The past two years have been very interesting in the car market. Supply chain issues caused by the global pandemic have disrupted the production of new vehicles. The shortage of new cars has driven up the price of used cars, including classic and collector cars. This is real Economics 101 in action.
Ever so slowly, new vehicle manufacturing is improving and other inflation concerns are causing some slowing in vehicle purchases. Does this mean older, fun cars will become affordable again? If not, what can a “car guy” do to satisfy the fun car cravings?
Within the past week, two of my regular sources of collector car market values shared their viewpoint on the state of the market. Let’s take a look at both below.
Hagerty Insurance Market Rating
Hagerty Insurance is one of the largest providers of collector car insurance, and is a huge supporter of the car hobby. In addition to insurance products, they monitor collector car values and market conditions through their Valuation Tool and various auctions.
For the past 15 years, they have published the Hagerty Market Rating. During that time it has never surpassed a score of 80.
At the start of the pandemic, it was hovering around 60. In the 15 months from the start of the pandemic, it has steadily grown to an all-time high of 78.22. No doubt, a direct effect of the new car market challenges and pent up demand from home-bound car nuts.
The cost of inflation and the struggling stock market is starting to have an impact. Classic car sales through auctions and between private parties are slowing, according to Hagerty.
While this sounds encouraging for people like me who play with cheaper cars, Hagerty believes the day of cheap classic cars is a thing of the past.
Doug DeMuro’s CarsandBids.com
In June 2020, Doug DeMuro (a popular automotive YouTuber) launched the enthusiast car auction site CarsandBids.com. Only vehicles from model year 1980 and newer qualify for this auction.
I discovered this auction site in January 2021, and featured many of the vehicles as affordable classics until September 2021. During that time, it was easy to find cars and trucks that could be bought for under $12,000. This didn’t last much past September, as prices grew well beyond the $12,000 threshold I set.
Just recently, Doug provided insights from his recent auctions in the video below.
In the video, Doug shares the trends from his auction sales, demonstrating those cars that are still hot and those that are cooling off in value:
- Electric trucks (GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T and Ford F150 Lightning)
- BMW E36 M3 (1992-1999)
- BMW M2 (2015-current)
- Porsche Boxster (1997-2005)
- Lotus Esprit
Those electric trucks are in short supply and unique enough that basic economics takes over. People pay top dollar to be first to own these kinds of vehicles.
The BMW models and the Porsche Boxster were once affordable, plentiful fun cars whose time in the limelight came because those cars above them became unattainable.
- Porsche 911 (2012-2019)
- Ford Bronco (2021-current)
- Chevrolet C8 Corvette (2020-current)
- Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series (1998-2007) and 200 Series (2007-current)
- Mercedes G-Class (“G Wagen”)
I’m sure the C8 Corvette and Bronco values are softening because new car production is improving, whereas the Land Cruiser and G-Class are victims of rising gas prices.
What Can A Poor Car Guy Do?
Even though certain classic and collector car segments are softening, values are still higher than usual. Finding an affordable car of any kind is pretty tough. For those of us who get bored with their current vehicle, it’s a challenge and frustration to find something fun.
Related Article: My Fun and Cheap Vehicles
Should you bite the bullet and pay the big money to buy your next fun vehicle, or wait it out? I sold my last fun vehicle, a 1976 GMC pickup in 2019, and have not replaced it yet. I’m pretty antsy for something new, but am going to wait until 2023 before making any purchases. Maybe.
All is not lost. If you are anxious for something new or different but don’t want to pay a premium for a vehicle, consider some of these options below:
- Look for less popular modern (and more affordable) classics, like those from the RADwood era (1980-1999). Look at a Pontiac Fiero, Mazda Miata, Toyota MR2 for starters.
- Modify or personalize your current vehicle. Add new graphics, tires/wheels and/or some other bolt on performance goodies.
- Buy a vintage motorcycle to buzz around town like my son did two years ago. That story can be found HERE.
- Buy an electric bicycle to buzz around town. Several interesting choices exist in that market.
- Attend a weekend car show to get some inspiration for your future purchase. Live vicariously through others.
- Wait it out…prices might stabilize in two years!
Have you been on the fence about buying a fun vehicle? What are your plans? Let me know in the comments below.