Why are these desirable collector cars cooling down?


One, now overpriced.

Two, a slow barely perceptual change in generations who are moving the hobby towards the cars they are interested in. My 35 year old nephew a classic example. One day, and it will come, no one will care about a 1972 Porsche 911. Well, maybe a dozen might as tech is spoiling new drivers.

Recently had a mid-80s year old gentleman walk up to me while my cars were outside for washing. He told me mostly about when he was into cars and it was late '30s hotrods. How many are still interested in them and I don’t mean one or two people. I mean hundreds, if not thousands, who could move a market. The answer is obvious.

Granted there will always be those who run counter to the prevailing trend but those will be a shadow of the former numbers.


Why wouldn’t they? The target age group for most of these to be nostalgic or tied to is beginning to age out and die off for lack of a better word. Sure the market will carry on for years to come but there will continue to be fewer and fewer people from that timeline. Much like fat fendered street rods of the 80swere hot before them but have since lost their audience. Then factor in millennials general disinterest in cars as a whole and your going to continue to see a fall.
Granted there will always be exceptions but the fact still remains that demand will fall and so will prices as that relative car/age bracket timeline continues to progress.


The auction market actually makes up a very small portion of the market, but it is most visible. What most people see are the super expensive cars that sell on prime time TV but what they don’t see is the fact that a good portion of the cars at these big auctions are fairly average and sell for average prices.


As our car club membership has dwindled, I have talked to young people at car shows to try to get answers. They are interested in old cars, especially muscle cars, but simple can’t afford them at today’s prices. Even buying a “builder” and funding a project is out of the question. Tools, insurance and storage are other issues. We need to find answers to these basic problems.



I’m sure we’ve seen our fair shares of Big Buck car rebuild shows…all the 20 plus yearly car auctions you can think of and so many commercials that show just about any aged driver with a rare muscle car up on jack stand doing some sort of wrench’n on it…the fact is…these all cost the owner really huge amounts money to get these cars up to “SHOW QUALITY” standards, but when theses cars were all the rage they had their dark sides…60’s,70’s and early 80’s weren’t the best time in the auto industry for quality and to put a car back to OEM??? well…do you remember 4 wheel drum brakes, 3 one the tree and roll down windows??? OMG…No one will ever say ( with a straight face) how much they have spent on rebuilding their cars…it will never add up to the loss they take when they try to sell it…Its like all collectables these days…there is a time limit for everything and the collector car market has changed… Ford ,Chevy and Chrysler are changing the market themselves with their limited run models…the new GT (GT 40) 400,000 dollars, 2020 Corvette Mid engine 140,000 and the 2018 Challenger Hellcat with all the rest of its names 100,000 plus… Why wait, buy it new from the factory, store it for about 25-30 years…don’t put any mies on it and try to get your original cost of the car back…I know there are one-of ones out there, famous owners, rare experimental prototypes still waiting to come out of hiding…these collectables…but its sure baffling to the rest of us when something that was meant to be driven sits till it not worth the investment anymore…I guess having money does cloud your judgement and if I were a rich man and were able to have a collection…then I’d get my moneys worth… I’d drive one every day…


Demand is down and the market is oversaturated, I seen 3 retro-moded 55/57 Belaire’s (back-to back-to-back) go for under 40k on B&J auction, and about 4 cars later and all original Pinto Squire Wagon go for 38K…That was cool!!!


First, we need to remember that part of the rating is based on quotes for new policies. Just because Hagerty has not seen a lot of requests for a particular car does not mean that the car is less desirable it only means that not a lot are being traded. Second, the values of these cars is flat due to the fact that they have been priced beyond the means of many buyers. I would love to purchase a mid year 'vette but I can’t afford one. Third, buyers tastes have changed, many buyers of classic cars, particularly younger buyers, want restomods which typically use standard models as a starting point rather than the more expensive performance models. Lastly, many of these cars are not being traded because there owners plan on keeping them indefinitely. We must also remember that the collector car hobby has always been just a segment of the overall car market. So when someone says “buyers these days” just remember that most buyers of any age have little to no interest in owning a collector car.


@mmcd7276 - There is plenty of interest in late '30s hot rods. The Race of Gentleman brought a unique light to that style of rod and people are absolutely flocking to it.


I find that the sentiment of Millennials being generally disinterested in cars to be a misconception. Hagerty does look at car collecting across generations Millennials are a fast growing segment of the hobby. I think the misconception is the Millennials are still 20-something year olds. In fact, you can be in your late 30s and be considered a Millennial. So there are plenty at a point in their lives where they have accumulated enough wealth and have paid off their student loans where they can afford to invest in toys, the thing is that they’re investing in cars they remember as teens (Supras, Skylines, WS6 Trans Ams, etc.)

I think your statement about the market is mostly true and there is a shift in what is being collected, but luckily nobody will have to worry about Millennials killing the hobby.


I think in general the younger people (those under 30) tend not to be as interested in cars as people who are older. I’m in my mid 40’s and I remember turning 16 and within days getting my drivers license because I couldn’t wait. Now I see kids 17, 18, 19, even 20 who don’t have their driver’s licenses yet because they don’t see “the need”. When I was that age, the automobile was a form of escape…freedom. it does not have that appeal to the kids any longer. They have uber now, or they have public transportation. The car is no longer the symbol of freedom to them that it was to us and even older generations. Also, the cost of owning a car has become ridiculously inflated the past 20 years, while salaries have become stagnant. This has been especially poignant with millenials and even younger kids. Back in the 60’s when you graduated college or even HS and got a job, you had the ability to get yourself a decent car with a living wage. Now entry level, EcoBoost 4cyl Mustangs with maybe a few options over the base model will run you $40k. That’s a tough pill to swallow when you might barely be making that or less as an annual salary. Optioned out Mustang GT’s will get you into the mid $50’s. These cars that were once the “everyday mans sportscars” are no longer that. All of the sudden, when faced with the option of buying a $40k car or having a “life”, kids are choosing to have a life and take public transport, uber, ride sharing etc. Granted, the reason car prices have skyrocketed are because of technology and safety regulations and requirements, but its having a devastating effect on younger buyers…something that the older people didn’t have to deal with until recently when the older types now have more wealth and disposable income. Something has to give…


Its a changing world out there. Half of the people that were interested in these cars are already dead. The other half are already well into their 50s. Next time your at a car show or auction look around, you will not see any young people. Every one is 50 plus years old. My prediction is that in 20 years you won’t be able to give most classic or muscle cars away. I went to breakfast the other morning in my 62 Corvette. When I came out of the resturant two young bucks, I’m gonna guess between 27 to 30 years old and their wife’s or girl friends were walking in from the parking lot . When they seen me approaching my car they said sir what kind of car is that ! So If your holding onto your classic or muscle car thinking its going to help fund your retirement you better try to sell it now.


@hotrodduane62 - Thats a pretty bleak look to the future you have there. There are plenty of younger folks interested in the hobby, they just might not be at the same events you are. Check out Radwood, its an event put on my younger car folks. Laid back, no judging, low barrier for entry. This seems to be what appeals to many younger enthusiasts, rather than sitting by a cordoned off car all day, long awards ceremonies, and high-priced auctions. They are out there, just might not be at the same places you are. There is nothing wrong with that.


@hotrodduane62 Ever go to a Cars and Coffee? I think you’ll find the crown much younger at one of those. I don’t think that people from their 30s want to sit behind their car all day listening to music their parents or even grandparents listened to playing over a loudspeaker somewhere. I find younger enthusiasts crave a setting where they can interact with like minded enthusiasts on a more personal basis. Also, there are still plenty of shows out there that limit entry to cars from the mid-70s and earlier. If the younger crowd can’t enter their 89 IROC Camaro or their 95 RX-7 anyway, they’re probably not gonna show up.


Yes I know there are a handful of young folks out there that are interested in old cars and hotrods. But the numbers are not there to support the number of restored classic and muscle cars that are for sale out there now. But look at the bright side, just be patient and in 20 years give or take a few, those of you that are out there and interested will be able to get a pretty sweet deal on the car of your dreams ! Hopefully with self driving cars being the future they will still be legal to drive on the road ? Another thing to think about !


Good morning, yes I have been to few of those and I have rarely seen young people there ? Its mostly just a bunch of the same old guys that show up every week in the same old car telling the same old story and I live in a big town ! In fact there’s one I know of that has been going on for years . They meet every Sunday morning at 7am. They even have a name for it around here that was started by one mans wife. Its often referred to as dead peckers point ! LOL !


You have obviously missed my point. I was talking about a mass of people large enough not a smaller interest group of which there are always some of those. Clearly you sound much younger than me. So I will point out that the rod fans of today pale in comparison to what I saw in California in the '60s which many might consider the origin of the car culture we saw and heard about. Things change you just need to look farther ahead like 20-25 years.

Another easy example would be photography and the shift from film to digital. I shoot film and have since 1960 like everyone else. Now easily 90% shoot digital and 10% stayed with film. I have 250 film cameras and only two digital so clearly I am staying film. There are now some younger folks discovering film and being turned on to it. Does that mean it will stop Fuji from discontinuing their film products? No, the market isn’t there for them. Kodak reissued Ektachrome after nine years. Film nuts are ecstatic but is the demand big enough to keep the production line open? We will see but I am stocking up.


About ten years ago my wife and I were going out for Sunday breakfast in our 1969 Corvette 427/390hp, numbers matching, M21 4 speed coupe and I opined that these cars would go the way of the Model A once the guys who had drooled over them in their youth had passed away. Then I thought for a minute and said “Why should I care? I’ll be dead.” You’ve gotta take the long term view.


I don’t believe he was referring to all cars as neither was the article. The article was about cars cooling off and most of them are earlier model cars not the late model cars you used as an example. Yes, when you go to Cars and Coffee you can see a clear divide between early cars and their owners versus late model cars and their owners. You don’t see the early model cars moving over into hands of younger owners which would be both money and interest. On the opposite hand I don’t go to cars shows that much anymore as they are leaning more towards late model cars in which I have no interest. Nature of the beast you dance with the date you brought along.

So 25 years from now what do I do with five old cars? The 68 Cougar and Mustang may survive. The 67 Park Lane and 73 Polara may end up orphans and junked. The 65 F100, while cool, is a bear to drive with manual steering, drum brakes, and AM radio making it original. I love it but change that and it is no longer original which is a must with me. So can it survive?


I for one agree that the market has changed , I deal with many younger people that love cars and your right they want cars that they dreamed about when they were kids. The prices for NSX’s , Datsun 240Z , Toyota GTS , Celica’s etc. have been improving for over 3 years . I have sold a few of the cars in my collection because the prices have suffered and will continue going down because of the lack of interest in the older cars that they have no attachment too. So I’ve been buying older Japanese cars like the MR2, Datsun 240Z, and a Corolla FX -16 Gts which when I parked next to a Porsche Turbo got most of the attention at the local cars and coffee. Still have my 911 and my 914 Porsche’s but the energy these days are with the younger group of collectors which I love.


Looking 25 years down the road I think there is always a collector for every car, so my outlook isn’t as bleak. Pre-war stuff isn’t as sought after as it used to be 20+ years ago, but the market isn’t dead either. Heck, there are clubs for people who enjoy Pontiac Azteks, so if there are a group of people dedicated to preserving those, then there’s a collector for every car, they just may not be willing to accept current market prices.