With the Monterey auctions in the rear-view mirror, it’s clear that the collector car market has more than weathered the pandemic. Of the over 800 cars sold there this year, many brought estimate-smashing numbers that would have seemed preposterous not all that long ago. And that got us thinking: Each year Hagerty puts together the Bull Market list, highlighting a group of cars (and occasionally a motorcycle) that we feel is poised for growth in value over the following 12 months. Seven of our 2020 and 2021 picks were represented at this year’s Monterey auctions, which provided a good test of how our predictions hold up against real-world results. So … how did we do?
Quite well, actually, and thanks for asking. Most cars from Hagerty’s recent Bull Market lists sold for above their Hagerty Price Guide values at the time the lists were put together, some of them way above.
Before we start passing out cigars, however, not all of our Bull Market veterans were home runs. Three, in fact, had disappointing showings at Monterey this year. The one Toyota Supra Mk IV Turbo on offer didn’t sell at its middling $75,000 high bid. Of the three Jaguar XK120s crossing the block, two didn’t sell and one brought $98,000—an unsurprising number given the car’s condition. The lone 2005–17 Aston Martin V8 Vantage didn’t sell, either. Indeed, we aren’t entirely clairvoyant, but four of Hagerty’s Bull Market picks have turned out to be bang-on. Check out the four strong performers, below.
1970–76 Porsche 914
2020 Bull Market veteran
Median condition #2 value at the time: $32,000
Average price in Monterey: $37,900
Even though the four-cylinder 914 was a smash hit seller with over 100,000 units built, the purists dismissed it for years as not even a “real” Porsche because of its Volkswagen-sourced mill. With the growth in interest for all things Porsche and all things air-cooled during the 2010s, however, 914s started getting the respect they really always deserved and have been rising in value since around 2017. Noting the 914’s practicality, premium badge, fun factor, and consistent growth in the market, Hagerty picked it for 2020’s Bull Market list.
We’re stretching a bit here since the 914 was on last year’s Bull Market list, but if Monterey is any indication, the 914 isn’t done growing. The standout sale of the week was at Mecum for a 1973 1.7-liter car. Finished in Olympic Blue and pampered like a loaded 911, the long-term-owned, all-original, 13,998-mile car brought $80,850. Not a world record, but still a massive result for a car with the 1.7 (2.0-liter 914s are worth significantly more) and 18 percent over its condition #1 (Concours) value.
The other four 914s selling in Monterey this year (three at Mecum, one at Bonhams) were a little scruffier, in the #3 condition (Good) range, but all but one sold for closer to what their condition #2 (Excellent) values were in 2019–20. For example, a 1976 model in #3 condition sold for $27,500. That’s $8500 above its condition #3 value today, and 45 percent more than its #3 value was when it made the Bull Market list.
1984–91 Ferrari Testarossa
2021 Bull Market veteran
Median condition #2 value at the time: $106,500
Average price in Monterey: $142,900
With a nearly 400-hp wailing flat-12, wide stance, gargantuan cheese-grater intakes, and a starring role in Miami Vice, the Testarossa was a refreshingly brash exotic automobile when it came out in 1984, one that played second fiddle only to the Countach in the poster-car wars of the ’80s. Like leg warmers and hair bands, though, the TR was a piece of the ’80s that fell out of style as it became a used car.
Unlike leg warmers, the Testarossa had a proper comeback in the 2010s. Growing interest in the wider vintage Ferrari market lifted Testarossas to a peak of $125,000 – $150,000 at the top end in 2017. They then made a slow retreat back downwards until 2020, when we noticed they were reversing course again. Noting that movement and the recent love-fest for sporty cars of the ’80s and ’90s, we put the TR on Bull Market. We’ve already had to move the car up considerably since the list was published, but Monterey confirmed the suspicions we had a year ago: People are falling in love with the Testarossa again.
The biggest result in Monterey was for a 1044-mile single-owner car that sold for $235,000, or 23 percent over its condition #1 value when the Testarossa was picked for Bull Market. Four other TRs (three at Mecum, one at Bonhams) came to the Monterey auctions, and although none of them was a #1 car, all attracted bids that would have bought a perfect example just a year ago. The one no-sale of the week hammered at a $120,000 high bid, which was a tip-top of the market in August 2020.
2005–06 Ford GT
2021 Bull Market veteran
Median condition #2 value at the time: $335,000
Average sale price in Monterey: $435,600
Ford played to nostalgia brilliantly with the 2005–06 Ford GT, a car that evokes the original ’60s GT40 in look and feel but still manages to be a world-class 21st century supercar underneath. But even though Ford sold over 4000 copies of the GT (a pretty big run by exotic car standards) and never actually took it racing, it has been collectible for years and never really depreciated. That $150,000 sticker price is a distant memory. Some owners drove and even modified their GTs, but many people just parked theirs. Browse any of the GTs that have come up for auction over the years and an odometer reading in the low four-digit range is the rule, not the exception.
GT prices saw a significant increase from 2012–16 then leveled off a bit. But, as modern exotic cars get more computerized and less driver-focused (like, ahem, the latest Ford GT), the analog exotics of old have started to look more appealing. We felt, then, the 2005–06 cars had more room to grow. Boy were we right.
There were no fewer than eight Ford GTs crossing the block in Monterey this year, so anybody shopping for one was spoiled for choice. That veritable buffet of Ford GTs didn’t seem to soften demand one bit, however. All eight cars sold, and all but one sold for over its condition #1 value when we picked the GT for Bull Market.
The most expensive was a 623-mile Heritage Edition car that brought $605,000, or $80,000 over its #1 value and the first 2005–06 GT we’ve seen hit $600,000. Other highlights included a 255-mile car with all four options that sold for $555,000 (65 percent over its #1 value), a 2556-mile three-option car that sold for $478,000 (42 percent over its #1 value), and a 3.7 mile (not 37 miles, 3.7) car that sold for $440,000 (31 percent over its #1 value).
2012 Lexus LFA
2021 Bull Market veteran
Median condition #2 value at the time: $420,000 (base); $875,000 (Nürburgring)
Two examples sold in Monterey: $819,000 (base), $930,000 (Nürburgring)
The year isn’t even over yet, but it looks like the Lexus LFA has already become one of Hagerty’s best ever Bull Market picks. Few cars have ever moved so much so quickly.
Toyota’s famous V-10 carbon-fiber flagship was available in two trims, base and Nürburgring edition. All LFAs are expensive and exclusive (500 were built with a $376,000 MSRP), but the Nürburgring has the added cachet of even lower production (64 built) plus 10 extra horsepower, quicker gearbox, lighter wheels, and lower ride height. In recent years the going rate for a Nürburgring car has been about double that of a “regular” LFA.
Both trims were represented in Monterey with one car each, and both smashed expectations. First, a 3850-mile Metallic Silver base car brought $819,000. That’s $119,000 more than its high estimate, 24 grand more than its condition #1 value today, and a whopping 60 percent more than what its #1 value was when we put it on this year’s Bull Market list.
That proved to be no fluke, as the next day a 930-mile Nürburgring edition car sold for $1.6M. That’s a world record auction price for a Japanese road car (only a handful of Japanese cars have ever cracked seven figures) as well as 72 percent over its #1 value when we put LFAs on the Bull Market list. Impressive.
So you stuck the super nice 914 into the story to bring it back to Earth, and I suppose for us, the majority of Hagerty insured/Drivers Club. HA!
It does seem newsworthy, all these stories of exotics, but nothing I ever see at a Cars n Coffee.
Speaking of Lexus, the next Lexus Bull will be the 2021 LC500 Inspiration Series Convertible, of which only 100 were built for North America with #1 selling for $2M at auction. Two more have sold at auction, #15 for $192K in Ft Lauderdale and more recently #42 for $154K in Monterey. MSRP is $121K before dealer premiums, which run from $20K to $50K. I own #79, purchased from the dealer who paid $2M for #1, so I’m holding on to this future Bull and in the meantime will show it at proper venues. Thoughts on this prediction welcomed!
Your going to the wrong C&C.
I WAS a mechanic at a VW dealership in the late seventies. We worked on new 914s. They were junk then and I assume they are still junk. But hey, 911s are junk too!!
Even when Hagerty called the LFA in the top ten bull market cars last year, I bet they had no idea it was quite this bullish. The LFA has always captured my fascination, but it now there appears to be is a growing obsession among collectors. Something tells me this is only the beginning of this car’s meteoric journey. It is definitely one to watch.