What qualifies as rare, and does rarity translate to value?


Among the many overused words in the classic car hobby, “rare” and “unique” are two of the most common. While unique is an easier one to call out when it’s misused—since it literally means one of a kind—the word rare is a little trickier since there is no agreed upon or legal definition in the car world. It means different things to different people, and while rarity does relate to value and collectability somewhat, it’s not always a direct relationship.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/05/09/does-rarity-translate-to-value


To your point on the Citation, simple survival of once-common cars can make them collectible. VW Beetles, are a great example, same for VW vans, which seem to be worth absurd amounts of money as icons and relative rarity. They built 21 million Beetle sedans but only 350k or so Beetle cabriolets, but the convertibles don’t seem to be worth a heck of a lot more than the sedans. Perhaps they have a higher survival rate?


I believe unique design, that has stood the test of time, with cars of fine quality, built in relatively small quantities are certainly desirable. If they are rare because of low production, and a limited number of survivors, all that adds to value. Couple that with a relatively older car (50 - 60) years old even better. Now take that car, and say it is extremely reliable, and able to keep up with freeway speeds, and you have a true winner.

Yes folks, I’m talking about a Porsche 356. …Jim.


As owner of a 1966 Pontiac Tempest Custom which is a true survivor I frequently get asked if I plan to clone a GTO. My answer is always no.
The way I see it there will be a day when there are fewer Tempest Customs available than GTOs or GTO clones. Yes, a true 242 car has more value than any 235 car. But a 235 car that remains s true to its original production has greater value than a 235 car that misrepresents as a 242 car.
At least those are my thoughts.
By survivor I mean PHS documented, 100% factory steel with no bondo, patchwork or rust through in factory original Cameo Ivory paint color with Bronze interior.


Yes, some cars values are a bit baffling…Mustangs, GTOs etc. made in the many thousands (not the rarer variants)…While some made in small numbers ( a few hundred to 2-3k) aren’t worth all that much, even for some pretty nifty cars. But, a object is worth what someone will pay for it…