To be totally honest, this post is an attempt to “dump” all the articles I have in my email inbox about the automobile market, with particular attention paid to the recently concluded Arizona auction week. I would have made a terrible diplomat.
This article from Classic Cars that, frankly, is rather superficial is about a symposium held during the Barrett-Jackson auction about the state of the collector car market. Normally, we would have attended, but I think Alan Taylor–the moderator of these symposiums–is an awful host. In my opinion, a host lets the guests speak and just guides the conversation so it doesn’t get too off-track. Taylor tries to make these events all about himself. Yep, I’m no diplomat.
In the piece Mark Hyman, founder of Hyman Ltd Classic Car, is quoted as saying, “I warn everybody, yes, the cars have gone up in value. The cars have given us a good return, but I warn everybody don’t overpay for that reason.” As I wrote earlier, this article does not provide any useful or interesting details.
This piece, also from Classic Cars and much better than the first, reports that the average price per car for all of Arizona auction week increased by 33 percent from about $95,000 to almost $127,000. Here are two key points made in the article:
Online auctions are competing for volume and big cars, but live auctions can still produce record prices such as the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird that sold for $990,000.
Mecum’s Kissimmee auction in early January is rivaling the entire Arizona Auction Week in size and importance.
Total sales for the 2022 Arizona auction week reached $267 million despite 22 percent fewer lots than in 2020. Mecum’s Florida auction reached $217 million in sales.
This Hagerty article lists the ten most expensive cars sold at automobile auctions in January. Here is an interesting passage from the piece:
“Although the number of auctions and the number of consignments in Scottsdale were both down, almost every other number we can think of from the January auctions was up. “Fewer cars, higher prices” has pretty much been the state of affairs at in-person auctions since they returned from their pandemic hiatus. But January of 2022 set the bar even higher.”
This 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Alloy Body” Gullwing Coupe brought the highest price of any car sold in January at an auction. Only 29 of these aluminum-bodied Gullwings were built and it had been six years since the last one was brought to an auction. This car sold for $6.825 million all in.
This article, from Classic Cars, is the monthly update on which cars brought the most searches on their website. From the piece, “Among the top-20 searches by year, make and model in January 2022 were five 1960s Ford Mustangs, four 1960s Chevrolet Camaros, and a pair of 1960s Chevy Impalas.”
Andy Reid, Classic Cars’ market analyst and East Coast editor, also noted that searches for Cadillac have increased significantly. His reason: “This is likely to do with the sheer numbers of different cars that are available at every different price point.”
Recently consigned to the Mecum auction in Glendale, Arizona that starts five weeks from tomorrow is a car like this:
Once again (I am really tired of writing this), Mecum does not allow online photos of recently sold cars or future consignments to be captured. The car above is a 1991 Cadillac Allante. Mecum will be selling a ’91 Allante with a claimed 36,000 miles at the Glendale auction.
Every regular reader knows I love these cars. What few regular readers know (until now, I guess) is that I am about to spend more than $10k on a brake job for my Z06. (Carbon ceramic rotors are not cheap.) Those funds might have been used to buy this Allante, but barring a lottery win in the interim, I don’t think it’s prudent to buy another car now. Of course, who knows what I might think as the car crosses the block?
Speaking of Corvettes, this Corvette Blogger article shows that C8 Corvettes rank second among all vehicles in terms of the highest percentage increase in the price paid for used cars compared to the price of new cars. From the piece:
This is the automobile market right now. Just like it’s not really a great time to buy a house in many parts of the country, it’s not really a great time to buy a car.
Hope you have enjoyed this hodgepodge post.
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2 thoughts on “Car Market Tuesday”
I used to read market reports on Hagerty, and find them interesting. (I don’t read them anymore mostly because I don’t have time to peruse the website any more.) I end up feeling I have so much to say about these reports in general. There’s 2 things about them though that come to mind for me.
1. I’m amazed how emotionally some people respond to ‘trends analyses’. I get no one wants to be told an asset is declining in value. But, the anger people post with when their favourite car is listed among those that may be losing value or falling in interest… it’s always kind of shocking to me. It’s also evident how people don’t really seem to understand what’s being reported. I’m not in the hobby for investment values, and I’m no financial wizard. But i don’t think it’s hard to understand some general principles… ‘the low end of the market is has much more room to grow than the high end’, ‘what’s popular today may not be tomorrow as the buyers’ pool ages and new blood enters’ etc.
2. I don’t want to impeach or impugn anyone, but I wonder sometimes about the effects of these reports, or more specifically the forward-looking parts. Does an expert’s offering an opinion that 1990s Dodge Vipers are undervalued in some way cause a run on Vipers which ultimately raises their value? Where’s the line on a collector car retailer buying 25 1980s 3-series BMWs in a year, and then saying “well I’ve been buying BMWs because I believe these cars will see an increase in popularity”? I’m not accusing anyone of market manipulation, I just sometimes wonder how much is market forces and how much might be the market moving in reaction.
I do think this kind of information is great to have though. I’m not an investor, but I think of someone who has always wanted a specific model – 5 years ago you saw them selling at $25k, so you set about saving. Now you’re ready and suddenly they’re in the market for $35k. Or you’re someone who has a 1950s classic, and you find you need to unload it. 10 years ago it was all the rage and you saw them going for $50k at auction. Now you go to list it and cars in better condition than yours are hard sells at $25k. It can be a real shock, and these kinds of tools can be so helpful if one takes the time to access them.
Many thanks, Mark. First, I think people get offended when their favorite car declines in value because they perceive it to be an attack on their judgment or intellect. Second, I don’t doubt that some people in a position to influence car values, even just a little bit, write or say things that are self-serving. That’s only human nature.
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