by the end of the year. This should not be cause for alarm. We've been predicting the market would peak since last year. What goes up must eventually settle down. It has happened before, and will happen again.
Dave Kinney, publisher, Hagerty Price Guide: Change is the only constant
In the collector car world, everything changes year by year. Cars that were super popular 20 or 30 years ago still have a following and are still selling well, but many owners expect continued value appreciation. With some exceptions, this almost never happens.
This cycle has been happening for decades, but most owners buy their cars because they love them and not because they wish to profit.
Millennials are about to surpass Baby Boomers as the most active group of collector car buyers. This should quiet everyone who has listened to those who said collector cars are dead and only Boomers like them.
Eddy Eckart, senior editor, Hagerty Insider: Take your time
As someone who was a teenager in the '90s, 2022 made it very easy to get caught up in FOMO for rapidly-appreciating IROCs or now nearly-out-of-reach Japanese sports cars. Despite all the headlines, there are still good cars to be had at decent prices if you're willing to be patient and diligent in your search.
Watching 90’s car shoot up in value has been something to watch.