Monterey Car Week 2021 Revealed a 'Genuine Shift' in the Classic Car Market, Hagerty Says

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The classic car market has had an odd year. Since last summer, previously overlooked models like Honda Accords have skyrocketed in price while tried-and-true collectibles like Ferraris remain in decline. But the Monterey Car Week in August showed an encouraging shift.
Price expectations were shattered for all types and categories. The unexpected growth in the market reveals a resurgence in interest in conventional collectibles as affordable classics continue to gain momentum.
At this point, it’s unclear what’s driving the upward trend, whether it be increased interest from women and millennials or an influx of expendable income saved during the pandemic, but a few of the week’s sales illustrate the changing environment.
Classic cars lined up at an auto show
Monterey Car Week 2021 proved classic cars are here to stay.
Hagerty knows a thing or two about collectible cars—it’s the largest insurer of collectible cars in the world. Its media branch pointed out a few car sales from Monterey Car Week that defied expectations and demonstrated how the market is reshaping.
The first sale highlighted was of a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe, a car Hagerty describes as a “must-have for any serious collection” that can be used as an indicator for the overall collector market. It sold for over $200,000 more than the expected price.
Another sale Hagerty pointed to as one showing market growth was of a 2012 Lexus LFA Nurburgring, an extremely rare supercar the auction house estimated at $1,100,000. When the gavel landed, it went for an eye-watering $1,600,000.
But maybe the most surprising sale the automotive enthusiast brand singled out was of a 1986 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62. Despite being completely restored, this barely classic SUV was forecasted to go for under $70,000. It sold for over $134,000, almost double the expected value.
It’s difficult to pin down exactly why Monterey Car Week was so successful this year. At the same time, the changing world outside of car collecting can provide a few potential answers.
First of all, the demographics of car collecting have changed. What was once a world consisting primarily of baby boomers has become much more diverse now that Generation X and Millennials have begun accumulating the kind of wealth needed to participate.
And speaking of the wealthy, those with deep pockets had those pockets extended this summer thanks to a hot stock market. Hagerty suggests some could be buying collectible cars to protect their profits in assets that tend to keep their value as national inflation rates rise.
But the most dramatic change we’ve all experienced in the world probably also has its role in the evolving trends of car collecting. The pandemic made a lot of people rethink their priorities and push them to pursue their dreams now, while they still have the chance. For some, that means buying the car of their dreams.
Hagerty has a long history of insuring collectible cars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the classic car coverage provider to go to for the best price. You should always compare prices with other companies before making a decision.
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