The 25 hottest collector vehicles heading into summer

The hottest collector vehicle in that land? As the legendary Mr. Ed will tell you, “A horse is a horse, of course, of course.” And we aren’t talking about the Mustang.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/05/hottest-collector-vehicles-summer-2019

I recently purchased a 1976 Corvette L-48, 4-speed coupe. 8.5 to 1 compression ratio. 24K miles. Maroon w/tan interior. This car sat in a very good garage for at least 30 yrs. Carpet is shot. Driver’s seat has good foam but has split seams. Paint is original on no hit body. However, it is chalky and cracked all over. The hood has paint falling off due to engine heat (I think)…The car is all original and I have done everything necessary to make it run and drive well. However, since it is a 1976 model I believe it has 150 h.p. I replaced the distributor with an after market Accel performance model. I feel it is most cost effective to leave the paint as is since the low performance engine, while adequate, will never bring big dollars. I believe a good paint job may cost 10 large…On a good day, I doubt this car in #3- condition would bring more than 6 or 7,000.00.My question is this. Can I get by with a low budget repaint or should I have the engine compartment, interior, and existing paint done by a local professional detail company. They do a lot of high end super cars. I like their work. Lastly, could this car make the top 25 list ever?

I’m with you. I too have a '76 survivor, and while it’s great fun I never expected it to drop in price for the 10K I paid 8 years ago. Any hope of that changing for the better?

Always did wonder why the Cougar was not getting the respect it deserved. Happy to see Mercury finally getting some recognition.

I guess the “collector” crowd are not drivers, as there’s only like 5 cars on the list worth actually driving, the Z, the RX-7, the Miata, the BMW M’s, the Skyline and the Benz.

Pretty depressing, no wonder I never see anyone on the back roads.

As of now, don’t think they’ll be worth a lot ever. I had a 1980 8 yrs ago with same motor, (rated at 185 HP).I loved 80 body style, wound up rebuilding motor along with headers and (cat less) thrush exhaust. Removed smog pumps along with everything else that bogged car down. Had 64k on motor, but decided to keep. installed new cam, double pumper carb along with many other parts. Raised HP to about 235 245 on dynometer. All new interior bezels along with door panels. My 2 tone seats remained, great condition. In addition installed strut kit, all new bilstein shocks, along with tranny rebuild. Needed to upgrade radiator to let car run cooler, always ran hot. Also Chromed out many parts. Paint was in original condition but nose area had some crackling. Had ( $10k ) quoted to repaint. Left as is, from 10’ away looked good. My Total restoration was approximately $18k on top of original $10.5 I paid a few years earlier. Car was clean but wanted a show car. Never quite got there, close but then kids college became priority. After all that, sold it about 6 yrs ago for $13k. Not good investment but enjoyed the journey. If you keep, cut to chase and put new Vettevmotor or crate and restore because you luv stingray. Full restoration and rebuild will run $30k +

Nice to see older Cadillacs getting some attention in the collector car market. Many are in better than average condition as they were owned by older drivers that garaged their cars and then let them sit when they no longer could drive. We see lots of them popping up for sale here in the Phoenix area in local ads.
Just be sure you measure your garage BEFORE you buy one; since many models are 2-3 feet longer than other makes of cars.

I bought a 1996 Mercedes Benz, SL500 (R129) 2 yrs. ago, on advice from Hagerty’s stats. Car had 32K on odometer, one of only 3 yrs. with 32V, 5.0 liter, 315 hp., model. Obviously, someones second or third car. Sat in a garage and because it wasn’t driven much, time sitting took it’s toll on the hydraulic convertible top (which is a work of art when in operation),It eventually will on ALL R129’s.That was a $4K replacement. Car is a high #3, appreciating, fun to drive during Florida Winters, and I’m happy.
Thank you Hagerty.

Having worked with Corvettes for well over 25 yrs now, the short answer is “no”. Unfortunately, the '76 epitomized everything wrong with Detroit at the time. Low HP, cheap parts, bad build quality.

BUT… THIS IS GOOD! The positive is unlike earlier vettes, you can modify and have all the fun without the BURDEN of impacting collector value. If I installed a hi-po crate motor in my '65 fuelie, I would lose $10Ks of value, but in a '76, you could recoup a good percentage of the cost. A $10K paint job doesn’t make sense, but a decent driver quality paint that makes you smile costs 1/2 that!

Think of it as an open canvas and not an investment. ENJOY IT! I enjoyed my '64 'vette with zero number-matching parts 10X more than the '65.



It’s just fashion. The top vehicles on the list are all demanded by hipsters. Hipsters have short attention spans. What is hip now will be passe tomorrow. Those top vehicles on the list are all garbage. They were garbage when new, they are garbage now. This is THE ULTIMATE example of a bubble. The fools who spend big bucks on these things will be burned at any time when those hip “tough guy retro 4 x 4 to offset my manbun” vehicle go out of style. At any moment this is possible. There are no core values at play here. No real value.


I have to agree about the mid-70s Corvettes and the ability to do whatever you want to them without worrying about de-valuing the car. I have been involved with Corvettes and have owned them since 1971. Boy, oh, boy I’ve seen it all during that time. But I have to say the current market for valuable, vintage Corvettes would be too depressing for me to own one. They are snubbed by the “experts” if they aren’t the right colors, if they’re not the high-horsepower versions, if they’ve been repainted, if there isn’t a mountain of original paperwork with them and if they have a lot of miles plus many, many other factors I could think of. That has just taken all the fun out of those cars for me. Include in that the huge problem now with fake paperwork, counterfeit trim tags, re-stamped engines which look totally legitimate and you have the formula for a car that very few can truly enjoy. And I know they don’t want to drive them because, heaven forbid, that original engine might expire and their investment is in the can.
But now we have a new generation of cars which can put the FUN back into Corvettes. When I got into them in 1971, nobody worried about driving their car, piling miles on it or even if they blew their engine. And then somewhere along the line, that all changed to a group of cars that I would be totally afraid to buy due to all the fakery in them.
So, buy those mid-70s to early 80s Corvettes, drive the hell out of them, go places together with your friends, change engines without fear of de-valuing them and paint them whatever color you want. And most of all, HAVE FUN!


What an interesting blend of truth, opinion and cynicism. :smile:


A generally tasteless list of cars with the exception of some of the Cadillacs, the Miata,
and several others. A reflection of this meaningless culture.

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So what would make for a tasteful list? Just curious.

I agree with the fashion statement of some of these. The hipster part I find confusing. I can’t see anyone with a man bun being interested in these cars. Or is the point more generational focused?

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Thank you. It is a strange combination of those things. Truth is.

Thankyou for your input. I’m into the car for a little over 3k to get it running and driving well. I agree that 1976 was probably the worst paint and build quality for all GM cars. My Father bought a silver Caddy Sedan Deville in 1977. The red leather interior was great! The car was garage kept but lived in NYC area. The siver paint disintegration came after 3 yrs. Had a good repaint done. Dad kept it 10 yrs. 80k miles. In 1987 replaced it with an Allante. I really liked that car but it leaked. Anyway, I think I’ll follow your suggestion and get a modern crate motor. In N.J. with antique license plates, I don’t have to worry about passing inspection. From sitting for decades the exhaust system rusted out. I’ll keep the cast iron exhaust manifold and put aftermarket sidepipes on the car. For now I can live with the existing paint and interior. I haven’t driven the car enough to make a decision as to repair or upgrade the suspension. Bear in mind the car has 24k on the clock. I am brand new to this forum and enjoy it very much. Lastly, I really like the look of the 1976 body style, front, and rear bumper treatment.

When I wrote that email I was cranky and did not have my coffee yet. I’ve been in the Hobby long enough to know better. Hagerty’s reflect the current trends in the Hobby. I think the whole Bronco thing got started as a low cost way to get into the Hobby in the first place. I’m not a Bronco fan which is not important. I think they have poor ride quality because of the short wheelbase and are mildly tippy when driven hard. As far as culture is concerned, all one has to do is listen to pop music and watch all the stupid little white four door sedans which are actually computers go down the road driven by illiterate drivers.

Have you considered doing a vinyl wrap, or plasti-dip option? Both are temporary and typically cheaper than a “regular” paint job. You can also do some really slick stuff with vinyl (multi-colors, patterns, race designs, etc.). Just a thought.

Yes I have considered a “wrap”. Less than a mile from my home is a company that I have watched grow a great deal in the last few years. I’ve seen many new high end cars being done there! I have also seen them doing repair work when there is a damaged front fender. I offered to work for them on a temporary basis for free if they would teach me how to do it. I believe the cost for the wrap is around $3500.00 I’m not sure how long it lasts as it is basically a full car body decal. Can it go through a car wash? I don’t know. But I’ve seen a few cars return and get the wrap changed. Now all of these cars are owned by wealthy people as they are high end and appear to be either brand new or in pristine condition. I have not seen any Corvettes done though. That fiberglass body flexes so it may not hold up. But thankyou for the suggestion as I will look into it and write back to you with whatever info. I learn about it.

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