Why muscle cars aren’t gaining in the collector car market


@brian4 - I take it this is the article you are referencing- EFI Versus Carb Dyno Test!

You are correct, on the dual plane manifold they see minimal differences. On a single plane intake they said this though- “The power graph revealed that the FiTech was able to improve power over the carburetor basically throughout the entire range from 3,000 to 6,000 rpm. As you can see from the graph, this represented a 5 to 7 lb-ft of torque gain nearly throughout the entire pull.”

There are a multitude of factors in carb vs efi tests. I will compliment that test though, as they recognize when their tuning effort or experience is above that of an average user, and try to keep it close for a fair comparison.

You are right, carbs can often go on sale just like fuel injection. Though it is rarer for FI to have such a deep discount.

Many cite the ease of rebuilding a carb, but that comes from practice and experience. Especially tuning one. Self tuning EFI has the capability to keep many classics on the road after the ability to tune carbs is lost, or the alcohol content renders classic carbs unusable.

I love the four single-barrel Rochesters that sit atop my flat-six. I wouldn’t trade them for the efficiency and ease of use of fuel injection…yet.


First off, it was really nice of this website to tell me I am not a member and can’t post remarks.

But anyway, I think some of the reason the muscle cars are not as popular as they were is because of the flood of classic car auctions on TV now. That tends to numb people from the thrill they used to bring. I, for one, love Corvettes of all years. But I am sick of seeing 1967 Corvettes with the 435 HP 427 engine!!! There are way more of them out there now than Chevrolet made in 1967. So, we all know what that means.
Another thing? Buyers with DEEP pockets. They ruin it for the average guy. And I will give you a good analogy of that. In my early years of showing Corvettes I owned in the 1970s, the owners had a great time showing their cars and were glad for the people whose cars won their classes. But then that began to change. The guys who had unlimited funds were determined to win those shows so they had high-dollar restorations done and hauled those bejeweled beauties to the shows in enclosed trailers being pulled by equally high dollar trucks. So those of us who were average owners no longer had a chance and the fun factor was gone. As a result, I quit competing and eventually sold the Corvettes I had and went to Street Rods. Those guys were a different breed. Common type guys who loved their cars as well as others’ cars. And as I got into them, I found quite a few of the guys I used to know who had owned Corvettes and sold them to get into something fun again. And here we all were! Having fun again until the same damn thing happened to them too. The rich boys came to town and decided they were going to show everybody up in those cars. And I will admit they did. But in the process, they ruined it for the normal guys. But this time, the street rod/hot rod guys fought back. They didn’t leave what they loved. They just changed course and thus the rat rod was born.
I can only speak for myself on this situation but some people’s desire to outdo the other guys has hurt the entire collector car market.


They might not use salt now on roads but back in the 1970s they used it along with calcium and back then when I was driving in the 70s muscle cars they rested out very badly Especially Around the rear quarter panel’s and the floor


There are some millennials who like cars. My daughter, 29, likes them - but mainly Buicks, interestingly (she is on her second one now). She grew up going to car shows, and some of it stuck, I guess. She had me teach her how to change her own oil and do routine fluid and air checks, and made it a point to learn how to drive a stick-shift. She is not a collector nor a true car enthusiast, but likes to know about cars, and see interesting ones. So, there is some hope, at least.


I’m encouraged by some of the replies here. I’m an Xer who got into cars in the 70s but had no money to do much with one until a few years ago.

Like some of you, I’ve been put off by the snobs at the shows and gatherings. I tend to prefer the old-school hotrodders (not a folding chair in sight) and the fast-and-furious Asian crowd, even though my tastes run to 70s sleepers and Miatas and for the kiddies, I don’t dig their music as much as their rides. But hey: I don’t care about authenticity as much as enjoyment of a vehicle. I nearly tossed a guy off the property who berated me about the “wrong mirror” on a 70 El Camino when, in fact as I showed him, it was a modern and perfect repro of the original (which I showed him, since I saved it). He’s never been invited back.

There are jerks everywhere, but know-it-alls seem to congregate around cars and firearms. No wonder I don’t go to shows, nor do the Millennial and Z-Gen kids I know who are into cars.

As for Muscle Cars? I’ll wait for the Boomers to go gently into that Good Night, and get me an average-trim '67 GTO, the car I’ve always coveted. If it’s not something special I imagine I’ll get it cheaply to enjoy a few years before I too get towed to the junkyard. So be it.


I agree, supply and demand. I think prices are down because the auction companies have flooded the market. Mecum has monthly auctions
With thousands of cars. Barrett Jackson also. There is more supply than demand now.


Just to clarify - the “auction companies” don’t own any cars; they just facilitate sales/purchases by owners/buyers. So the auction companies don’t flood the market – sellers do.


I own two traditional carbureted cars and am very unwillingly contemplating converting the more roadworthy of the two to fuel injection.
The problem is not the technology of the car. It is the availability of pure gas.
I live in the southwest where 95 degree days are common in the summer, and summer is car activity time. In those hot temperatures, the alcohol in the gas evaporates before the gasoline and vapor locks the carb. Vapor locking every afternoon makes driving to out of state events no fun.
This is in a car that never vapor locked before. I don’t WANT to convert it to fuel injection. But I fear I will have no choice within the next five to ten years. Either that, or only drive the car in fall, winter, and spring.


the value of anything old is based on the people that value them. Millennial have a point as do baby boomers as do the even older. I have seen what happens the people who valued model T’s are gone so the price dropped. Babby boomers are reaching the age as there is a lot that still value the cars of their era but are starting to get rid of their collections. the millennial really have not had the opportunity to get their licence early and enjoy cars due to economics and just plain interest. the more modern the more interesting to them they live in a virtual world. that is why your new car has everything on it. sad but true I think back to the days of drive ins, race tracks,hot rodding are coming to an end because most of those familiar place to show your ride are long gone. I will still drive my 67 GTO with pride and enjoy all the excitement it brings to most people who wonder what that car is hopefully we can get more younger people interested in what made this country.


You are on point. Hate to say it, you just described my son. I can rebuild an engine, he can barely change a tire. I tried to teach him to drive a manual shift, he said it to much work! Younger motorheads are more into the rice rockets, fancy BMW’s and such.


The market is fickle to say the least. I have a 1948 MG-TC which has been a $20 to $25 M car do ever. Yes some sell for more fit a plain Jane late 70s restoration is a driver and not a trailer queen.
My other car is a 1968 Mercedes Benz 250 SL. A DRIVER, not much rust, and it’s a solid $40M car all day. Yes some are perfect and are listed for well over $100K but those are few and far between and spend their lives in controlled environments and trailers. The 190s took off sometime back so someday maybe the Pagodas some day.


@rchottea - I would be curious why your daughter is not a “true car enthusiast” though she wants to learn about and has passion for classics.

That makes her an enthusiast to me, but I recognize a difference between owner and enthusiast. One can be an enthusiast of classic cars without owning one.


I think that her interest in cars is like my interest in sports: interested, but not obsessed (as some are with sports, and I am with cars). More like a somewhat strong casual interest, competing among other interests.


@rchottea - That’s fair, and an interesting way of looking at it.


Everyone has some sort of opinion on values of old cars. Collecting cars should be because you like a certain car, for whatever reason. Car collecting for investment purposes is a fool’s errand, IMHO. I keep my desmogged '78 Spitfire because when the Chinese pop off an EMS blast, at least the Spit will get me around. Nothing else will work except my gasoline rich emitting, points fired, Stromberg carburetored , 4 banger Spit will plod along. I will also practice my 2nd Amendment constitutional right. .


I own four classic cars (1967-1970 vintage), which are Mercury Cougars. While the price of restoration goes up, I think the market will start to shrink as those interested in these cars are soon reaching the end of their collecting years. For every one of the other posters here who remain interested, I talk to three others who leave the hobby for various reasons (too expensive, people are jerks, too hard to maintain, not as much fun as they had hoped, etc…). One of my neighbors just sold his 67 Mustang for (not making this up) all of the aforementioned reasons.


Why I see muscle cars not having the resale many feel that they should comes down to two things , the owners and the vehicles.

  1. The owners a lot of times are snobs. They act like they are better than the person trying to talk to them about their car just because they have that particular car. This puts people off and due to association makes them not want to have anything to do with the collector car scene. We have put off the very people that we hoped would make us rich when we were ready to sell the vehicals that we got a good deal on.
  2. The vehicles are ridiculously over priced sometimes. I have a 1970 Torino cobra that I purchased in 1980 for 50$ and drove it home. I have a 1968 Dodge Charger RT 440 magnum that I got for 1600$ in 1987. Drove it home. I have a 1969 427 / 4spd vette that I paid 5000$ and drove it on a trailer in 1987. 1967 fastback 390/4spd mustang. 1961 starliner 390. 1966 toronado 425. I have over 200 vehicals and 39 are big block vehicals. Everyone tells me I have a fortune out here but I always say they are worth what someone is willing to pay. Someone watches a tv auction and they think that because they have the same car that it’s worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think that we have created our own demise We have started to believe our own press clippings. Most of these are old cars that ride horribly. Cars from the 1960s are 60 years old. I hate to say it but I think that cars are selling for what they are worth.


I find the discussions interesting. I agree , buy what you like and can afford. Unless you find limited production cars, In my case I have purchased big block 4 spd multi carb when I can. If you are lucky enough to buy low and ride the wave and drive them for a number of yrs and sell high great. I had a 70 Charger V code car kept for 12yrs and sold a nice profit. A 68 Vette L68 tri power red on red (probably broke even) enjoyed for 9yrs. I have to agree with the attachment argument. I long have been of the opinion younger enthusiasts want the new Muscle. I disagree with the ascertion that the rare cars are exempt from the market drop. My 70 Yenko Deuce as an EXAMPLE in May 2006 at MECUM a sample sold for $183,750 and in May 2017 one sold for $140,000 again what did you pay for it. Joe M


First, many cars sold at auction sell for well above market value, all it takes is two guys with more money than brains who just have to have a car no matter what. Second, the article didn’t say that muscle cars are going down in value, it said that they are lagging behind the broader market. Some have gone down in value due to a bursted bubble or because they were a fad car, but most have simply gone flat due to the fact that they have reached the top of their appreciation curve and because they have become to expensive for the majority of people what them, thus the popularity of clone or tribute cars that sell for half the price. Lastly, as I have said before, most buyers of any age have no interest in owning a collector car, so to say that any age group has no interest in Muscle cars is just wrong. Fortunately there are enough people of all ages who are interested to keep the hobby going.


I couldn’t agree more. The market for many muscle cars, particularly Mopar E-bodies, was ruined for your average muscle car enthusiast during the bubble of the early 2000’s. I love a good Hemi-cuda or LS6 SS Chevelle as much as the next guy, but a million dollars back in '05-'06… please. I longed for a good 70-71 'cuda, but they were a bit rich for my blood back then, so I bought a lesser desired '72, orig. paint, numbers 340 'cuda. It’s held it’s value pretty well and, were I to sell it, I’d probably break better than even… plus my 14 years of enjoyment! It certainly hasn’t done as well as my NSX w.r.t. appreciating value. I’ve messed around some with B-body wagons and big block C-bodies, but I find that even those are listed for, IMO, somewhat unrealistic prices for what they are. So it won’t bother me one bit if the bottom drops out of the muscle car market since, even today, $10k will typically only get you a rot box muscle car in need of total restoration, and when they’re done most won’t bring near what you’ve got into them.
I think the younger folks (not me) will likely see better value in the more modern (80’s-90’s) car arena.