Mar­ket State


Automobile - - Contents - By Rory Jur­necka

We gather some of the top ex­perts in the col­lec­tor car field to give us their thoughts on where the mar­ket stands, what cars to buy and sell, and what the fu­ture holds.

What are your gen­eral views on mar­ket per­for­mance since this time last year? Are you see­ing any new trends emerge?

JG: I gen­er­ally think the mar­ket is strong and solid. The in­ter­est we see in these old cars in terms of pop­u­lar­ity and high at­ten­dance at col­lec­tor car tours, ral­lies, rac­ing events, con­cours d’el­e­gance, and other lifestyle events is a sign that there is a strong pas­sion and in­ter­est in col­lec­tor cars, which is what the mar­ket is driven by for the most part. To­day it is cool to own a vin­tage car, just like a vin­tage watch, for ex­am­ple.

CJ: The col­lec­tor car mar­ket con­tin­ues to be in­cred­i­bly dy­namic, in­clud­ing the de­mo­graphic that made the ’60s and ’70s mus­cle cars so pop­u­lar. We’re also see­ing a surge in younger buy­ers who are grav­i­tat­ing to­ward ve­hi­cles from the ’80s and ’90s, both do­mes­tic and for­eign. Ve­hi­cles from the 1980s, from the Fox-body Mus­tangs to Bron­cos, are be­com­ing can­vases for per­sonal cus­tomiza­tion by more youth­ful col­lec­tors who want to add tech­nol­ogy and drive the cars.

It’s hard to be­lieve, but 2018 is roughly half­way through. As we did at about this time last year, we’ve asked a panel of in­dus­try ex­perts for their opin­ions on the state of the col­lec­tor car mar­ket as they see it and their thoughts on what to ex­pect in the near fu­ture.

GD: Over­all, I feel the col­lec­tor car mar­ket has re­mained sta­ble since this time last year. Ex­cep­tional late-model Porsches con­tinue to emerge with strong re­sults, and then on the other end of the spec­trum we’re see­ing sus­tained and even grow­ing in­ter­est in Amer­i­can clas­sics; a Mar­mon Six­teen Coupe and an Auburn Boat­tail Speed­ster are now worth a mil­lion.

DK: Speak­ing in pure gen­er­al­i­ties, the un­der $100K mar­ket is boom­ing, and that is where the ma­jor­ity of sales oc­cur. “New” trends seem to be a con­tin­u­a­tion of trends that have started in the past few years. Early SUVs and ex­otic cars from the 1990s and early 2000s are on many buy­ers’ radar.

We’ve seen many big­dol­lar “star” auc­tion cars not reach re­serve this year. Why do you think that is?

JG: Tim­ing and sell­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions. Tim­ing as the buy­ers might just not be ready for that pur­chase on that day, but I know for a fact that most could have found new homes at lev­els rel­a­tively close to the re­serves, so sell­ers’ ver­sus buy­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions have just been a lit­tle off.

CJ: Those big-dol­lar cars are re­ally in the small­est part of the mar­ket, which sees those cars as a safe haven dur­ing a re­ces­sion. Now that the econ­omy is strong, the smaller part of the mar­ket is slow­ing, and we’re see­ing the big­gest, broad­est part of the mar­ket surg­ing.

GD: We all know that the mar­ket has soft­ened from where it was a cou­ple of years ago, so the main rea­son for sev­eral of the “star cars” failing to meet re­serve sim­ply comes down to client ex­pec­ta­tions be­ing greater than what to­day’s mar­ket is will­ing to bear. In a highly com­pet­i­tive auc­tion mar­ket, it can be dif­fi­cult to con­vince col­lec­tors to part with their blue-chip cars for less than what might have been. DK: U.S. tax laws, par­tic­u­larly in light of the loss of the tax-free ex­change as used in some high-dol­lar clas­sic au­to­mo­bile sales, has had a damp­en­ing ef­fect on the top end of the mar­ket, cars rou­tinely sell­ing above $1 mil­lion. All mar­kets hate uncertainty, and this change has slowed down the high end quite dra­mat­i­cally.

Porsches re­main strong sell­ers and are mak­ing up a larger vol­ume of auc­tion in­ven­to­ries lately. How is the Porsche mar­ket evolv­ing? Who’s do­ing most of the buy­ing?

JG: Porsche is a very strong brand—both for the new cars and the clas­sic mod­els. We sold a 550A Spy­der in Scotts­dale and had a lot of in­ter­est in it—some of the feed­back I got was that a Porsche 550 was re­ally the pin­na­cle of Porsche in the day, and com­pared to a Fer­rari, Maserati, or Jaguar of the era, it re­ally rep­re­sents good value. They are hugely iconic, beau­ti­ful, in­ter­est­ingly

en­gi­neered, and his­tor­i­cally very im­por­tant on the race­track or road.

CJ: Porches have been very pop­u­lar and are re­ally fol­low­ing the broader mar­ket trend that we are see­ing to­ward more con­tem­po­rary cars. From the Slant­noses of the ’80s to the more re­cent Tur­bos, Porsches con­tinue to be in de­mand with the broader part of the mar­ket. There has also been a rise among col­lec­tors who are us­ing the 911s as a plat­form to build cus­tom­ized ver­sions of the Euro­pean sports cars from prom­i­nent builders.

GD: It’s a younger seg­ment of col­lec­tors who are buy­ing these spe­cial late-model Porsches. Of a dozen late-model ex­am­ples sold at our Amelia Is­land sale, eight were pur­chased by col­lec­tors in their early 40s through mid-50s.

Be­cause the Porsche mar­ket has been so hot, there’s a lot of av­er­age stuff on of­fer, i.e. spe­cialty mod­els but with higher mileage and paint­work is­sues— which is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in the Porsche world. The col­lec­tors step­ping up to pay top dol­lar are be­com­ing very par­tic­u­lar and bring­ing in the lead­ing mar­que ex­perts to ex­am­ine any po­ten­tial pur­chases. I’ve never seen us of­fer a mar­que— not even Fer­rari—where col­lec­tors are do­ing such thor­ough, fine-tooth­comb in­spec­tions.

DK: The Porsche Party, that is, the ris­ing val­ues of Porsche brand col­lec­tor cars, started late. Ris­ing val­ues at­tract in­ter­est from col­lec­tors, and a lot of peo­ple who thought of own­ing a col­lec­tor Porsche but never quite did have be­come ac­tive in both buy­ing and sell­ing. If you think this is good news or bad, you’re right.

Buy, Sell, Hold: What is at the top of each list, in your opin­ion?

JG: I be­lieve all cars that make their mark on the era they were built in will be col­lectible. Think Due­sen­berg, Alfa Romeo 8C, Jaguar D-type,

Fer­rari 250 GT Cal­i­for­nia Spi­der at the top and Tri­umph TR3, AustinHealey 100, MercedesBenz 190SL, or Pagoda for ex­am­ple at a more af­ford­able level.

CJ: Buy: Resto­mods, ’80s and ’90s im­ports, trucks/SUVs, rare mus­cle cars, sports cars with stick shifts. Sell: Pre­war clas­sics. Hold: Tra­di­tional mus­cle cars.

GD: Buy: A great Bugatti Vey­ron or EB110 for their in­vest­ment po­ten­tial. Sell: A great Amer­i­can clas­sic—for ex­am­ple, a 1935 or

1936 Auburn Speed­ster. Hold: Fer­rari 206 Dino or a 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 RS Light­weight.

DK: Buy: Bugatti EB110. Sell: Any Porsche 911 with a miss­ing or bad his­tory. Hold: Euro­pean ex­otics from the 1960s and 1970s.

What traits are you see­ing in the buy­ing and sell­ing habits of younger col­lec­tors? Are they us­ing their cars dif­fer­ently than their par­ents did?

JG: I see the younger gen­er­a­tion of car col­lec­tors be­ing more into driv­ing their cars as op­posed to show­ing them at con­cours d’el­e­gance events. Maybe a quick cars and cof­fee meet where a cool In­sta­gram post can be made, and then out on the road.

CJ: Like Gen Xers, young col­lec­tors grav­i­tate to the ve­hi­cles they grew up with. For ex­am­ple, we’re see­ing cars from the ’80s and ’90s, as well as SUVs, which many in the younger gen­er­a­tions grew up in and are com­fort­able with, have in­creased in pop­u­lar­ity among younger buy­ers. They’re also look­ing for unique cars with tech­nol­ogy or that are easy to cus­tom­ize into resto­mods, giv­ing the clas­sic look with all the bells and whis­tles of a mod­ern ve­hi­cle.

GD: Many younger col­lec­tors tend to buy cars that their friends also col­lect or are into sim­ply be­cause it means they can then par­tic­i­pate in the same ral­lies and go to the same car shows and cars and cof­fee meets on Sun­days. They seem to want to drive their cars more than show them, and con­se­quently we’re see­ing more and more tours and ral­lies pop up on the cal­en­dar.

DK: Dif­fer­ent cars, dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but, re­mark­ably, the car hobby con­tin­ues.

The cars and cof­fee move­ment has changed the way peo­ple use and dis­play their cars. As the “show and shine” move­ment re­treats, the sim­ple for­mula of just show­ing up has taken hold. What’s cool and col­lectible to a 23-year-old might not ap­peal to a 63-year-old, but in re­al­ity, that’s the same as it ever was.

X 1993 Bugatti EB110 Su­per Sport CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $535,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: BUY

X 1973 Porsche 911 Car­rera RS 2.7 Light­weight CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $844,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: HOLD

X 1959 Tri­umph TR3A CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $19,500 BUY, SELL, HOLD: BUY

X 1955 Porsche 550 Spy­der CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $5,000,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: BUY


X 1974 Ford Bronco CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $24,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: BUY

X 1970 Ford Mus­tang Boss 302 CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $68,900 BUY, SELL, HOLD: BUY

X 1969 Fer­rari Dino 206 GT CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $650,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: HOLD

X 1955 Chevro­let Bel Air No­mad Resto­mod CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $50,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: BUY

X 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $88,800 BUY, SELL, HOLD: HOLD

X 1936 Auburn Eight-Su­per­charged Speed­ster CUR­RENT AVG VALUE: $1,000,000 BUY, SELL, HOLD: SELL

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