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


I would find another show. I have never been to a cruise night in suburban Chicago where the other "geezers, in fact all of the participants, didn’t respect your ride.


The concept is very simple. It is a generational thing. When a “generation” passes on to the pastures of Heaven…so goes their allegiance to the metal that they grew up with. Model A Fords were cool…until the Greatest Generation has mostly passed away. Muscle Cars belong to Baby Boomers…who are getting grayer by the day. There are some timeless designs that continue to hold value regardless of generational interest. That would include anything related to Shelby, Porsche 356 Open Cars, Italian Exotics, etc. etc. Part of the issue with the muscle cars is operational costs. You have to have some $ to keep them running and fueled. And…as the world continues to be instantly connected, the way of the fossil fuel powered vehicles are on the way out. Fuel efficiency is only the first step. Electrics will…within the next 10 years will be the name of the game. What do we lose? The incredible design and attention to detail that has been a hallmark of artistic effort for nearly 100 years.


The reason why so many even cards go for so much money at the auction is because a big percentage goes to charity


Excellent response! I’m 60, feel the say way, a lot of the comments are true, “the old geezers scoff at…”, seems directed at all baby boomers. Well all “groups or clubs” scoff at something thats not their cup of tea, forget them geezers and do what you like to do. Can’t afford a muscle car, then go build one - most people outside of of the hard core collectors and gear heads dont know the difference. A clean engine compartment, (rattle can paint job!), set of headers, good mufflers, chrome valve covers, Elderbrock intake manifold and Holley carb with chrome air cleaner and bingo, you got a hot rod/muscle car in most peoples book! Doesn’t matter much what it is in nowadays, grandpas’ old truck, grandmas’ Sunday driver or a rat-rod!!! Do what you like and F the rest…


Not just car snobs, there all kinds of stupid people to avoid/ignore in the world. Do I care how much money my one hobby car is worth? Not really. Why should I? I enjoy wirking on it, keeping it original, and it is fun to drive. Main problem I see for majority of people that claim to be “car guys” is that they are only in it for the money. Eliminate the investment types and the snobs and the non-car guys and those few left are who I would maybe like to hang out with. Keep in mind that many of the “snobs” are actually marquee specialists in it for a living. As for millenials, they will all end up with a Porsche or 21st Century Corvette. Then, when their kid inherits it they will take it to a demolition derby and smash it all to hell because it reminds them of how daddy ignored them all those years while washing and obsessing over his true love.


You’ve just described why you don’t drive your grandpa’s Packard.


Well, I don’t know much about the american car market, but I’m a Gen-Xer who bought a Porsche 944, the car I loved in my childhood. My 10-year-old self thinks my 45-year-old self is a bad-ass for buying it and loving the hell out of driving it.

I joined the local Porsche Club and honestly half expected to be shunned because many people consider the 80’s trans-axle series of Porsches to be crap cars. The average age of a P-car owner is probably 20 years over my age, but I’ve found the people in the club to be nothing but extremely welcoming. Many of them had 944s as their first Porsche back in the 80’s and many of them still think fondly of them, so they’re as appreciative of my car as I am of their new GT3s.

$5500 for my childhood dream car, and acceptance from the old guard has been priceless to me. I’m having a blast hanging out with the club members, and having even more fun driving my weekend car, so I guess I’m an outlier. But I will say that the Porsche people around here do it right. I’ve done several CNC’s here and sat next to P-cars that cost over 10x mine, but was always treated like an equal. Every Porsche is respected by people who love the brand, even though not every model is valued highly by the market. If you love the marque, then in my experience, you’re good with them regardless of age or vehicle.


There are some really good points on being flat - but I would like to add, being in the financial services sector for nearly 2 decades, a strong running stock market (over years, not months) competes against classics. If the market is flat, many auto-centric individuals feel “if my money isn’t giving me the return, I might as well have fun with it.” Flip side is, when the market is strong then they rationalize “I’ll make big returns now to buy that car later.” This is a side most automotive writers and industry insiders miss.


I am so sorry this happened to you…

Perhaps there is a local classic Buick car club you could join, sometimes, that would be more preferable than “going it on your own.”

Speaking as a vintage foreign car owner in the middle of the rust belt, sometimes there truly is safety in numbers, sometimes the CCVW club would just decide to all show up at once at a local show or event. Imagine the impact over 80 vintage ANYTHING of a same type would have on the crowd. Even the most snobbiest of the insiders would then have a force they couldn’t deny or impugn upon.



Hi Kyle,

Thanks for the note of encouragement. I googled your suggestion and found BOOM - nice name - Buick Owners of Maryland. I’m following their Facebook page and I’ll see what comes up with them … in the spring!

It’s interesting how people love to segregate themselves into cliques - that then form allegiances against other groups of people doing the same thing. :smiley:



Every dog has its day and as the generations pass by so do their interests,for me the cars of the mid sixty’s to the early seventy’s peak my interest and will till I turn to dust,never got off on anything earlier so yes money spent in that era,the youth of today for the most part its the same they desire the cars that turned their crank as teenagers so for most it wasn’t a 70,s American built V8 fire-breather so a shift n collector cars for the masses is bound to happen,my son in law gets it when we stand around my classic 70,s car but would not shell out the cash for one he has a turbo boosted some kind of classic to him off shore car that has more computing power than the Deep Blue IBM chess playing computer and its a nice piece not my style so the world spins and change is a ongoing thing a very good thing in my mind,now when autonomous self driving cars are in the collectors market thankfully I will be long gone LOL.Rob


Yes, you are right, there is nothing like the bouncing, swaying and clanking of an old muscle car that is trying to kill you because the suspension never caught up to the horsepower !
It’s just a matter of fact that as time rolls and interests change the muscle car market will decline. Kids now are turning 10’s in Hondas for cryin’ out loud so why would they want to mess with an old skool POS ?
As a guy who knows his way around ALL cars pretty well I would have to agree with them to a point. Unfortunately most newer vehicles have a more generic look to them with no particular outstanding design cue but they are more reliable and can develop more HP per pound.
I met this halfway with putting a full Mustang 5.0 and suspension in a 1970 MGBGT which satisfies most all of my cravings.


Michael (and others),
I stumbled on this post as I am searching from wisdom from those that have been there-and-done that. I am hesitant to mention what I just purchased because this conversation could go off-track quickly. Let’s just say that I just purchased a one-owner domestic 2009 low-mileage high performance collector car with about 2,000 miles on it. I am wrestling with how much I drive it vs. how much I try to safe guard it in the hopes it greatly increases in value like some of the cars you see at the big unnamed auctions. Any thoughts? I don’t think I want to turn it into a daily driver, but is 50-miles a week too much. 50-miles a month? 1000 miles a month? Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback.

Harold Jones
Phoenix, AZ


I’m no expert Harold. Been playing with cars for many decades. But my relationship with my hotrods is a lot like my relationship with my wife - long term and monogamous. If I’m to tinker, build, drive and enjoy the car AND keep up with our daily drivers, then managing the 3 cars I have is all I can do. I doubt I’ll ever own more than 2 toys, and so far it’s been just 1 at a time. No way that qualifies me as any sort of expert on “collector cars.”

Without knowing what you bought, I can only provide generic guidance. GENERALLY speaking, almost anything newer/domestic, with a handful of exceptions, is unlikely to greatly increase in value over the relative short term – for a 2009 model, that goes out 10-15-20 years. There are, of course, exceptions - but we don’t know what you have. Having said that, the fundamental question is - WHY did you buy it? If to enjoy it - then drive it and don’t worry about the miles. If to try and make some money on it later - then lower miles almost always helps. How much lower? That’s like asking “how long is a piece of rope?” The answer is always - it depends.

Making money (certainly a living) on buying/selling cars, especially “collector” cars is tough. Relative to the number of enthusiasts out there, there aren’t too many people who can make money at it consistently. What I find interesting is this – pull up your favorite online IRR calculator – and actually play with time, buy/sell price and look at the returns. A TON of the stuff you see at the big auctions rarely even keeps up with inflation. Folks who consistently make money don’t make it on the sale side — they have a network that allows them to BUY at VERY low prices compared to the rest of us. And they turn them back over quickly. Given that’s how I see things – I doubt there’s any big money to be made on your purchase. I don’t have all the details or the answers – but my counsel is – drive the thing. Enjoy it. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow. (grin)


It truly depends on what you bought. Let’s say for example, you bought a 2009 Mustang GT, I would drive it as much as your heart desires. They’re not uncommon and supply will keep up for demand. Let’s say you have something rare or unique like a 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP with a 6-speed or G8 Firehawk, those cars are fairly rare, have good performance and miles will affect value.

Very low mile examples typically command higher values so keeping the miles off is a bigger deal. Say you have a low production, high performance car, driving a couple thousand miles per year is probably a good balance between enjoyment and preserving the car like new. If it already has moderate miles, say 30,000-50,000 miles, I wouldn’t worry about the amount of usage because while it isn’t many miles for a modern vehicle, it is for an “instant collector”

Hopefully that makes some sense


Michael / Greg,

Thanks so much for the replies and reasoning. For what it is worth, I agree. If it matters any to the discussion, I bought a silver 2009 Ford Shelby GT500KR with about 2,000 miles on it. With that being said, I am going with the prevailing wisdom of, “Buy something you love. Enjoy it while you can. If it grows in value — GREAT!” I don’t think I will make it my everyday car, but the whole time, believe me, I will be trying to figure out, ‘how long is a piece of rope is’ though. HaHa That is the million dollar question, indeed.

Best Regards,


Trust me, 10 years down the road there will be plenty of these with not many more miles than your does right now, so you are aren’t driving the only one in existence into the ground. I’m very pleased to hear that enjoyment is your first priority. I guarantee that 90% or more of those cars were bought for investment alone. No sense in having it if you can’t use it. Happy motoring!


On the west coast very near San Francisco. Around here, I don’t know how strong the classic car market currently is but I haven’t seen prices drop much, overall, yet. Pickups, post war, and mid-fifties cars are all quite popular and holding their prices ----------- it seems. Haven’t seen anything offered “reasonably priced” yet.
I did notice, however, after looking through the entire recent Barrett Jackson roster, there were very few 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s cars being offered this time around. Since not much of what I was interested in was included, I stopped watching pretty early so I don’t know how those that were included sold.
Hopefully, those early 50’s Chevies will go down in value cause I sure would love to “play” with one !!!


I too fell in love with Bill Bixby’s Corvette,and I am now nearing restoration completion of my second white '73,that I have named Spirit,to pay respect to the car I first fell in love with when I was in high school. It sat in a barn for over 20 years,and until recently,when I did a history search, did we find out that it is a 1 of 20,being a numbers matching 454 4 speed convertible with air.It too is not an investment,just something that we love,that won’t be sold,but passed on to family,and drivin.


I’m technically a Boomer, but probably more like an early Gen-X er (born late 1964). I used to really like the late 60’s and early 70’s muscle cars, but like other posters here, I don’t want to be identified with the current crop of owners.

If you ask me to describe the typical owner of this class of cars, all I can think of is a fat guy in a Tommy Bahama shirt and cargo shorts drinking booze from a plastic cup at a B-J auction.