Oral History

The 1980s Ferrari bubble crashed the collector car market. What can it teach us today?

by Ken Gross
28 April 2022 12 min read
Image
Author Ken Gross with his 275 GTB/6C (S/N 08801) in the 1980s. He purchased it in 1981 and sold it for 20 times as much in 1989. Others weren't nearly as lucky. Photo by Ken Gross

In many respects, the Ferrari Bubble of the 1980s marked the birth of the modern collector car market. It also nearly killed it. The spectacular rise and subsequent crash in Ferrari values within less than ten years minted millionaires and, just as quickly, drove many to ruin. 

As we navigate today’s heated market, Hagerty Insider wondered what we might learn by re-examining the collector car market’s most notorious bubble.

We asked automotive historian Ken Gross to interview those who were there—dealers, enthusiasts, market experts, and others who rode the wave and saw it crash. What fed it? Why did it all come to an end? Should we have known better then? Do we really know better now?  

And could it all happen again?


I had never thought of ever owning a Ferrari. They were just too expensive. But in 1980, I was at a Morgan Club event, and a guy drove up in a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso. The sleek, sexy red berlinetta idled provocatively, four exhaust pipes throatily purring. I was gobsmacked. I immediately sold my Morgan, my Ford woody, and my four motorcycles, and began looking for a Ferrari. After road testing several ’60s-era V-12 models, I decided the Lusso wasn’t fast enough.

I had to have a 275 GTB.

Only I couldn’t afford one. I needed a second mortgage on my house (and I had to buy my then-wife a lynx coat as a devil’s bargain). Ferrari broker Marc Tauber sold me the GTB. As its price was nearly a quarter of the value of my house, I asked him, “Is there anything that could make the value of this car go down?”

“Nothing short of an entire social collapse,” he replied.

I kept the GTB for eight years and I drove the wheels off it. It was the best car I had ever owned. Divorce forced its sale in 1989, and I received a check for 20 times what I’d paid.

I wasn’t that prescient. That’s the way the Ferrari market was in the late 1980s. 

And then it crashed.

The remarkable run-up in Ferrari values marked the point when old cars became, for better and for worse, “assets”—stuff people valued because they were valuable. The subsequent crash set the classic car market back for years, and brought ruin to more than a few buyers and sellers. It was, most of all, a wild ride—a red streak in time that those of us who lived through it will never forget and those who didn’t can scarcely believe.

For the benefit of both groups—and maybe also the next generation of investors who think they’ve found a “can’t miss” asset—let’s look back at the bubble.


1980–1987: Momentum builds

Enzo Ferrari in 1985. Speculators assumed that when he died, the cars that bore his name would rise dramatically in value. (Photo by Grand Prix Photo/Getty Images)

Marc Tauber (Ferrari broker): The first Ferrari I ever bought for resale was a $14,000 365 2+2 with 10,000 miles, in 1977. There wasn’t a Ferrari market then. There were buyers and sellers, and there were great cars that enthusiasts wanted. 

Bernard “Buzz” Boback (Ferrari enthusiast): We bought five Ferrari Daytonas in 1979-1980, three Spiders and two coupes. The most I ever paid for one was 150 grand, and that was 17063, a 1200-mile car. That price was the world back then.  We loved the cars. 

Shinichi Ekko (journalist, automotive historian, consultant, and founder of Maserati Club of Japan): The oil crisis of late 1973 had shattered the high-performance car market around the world.

Phil Tegtmeier (sales Manager, Algar Ferrari): In the early 1980s, [new] Ferraris were tainted with mechanical issues. The cars were underpowered. We had to work hard to sell each car.  We actually had to sell the cars. The Magnum, P.I. TV show helped raise awareness for the brand and added to the mystique, but it wasn’t easy. People talked about Ferraris, but they didn’t buy them. 

Marc Tauber: Then, by ’84-’85, there was something in the air.

There wasn’t a Ferrari market then. There were buyers and sellers, and there were great cars that enthusiasts wanted. 

— Marc Tauber, Ferrari broker

Steve Ahlgrim (former general manager of FAF Motorcars, Ferrari columnist for Sports Car Market): We were seeing Ferrari raising prices because of inflation. The dollar against the lira was changing, so the cars went up. In 1979, a Ferrari 308 GTS was $29,000. By the time we got into 1982, it was $53,000. By the time the 328 appeared, the same car was $80K. If anyone had a used Ferrari, the value of their car was being dragged up by the new cars. It looked like these older cars were great investments.

Jim Weed (service manager at FAF Motorcars from 1986-91, editor of Ferrari Market Letter): By 1984-85, Enzo was getting up there in age. The sentiment was that when Enzo passes away, all of these cars are going to be worth a whole lot more. A lot of people jumped into the market because of that. 

Marc Tauber: On Monday, October 19, 1987, the stock market took a terrible dump. In just one day. There was panic—the Dow fell by 22 percent and no one had seen anything like it. People got very nervous about the stock market. They decided they wanted hard assets.

Bill Rothermel (Journalist and concours announcer): Don’t forget the huge infusion of Japanese buyers…

Daniil Manaenkov (economic forecaster at the University of Michigan): The Plaza Accord, signed in 1985, aimed at depreciating the value of the dollar relative to other major currencies, including the yen. The yen strengthened by a lot, leading Japanese export/GDP growth to slow sharply. As a result, the Bank of Japan cut rates. The Japanese stock market bubble then got going.

Shinichi Ekko: A manga called “Wolf of the Circuit,” which was serialized in the million-selling magazine Shonen Jump from around 1974 to 1978, featured cars like the Ferrari 512 BB, the Lamborghini Countach, and the De Tomaso Pantera. It was a source of enthusiasm for supercars throughout Japan. 

Rick Carey (collector car auction analyst and writer): The Japanese collectors weren’t necessarily speculators. They were guys who had these vast sums of money, liquidity, and put it to use buying cars.

Jim Weed: They overpaid for a few cars and that got some attention. To a certain extent it helped fuel the speculation.

Marc Tauber: So, the next thing you know, people were investing and speculating on cars, and it became international. What fueled that market, for the first time, was that it really became about money.


1988–1990: Living in a bubble

This Ferrari 250 P won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1963, with John Surtees at the wheel. At Rick Cole’s 1988 Monterey auction—the first major Ferrari sale after Enzo’s death, the car brought $3MM. (Photo by Bernard Cahier/Getty Images)

Dave Olimpi (exotic car broker, formerly sales manager at Algar Ferrari in Philadelphia): I remember being at the Rick Cole auction in 1988 in Monterey. A Ferrari 250 P – the first big time Ferrari race car –  went across the block and it sold for $3 million. Something was happening. 

Steve Ahlgrim: People said that when Enzo died [in August 1988], this would happen. But people always want to have a reason for doing something. You’ve got to be irrational to pay $30,000 extra for a car, so you rationalize that.

It was like a stock market on fire, and you were an options trader. You couldn’t keep up with it.

— Dave Olimpi, exotic car broker

Jim Weed: People were buying a car one month, then selling it the next month for quite a bit more. But then you couldn’t turn right around and buy a car equal to the one you just sold without paying a lot more.

Mark Smith (classic car dealer and collector (deceased)): In early 1988, I did a deal for [a customer]. He wanted to spend $100,000 on a Ferrari. Marc Tauber had an alloy, 6-carb, outside filler cap, torque tube, long nose GTB with a factory roll bar, one of three. Eighteen months later, I made a deal with Vanderveldt from Holland and sold the car for $1MM! In just a year and a half, it had increased ten times its original price.

Dave Olimpi: It was happening that quickly. It was like a stock market on fire, and you were an options trader. You couldn’t keep up with it. 

Marc Tauber: You’d be selling it to Switzerland, but before it got on the boat, the Swiss guy would sell it to someone in Japan, and it was like musical chairs. Everybody made a profit.

Cris Vandagriff (president of Hollywood Sports Cars, speaking to The Los Angeles Times in 1993): By the time you drive most new cars off the lot, they’re already depreciating. But Ferrari buyers were scarcely out on the street before they were being offered as much as triple the sticker price… We were giving away a million dollars a year.

Henry Pearman (collector, founder of Eagle E-Types in the UK): It was really just a whirlwind of 24 months with a huge appetite for high-profile cars from people in mainly the financial sector, who didn’t really know anything about cars.

Bernard “Buzz” Boback (Ferrari enthusiast): We formed a corporation to (corner) the market. With Phil [Tegtmeier’s] help, we were able to accumulate a large number of them. None of our cars had over 5000 miles. It was crazy the way prices went up. We didn’t have to advertise. In those days, if you had a Daytona, people knew about it. We sold them in the late 1980s, just in time, before the market went down.

When that happened, it burned a lot of people.


1990: It all comes down

The Ferrari bubble was partly fueled by a parallel bubble in Japanese stocks and assets. Between 1985 to 1989, the Nikkei index more than tripled, peaking above 37,000 yen. By 1992 (above), it had fallen below 16,000 yen, prompting desperate Japanese collectors to dump their cars at bargain prices. (Photo by TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Phil Tegtmeier: Ferraris had become more of a commodity in a synthetic market created by some very capitalistic people. The whole picture was so typical of the mindset of people in that time—and it wasn’t just cars. It was real estate, shoes, watches, etc. Bottom line, the word greed fits in here somewhere.

Bruce Meyer (collector): I had friends who said, “I want to buy a Ferrari; what should I buy?” They were not car people. They just wanted in on the game. I said, stop. This isn’t for you. They had no idea what they were doing.

Steve Ahlgrim: There was a story about a group of New Jersey dentists who mortgaged their dental practices to buy Ferraris—that’s the kind of tulip scandal craziness that was going on in that era.

Rick Carey: Some time around 1989–90, somebody, somewhere in the auction world must have realized that they hadn’t sold a car to an end-user collector in about two years. I mean, it was like Bitcoin. Nobody was using the cars, they were just trading them around, always expecting them to cost more money.

Some time around 1989-90, somebody, somewhere in the auction world must have realized that they hadn’t sold a car to an end-user collector in about two years.

— Rick Carey, collector car auction analyst

Mike Sheehan (Ferrari dealer and authority, speaking to Road & Track in February 1994): In 1985, everyone involved in the collectible-car market was an enthusiast. In 1989, they were all speculators. There are only so many enthusiasts who can afford $1 million for a car. The market finally ran out of end-users.

Dave Olimpi: When I went to Pebble Beach in August of 1990, I noticed these trains of golf carts, without golfers. They were all Japanese men, and that was the year they were there to buy Pebble Beach. I thought, “I think these guys are late.”

Daniil Manaenkov: The Bank of Japan was raising rates aggressively to cool off the country’s stock market. [In 1990] it crashed.

Shinichi Ekko: The enormous gains from property price increases that had been flowing into classic exotic cars disappeared all at once. Prominent [Japanese] collectors began to sell off their collections at dump prices.

Mark Smith: Banking was in a crisis. The Savings & Loans crisis hit, and people were leveraged to the hilt. By early 1990, it was like somebody turned off the switch. And the only people who disagreed were the ones who hadn’t admitted it yet.

Steve Ahlgrim: At Barrett-Jackson in 1990, the cars that would jump out of the showroom were not selling. I told the guys at the dealership, “It’s over.”

Jim Weed: A lot of people had borrowed money against the cars at basically no money down. But all of the sudden a $200,000 car was a $100,000 car. Then the bank says, “Hey, we’re kind of under-leveraged here. You need to come up with the difference.” And some people couldn’t come up with the money. So then there were true fire sales with people saying, “I really need to get whatever I can out of this car.”

Rick Carey: Now you had too many cars on the market. And the buyers who had been soaking up the inventory to make short-term trades and flips, they weren’t buying. By 1991 nobody knew what a car was worth, because they hadn’t sold a car to anyone who used it or collected it for two years.

Mark Smith: I remember a fellow in Philadelphia who turned down $1,100,000 for his 275 GTB 4-cam at the peak of the market. He waited and waited, he kept wanting more money, and he then rode the market down. He finally sold the car for $350,000 because he wanted a down payment for a yacht.   

Ed Waterman, (dealer, collector): In June 1990 I was offered a 365 GTC/4 for $140,000. I figured, “I know that they’re going down and I know that it’s over, but I think I can get in and out in time.” I turned down an offer of $175,000 in early January 1991. That was the last offer I got.

For over a year, I saw the prices going down, down, down. The last thing I thought about before falling asleep and the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning was that damn car. In December, 1991 I got an offer for $75,000. I took it and guess what? I didn’t feel bad anymore.

Steve Ahlgrim: I paid $160K for a 246 GTS Dino. I ended up getting out of it for $60,000, and I had to take five cars in trade in order to do that. We had a 365 GTC/4 that I bought for $195K that we got out of for $95,000. It was a bloodbath.

Phil Tegtmeier: One client came to me wanting an F40. I told him the only one we could possibly get was over $1M and that I really don’t think it’s a good idea, but he replied “if you won’t get it, I’ll go somewhere else.” I called the other dealer, and they wanted $250,000 with the balance due when the car was shipped. The client needed me to sell some of his cars to come up with the $250K and a $50K deposit, plus get him financing for the remaining $700K. So now he has a $700K lease on a car with a $390K-$400K list price.

A week before the car came in, he said the car was to be delivered directly to his home in New Jersey. They knocked down a wall and put it in his den, under a huge chandelier. Six months later, he was bankrupt. (Vintage car dealer) Eddie Karam bought the car from the leasing company for about $400K. The whole picture was so typical of the mindset of people in that time.


1991–early 2000s: The recovery

The Ferrari market eventually came back and then some. This 1962 GTO brought $48.4M at Monterey in 2018, the highest price ever paid at auction for a classic car. (Photo by Patrick Enzen/Courtesy RM Sotheby’s)

Henry Pearman: I’m still dressing my wounds from 1989-90.

Rick Carey: When I started Auto Market Journal in 1991, the market had gone to hell and nobody wanted to be told about it. It was depressing, like owning real estate in a valley somewhere when the Corps of Engineers comes along and says we’re going to build a dam and flood your home. And at that point everybody was underwater.

Dave Olimpi: By the time 1994 rolled around, I was on the startup team for Ferrari of Washington (FOW). Ferrari was putting rebates and zero interest lease payments on these cars that we’d never had before. The 348 had a $10,000 rebate on it, and (there was) a $30K rebate on 512s. Cars that had sold for double list price three or four years ago, were now on rebates.

Mark Smith: It took a solid 15 years to come back; some cars took 20 years. Everything has leveled to some degree—250 GTOs were further away from a hit because they were always blue chip cars. Cal Spiders attracted a cult type ownership.

Shinichi Ekko: The Japanese market has regained its liveliness. In particular, rare models, such as limited editions, have significant demand. There is also a growing interest in smaller production models such as Pagani and Koenigsegg. However, I feel that there is not so much enthusiasm for classic cars. Unfortunately, the cars that used to come to Japan are now being sold overseas.

Data Dive: Was the bubble all that bad?

No doubt, Ferrari values took a dive in the early Nineties and heavily leveraged collectors got burned. Zoom out, though, and the bubble was merely a blip in Ferrari’s march to the top of the classic car market. — John Wiley

2022: Could it happen again?

Some experts see shades of the Ferrari bubble in the crypto craze. In June Barrett-Jackson sold a non-fungible token of a Ford Bronco for $22,000. (Photo courtesy Barrett-Jackson)

Jim Weed: Could it happen again? No, I don't believe so.

Bill Rothermel: It already has happened again. Don’t forget Hemi Mopars…[in the early 2000s]. Certainly, not the extreme prices of Ferraris, but all just the same.

Dutch Mandel (formerly editor of AutoWeek, now with Sirius XM, Cars & Culture): In some cases, it is happening again. Look at secondary prices for something as “pedestrian” as Ford Bronco launch editions, GMC Hummers, and even Rivian R1Ts. If you have people willing to pay extraordinary prices for something that becomes commoditized, the cycle will repeat.

When someone tells you, “This time it's different,” it’s because they think it can’t happen. They are both right and wrong. Wrong, because it can happen, and right because it's never the same threat unless the threat is just plain greed.

— Dave Kinney, publisher Hagerty Price Guide

Jim Weed: The difference [now] is that people pay cash for their cars. There are not a lot of loans out like there were in 1990. There was a ramp up [in the Ferrari market] running in the 2010s until 2014, and when it stopped...nobody was knocking on collectors’ doors asking for the difference. So, we never saw the selloff that we saw in 1990.

Rick Carey: Today’s investing environment is different. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), “meme stocks,” and crypto-currencies have achieved the mind-share of Ferraris in the 1980s. They attract uninformed speculative liquidity—and don’t have to be maintained, insured, or garaged.

Dave Kinney (publisher, Hagerty Price Guide): When someone tells you, “This time it's different,” it’s because they think it can't happen. They are both right and wrong. Wrong, because it can happen, and right because it's never the same threat unless the threat is just plain greed.


A story about
Hagerty
Valuation Tools

See how much your car is worth.

Get current values, historical values, model history and more.

Comments

  • Scott Gilbertson says:

    Terrific article!

  • Chuck Queener says:

    One thing everyone’s missed is there was no Monterey Historic Races in the early ’70s but when you could actually use your car in an event and not just drive it to lunch/dinner meeting, all racing car prices began to rise. The Speculators/Gold Chain crowd was always waiting in the wings. And you still see it today with people who refuse to drive their cars. Low mileage is so important to them. We all know people who could and did buy a GTO for $6K and sold it for $18K. Or “When it reaches $25M, I’ll sell it.” Today they are so valuable they only see use in private event or Goodwood.

  • John Atkins says:

    In 1985 I sold my 1966 275GTB Alloy bodied long nose 6 carb car that I’d had and raced for about 5 years. I sold it for £20k to Armand Blaton brother of Jean Blaton (Beurleys) because it was the same spec as the one he’d driven at Le Mans. I sold it to get a deposit to invest in a factory unit. About 4 years ago I sold the factory for £400k so not the best investment decision I ever made. However to put it in prospective the best offer I’d had previously for the 275 was £12k. If only I’d had a crystal ball!

  • Rick McCarty says:

    In the mid eighties my life and income was finally stable and I decided it was time to save some money and I would buy a sixties Ferrari or my other dream a Pantera. But that is when prices took off and I could not save fast enough to beat the inflation on the cars I wanted to buy let alone keep up with it. I knew I would never be “rich” I just wanted to drive a really cool car. And now they are just a passing dream.

  • Flatop says:

    I watch people paying absurd prices for cars that don’t even have any intrinsic value. Cars that a few years ago had one tire in the junkyard. Yes it WILL happen again. Watches, houses, NFT’s. Geez. I’m 71 and have seen all this before (many times). What’s the old saw ‘Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it’!

  • Flatop says:

    BTW, the crash has already started big time…seen the stock market lately. Duck and cover.

    • OldFordMan says:

      Same scene is going on now and like before some do not choose to see it happening. The recession is right outside our door!

    • Cj says:

      Flat Top. Be careful with bold statements. Because you are I’ll informed. Poor performance of the stock market can lead to more money into the special interest car market. In a volatile market, investors find it easy to pull money out and put into an asset. Sometimes that is cars and motorcycles. People are taking money out of stocks and paying cash for the car the want. Almost all of those will be kept and not flipped.

  • Rick Carey says:

    Great hat, Ken, but if I see you wearing it again I’ll know it’s time to convert everything to cash and put a bed in the cellar. I have a photo of me and my ’67 Alfa GTV from the early-80’s just after I finished restoring it. I’m wearing a similar head covering. A sign of the times.

  • David Boyko says:

    I watch the insanity that is happening now with so many cars and in many cases not even close to being a collectable. I primarily watch Porsche prices and I know the “air-cooled” should retain a percentage of this extremely fast growth BUT to think a MASS produced 997.1 Carrera is collectable or people in Porsche desperation are paying 2 – 3 times what a 996 (the low point of all 911’s) was worth a year ago……….knock yourselves out. This will be known as the “Covid bubble”.

    • Cj says:

      David Boyko. Substantiate Porsche 996 is going for 2 – 3 times more than a year ago.
      Support you statement Porsche 996 is the low point for them. What the facts tell me is better made and more performance. The 996 base model started at 299hp (2002 became 320hp) with a wider power band. Plus improved mpg. More refined car overall. Improved reliability. With the 986 and 996, Porsche became #3 in JD Powers reliability after Lexus and Toyota. Inexpensive service. Great brakes…

  • Jim Liberty says:

    The Porsche 356 market has see correction too. Except rare models and Speedsters. I do not believe a Speedster at $400K is a good investment, but a great fun car to drive, and inexpensive to maintain. I keep waiting for a correction, but it may never come. That is part of the fun. Jim.

  • Nick Evans says:

    Brilliant article – like a reflection of ones life. It’s the stability versus adventure conundrum….love the comment about Ken’s hat, a weathervane for us all.

  • Steve says:

    If mostly older people are paying these outrageous prices do you think younger generations would do the same for the early Ferraris?

  • Jim Rosenthal says:

    The thing that seems different now is 1) the speed with which transactions occur and with which word gets around- so the market reactivity is faster and I think somewhat more extreme. 2) there are a lot more ways to conduct transactions AND for information to circulate, so I think individual sales influence the markets faster and with greater impact.

    All that said, any item is worth what people are willing to pay for it, and the whole concept of “value’ or ‘worth in any collector object is just part of a belief system that we all subscribe to, as we all subscribe to the idea of money as a belief system. As the collector car market is elevated by what people feel to be desirability of certain cars, ideas can change and things go out of fashion- and the markets dive. Hopefully, if they do, we’ll be spared the sort of financial carnage we saw in the 80s, but market drops or corrections WILL occur; they are inevitable.

  • Randy Carlson says:

    Great read, and a very interesting time in the hobby. Bubbles rise and pop all the time, that’s what bubbles do. Trends come and go, the hot car today will be like warm tomorrow, this is the way of everything . The 80’s Ferrari game was fueled by so many factors that I don’t think are in play today. While I am surprised daily by the rising sales of everything …and I do mean everything (fuel, houses, cars, whatever) my only gut feeling on the scene is that at some point here people are going to realize that life is expensive and that play money for toys needs to go elsewhere. More cars on the market and less buyers mean a softening of prices. Not a “pop” but a slight deflation.

    The wild card to come though is the whole EV thing. When you can’t buy a new rumbly Hellcat , with the demand for existing combustion engine toys rise or fall?

    • Chuck Coli says:

      Being in the in the import car business in the 70’s and early 80’s in Newport Beach Ca we saw it all, when a beautiful silver 300SL Roadster sold for $6000 off our showroom floor in 1974 to the red Lusso sold for $35k in 1982 , then watched the rise of the Japanese speculator ,in 1991-92 i remember shopping for homes with acreage in North San Diego county when the only other clients walking thru the open houses were Japanese speculators with their translators… and watching prices rise I backed away in time! And watching the Ferrari market crashing and then bump along until the late 90’s the i bought the best Daytona i could find for $125k ( still have it) This Time ?? Things are different and the same…I think the end result will be similar when only the real enthusiast is left in the market…

  • HemiEddie426 says:

    Buy What You Love….Pay Cash….Enjoy It and Turn Off The Noise From Others.

    Speculators Get Hurt In The Crash, Not The Enthusiast Who Owns It For The Right Reasons.

  • Peter Gleeson says:

    Very interesting and fun to relive it Ken, did I say fun – whoops 🙂 I certainly hope the youngsters read it.

    While all above is true and like us all, we have stories that make what little hair we have left curl. There is another angle I always refer to when talking about today. Yes, nothing goes up forever and history will repeat itself, but never in exactly the same manner, that has to be a given.

    Buy, my take is about knowledge, in the 70s and 80s when I loved and read every article about cars I could back home in the UK, I was a bit of an outlier. “what is it with you and old cars Pete”? Sneaking into Brands Hatch as a teenager was considered odd – going to old car shows, you would never have been considered a “cool” teenager. The knowledge ( as referred to above) was extremely limited.

    Our hobby/passion, is still merely a youngster compared to other collecting classes. At the time of the late 80s crash our hobby was no more than a spotty faced teenager, who thought they knew everything and could be told nothing. Mistakes and idiocy was happily waiting in the wings. The 90s were that gap between a parent and a child, you know “at 14 my children thought I was the biggest fool in the world and by 23, they were amazed how smart I had become”

    The knowledge in our hobby is off the charts now, sensible buyers will search out the experts of a particular marque, obviously fools will still be separated from their money. But, Provenance, Originality and Enjoyability are now the buzz words, rather than “shiny and red” as it was in the 80s.

    Yes, there will still be fashions, emotions, stock market fluctuations etc, but we have grown as a hobby, we are not The Art Market, but we have grown significantly towards that model, maybe our hobby is now that 23 year old adult, far from perfect, but an adult none the less.

  • Patrick Ryan says:

    All car collectors should read this great article! Thanks to Hagerty for publishing it and to Ken Gross for compiling it. The contributors lived it. As did I.

  • Patrick Ryan says:

    I collected not only a half dozen Ferraris but a Cobra, a Gullwing and other exotics through the entire period of the run up from 1984-1988. By then it was obvious to me that this tree would not grow to the sky. The fire really intensified after the stock market crash of 1987 as trillions of dollars fled looking for fast moving assets. Enzo’s health was not an underlying reason for enthusiasts, and it wasn’t just Ferraris going crazy, but it was a perfect excuse for pure speculators to throw money. Notable were the financial involvement of Eastern Airlines Credit Union (they went broke financing almost anything exotic) and used car dealers like Nims Dillon with 50 car Ferrari inventories and their lenders. By sometime in 1990 most of the players knew it was over (though asking prices were still up) but on January 17, 1991 at 6:45 PM Desert Storm began live on TV. At that moment Barrett-Jackson was the bellwether auction and no one was bidding, everyone was at a TV. Most speculative cars went unsold but many sold for tiny fractions of their expected worth. That is when the whole world knew it was over. Repossessed cars flooded into a market with no underpinnings. I bought cars in 1991 and 1992 for 10-20% of their 1989 values. Ten years later they had gained almost nothing in market value. Can it repeat? As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes”.

  • James Gilstrap says:

    Great article, one of the high lights of my decisions to put some of my assets into other places than 100 percent in the stock market. I was a OTC trader for 60 years. Wow do I remember when there were no bids for stocks. I would bid down $3 dollars for a 10 dollar stock and they would hit my bid. There were no bids. I am really concerned about the current world mess. I enjoy cars so am trying to buy cars that are not really hot but the ones I can enjoy driving and not get wiped out. Hagerty became my Insurance for these cars. But I got more I got a great source of education on past mistakes of insanity of past bubbles. I split my interest in those that have really been down and some that might not be the golden child of the Porsche craze all want speed and power. I want comfort, good looks, good power and fun to drive. I have lots of fun, beautiful cars, not the top price and wanted most, but lots of great cars such as Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Jaguar, even Aston Martins. Have step children that are great cars. Take care of them understand their weaknesses and they will last a long time. I think that is a safer way to enjoy cars and not risk going broke because you did not put it all in hope such as bit coin.

  • Maestro! says:

    It’s about money, not cars. I’ve been talking about a correction for months and nobody’s understanding that with the shape things are in now we’re going to have one.

  • Bruce W Miller says:

    I am lucky to have owned a few vintage Ferraris. 1st, a 365 GT 2+2, bought so I could put a car seat in the back, for my young son, Ben. Delivered from Florida to Maryland, arriving with a dead battery, posts looking as if the car had been jumped a 1000 times. I diagnosed the issue as a the rubber bumper for the light switch. 50 cent piece of new rubber, a dollop of contact cement-no more dead battery! Ran in the New England Forza Mille, seizing up a right front wheel bearing. 2nd, a 1967 275 GTB, 6 carb, 2 cam, 08477. Smokiest car in 2000 Copperstate 1000! Tied down incorrectly by transporter back to Maryland. Repaired by shop in Philadelphia, then to Chuck Wray’s Grand Touring. John Marriott saw the car and it was sold to him. 3rd, a Ferrari identified to me by Tom Shaughnessy, #10147, a 67 4 cam, with alloys and Borranis, tools and books – the best! Shown at the Quail and sold there. I am one lucky guy to have owned and driven these cars as they were built to be driven-at redline on twisting roads, as the Copperstate provides. Bought for performance and handling – sold to those with much deeper pockets!!!

  • DAVID GUNN says:

    Nice summary and equally nice to hear from the people where were there; through it all; as was I.
    I knew two people, directly, who paid $.05 on the dollar and sold for $.10 on the dollar.
    We all have the classic ‘what if’ stories as we had no crystal balls; then, nor now!

  • Ron Olsen says:

    In the last 18 months or so the similar thing is going on with the 1963 Corvette split window coupe that I have been restoring for the last four years. People I know ask me, are you going to drive it after all the $$$ and sweat, or are you go sell it? I have owned this car since 1969. It has been a joy to me to be able to work on it, paint it a couple of times, and drive the wheels of it. Will I sell, I think not! It will be on the road again shortly. The old saying of “buy something you love and enjoy it” is as true today as it was years ago.
    Oh did I mention that I am 81 years old.

  • David Boyko says:

    I get the BaT email everyday and it amazes me what gets huge money. I said this 9 years ago when I bought a 1992 964 C2 Coupe………at the time this car was the highest advertised price C2 listed next to several RS America’s. I watched the value of that car climb every year after I bought it. Then in 2019 I was talked into selling by an absolute fluke……..a fellow in West Hollywood seen a picture of my car and hunted me down in Canada………two weeks later he flew up and drove it to LA. At that time I got close to $80,000 US……..very close to a top price………..TODAY………this car would be considered stolen at $120,000 US and probably closer to $140,000 US. I get asked if I regret selling the 964 but the answer is always the same………no regrets, but I do miss it. The thing with me was I was able to control WHO the buyer was of my car……….and that meant everything to me. It seems 1/2 the Porsche buyers on BaT are speculators and I preferred knowing my car and its history would be preserved by someone who said and asked the right things to me for the 2 weeks before I said “its yours”.

    Lastly on this “Covid driven bubble”……….REPLICA Porsche 356’s are selling at DOUBLE from a year ago. When the correction starts, it is going to be huge.

  • Antonio Delgado says:

    Amazing article and a cautionary tale. Today’s world is different and the same but if it walks like a duck and it shits like a duck it’s a duck. When a $35,000 Patek is worth $250,000 and a 992 GT3 touring is going for over $100,000 list something is out of whack. The downturn will come the catalyst will be different, but bubbles always pop by different means.

  • MATTMERICA says:

    BaT is the best indicator of just how over priced the market is, and it is for everything. There is a lot of crypto currency and a lot of covid money out there that is rapidly pushing all of towards a big mess. Just watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More on this topic

Hagerty Insider Newsletter

Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.

Thank You!
Your request will be handled as soon as possible
Hagerty Insider Newsletter
Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.
Share