When does a car become collectible? For people who happily call themselves collectors, there’s a classic automobile canon that embraces certain models and excludes others, even from respected marques. For those who prefer to drive their cars instead of hermetically sealing them behind glass, collectibility is a personal journey, one where previously shunned ‘80s and ‘90s vehicles can become titans, and even 21st-century oddities now drain bank accounts.
The surest sign that a car is on the verge of becoming “collectible” is when the depreciation that comes with just about every new vehicle starts turning around. That’s where Hagerty comes in with its annual Bull Market List. Every year, the experts at the automotive enthusiast brand predict which vehicles will gain value in the coming year; thanks to proprietary data, partially helped by their main business as an insurance provider (they insure 11.9% of the nation’s pre-1981 classic cars), they have a solid track record with these prognostications. For this fifth edition, Hagerty has a more enticing and peculiar slate of sports cars, station wagons and SUVs than ever before, even for people who may not currently consider themselves financially capable of being a car collector.
“We want enthusiasts to know where the market is heading so they can buy the car of their dreams at the right time,” said Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s Vice President of Automotive Intelligence, who also leads the Bull Market team.
The Tesla Factor
The most intriguing pick for this year is the Tesla Roadster Sport ($97,100*), the first upgrade of the automaker’s original Roadster that debuted in 2008. It’s the first electric vehicle to make it on Hagerty’s list, and for good reason. A look at the Bring a Trailer prices for the Teslas over the years shows a 4,000-mile Roadster Sport from 2010 selling for $44,000 in 2019 and then a similar 6,000-mile 2010 model selling for $115,000 in 2021.
As Hagerty writes, “[The Roadster Sport’s] historical significance can only grow as electric cars take over.” We’d argue that the historical significance here goes far beyond EVs — the collectibility of this icon of lithium-ion-powered mobility is also tied to the Lotus Elise, which provided the chassis for the car and was discontinued this year, and more importantly current CEO Elon Musk, who was just named Time’s Person of the Year. In other words, this is a Tesla thing, so don’t expect other EVs to follow suit (though we have made the case for the collectibility of one electrified goofball).
The Old-School SUV and Station Wagon
If you’re not much of a Musk fan (or simply not looking to spend six figures, on old EV tech or anything else), boy does Hagerty have some fun suggestions for you. In the sub-$20,000 category, the brand has chosen the 1985-1995 Suzuki Samurai ($10,200), 1975-1993 Volvo 245 ($15,800) and 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 ($17,600). The Mazda isn’t a huge surprise here, as it’s long been a driver favorite, but the Suzuki and Volvo may be unexpected if you haven’t been following the trends.
As we reported earlier this year, buyers have been snapping up a wide range of ‘80s and ‘90s sport-utility vehicles in recent years, so the elevation of the Samurai (as the Suzuki Jimny was called in the U.S. when it was sold here) to collector status makes sense; though Hagerty notes that clean examples, especially hardtop models, are hard to find. The Volvo 245 meanwhile is a consummate boxy station wagon. While there aren’t necessarily hard data points to show the rationale behind that pick, the Instagram cliché of hipsters posting Instagram snaps of Volvos they see on the street does suggest the next generation of car collectors may start with the vehicles they were driven around in as kids, rather than the sports cars emblazoned on posters they hung on their walls.
The Six-Figure Trophies
At the top of the heap is the instantly recognizable 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino ($365,800). Despite that list-topping price, Hagerty notes that it “amounts to an auction buyer’s premium on most other vintage Ferraris.” Remember, these mid-engined V6 sports cars were Ferrari’s attempt at offering something more accessible. But if you prefer American horsepower, the 1966-1967 Pontiac GTO ($100,200), the last two years of the first generation of the iconic muscle car, are also slated for a resurgence.
*Ed. Note: Hagerty prices listed here are the company’s estimated starting prices for vehicles in “Excellent” condition. They use a four-tiered rating system that includes Concours, Excellent, Good and Fair, in descending order.
Here’s the full Hagerty Bull Market List for 2022:
- 1963-67 Mercedes-Benz 230SL: $80,500
- 1965-70 Cadillac DeVille: $28,800
- 1966-67 Pontiac GTO: $100,200
- 1969-74 Ferrari 246 Dino: $365,800
- 1975-93 Volvo 245: $15,800
- 1979-85 Mazda RX-7: $17,600
- 1983-97 Land Rover Defender: $61,400
- 1985-95 Suzuki Samurai: $10,200
- 1992-95 Porsche 968: $38,000
- 2010-12 Tesla Roadster Sport: $97,100
You can find more information about their picks and their track record here.
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