Seems like everyone I speak with these days is asking what we see happening with the market for classic cars. Is it imploding like the general financial markets or holding firm?

I think many of us were reserving judgement until after last week's Scottsdale sales, but if that is any indication, the classic car market seems to be holding up pretty well. The Gooding auction sold over $30 million in cars(!) with the high water marks being a Ferrari California Spider for $4.5 million and a Tear-Drop Talbot-Lago for $3.52 million. Likewise Barrett Jackson sold over $60 million, over the course of the week, with their new "all no reserve" sales format.

On the flip side of this, I've polled several private brokers I know and get mixed answers from them. One says that there are a number of quiet private sales being done on high-end racecars, while another says that things are very quiet right now, i.e. a lot of interesting cars on offer, but few players willing to commit to purchase.

If I boil it all down, I'd have to say that the classic car/racecar market is doing pretty well right now, all things considered. While the rest of the financial world is doom and gloom, the more active enthusiasts seem to still be active prepping cars, racing and taking advantage of all the interesting cars and deals that this downturn has brought to the market. Hopefully this will continue to chug along...
All the best,
Casey Annis, Editor

Views: 68

Replies to This Discussion

I agree things seem to be holding up pretty well. Perhaps the high prices on muscle cars dropped a tad based on my casual observation of Barrett-Jackson sales that I witnessed but they are still quite high. Especially if you put it in the context of other normal car sales, which as we all know are in the dumper. Now if I could only find a rebate incentive on an original Lister... ;-)
Thanks Alan. Personally, I've always thought Muscle Cars were WAAAAY over priced and due for a "correction" of sorts. The very high-end stuff with provenance seems to be strong, but usually it always is. Did you get any impressions of the more mid-tier cars? Things like Austin-Healey 3000s, Alfas, Porsche 911s and the like?
All the best,
Casey Annis,Editor
Ditto on that Casey.

Actually BJ is really not the best bellweather for imports any longer. Seems like every year there are fewer imports and more muscle cars or reto-rods. After attending this event for years I have decided to skip it next year in favor of the other auctions that have a more balanced selection.

Here are the results for the makes that you mentioned plus Jaguar. Prices seem to be holding but then again the higher prices are on the cars that are restored beyond perfection. Well at least to the point where they will likely never be driven. Great for a museum but it skews the prices that most would be willing to pay for a solid example of a roadworthy vintage car.

No Alfa's unfortunately.

1947 ALLARD "SYDNEY ALLARD'S PERSONAL RACER" $203,500.00 (I was very disappointed this was so low).

1961 AUSTIN-HEALEY 3000 BT7 CONVERTIBLE $30,800.00
1961 AUSTIN-HEALEY 3000 BT7 ROADSTER $62,700.00

1962 JAGUAR XKE ROADSTER $88,000.00
1958 JAGUAR XK 150 S ROADSTER $99,000.00
1969 JAGUAR XKE ROADSTER $106,700.00
1993 JAGUAR XJ 220 2 DOOR HARDTOP $220,000.00

1982 PORSCHE 928 WEISSACH TOURING COUPE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 13, 2009 $9,350.00
1963 PORSCHE 356B COUPE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 13, 2009 $17,050.00
1987 PORSCHE 928S 2 DOOR COUPE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 15, 2009 $17,600.00
1994 PORSCHE 928 GTS 2 DOOR COUPE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 15, 2009 $35,200.00
1993 PORSCHE 911 AMERICA ROADSTER Scottsdale 2009 Jan 16, 2009 $47,300.00
1989 PORSCHE 930 SLANT NOSE TARGA TURBO Scottsdale 2009 Jan 16, 2009 $48,400.00
1992 PORSCHE AMERICA ROADSTER Scottsdale 2009 Jan 17, 2009 $49,500.00
1989 PORSCHE 930S 2 DOOR COUPE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 16, 2009 $51,700.00
1997 PORSCHE 993 CONVERTIBLE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 15, 2009 $60,500.00
2004 PORSCHE TWIN-TURBO CABRIOLET Scottsdale 2009 Jan 16, 2009 $75,900.00
1994 PORSCHE 911 SPEEDSTER "JERRY SEINFELD'S" Scottsdale 2009 Jan 17, 2009 $101,200.00
1997 PORSCHE 993 TURBO S COUPE Scottsdale 2009 Jan 17, 2009 $104,500.00

I would agree with you that the exclusive end of the market is holding up pretty well and will probably continue to do so for a while anyway. The Middle market in my reckoning is off by up to 30% in value and over 30% undsold at auctions in the last 3 months. Whether this will have an impact on the upper end is doubtful.

I do think certainly in Europe that Racing in 2009 will be curtailed in the early months as a lot of people will not have the funds to do the same amount of racing as last year. People are genuinely worried about the state of the economy and will not be prepared to put so much into an expensive pastime and be seen to be spending so much by others. Spouses will I am sure be in the backgound to ensure that money is put aside for a rainy day, schooling, mortgage etc. Whether this will apply in the USA, I am not qualified to comment and perhaps others will do so.

I am one who certainly hopes that the Upper end will come down somewhat, so that what is totally out of reach now might come into reach and with the falling pound £ ,the Euro zone are in a very good position to take advantage of this.

Lets hear some more comments.
It sure has been interesting to watch all the recent sales and auction results! In my very unscientific observations, I would say that overall the collector car and vintage race car market has taken a small dip, but is certainly not taking the same path (bath?) as many other markets have recently.

However, I think it is probably a good time to 'hold' if you are considering selling your collectible car, particularly for cars under $100,000 in current market value. I'm not sure about buying, but I think it may be best to wait a few more months to see where the market eventually goes.

I believe that the best advantage can be taken by carefully observing the exchange rates. As some currency values fall steeply against the US Dollar, purchases may become more affordable (if you are an American, of course!).

You make a great point about exchange rates. The pound is the lowest (against the dollar) that is has been in decades. But actually, the smart buyer right now should be looking at Australia in my opinion. The Australian dollar is down to about $.65, which is a little less than half of what it was at this time last year. There are a ton of great cars in OZ and some very talented craftsmen there and in NZ. If nothing else, it makes it well worth sending cars down under for restoration. I've known a number of Americans who have done this and have raved about the quality and the value.
Casey Annis, Editor
I think you seem have your finger on the pulse of the market pretty well. As I'm sure you noticed, particularly at Barrett-Jackson, there were some cars that brought considerably less this year than just a couple of years ago, while others held strong and some did better than in the past. Typical of the market I suppose.
I've talked with a few friends who have collections of cars and they feel like they will do far better with their car collection than with any investments in the stock market.
It seems that, as you said, the collector car market is continuing to move along with some minor ups and downs, but with considerable more stability than Wall Street.

Marshall Moore
That's interesting. One school of thought, that supports your observations, is that when the equities markets go in the toilet, people with money will move it into "durable goods" i.e., collector cars, artwork etc., which tend to outperform the markets when they are down. The downside to this, of course, is the possibility of speculators artificially puffing the market up (like the late '80s). Personally, I'm not seeing any indications of that currently, though.
All the best,
I beleive the demand for classic cars are still very stong. I own a classic cars site at and I have not seen much of a drop in people calling me.

Chris Chandler


© 2024   Created by Travis Buckingham and Stephen Page   Powered by Buckingham Creative

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service