The Wiley Report

Some automotive icons are facing demographic headwinds

by John Wiley
30 March 2023 4 min read
Sabrina Hyde

If you’re a regular at Insider, you’ve probably noted that we frequently reference demographic data, in particular age. That’s due to both supply and demand. We have a surfeit of information on enthusiasts’ ages courtesy of Hagerty’s insurance call centers (because “How old are you” is one of the standard questions an agent will ask in order to give you a quote on insurance). And we know, from comments on Hagerty media articles and chatter at practically every car event, that many enthusiasts worry whether the next generations will keep our hobby going.

Generally, the story is an encouraging one: Our data show younger enthusiasts are increasingly interested in collector vehicles and in particular tend to appreciate the very same vehicles their parents and grandparents loved. Of course, this interest is fortunate for the hobby—if every enthusiast sought out solely the new cars of their youth, tens of thousands of Ford Model Ts and Model As (along with countless other models) wouldn’t still be on the road.

This doesn’t extend to every classic car, however. Based on our policy quote data, some vehicles face flagging interest among younger collectors—and we’re not just talking about fringe models, either.

Before diving in, we should remind you that age is just one of several factors that enable us to accurately track collector marque and model trajectories. Breaking down enthusiasts by generation admittedly lumps together a broad swath of automotive interests—a Gen Xer born in California in 1965 may well have different collector influences and priorities than one born in Idaho in 1979, for example. That said, parsing interest in vehicles by collector age group has proven to be an effective indicator of the potential future health of that vehicle’s valuation.

1961-1974 Jaguar E-Type (series I, II and III)

Andrew Trahan

For all three series of E-Types, a full 80 percent of quotes are from enthusiasts born before 1965. Cost likely has something to do with that—older enthusiasts still tend to dominate interest in more expensive vehicles, and the series I (1961–1967) E-Type, the most popular model, is reliably a six-figure car, per both the Hagerty Price Guide and the values callers assign to their cars when they call us ($148k, on average). Yet the series II (1968–1971) and the V-12-powered series III (1971–1974) tend to be more attainable and still get relatively little interest from younger collectors.

1948-1965 Porsche 356

Cameron Neveu

Porsche as a whole is one of the healthiest brands in terms of its appeal to enthusiasts of all ages, thanks largely to the longevity and timeless appeal of the 911. Yet that doesn’t seem to extend to the car that started it all, the 356. Nearly 70 percent of the people calling us about insurance on one are born in 1965 or earlier. As with the E-Type, cost might be a factor. The earliest 356s (those built between 1949 and 1955, or “pre-A” in Porsche-speak) can hit seven figures, and even the later models (1963–1965 356C) tend to be worth more than $100k. Yet no one would call the 964-era 911 Turbo an affordable car these days, and Gen–X and younger enthusiasts reliably make up close to fifty percent of interest in them.

1946-1955 MG T-series


The MG aids in demonstrating that interest (or lack thereof) in a car is not simply a function of price. The MG series helped popularize the sports car in the United States after World War II and has always been an affordable gateway to the joys of open-air backroads driving. The 1950–1953 TD, the most popular of the T-series MGs, can be had in good condition for around $20k. And yet 88 percent of quotes for these MGs are from enthusiasts born before 1965.

There are a number of factors here, including the fact that MG hasn’t sold a car in the United States since 1980. Yet the most salient reason for the MG’s lack of popularity among younger enthusiasts is probably the Mazda Miata, which is even less expensive (for now), considerably newer, and has the 1990s vibes that Millennials in particular seem to dig.

1963–1967 Chevrolet Corvette

Andy Wakeman

You might expect Corvettes to dominate this list but, for the most part, you’d be wrong. Late C3s (1974–1982) as well as C4s (1984–1996) tend to be quite popular among younger collectors. Yet for the 1963-1967 C2, interest is indeed graying—some 74 percent of people calling us about them were alive when the car came out. These cars aren’t MG cheap, but—leaving aside early split-window cars and ultra-rare variants—neither are they E-Type expensive. People calling us for a quote on a C2 state an average value of $83K, about sixty grand less than for early E-Types.

The outlook isn’t the same for all American cars of this era. The 1961-1969 Lincoln Continental (29 percent of quotes come from those born prior to 1965), 1960s Chevrolet Impalas (36 percent), the 1965-1968 Ford Mustang (41 percent), and 1949-1967 Volkswagen Beetle (36 percent) all have a majority of quotes from Gen-X and younger enthusiasts.

What's to come?

What are the potential implications for those vehicles that don't have much youth appeal? In the short term, we don't see much risk. People from the Baby Boom or earlier generations still control nearly 65 percent of the wealth in the United States and are extremely active in the collector car market.

If these trends continue over the long term, however, affected vehicles may see diminishing demand and values that don't keep up with inflation or decline.

That won't shake any of those cars from the firmaments of classic car legend, and it won't make them any less fun on your favorite road. Just the same, it never hurts to head out to local events, let the kiddos sit in the car, and take them for a spin.

A story about


  • Michael Grillot says:

    I believe collector cars are bought by the kid who looked out their folks back seat window and dreamed of some day driving “that” car or truck. They are now grown-ups and can finally afford them.

  • MrKnowItAll says:

    Three ridiculously pricey Boomer cars and a- when new- 50 mph anachronism that was a hit with WWII vets.
    There’s a world of cars out there that drive and handle better than any of these at a fraction of the cost (with the exception of the MG, which in my eyes appears to be losing steam, price wise).

  • 83ragtop50 says:

    As an “older” car enthusiast, the only one of these 4 that get my attention are the E-types. Corvettes are a dime a dozen it seems. And who can afford a 356?

  • Paul Marentette says:

    I’m exactly (to the day) the same age as my ’65 Sting Ray convertible, updated with 5 speed Tremec, Wilwood brakes, suspension, steering and drivetrain upgrades all set up for short to cross-country pleasure trips (more than shows) over the past which takes me out into the general population quite frequently so that I feel confident midyear owners have no reason for concern interest in these cars will ever wane. I can report the appeal of midyears extends well into generations born well before, and after these cars were “current.” From the toddler on the sidewalk straining out of his stroller as we roll up to a light, 10 yr old kids riding their bikes on back streets screeching to a halt, slack-jawed as we’re still 100 yards away yelling “NICE STING RAY MISTER!” to 20-something’s asking “What is that beautiful car?”

  • Jay says:

    Wife got pregnant in 1969 and could no longer get in behind the steering wheel on our hardly ever used 50’s Mercedes Benz SL or our 1960’s Jaguar XKE Convertible Sport Car Roadsters
    But Oh how it was lovely to go cruising on a sunny day
    Sadly still stored in the second level of the old barn long after she is gone and buried in dust so thick you would wonder where it all came from

  • Nick says:

    Funny, but when I’ve shown my Series 1.5 E-type roadster on cruise nights younger folk flock to it. And when I invite them to sit behind the wheel they almost hyperventilate as they open the door and hop in. No, I don’t agree that they’re disinterested, but I’m sure the price of entry to E-type ownership is a dampener. As to the comment above about handling … have you ever really driven a well sorted E-type? I’ve had this car for several decades and it still brings a smile to my face every time I take it out and put it through its paces.

  • Michael Ingrassia says:

    My Grand daughter has been a car nut from the beginning calling out different car makes from her baby car seat. Fast forward to when she turned 16 and got her drivers license, the first cars she wanted to drive were Papas Corvettes. Spent the week with us and got to drive all 4 of them. The 2005 Corvette was her favorite even thou she likes the 63, the clutch was a little hard for her. She will learn later !!

  • Joihn Stine says:

    My guess is that C2 Corvettes in good condition are simply too expensive and too few in number when compared to C3 and C4 Corvettes – much, much longer production runs resulting in substantially more availability and more reasonably pricing, especially a nice C4.

  • Paul Ipolito says:

    Over the years I have never cared about who cares for the cars I haved owned. My first (And last) Corvette club was populated by folks extremely interested in showing off their cars by participating in parades, car shows, and cruise nights, etc. It took one car show to realize there are many more productive ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday besides sitting in a lawn chair staring at your back bumper. Each to his/her own. NCRS participation struck me as a tad more productive.

  • Tim McManus says:

    As I sat with a younger professional Classic Car converter collect according to him $200,000 profit from taking a 1957 Continental Mark II into a RESTO MOD 700 horsepower lowered, beautiful paint, altered white interior, bluetooth enabled, drink holder console with bucket seats at Barrett Jackson this past January …only 412 made of which I own a #2 black one…I mentally shed a tear. My other rare Classics..57Eldorado Brougham, Edsel Citation convertibles, 57 TBird, (although they made 21,000 of those) plus others), are gaining in value because of their elimination as Restos. Granted the Camero’s, Mustangs, Chevys, Fords, Dodges, are plentiful yet today for conversions my type of Classics are disappearing as collectors my age, 77, pass and leave them to the next generation who feel the fun is in Restos. I did not keep an accurate count but going to guess that over 80 percent of Saturdays sales were in one form or another Restos. I will not attend again after 30 years where I bought several Classics and will watch as one day the true and rare Classics come back to Saturdays sales.

  • Bad Man says:

    Just back from the Mecum Auctions in Glendale, AZ. Plenty of C2 Corvettes selling for good to great prices. Obviously, people want these cars.

    • jpjs says:

      Reply to Bad Man: You are right on: I own a 66 C2,and use it on early Sat mornings to avoid the people playing with phones. Without exception at EVERY light – I get thumbs-up, horn, smile with wave. Harley guys love’em too. Even the C8 guys tell me they wish they still had their C2’s.! Don’t get me wrong: C8’s are beautiful, just too damn low for an old guy!! The guy who said the C3’s are popular is correct also: Lots more of them to choose from! For my own experience with those? I bought a ’68 T-top Coupe — was the biggest P.O.S. I ever owned! Blue smoke both pipes at 4400RPM (was a 327-350hp 4sp 370 gears); Seat stitching failed at 4500 Mi ( I was then a trim, 168 lbs); Ran at 210 degrees; TSB identified 23 places on the Coupe where rain could come in! ; Calipers ‘clunking’ with every use; car drifted ( to the right, or to the left randomly- new tires did not correct). But a gorgeous body! Yellow, blk int, Firestone wide-ovals redline ( shot at 9k miles; wire-wheel wheel covers). ’69 a better car and ’70 was even better than that. Hint? the 68’s were supposedly built on a Chevy line then moved back to dedicated for 69 and later.

  • Panzer says:

    I’m 71. I was crazy about the 1966-1970 American muscle cars when I was a teen in the late 60s. I grew up in a small farming town of 500 people. For male teenagers back then, in a small town, your car was part of your identy.

    The 1966-1970 muscle cars are still the ones I like the best, but would never pay the price sellers are asking for nice examples from that era.

    In the 1970s, when I got a job and could afford splurging on hotrods, I owned two 1966 Corvettes, a 1973 Corvette, a 1968 Camaro, and a 1972 Chevy Vega GT (Don’t judge me! It was my last new car until my current 2021 Mazda).

    My kids (now ages 33 and 35) did not inherit my interest in cars. Their peers were more interested in computers, cell phone, and Star Wars. Plus, my kids did not grow up in an environment where cars were part of their identity since they lived in a more urban area.

    When I turned 70, I paid $30,700 for a Dodge Challenger R/T Plus (5.7L Hemi), 6 sp. manual transmixer, and it only had 8,100 miles. It was my 1st hotrod since I sold my 1966 Corvette coupe in 1979. I could have plowed that $30,700 into an old 1969 Camaro or GTX, but I would have had to cough up another $20,000-30,000 to get a car as nice as my Challenger. But, had I done that, the car would have been doomed to becoming a garage queen or show car, neither of which interested me. Granted, my Challenger will depreciate and an old muscle car should appreciate in value. But the bottom line for me is that I wanted a fast car I could drive anywhere, enjoy it, have all the comforts/safety features that modern cars offer, sound good, have a manual teansmixer, and not break the bank buying it.

    PS – Is insured the Challenger through Hagerty, saved a ton of money doing so, and have better coverage. Thanks Hagerty.😀

  • Karl says:

    Ridiculous! Who can afford a PORSCHE 356? Not only are there fewer around….but they continue to bring bring Big Dollars…especially if they are Roadsters, Convertibles or Sun Roofs. Not exactly a family car or practical. They are a toy for rich people….and their are no “Miata” comparisons to be found .

  • Paul D says:

    Like some others commented above, the cars in my collection are there because I like them, not because I think someone else does. I grew up loving Corvetteshave had at least one in my garage continuously for almost 50 years, and owned a lot of them from every generation except the first (C1) and the last (C8). I still own the first Corvette I restored, a 1970 L34 well optioned, all numbers matching Daytona yellow convertible. Yet, when I want to go driving, I’m finding more pleasure and greater comfort in on C7 Z06 or 2019 Shelby GT 350. And if it’s vintage I want, the nod goes to my 70 Chevelle SS 396 or 70 six-pack Roadrunner. They ride better, are easier to get in and out of and are easier to maintain than the 70 Corvette. Still, Yellow Boy has a timeless design and I have no intention of parting with it but I can understand why the appeal is not what it used to be and the values not appreciating as fast as some other classics.

  • Jon Albert says:

    When Car & Driver compiled one of those ‘Best’ comparisons for “sports cars” a couple) of years ago, the MG TC wasn’t even in the consideration list (my quotes- an E35 M5 sedan actually made the sports car list). It wasn’t that no one knew what it was; it was because, within the range of the editorial demographic, its relevance wasn’t appreciated. They didn’t plan to include it until Peter Egan explained why they should. Sad, given that the T-series MGs practically INVENTED the genre of ‘sports car’ here in the US. I guess history only begins with what you had posters of on your bedroom wall…

  • Timbo says:

    My thoughts (for what they’re worth): We’re destined to own what will be just old used cars. Tree huggers and legislation they demand is putting Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) out of existence. Younger people don’t even own or know how to use tools. Watch Mecum or Barrett Jackson and see how many “Collections” are up for auction; they’re getting out while they still can. In my area, the young people think “Rice Burners” with loud noisy 4 cylinder engines and mega wattage sound systems are cool.

  • Chauncey Johnstone says:

    I think I am older than some of the posters. I got my first car in 1960. A Austin Healey 3000, “Primrose” and black. Had a bunch of cars since, Corvettes, GTO ( original) Firebird , Mustangs etc. friend had a original Cobra. Damn thing went so fast , telephone poles looked like a picket fence. But I digress. Like everyone else I guess , married a great gal, now celebrating 51 years!! She put up with my boxes of car mags and after the kids college tuitions was paid, back to thinking about an “old” car. Saw a Healey sitting in a service station with a For Sale on it. BRG , 60 , 3000. It took me back so I took the car. It needed some work, which I had done. First thing I noticed was it seemed smaller than I recalled. On the other hand I was getting bigger in the wrong places. What I liked about it was the great sound, , the looks, and handling that really made you feel the road. My wife however thought I was nuts to buy a car with no windows. It was fun to pull into the local market on a weekend when all the high rollers showed up with their Ferraris, Aston’s etc. and have all these people around come over and check the Healey
    Out. “Really it has a shift”.? Most folks did not know what car it was. Healey, never heard of it !The best part of one day was when a guy about my age came over to the car and said “ you made my day”. A dealer can up to me at the end of a car show and asked me if my Healey was for sale. It was the fall and I said no. He made me an offfer any way. Put the car in blocks for the winter, and in early spring the same guy called me asking the same thing. Had a few ailments since that previous fall, it was harder to get in and out, getting it off blocks was more difficult,told him it was the same price, and there went the Healey after 12 years. I agree that todays “younger” folks look at the cars they remember. Most of the high end cars are still out of reach for many. I still see cars from the 60’s and 70’s that bring back the urge, but Reason takes over. I don’t collect, I drive, isn’t what they were made for.? Last but if fun was teaching my grandson how to drive a stick shift, after he used to ask me why the car had 3 pedals! Anyway You can always dream. I guess my grands may dream someday as they get older about a car they remember, and get an urge to buy it. My kids know how to shift, now the grandkids will. Or probably ask why the car has 3 pedals!!

  • Peter Alexander Tremulis says:

    From what I see at Gateway’s website, 65-6 GT350 Tributes are still climbing if done right. That makes me happy because I just spent $5k on mine improving steering components, installing a new McLeod clutch, new Ram flywheel, new harmonic balancer, new oil plan and other minor upgrades. Drives better than ever and I have had it since 2002. I figure the market value at about $70k and figure this is the best “resto” once can do and actually make a few dollars converting a 2+2 to a Shelby GT350 Tribute without riling up the collector gods. A five speed is still on the list of upgrades, but the driving experience is pure GT350 without the now astronomical mid-six figure values bestowed on genuine 65-66 Shelby GT350’s which are now almost all trailer queens and restored to better than new condition.

  • Robert Brewster says:

    We sold our Corvettes and bought Porsches (including a 356 sunroof car)

  • David says:

    The three European cars tend to scare new-comers, possibly because of electrics. The C-2 was the car that anchored the Corvettes as a performance, and thus collectable car. People entering the age when collection becomes an interest don’t understand the C-2 so its pricing sends them to the C-3. Mecum’s auctions give muscle to Hagerty’s claims, just watch the bidders for each series.

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    I’m Gen-X but some cars just priced themselves out of existence for me. I love E-Types and C2 Corvette’s but I am not willing to pay the premium that people seem to do at auctions.

  • James Rosenthal says:

    I think you guys at Hagerty have a habit of seeing ‘trends’ in very small and fungible data groups that are not significant. That said, there is a huge difference between admiring and owning, with admiring impossible to quantify the way owning is. And I agree 356s Porsches are VERY overpriced, especially in terms of what you get for your dollar as they are cars of rather indifferent performance. As is the TC, come to think of it. The TC wasn’t even a particularly good car when made, it was just cheap, cute and available.

  • Kent says:

    I’m 55 and don’t really care for any of them. The Vette is nice, but worth more than my house.

  • Ted W says:

    Gee if u want a 356, best way to save a bunch of thousands get a “poor man’s Porsche “ a 1960-1969 Corvair; the second generation 1965-69 are great looking and handling autos. The engine choices do add a bit more $ to the models, especially to 140 hp 4 carb and 180 turbocharged 500’s, Monza’s, and Corsa’s. Coupe’s and Convertibles are of course great picks….

  • Manorborn says:

    No accounting for taste. Just turn on the radio. What’s referred to here as youth, is a politically correct generation of philistines out to homogenize the world.

    Ergo their distaste for the E-type and the 356 (owned several of both) two models which might be the polar ends of aesthetics’ gold standard. So let them have their gray, shapeless 80s cars, dull music and climate mandarins. Tant pis! 😉

  • John the Road Again says:

    “Yet the most salient reason for the MG’s lack of popularity among younger enthusiasts is probably the Mazda Miata, which is even less expensive (for now), considerably newer, and has the 1990s vibes that Millennials in particular seem to dig.”

    Interesting observation. Over the last several years when I get complimented for my ’90 NA, it’s more frequently by kids in their early 20s.

  • paul s murray says:

    “Kids ! What’s a matter with kids today”- Well to begin with, these all sports cars in a SUV world. 17 to 70 everyone just has to have an SUV , even if they don’t need them which most of their owners don’t. In the collector world did you predict old Broncos would be fetching today’s prices? ( and as a side note, somebody do a Bill Stroppe with a 300 straight six ) You can’t put mountain bikes and a kayak on an old MG. Advertising now says ‘it’s the destination not the journey’ . The days of ‘lets just go for a ride’ aren’t in vogue right now. To be successful you don’t give the people what they want, you tell them what it is. Right now you have to look as if you’re going to do something in the great outdoors even if you’re not, and god forbid you’re not connected to the world by the latest and greatest electronics while you’re en route. Selfie, selfie, selfie, see we’re still cool ! Sorry but that should read,- still think we used to be. Meanwhile, while I was being lazy on Sunday watching the 24 hours of Daytona drinking a cup of coffee and an everything bagel ‘shmear’, Chevy was showing their ground lift trucks and screaming – ” Give me only what I need !” – every five minutes by some Sammy Hagar tribute band. How ridiculous, you gotta be kidding me, please stop. But that’s the demographic according to their research. Take a handful of these and be leaner and stronger ” and… she’ll like em too.” Okay but I’m going to work tomorrow not the gym L.D. Trying to follow the trends is to some degree absurd. They’ll be a show on Hulu where ..drives a…and that will be the next must have. I’ve heard that the manufactures look at the sale of ‘ ladies undergarments’ to predict what colors will be popular.I don’t know if that’s true but I wouldn’t doubt it. The question is – do you want to lead or follow? Somewhere some 15 yr. old with an evolved palate will see an E type and say “if I ever have the money”. You’re asking if they’ll be a majority or minority. – “Why can’t they be like we were? Perfect in every way “

  • ABikePeddler says:

    These are the cars that I grew up around and I freely admit… they are likely to see some rough times ahead. If you want to know what the future holds in terms of collector car upside all you have to do is go play a modern video game or watch popular anime (animation). The younger car collector generations will be after right hand drive JDM stuff (GT-r’s, Pajero Evolutions, S13 Silvas…) as well as U.S. vehicles like 1st gen Toyota 4-Runners, 240Z’s, and, of course… Supras. As some insight… my 23 year old son is a HUGE car fan. His all-time dream car? A W201 Mercedes-Benz 190E. Yep. That square box on wheels. He loves it because it is NOT a bar of soap like the newer cars (or a Jag E-Type, C2 Corvette etc). It is a opposite of the kind of cars us 40 – 80 year olds gravitate towards. And that anti-establishment mindset is by definition… cool. I love that he loves that unloved car.

  • John McNarry says:

    I have owned a TC since 1966. It was never a real performer, but it is fun! It draws comments and thumbs up wherever I drive it. Since it had a major restoration in 2010 it has been driven over 23,000 miles. I use it for what it was meant to be fun ( impractical )transportation.
    I don’t see it as a valuable asset to be coddled and hidden away. When my children inherit it it will be worn out again 😉

  • Johnathan Sievers says:

    I’ve had the privilege of driving, riding in, and/or servicing all of these cars. The MG and the Porsche are delights, but seriously lacking in performance compared to modern cars. The E-type is timelessly beautiful and still a great GT car to this very day. And the C2 Vette, particularly when equipped with a big block, is everything glorious about American excess. Like real estate, they aren’t making any more of these cars, and as younger enthusiasts mature and have greater resources, I have no doubt that they will covet these cars as much as those of us who grew up with them.

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